the pligh of syrians gets even worse. half a million are now living understand siege ahead of planned talks. the world news from al jazeera also coming up. in the dock the former irory coast president accused of crimes against humanitarian. the leader of the refuge siege tells his followers to stand do
down. latin america asks for help to stop the zika virus as the politicians haggle over talks to end the syrian war, the united nations say the number of people living under siege is nearly half a million. from u.n. headquarters in new york our correspondent has more. >> reporter: the humanitarian situation in syria has gone from bad to worse. that was a key message from steven o'brien, the u.n.'s top humanitarian official when he briefed the security council. the numbers are staggering and troubling in syria, but really the number that jumps out the most is the increase in the number of syrians currently living in besieged areas, areas cut off from any sort of regulated. that number is now up to 486,700
syrians that live in those conditions. of those 274,000 of them live in areas besieged by the syrian government according to the u.n. another 200,000 live in areas besieged by i.s.i.l. and about 12,000 in areas besieged by non-state armed groupss, such as the al-nusra front. o'brien says that the use of steej and starvation-- siege an starvation were reprehensible. he says needs more to be done. >> authorised cross border humanitarian assistance and you have launched a political process. for the millions of people trapped under siege, mall your ishdz and lacking supplies, this council has simply not done enough. we have left those people with no hope >> reporter: he was also very critical of the syrian government.
he said the government last year only approved 10% of the more than 100 requests by the u.n. to get aid convoys in to people that needed it the most. o'brien called this "unacceptable", and urged the syrian government to do more to help. o'brien also reminded the security council that the war in syria remains the most savage and brutal conflict of the 21st century one of the towns under siege is madaya. an aid convoy did get food and medicine in two weeks ago, but it hasn't completely ended the problems there. >> reporter: this man lived in the besieged town of madaya. he died on wednesday because, like thousands of his neighbors, he didn't have enough to eat. two days before this group of men trudged through snow-covered streets
>> reporter: food and medical suppliess were tracked in a little over two weeks ago, but they're still in the grip of malnutrition. at least 14 have died since the convoy have arrived in addition to the dozens of lives claimed by hunger. locals say forces loyal to bashar al-assad still blockade the town. hezbollah fighters have told residents to abandon their homes and herzegovina is reported to be battling the syrian opposition in nearby districts. >> translation: for more than 220 days now madaya and the surrounding areas have been subjected to a siege by hezbollah and regime forces.
anyone who tries to leave will be shot or killed by a lands mine. >> reporter: the world food program says close to half a million people are cut off from food, 18 parts of syria are bee sejd by fighters loyal to the opposition or i.s.i.l. international pressure is growing on assad to let moor food through. >> they're responsible for blocking 15 of the 18 besieged areas. that's a bad statistic. >> reporter: hunger continues to claim the weakest. the people of madaya are hoping for more aid convoys as food supplies run out again, that small hope is all some of them have left the iranian president is in paris for the second leg of his state visit to europe. he is expected to meet the french president francois hollande and discuss trade deals
following the lifting of sanctions. this is the first visit by the iranian president in nearly two decades. he says the trip is an important step in deepening ties between the countries the former president is due to go on trial for war crimes. both gbagbo and a former leader will appear. they're charged with crimes against humanity, including murder and rape following post-election violence in 2010. he and his co-accused maintain their innocence. in 2010 the president lost his election. he stepped down despite statements from the u.n., the african union and the e.u. recognising that his opponent had won. forces then stormed the capital
backed by u.n. and french troops. around 1500 people died in three months of violence during the political stands-off. the u.n. accused forces of targeting residential areas that were known to support wattera. the u.n. says at least a million people fled their homes in what human rights watch says is proof of crimes against humanity. we go live to the hague and our correspondent there. this is an important stage in the case against the former president. >> reporter: that's right. it has been seen as a very, very significant trial starting here in the hague because it is the first time the former head of state is being tried here. of course, the kenyan president was brought here. the attempts to prosecutor him
collapsed some time ago. this is the first head of state going on trial. it is by no means welcomed by anybody. you can probably hear and hopefully see some of the supporters who have travelled from capitals like paris and germany to be here today. they say he is an innocent man and should be released. he has been in detention for almost five years. after the violence that came out of those elections in 2010, he refused to concede defeat to the man now in power. also i said that it's a significant day for many people here the icc stands accused of only concentrating on african governments. in fact, the only people who have been convicted here are two fairly little-known congolese
war lords. so this is really the first time somebody so high profile is going on trial how do we expect proceedings to move on, then? do we expect this to last for very well? >> reporter: i think there will be a lengthy process. if anything, if we can judge by previous trials here at the icc. this is just the start and we have seen delays in his trial already last year it was delayed when his lawyer suggested he may not be healthy enough to stand trial. that was overruled. back in the country people are going to be following this very closely over the next few months. rights groups have welcomed the fact that he is going on trial, but they also say that they want to see prosecutions on the other side for those accusations of
crimes committed for the current president. they say he has been discriminated against by basically the former colonial powers. that's the way they see things. i think the international rights community are happy that this is starting, but they are very concerned that the icc doesn't just concentrate on one side of that very, very sharp divide in ivory coast thank you very much for that. he will be keeping us across developments at the hague. three more people have been arrested in connection with an armed group occupying a wildlife refuge in oregon. it's leader ammon bundy, and seven others were arrested during a shoot out with police on tuesday. another protester were killed. the group accuses the government of illegally taking lands from ranchers. there is this updaylight from burns. >> reporter: it is a very interesting change for three and a half weeks now we have heard
the governor of oregon, the f.b.i., the local sheriff is the occupiers of the national wildlife refuge to leave, to just go home. today we heard their leader, the acknowledged leader of that group, ammon bundy, speaking through his lawyer in portland saying it is time to stand down. this issue is in the courts now. please stands down, go home, hug hug your families, let us take it from here. clearly an indication that whatever happens here locally in south-east oregon at the refuge that has been occupied for so long, whatever resolution comes out, it is clear that the broader issues of lands reform, land land use, federal control of property here, is not going away. this is a movement that we will see again. bundz and seven others were arandz today in port lands. they face felony charges relating to impeding officers from doing their job.
