The nine year conflict between Boko Haram, ISIS-West Africa, and the governments of the Lake Chad Basin region continues to threaten civilians and their livelihoods. This extremist-related conflict restricts humanitarian access and has displaced 2.4 million in the region. In total, there are an estimated 10.7 million in need of humanitarian assistance in the region, with nearly half (5 million) needing emergency food assistance.
Aid agencies estimate Cox’s Bazar district in Bangladesh hosts approximately one million refugees, more than 706,000 of whom fled Burma since the recent outbreak of violence in August 2017. A precarious humanitarian “emergency within an emergency” is unfolding, as the monsoon season brings persistent heavy rains and strong winds to the congested, already saturated camps. Aid agencies are working to relocate families from the most at-risk areas.
The United States provided over $8 billion in humanitarian assistance in FY 2017, including nearly $3.4 billion from the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). These funds provide life-saving assistance and protection to the world’s 68.5 million forcibly displaced people, including 25.3 million refugees, and millions of internally displaced persons (IDPs), conflict victims, stateless persons, and vulnerable migrants. PRM also leads U.S.
Boko Haram-related conflict continues to restrict humanitarian access in the Lake Chad Basin region, where an estimated 10.7 million people need assistance and 2.4 million are displaced. Approximately 4.5 million people are food insecure in the Lake Chad Basin region. However, this is a decline from a height of 7 million last year.
Expanding political and ethnic conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has increased UN estimates of those needing humanitarian assistance by 96% since January 2017. Over 13 million people will need protection assistance in 2018 while 7.7 million remain food insecure. Greater displacement, civil unrest, and reported human rights violations, all resulting from increased violence, add to the challenges faced by the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).
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.
Since an August 25th insurgent attack on security posts in Burma over half a million people, primarily Rohingya, have fled violence and targeted burning in Burma’s Rakhine State, seeking refuge in the Cox’s Bazar District of Bangladesh. This massive, rapid influx has more than doubled the estimated Rohingya population in the district in less than five weeks, overwhelming humanitarian organizations’ capacity to provide emergency food, shelter, health, and WASH assistance.
Malnutrition and Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD)/Cholera
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs): 202,700
In April 2015, President Pierre Nkurunziza’s announcement that he would run for a third term led to a coup attempt and an outbreak of violence in Burundi. More than 624,000 Burundians are displaced either within Burundi due to violence or natural disaster or as refugees and asylum seekers in neighboring countries.
Central African Republic
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs): 600,000
Ongoing conflict has damaged critical water, sanitation, and health infrastructure and disrupted access to food, leading to increasing rates of malnutrition and also contributing to the outbreak of cholera in Yemen. Cholera - an acute diarrheal illness that can spread rapidly through contaminated food and water - is suspected to have infected more than 540,000 people in Yemen since late April 2017. Children suffering from acute malnutrition are especially susceptible to cholera; more than one million children in Yemen suffer from acute malnutrition, according to Save the Children.
Four of Afghanistan’s eastern provinces – Kabul, Kunar, Laghman, and Nangarhar – host over 1.7 million vulnerable Afghans: 1.04 million returnees and 697,607 internally displaced persons (IDPs). During a surge in returns from Pakistan in late 2016, the majority of returning Afghans entered at the Torkham border crossing in Nangarhar province, which hosts the largest number of last year’s returnees despite many claiming a different province of origin. Overall, Kabul district hosts the most returnees and IDPs of any district in Afghanistan.