Weekly Humanitarian News Digest – October 15

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Cover Image: Mahmud Hams/AFP

Latest News for October 8 – October 15, 2021

Afghanistan

Numbers of people in need of humanitarian assistance rise by the day, with only 5% of households having enough to eat daily. Afghanistan’s economy is at a breaking point and in need of resources. Currently, around 18-20 million people in need and more than half of children under 5 years old are expected to become acutely malnourished in the year. As temperatures drop, this need becomes more urgent. (UN News)

Dozens killed in a suicide bombing, raising fears of future confrontations. The attack in Kunduz during Friday prayers is the country’s worst attack since the U.S. withdrawal. Latest reports put the number at around 50, with over 140 injured. The Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISIS-K, has claimed responsibility for this attack and two others since the Taliban takeover, including the Kabul airport bombing on August 26th. (NPR)


Bangladesh/ Myanmar 

The Bangladeshi Refugee Island, Bhasan Char, currently hosts 19,000 refugees and the government of Bangladesh plans to move 80,000 more by the end of next month. The island has been criticised for being isolated and vulnerable to extreme weather conditions. People were first moved here in December 2020 to reduce the number of people in Cox’s Bazar. (The Diplomat)

215,000 displaced in Myanmar since February as the country faces a third wave of COVID-19 and economic collapse. The number of people needing emergency aid has tripled this year and the UN is facing a funding gap, limiting its ability to support the increase. Violence between the insurgent groups and the military also complicates access to aid for those affected. (Financial Times)


Colombia/ Venezuela 

19,000 children have faced the dangerous jungle route between Colombia and Panama this year. Half of these children were under 5 years old. The dangers along this week-long route include sexual violence, robberies, death, dehydration, and disease. The mental toll of this route is particularly harsh for children to bear. Numbers of people crossing are expected to continue to increase in upcoming weeks. (UNICEF)


Gaza/ Palestinian Territories

The electricity crisis, military attacks on water infrastructure, blockade, and pollution have led to 97% of water in Gaza being undrinkable. Palestinians are forced to buy water from vendors at unsustainable prices. This lack of access has caused a public health crisis, and children are particularly affected. About 50% of children in Gaza suffer from water-based infections. (Al Jazeera)


Haiti  

80% of children being expelled from the U.S. and Cuba to Haiti are under 5 years old. Over 170 children were sent back in a day this week, including unaccompanied minors. Those returning to the south will be unable to access education and health assistance due to the effects of the earthquake in August. (Associates Times)


India  

Hunger epidemic in India disproportionately affects women, specifically tribal Dalit women. Nutrition and health struggles have been magnified by the livelihood and hunger crisis during the pandemic. Half of all households in rural India have reduced the number of meals since the COVID-19 lockdown and 68% reduced the number of items in their meals. (Al Jazeera)

More than 1,000 Muslim families of Bengali origin are forced to live in camps without access to basic amenities after violent evictions. Schools, mosques and houses have been demolished to set up farming projects for Indigenous youth. Many of these families have been evicted three times already – in 2016 and 2021. (Al Jazeera)


Lebanon  

Food prices in Lebanon skyrocket, causing food insecurity due to fuel and gasoline price hikes. This “hunger crisis” has plunged Lebanese families that were previously secure into poverty. Syrian refugees have been particularly affected by this insecurity. At least 67% of Syrian refugees in Lebanon are skipping meals and 90% live in extreme poverty, meaning they are unable to buy basic food items for survival. (Al Jazeera)

At least six dead in a shooting that marks the worst civil violence in Beirut since 2008. This took place during a protest calling for the removal of Judge Tarek Bitar who is responsible for the probe into the port blast. This violence reflects the rising tensions over the blast probe. (Reuters)

Lebanon suffered a total power outage this weekend for 24 hours highlighting the severity of blackouts which have been going on for months. The blackouts create health concerns as hospitals cannot operate and there are widespread cases of food poisoning since food cannot be kept fresh. All levels of Lebanese society are being affected by this. (CNBC)


Pakistan

Effects of climate change are threatening the lives and livelihood of the entire population in Pakistan. By 2050 Pakistan will be out of water, as the glaciers they rely on for water will melt. Heatwaves are killing people and damaging crop cycles. Devastating floods have hit the largest cities in the country and landslides have damaged infrastructure. (Al Jazeera)

Dengue virus has worsened and doctors suggest that numbers are higher than reported. Wednesday was the third consecutive day with more than 100 dengue fever patients in the capital, Islamabad. Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases continue to rise. (Gulf News)


Sudan

Sudanese face fuel and wheat shortages due to the ongoing blockade in Sudan’s main port. This also threatens the country’s already faulty electricity supply. The blockade has gone on for three weeks now. (Arab News)


Syria

Syria is listed as one of the 5 hardest countries to grow up as a woman. Since the conflict began over 10 years ago, child marriage has become more common. Over half of women and girls say the fear of sexual exploitation, abuse and kidnapping led them to early marriage, despite increased rates of domestic violence. Other countries listed include the Central African Republic, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Niger. (IRC)


Yemen

Oil spill threatens access to humanitarian aid and drinking water for millions of Yemenis. This oil spill could cause mass preventable deaths due to the loss of access to water and food. The area of the Red Sea that would be affected may also affect drinking water for people in Saudi Arabia and Eritrea. Fisheries which serve as a main source of income for millions of Yemenis would also be affected. (Al Jazeera)

Hundreds of Yemenis are trapped due to fighting, adding to the 10,000 people who were displaced last month. Civilians have been killed in the last few months due to this conflict. This fighting has taken place around Marib, which hosts hundreds of thousands internally displaced people. (Reuters)

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