IDP News Alert, 8 August 2012
IDP News Alert is a bi-weekly summary of selected global news on internally displaced persons, compiled by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) of the Norwegian Refugee Council. The IDP News Alert is also available online.
Northeast India: 400’000 people internally displaced following violent riots
Communal violence between the indigenous Bodo tribes and Muslim settlers has killed at least 53 people and forced as many as400’000 people to flee their homes in Assam State, Northeast India. Bodo tribes and (the predominantly Muslim) Bangladeshi immigrants, have a long history of violent disputes over access to land and resources. Politicians have fuelled these inter-communal tensions by blaming the so-called “infiltration of outsiders” for many of the social and economic problems in the region.
Hundreds of thousands of people from both parties to the violence fled to makeshift camps in schools and other public buildings. Since the cessation of the violence, some of the IDPs have managed to return home, yet hundreds of thousands remain in the camps which are poorly equipped. Many remain in dire need of food, water, medicine and other basic necessities. There are also concerns regarding security.
Meanwhile, the government has set an ambitious deadline of the 15 August when all the people displaced by recent events are expected to return. The National Human Rights Commission has called on the state government to investigate and report on the riots within three weeks, asking specifically for information about relief and rehabilitation plans for those affected by the violence.
For further information: see IDMC’s page on India
Mexico: Thousands displaced by violence in Sinaloa
According to local authorities, up to 2,300 families have been displaced from the mountainous area in the Pacific-coast State of Sinaloa, known as the Sierra de Sinaloa. Families have not only fled from confrontations between two cartels, the Cartel de Sinaloa and the Beltrán Leyva Organization, but also from extortion, kidnappings and threats. They have sought refuge in more populated municipalities, including Mazatlán, where many have settled on empty plots of land without water or sewer systems, with authorities becoming overwhelmed by the arrival of displaced people.
It has been reported that Federal authorities will set up temporary response systems, including the provision of basic services and a temporary employment program. Separately, the National Commission on Human Rights announced that it will develop a protocol to guide the response by federal and state authorities to assist in the protection of displaced people.
For more information, visit IDMC’s Mexico page
Côte d’Ivoire: One year since election violence, special rapporteur describes IDP situation as “dire”
At the end of a recent nine-day visit to Côte d’Ivoire, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Chaloka Beyani, confirmed that “while IDPs are no longer visible in camps, their needs as well as those of their host communities continue to be dire.” He reported that some IDPs have resorted to living in precarious slums in Abidjan, where they are at risk of eviction while others in the country’s volatile west tend to hide in the forest at night due to fears of attacks.
The Special Rapporteur’s visit to the west took place just days after an armed attack on the Nahibly IDP camp, near Duékoué, where 5,000 people who had already been displaced from their homes were forced to flee once more.
Acknowledging efforts made in ensuring that IDPs could return home voluntarily, the Special Rapporteur nonetheless urged the government to adopt a “principled, transparent and action-oriented approach” to protecting IDPs. As well as rebuilding livelihoods and land reform processes, this would include measures which “explicitly take into account the situation of IDPs, promote local ownership of solutions and involve civil society”. He also noted security and legal justice as “critical” issues that needed addressing. The country’s truth and reconciliation commission, which was set up nearly a year ago in an effort to forge national unity, is reportedly struggling to function due to lack of funding.
For more information, please see IDMC’s page on Côte d’Ivoire
North Korea: 84,000 left homeless following floods
Heavy rains between 18-30 July have left approximately 84,000 people homeless in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), primarily in South Pyongan, Kangwon and North and South Hamgyong provinces. Kim Kwang-dok, vice-chairman of the Anju City People's Committee in South Pyongan, described the flooding as the worst in the city's history. The floods have also damaged 74,700 acres of farmland, exacerbating the pre-existing food security crisis linked to a severe drought earlier this year.
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and DPRK Red Cross Society have distributed relief items (tarpaulins, quilts with cover, cooking set, jerry cans, hygiene kits and water purification tablets) to 6,610 families, and the United Nations has responded by distributing emergency food, fuel, water and health supplies while undertaking a more comprehensive needs assessment.
For more information, visit IDMC’s page on Natural Disaster Induced Displacement
China & the Philippines: Hundreds of thousands displaced by typhoons Saola and Damrey
Gales and rainstorms lashed coastal regions of east China when typhoons Saola and Damrey made landfall in less than 10 hours on 2-3 August. In total, the storms forced the evacuation of about 204,000 residents in Zhejiang Province, 168,000 in Shangdong and 89,000 in Jiangsu, according to the National Commission for Disaster Reduction and the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
In the Philippines, Saola (also known as Gener) damaged or destroyed at least 3,776 homes in northern Philippines. Some 16,759 people have taken refuge in evacuation centres and an additional 197,345 people are being supported outside of the shelters, many staying with friends or family.
For more information, visit IDMC’s page on the Philippines