The last native speaker of the Elmolo language reportedly died sometime in the 1970s. By then, only a few hundred Elmolo remained, eking out a living on Kenya’s southern waters of Lake Turkana as they always had, drinking its brackish waters and fishing for catfish, tilapia, and Nile perch.
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BA TRI DISTRICT/VIETNAM, 23 May 2017
Like other shrimp farmers here in this lush, canal-lined province in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, Nguyen Van A can instantly rattle off the precise percentage of saltwater in which crustaceans grow best. And at the moment, he insists with a smile, everybody knows that Ben Tre Province has the best brackish water in the world.
Author Note: This is the second in a series of three fact files that is part of a special project exploring the impact of climate change on the food security and livelihoods of small-scale farmers in Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Zimbabwe
PARIS, 22 May 2017 More frequent and severe droughts, floods, and storms associated with climate change mean the livelihoods of the world’s roughly half a billion smallholder farmers are growing ever more precarious.
Gunshots suddenly crackled as Stephanie and her colleagues went about a routine seed distribution in a small farming community in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State.
The moment she heard the bullets zipping through the air, the young aid worker knew the country’s civil war had caught up with her.
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On both sides of the rutted, 200-kilometre dirt road that runs from Bria to Bambari in Central African Republic, villages lie empty and desolate. Cramped mud huts with thatched roofs have been reduced to ashes and rubble. Everything of value has been looted.
SANA'A, 17 May 2017
Annie Slemrod, Middle East Editor
Hilal al-Asri brought his wife to a hospital in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, nearly two weeks ago, expecting her cholera would be cleared up quickly and they’d be on their way.
Diagnosed HIV-positive two years ago, Kayana Kandagona* suffers regular episodes of dizziness. However, this is not the cause of the 34-year-old’s anxiety as she waits for a routine appointment at a faith-based organisation’s outpatient clinic in the Mozambican capital, Maputo.
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By Mbom Sixtus
Freelance journalist based in Cameroon, and regular IRIN contributor
It’s a Monday evening in Bamenda, the main city in troubled English-speaking Cameroon. The gates of the Vatican Express bus depot are shut, just like five other coach companies in town.
PEHLWAN/PAKISTAN, 12 May 2017
In the village of Pehlwan, in the mountains of northern Pakistan, two schools have been under construction for more than a decade since being destroyed by an earthquake. They both still lack roofs.
“There's no place for students and teachers to sit. We can teach on warm days, but not when it rains,” said Hussain Shah, a teacher. “By November, we get snow. Until April, even May, it's freezing.”
GENEVA, 12 May 2017
Every week, IRIN’s team of editors looks ahead at what’s on our humanitarian radar and curates a selection of the best reports, opinion, and journalism you may have missed:
Libya migrant crimes under the ICC spotlight
BERLIN, 10 May 2017
A six-month IRIN investigation into Berlin shelters reveals that female refugees in Germany have grossly inadequate protection from sexual and gender-based violence. Minimum standards are not legally binding and rarely enforced or monitored, while dozens of women interviewed said they had experienced sexual harassment, a lack of support, and reported living in fear of being assaulted.
The very fighters who helped beat Boko Haram could be the next menace
Sporting a commando-style green knit hat despite the heat, Ali* boasts that he has found a foolproof way to kill up to 50 suspected Boko Haram members at a time, by roasting them in a pit.
“We question them, and then put them in a hole, then dump kerosene or whatever materials we have on them to start the fire,” explains Ali, speaking excitedly, proud of his accomplishment.
On Thursday, the envoys of Russia, Turkey, and Iran sat down to sign an agreement about Syria in the Kazakh capital of Astana. As the signing process commenced, they were suddenly interrupted by a cry from a member of the Syrian opposition: “Iran is a criminal, it has no right to be among the guarantor countries.” Opposition delegates then angrily marched out of the hall. The three government negotiators seem to have shrugged it off and proceeded to sign the agreement, thereby endowing Syria with yet another ceasefire deal to end its six-year war. So what does it say?
Part of a special project exploring violent extremism in Nigeria and the Sahel
“Prof” Usman Abakyari is instantly likeable. But the impish, slightly dishevelled water engineer turns serious at any mention of Boko Haram, the jihadist insurgency that for seven years has traumatised northeastern Nigeria.
He blames Boko Haram, incubated in his home city of Maiduguri, for the death of his wife. He has vowed to take revenge should he ever get the chance.
OKO-AMAKOM/NIGERIA, 3 May 2017
Okechukwu Onwuma still remembers the painful day heavy floods destroyed his small farm in southern Nigeria’s Delta State.
“It was in November 2012, and the flood didn’t spare anything in this community,” the 45-year-old said, hunched over a small heap of yam on his farm, near Oko-Amakom. “Farmers cried bitterly, and nobody helped us,” he said. “The water covered our farmlands and homes, and displaced thousands of people.”
The informal system of shelter ownership that has sprung up in refugee camps in Kenya and elsewhere has allowed entrepreneurial activity to flourish, but it is also unregulated, corrupt, and leaves some refugees vulnerable to losing everything.
“It was more than just our source of income. It was the place we called home. And now, after they’ve taken it and given it away, it’s just a place to sell cheap Ugandan beer.”
Turkish authorities have detained 15 staff of a US NGO working on Syria relief operations – the latest in a series of moves restricting humanitarian aid groups in the country. Observers attribute the crackdown on foreign NGOs to a resurgence in Turkish nationalism and government concerns about Kurdish empowerment inside Syria.
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Uganda and the United States have ended a six-year hunt for elusive warlord Joseph Kony and his notorious Lord’s Resistance Army.
But calling off the mission, focused on Central African Republic, has left the commander of Ugandan forces in the country frustrated and advocacy groups concerned that the failure to “kill or capture” Kony could see the insurgency rebound.
KATHMANDU, 26 April 2017
The year following two earthquakes that devastated Nepal saw a spike in desperate people falling into the clutches of human traffickers. Two years later, with the country’s infrastructure and economy still in ruins, NGOs say human trafficking is still on the rise.
STOCKHOLM, 26 April 2017
As Syria’s warring parties take stock of US President Donald Trump’s cruise missile strike and of his warnings against the use of chemical weapons, the dominant theme seems to be one of confusion. Has Trump’s policy toward Syria changed, or was the missile attack strictly about deterrence? If so, what was it intended to deter, and what would cause Trump to strike again?
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