IDP News Alert, 16 November 2012 - Myanmar: 89 killed, more than 36,000 people newly displaced in new waves of violence

from Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre
Published on 16 Nov 2012 View Original

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Myanmar: 89 killed, more than 36,000 people newly displaced in new waves of violence

Since October, at least 89 people have been killed and more than 36,000 internally displaced in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine. Reports suggest the new wave of violence was caused by friction between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingyas and members of other Muslim ethnic minorities. The situation remains tense despite curfews and an increased presence of security forces.

Several thousand people fled to host communities or to already overcrowded IDP camps near and in the state capital Sittwe, where food, water and shelter as well as sanitation and health services are in short supply. An unknown number of people have risked their lives trying to escape by sea to Sittwe, or to other countries, with reports of shipwrecks, people missing, a woman giving birth en route, and fatalities, including children. Bangladesh has reportedly closed its borders.

Humanitarian personnel are carrying out needs assessments and providing assistance despite security threats. Including those already displaced by the first wave of inter-communal violence in June, more than 110’000 people are said to be currently living as IDPs in Rakhine State.

For more information, visit IDMC’s page on Myanmar

Mali: Fear of mass displacement as result of proposed military intervention

Uncertainties remain as to the timing of a forthcoming internationally-backed military intervention, intended to recapture northern Mali from Islamist rebels. Plans to finalise the operational details moved forward during a five-day meeting of Malian and international experts held in Bamako earlier this month.

The plans were submitted to the West African regional bloc ECOWAS for formal endorsement, after which they will be presented to the UN Security Council. Engaged in negotiations, the Islamist group Ansar Dine recently announced that it would allow humanitarian actors to provide assistance in the Timbuktu area. Nevertheless, in the absence of comprehensive plans to protect civilians, a military intervention would likely cause mass displacement and dire humanitarian consequences for a population already drained by months of hardship.

Improved access to northern Mali and profiling exercises conducted in Bamako have led to a significant increase in the estimate of IDPs across Mali, now believed to be around 203,800 people. Further updates are expected within the coming weeks as humanitarian partners and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Solidarity and the Elderly (MAHSPA) conduct assessments. National-level profiling remains hampered in large areas of northern Mali by limited access and lack of human and financial resources.

For more information, visit IDMC’s page on Mali

Haiti: Tropical Storm Sandy displaces 35,000 people, while over 31,000 earthquake IDPs are hit again

Since October, more than 21,000 people were evacuated due to floods and landslides triggered by Tropical Storm Sandy. At least 32,000 people were newly displaced, as their homes were damaged and destroyed.

Many are facing the compounding effects of repeated disasters in the region. 31,790 IDPs in 119 camps are again in need of urgent assistance, since being displaced earlier this year by an earthquake. Two-thirds of these camps were affected only three months ago by Hurricane Isaac, and there are real concerns for the 92,000 families (360,000 people) who have been living in IDP camps since the earthquake in 2010.

While the Government of declared a state of emergency in October, the President of the World Bank announced last week during a visit to Haiti that US$60 million of post-earthquake funding would be redirected to support one-year housing rental subsidies for 60,000 families in IDP camps. The mayor of Port-au-Prince echoed the urgent need for housing away from the high-risk environment of the camps, particularly for older people, women, and children. The funding will help to relocate the majority of camp residents who rented accommodation or were squatters before the earthquake, and who risk forcible eviction by landowners.

As humanitarian organisations prepared to appeal for an additional US $40 million for emergency response to Sandy, the Government’s Department of Civil Protection reported last week over 3,000 more displaced by heavy rains and flash floods.

For more information, visit IDMC’s page on natural disasters

Indonesia: hundreds return home following peace deal between community leaders in South Lampung

Over 1,000 people internally displaced in South Lampung, Sumatra Island, returned home following a peace deal between community leaders. The returnees were among an estimated 2,000 people displaced at the end of October by three days of violent clashes between the local people and Balinese migrants, during which 14 people were killed and hundreds of homes and vehicles were destroyed.

The clashes were triggered by the alleged harassment of two local teenage girls by young Balinese men. 10,000 locals attacked Balinuraga, a Balinese enclave, using Molotov cocktails and other home-made explosive devices. Causes of the sudden eruption of violence may have included economic disparities between the locals and the more wealthy migrants, who represent around 2 percent of the district population and are reportedly poorly integrated. Social jealousy and negative stereotypes may have also played a role.

Some 4,000 police officers were deployed by the government to prevent further violence and ensure the security of the returnees, mostly Balinese migrants. Given the considerable rebuilding effort needed before homes are habitable again, national and local authorities are providing shelter to host the returnees. The Red Cross distributed 10,000 pieces of metal sheeting and the central government promised Rp16 billion (US$ 1.7 million) to rebuild damaged homes in Balinuraga and to help address some of development challenges facing the local population.

For more information, visit IDMC’s page on Indonesia