as it stands now there are at least five people we believe still at that refuge, still saying they intend to stay and police and f.b.i. have a heavy, heavy presence on the very few roads surrounding that isolated refuge the spread of the zika virus has been top of a meeting in ecu darks or. the president says they have a joint-- ecuador. >> reporter: it wasn't on the annual agenda here, but then the speed with which the zika virus has spread throughout the americas couldn't have been foreseen. >> translation: we are aware and we will all make an effort and cooperate with technological and scientific research, but we know that the only way to cooperate at this time is by sharing knowledge and experience. >> reporter: the virus which is
believed to cause severe neurological defects in newborns has had the most dramatic impact so far in brazil where some 4,000 babies have been diagnosed with microcephaly, a condition in which a child is born with a significantly smaller brain. regional leaders are looking for ways to contain the epidemic. many countries plan to follow brazil's example, sending out the army on a search and destroy mission. hundreds of thousands of soldiers going house to house looking for still clean water in the most unlikely places. the perfect breeding ground for the mosquitos. >> reporter: these measures can only diminish the spread of the academic, not eradicate the zika virus which is spreading like wild fire, especially in the conditions here are ideal for
the specific mosquito to breed. central america too is on high alert. >> translation: before we have a vaccine ready, there is only one way to solve this, which is by getting the population to help as well. everyone will need to fight this together. otherwise we will lose it. >> reporter: but regional leaders recognise that for many of the most impacted countries the epidemic could not have begun at a worse time. countries like brazil and venezuela where a severe economic recession is crippling health services still to come on the program, the human cost of australia's detention program for asylum seekers. plus. i'm daniel in argentina apple and pear growing region who are in crisis and looking for new flavors.
welcome back. a quick reminder of the top stories on al jazeera.. the u.n. says a number of people living understand siege in syria has increased to nearly half a million. the food program have accused the syrians from stopping aid getting to refugees. gbagbo are to be tried in the icc. three more people have been arrested in connection with the
refuge wildlife refuge in oregon. there we are live in paris. as you can see, the iranian president arriving there at the palace. i believe it is the palace. we will find out later, but this is the official visit for him. he has already had three days in italy and it feels as if he is on a shopping trip, now being freed from the burden of international sanctions. iran has got a lot of stuff to buy. so the apparent purpose or one of the purposes of this trip is a lot of aircraft from airbus which is something the french will be very afraid about. we will keep you across his
visit, of course, but in the meantime, there has been a show of force from south korea and u.s. marines on the day reports came out of north korea planning a long-range rocket launch. they have been holding drills in zeoul. >> reporter: this is very much a show of force, a show that the u.s. and south korea marines no operate in all conditions and temperatures. it comes at a sensitive time, just a few weeks after north korea's fourth anuclear test. it comes on the day of reports in the japanese press citing japanese government sources that north korea is preparing at this moment a long-range rocket launch. what the international community would consider to be a ballistic missile test. this follows something of a pattern, if indeed it does happen the north korea has often used a rocket launch after a nuclear test or, indeed, vice versa. this is really much a prelude to what will be a much bigger
exercise, an annual exercise, which takes place every year later in february, but always creates tensions between south korea and north korea. this time around, just after this nuclear test, it is likely to do so again the communist party members in vietnam have ended the five year congress meeting by reelecting a new face. chong will be the leader again for the next five years. >> reporter: it drew its national party congress to a close on thursday morning. in closed door meetings they selected the next leaders for five years to come. the general secretary is the top leader of the communist party and the nation here was reelected. mr chong has served for five years and will serve for another five years. in his acceptance speech here he said there are many challenges ahead and opportunities for the
country. he said there is a lot of work that he needs to do be done. most likely he is talking about the reform and the economy, which has been going well. that is probably what he meant by opportunities. the challenges could be in relation to china and territorial dispute in the south china sea. he is the leader of the communist party. there are lanks for the role of president, prime minister and then the chairman of the national assembly. they will come in may mps in myanmar have held their final session in parliament before a new government takes over. the army general turned president has praised what he called a bloodless shift no democracy. many of the current mps are linked to the armed forces. aung san suu kyi and her party take over on monday iraqi government leaders are being urged to immediately intervene and liberate the city
