In December Alone, WFP Assists More Than One Million People In Northeast Nigeria

In barely a month since the beginning of December, WFP has delivered food or cash to

more than a million Nigerians in conflict-affected zones in the Northeast. This means

that over half of those in need of urgent humanitarian assistance have now been reached.

The milestone came as WFP ramped up its response in Borno and Yobe States, where

as many as four million people are food insecure. The region has been devastated by

years of violence linked to the Boko Haram insurgency: in some areas, more than half of

all children under five suffer from acute malnutrition.

The needs are of course tremendous, and more has to be done. Even so, this is a dramatic

expansion from the 160,000 people we were able to assist as recently as October. It is

only thanks to the joint efforts of all humanitarian partners, including the Government

of Nigeria, that we have achieved such high numbers,rdquo; said Sory Ouane, WFP’s

Nigeria Country Director and Emergency Coordinator.

In areas with functioning markets, more than 170,000 people were assisted with cash.

Nearly 800,000 people � most of them internally displaced, in camps or in host

communities � benefited from food distributions; and almost 180,000 children under five

were given specialized nutritious food.

Under its new Rapid Response Mechanism, which includes extensive use of

helicopters and the pooling of logistics and telecommunications resources across the

humanitarian community, WFP has managed to reach areas that were previously

inaccessible.

While it has been challenging to scale up and provide timely, life-saving food

assistance, we are now looking at ways to assist even more people in need � as many as

2.5 million by April 2017,rdquo; Ouane added.

WFP is funded entirely by voluntary contributions and needs a total of US$208 million

for its humanitarian response in Northeast Nigeria over the next six months, of which

US$143 million has yet to be found.

We have achieved a lot in the past months, and plan to do more, said Abdou

Dieng, WFP’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa. But an operation of this

scope and complexity requires sustained funding to maintain momentum.rdquo;

Source: World Food Programme (WFP).

Read More >In December Alone, WFP Assists More Than One Million People In Northeast Nigeria

PPF concerned over detention of Al Jazeera journalist in Egypt

Pakistan Press Freedom (PPF), in a letter to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, expressed concern over the arrest and detention of Al Jazeera journalists Mahmoud Hussein in Cairo on December 25. PPF Secretary General Owais Aslam Ali urged the government of Egypt to properly investigate the case and bring specific charges against the Al […] … Read More >PPF concerned over detention of Al Jazeera journalist in Egypt

Britain Cracks Down on Illegal Nail-salon Workers

LONDON � British immigration officers have raided nearly 300 nail salons and arrested 97 people, mostly from Vietnam, for suspected immigration offenses as part of a drive to tackle modern slavery, the Home Office said on Wednesday.

“Operation Magnify”, a week-long operation concluded earlier this month, was a cross-government drive to stamp out illegal working by targeting specific “risk” industries, said the Home Office, Britain’s interior ministry, in a statement.

“This operation sends a strong message to those employers who ruthlessly seek to exploit vulnerable people and willfully abuse our immigration laws,” Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill, added.

“Modern slavery is a barbaric crime which destroys the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our society.”

More than a dozen vulnerable people working in nail salons were found to have been at risk of modern slavery, said the statement while 68 businesses could face financial penalties of up to 20,000 pounds ($24,500) per illegal worker found.

The majority of the arrests made were Vietnamese nationals, but also included suspected immigration offenders from Mongolia, Ghana, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and India.

As interior minister, Theresa May put forward the “Modern Slavery Act” in 2015 and one of her earliest acts on taking office as Prime Minister in July was to pledge greater funding and establish a government task force on modern slavery.

Nearly 46 million people are enslaved globally, according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index, which estimated there were 11,700 victims living in Britain.

Those who are potential victims of trafficking will be offered support while those who have no right to be in the UK will be removed, the statement said.

Source: Voice of America

Read More >Britain Cracks Down on Illegal Nail-salon Workers