Although European and African efforts to reduce irregular migration have successfully lowered overall numbers entering Europe, some migrants are transiting increasingly hazardous smuggling routes across the Sahara Desert and Mediterranean Sea, risking human rights abuses and indefinite detention. The UN’s voluntary humanitarian return program assisted over 19,000 migrants to return to their home countries from Libya in 2017, up from around 3,000 assisted migrant returns from Libya in 2016. An estimated 400,000–700,000 migrants live in detention in Libya.
Access for humanitarian operations is hindered in Yemen by insecurity, damaged infrastructure, bureaucratic impediments, and import restrictions. Access to seaports is critical to import the vast majority of basic goods into the country; Yemen is dependent on commercial imports for 80%-90% of its food, fuel, and medicine. The Red Sea port of Al Hudaydah is the main port for commercial and humanitarian deliveries, it has greater capacity and is closer to people in need.
As the mandate renewal of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) approaches, conflict continues to threaten civilians and drive a protracted humanitarian crisis. More than 2.1 million refugees have fled the country and the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) has increased to over 1.8 million. UNMISS is tasked with the Protection of Civilians (PoC), including 209,000 IDPs at UN PoC sites, and creating conditions that allow over 200 aid organizations to provide for 7.6 million South Sudanese in need of humanitarian assistance.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 525,000 children under the age of five die of diarrheal disease every year. Approximately 58% of these deaths are due to inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). Although use of basic sanitation has increased since 2000, 2.3 billion people still lack this essential service. The economic losses from poor WASH in middle and low income countries are $260 billion annually.
Humanitarian organizations in Bangladesh continue to struggle with the influx of over 600,000 Rohingya fleeing Burma. The total Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar District has almost tripled since August, and is now estimated between 800,000 and one million. The population is increasingly concentrating around the planned Kutupalong extension site, where the lack of basic infrastructure and dense living conditions raise the potential for a rapid disease outbreak.