News in Brief 26 May 2016 (PM)

Humanitarians ready to assist civilians fleeing Iraqi city

Humanitarian agencies are doing "everything" they can to assist people fleeing the Iraqi city of Fallujah, where at least 50,000 civilians are believed to be trapped.

That's according to the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, Lise Grande.

Fallujah has been under the control of the extremist group ISIL, also known as Daesh, and the Iraqi military has launched an offensive to retake it.

Ms Grande said reports coming out of the city are "depressing."

Food supplies are limited and tightly controlled, and people have resorted to relying on dirty and unsafe water sources.

Medicine stocks have also been exhausted.

The UN and its partners have been readying for weeks to provide assistance to people fleeing the city

Since Sunday, 800 people have reached safety, with some families reporting having to walk for hours under "harrowing" conditions.

UN determined to achieve lasting peace in Yemen

Negotiations to resolve the crisis in Yemen continue. with parties holding talks on issues such as the restoration of state institutions, the handover of weapons and resumption of political dialogues.

That information comes from UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who on Thursday addressed journalists in Kuwait, which is hosting the talks.

Farhan Haq is a UN spokesperson in New York:

"He said that the talks are ongoing, the international support is stronger than ever and the United Nations is determined to achieve a lasting peace and to solidify any agreement reached. At the same time, the Special Envoy warned, the ongoing conflict has destroyed the country's economic infrastructure and severely disrupted the functioning of state institutions, causing the suffering of many civilians. Failure to address the issue will lead to further deterioration of the economic situation."

An escalation of violence in Yemen which began in March 2015 has resulted in more than 6,000 deaths.

The crisis has also worsened the country's already dire humanitarian situation, with more than 20 million people, 82 per cent of the population, requiring aid relief.

New SDG stamps reflect desire to save the planet

The world has "laid the foundation" for the global push to end extreme poverty and other development challenges, but this will only be meaningful if it actually becomes reality, the UN Deputy Secretary-General has said.

Jan Eliasson was speaking in Nairobi on Thursday at a press conference to launch the latest stamps commemorating the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs provide a blueprint for creating a better future for people and the planet.

Mr Eliasson pointed out that people today live at a time when they must learn to make peace with nature.

He said the stamps have a deeper meaning than their face value.

"We need to really realize that we are one: not only as human beings, but also with everything living, whether it is animals or plants, or everything. Like many of the indigenous cultures who shown much more respect, we need to come back to some of these basics to save this planet and also save our own future and the future of our children. So, these stamps reach much deeper than they do on the surface."

The 17 stamps, one for each goal, will be rolled out at the rate of one every two months.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 3'12?

Source: United Nations Radio.