Weekly Humanitarian News Digest – August 20

Cover Image: UNICEF/Al-Faqir

Latest News for August 16 – August 20, 2021


According to the UNHCR, Afghanistan is on track to experience a record number of civilian deaths in 2021. As widespread armed conflict worsens across the country, 250,000 Afghans have been forced to flee the country since May 2021. 80% of the refugees have been women and children. As the crisis accelerates, the WFP Spokesperson Tomson Phiri anticipates a growing humanitarian catastrophe. (UN News)

Bangladesh/ Myanmar 

Bangladesh’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout reached Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar for the first time on August 10. The first wave of vaccinations will reach 48,000 Rohingya ages 55 and up in one of Cox’s Bazar most densely populated camps. Equality and inclusivity in national vaccination campaigns remains vital in containing cases of COVID-19 and mitigating preventable deaths. (WHO)

Colombia/ Venezuela 

The World Food Programme is now providing food baskets and agricultural assistance for 420 Arhuaco families in north Colombia. For the Arhuaco indigenous people, COVID-19 devastated agricultural production and exacerbated food insecurity. Additionally, the pandemic further limited the already Isolated community’s access to socioeconomic opportunities. WFP’s efforts aim to address food insecurity and improve nutrition for this vulnerable population. (WFP)

Gaza/ Palestinian Territories

Almost nothing has been rebuilt after the bombardment of Gaza in May. Much of the city’s architecture is still in ruins, reflecting the enormous mental and emotional toll that conflict has taken on the city’s residents. Health and humanitarian workers’ efforts have specifically been targeted. Each conflict makes it more difficult for the people of Gaza to rebuild feelings of hope and dignity. (The Guardian)


A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on August 14, killing nearly 2,000 people and leaving many more in dire need of humanitarian aid. According to recent estimates, 500,000 children currently lack access to food, shelter, clean water, and health care. Hospitals and rescue workers in Haiti have been overwhelmed as more people have been found injured and buried in rubble- all in need of medical care amidst a growing humanitarian crisis. (Reuters)


Migrant workers in India’s Kerala State and are being targeted in COVID-19 vaccination campaigns. Despite composing 1/5 of the workforce, migrant workers are a marginalized population. Vaccine equity is absolutely critical, and is the “ticket to work” for millions. Vaccinations are now happening within the workplace and at vaccination camps alongside public health campaigns to raise vaccine awareness and dispel harmful vaccine myths. (Al Jazeera)


Hospitals in Lebanon are struggling to treat patients in critical condition after the Akkar fuel tanker explosion. As of August 16, 33 people have died and 80 people have been injured as a result of the tanker explosion. Akkar province is quite poor and lacks hospitals with the capacity to treat burn victims. The explosion further weakened Lebanon’s already extremely fragile health systems. Fuel, medications, and painkillers are becoming increasingly difficult to come by. (Al Jazeera)


Transgender Pakistanis combat stigma against the trans community when receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. Vaccine hesitancy is taking a toll on the health and wellbeing of marginalized populations. Rumors and misinformation has led many transgender Pakistanis to fear that HIV positive status, Hepatitis C, or gender reassignment surgery complications could worsen health outcomes if vaccinated. (Al Jazeera)


In Sudan’s Nile River State, 55,000 people have been affected by heavy rain and severe flooding. According to OCHA’s most recent updates, dangerous flooding has been reported in 11 of Sudan’s 18 States, including: South and West Darfur, Sennar, Northern State, River Nile State, El Gedaref, White Nile State, South and North Kordofan, El Gezira, and Khartoum. As of August 18, six people have died and nearly 10,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed. (Radio Dabanga)


According to the UNRWA, armed conflict since July 29 has resulted in mass displacement of Palestinian refugees in Syria’s Dera’a. 33% of Palestinian refugees resided in the Dera’a camp of south Syria until the most recent hostilities. Ongoing conflict has severely limited the capacity of Dera’a camp to provide vital medical care and basic necessities such as food, water, electricity, and shelter. Some Palestinian refugees who had left the camp due to inhospitable conditions had no other option than to return. (UN News)


Fuel shortages in war-torn Yemen are causing deforestation on a massive scale. Deforestation threatens to worsen the already dire humanitarian crisis and ruin hopes of long-term livelihoods. In the north of Yemen, an estimated five million trees have been cut down in the last three years alone. (Reuters)