of fallujah from i.s.i.l. control. seven fighters were killed in the latest fighting. around a5,000 families are related to be trapped there. city leaders are demanding the u.s. led coalition intensify attacks on i.s.i.l. turkey says 20 fighters have been killed after they attacked the army in the southern cities in diyarbakir and another. they were 20 p.k.k. fighters. thousands of people have left the area, which is mainly kurdish, because of an extended curfew. nearly 600 people have died after the military launched an offensive in the region a month ago. heavy rain has caused widespread flooding in the occupied west
bank in gaza. many had to be rescued from their flooded homes. flash floods have spread through geelong in australia. there will be a keen up in millions of dollars. more than 150 houses have been flooded and dozens of cars submerged. the australian bureau of metrology described it as a one in 50 year event. the system of processing refugees in offshore detention centers need rethinking as it has left refugees open to abuse in australia. that's the conclusion of human rights watch for its report of 2016. it reveals by october 2015 over 900 asylum seekers were detained on manos island. 600 were on nauru without a
single person being resettled. 33 seekers say they were raped or sexually assaulted there. australia's human rights commission found that in mainland immigration detention centers and in facilities on christmas island more than 300 children committed or threatened self-harm and 30 said they were sexually abused. from manos island andrew thomas reports. >> reporter: refugees deported by australia after arriving there by boat have now spent almost three years stuck on a remote island in png. >> this torture is like an indefinite torture. >> reporter: these men spent two years in this prison before verified as genuine refugees. they were transferred into this transit center nearby. they can now walk around the nearby town, but they're still stuck on the island. they're not allowed to work and
say they are regularly attacked by pngs who don't like them on the island. >> i don't want to say that people are bad, which might risk me again, but it's clear when i tell you, you need to be at any time you are walk ugg around, conscious, alarmed and it's really scary. >> reporter: there are nearly 2,000 refugees languishing, their lives on hold, all men on this island. women and children are stuck too on the equally remote island on nauru. they're expulsion was designed to send a signal, don't get on boats hoping to reach australia. we won't let you stay. boats for refugees have stopped coming. this is archived video. >> they are doing this because it has worked. torturing us so that other
people will not come. i don't know what to say about australia. >> reporter: the cost of holding these refugees are billions of dollars are paid by australian tax payers, despite allegations of violence, sexual an assault and suicide aattempts, government workers who look after the detainees are barred from talking about them publicly. >> it is rife, this secrecy across the entire network. what we've seen is that that secrecy allows a very, very unhealthy and toxic culture to breed. >> reporter: hanson young is one of the small group of australian politicians who have set up inquiry for people to give evidence understand parliamentary privilege. the inquiry will run all year, few australians are likely to may much attention. an election is due later this year, both main parties are united on the need for a strong deterrent to refugees so the fate of people like these isn't likely to feature much.
andrew thomas now to argentina where fruit farmers have thrown rotten apples at government buildings at protest for their low cost. one company is thriving that is producing organic fruit is thriving. >> reporter: this is the heart of argentina's fruit growing region, but it's different here. these pickers are working for an argentina company. all the produce goes abroad, mostly to the u.s. since it's organic and the organic market in argentina hardly exists. it's also a country where genetically modified crops rule. >> the farming is very important aspects. how you relate to them and how you relate to you. it is one of the most important challenges, i think, especially
in southern areas around the city. it is a big challenge, yeah. >> reporter: it all looks rosy in this orchard but the fruit industry is in crisis. hundreds of small growers have gone under while surviving producers are protesting, last week dumping rot inapples on state buildings calling on the government's promise to support small producers. >> translation: in this valley we all suffered economically last year. the devaelgss in russia and brazil, our own exchange rates, reaching new markets is helping. >> reporter: they're trying to provide a fresh model in the midst of turmoil. >> reporter: it is labor intensive, using methods that haven't changed in generations, but while the rest of the
industry is in crisis, these workers are not just earning for themselves and their families, but providing for the wider community. this man has spent 40 years in the fruit industry. the first hassle working with chemicals. he says organic is month more difficult. the emphasis is on preventing the disease, as well as smelling the flowers and listening to the birds. >> translation: all the farm workers meet and we decide what the company gives us under what's called just trade. >> reporter: renovations, this old people's home in a nearby town, as well as machinery for the local fire brigade and hospital. these are williams pears with many more varieties of apples to follow. they will be in north america.
the country here won't taste them don't forget the website, aljazeera.com. that's where you can finds out an awful lot about the stories you've just seen in our program or, indeed, lots of other information and lots of good pictures. i'm steve chao. in thailand, getting up close to jungle animals is one of the most popular attractions on the tourist trail. whether it's riding an elephant, patting a tiger, feeding a monkey, you can do it all in thailand. >> but in the rush to meet tourist demand and make profits