News in Brief 25 May 2017 – (PM)

African nations among world's largest host of refugees, says UN chief

African nations are among the world's largest and most generous hosts of refugees, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in his message to commemorate this year's "Africa Day."

According to estimates by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, the continent hosts 26 per cent of the global refugee population.

The UN's partnership with Africa is based on mutual respect, solidarity, complementarity and interdependence but's also rooted in a sense of deep gratitude, said Mr Guterres, recalling that the majority of peacekeepers around the world come from there.

The first-ever United Nations � African Union Annual Conference was held in April aimed at strengthening cooperation between the two organisations.

The Secretary-General promised to reaffirm his commitment to Africa "as a partner, friend and advocate for changing the narrative about this diverse and vital continent".

Bring in the clowns, say Palestine refugee students

The warmth of 2,500 smiles of Palestinian children and sounds of delightful cheering during a clown show last month reverberated in the West Bank.

A performance by the Danish organization "Clowns 4 Care" drew excitement from some children attending schools run by UNRWA, the UN agency that assists Palestinian refugees.

UNRWA helped to arrange for the clowns to perform in its schools and one of its hospitals as well as play with young patients and students.

These children were targeted because they have experienced violence and psychological stress first hand, hoping it would provide them with a sense of optimism for the future.

In a Jalazone refugee camp school, near Ramallah, Deputy Director for Programmes Meg Audette attended in full clown costume.

She expressed the UN's gratitude for the "support of Clowns 4 Care and other clowning groups as it creates a fun interaction opportunity for students, teachers, and staff alike.

Countries submit their pledges to UN for Yemen humanitarian crisis

One month after a pledging conference raised $ 1 billion for Yemen, several UN Member States have paid their dues, the UN spokesperson has confirmed.

A resurgent cholera outbreak in war-torn Yemen has spread with "unprecedented" speed in 19 of the country's 22 governorates.

The High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen took place in Geneva on 25 April this year.

Stephane Dujarric has more.

"Those countries that have fully paid up are Andorra, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Canada, China, Denmark, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, New Zealand, the Russian Federation, Slovenia, Sweden and the United States. The United Nations also welcomes the additional United States announcement of $77 million for the famine response, as well as the $4.3 from the European Commission and the $1.2 million from Norway for the cholera response."

The UN predicts there will be at least 100,000 new cases in the next six months, but less than half of health facilities are fully functioning.

The Organization and its humanitarian partners are seeking over $ 55 million to prevent and treat cholera in Yemen over the next six months.

Source: United Nations Radio