Weekly Humanitarian News Digest – October 22

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Cover Image: Francesca Volpi for CNN

Latest News for October 15 – October 22, 2021

Afghanistan

The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan will likely fuel a refugee crisis. Conditions caused by the economic collapse within the country have affected millions and will likely force people to flee to neighboring countries. The annual cost of hosting refugees in neighboring countries would need to come from international donors and ranges from $100-500 million. (Reuters)

Public hospitals struggle to treat patients due to lack of staff and funding gaps left by international donors. Hospitals are being forced to turn away patients with high-risk conditions and send them to private clinics, despite prices being inaccessible for many. Private clinics are also being forced to close as regular patients have been affected by job losses and the economic collapse. (The Washington Post)


Bangladesh/ Myanmar 

19,000 Rohingya refugees have been moved to the Bhasan Char island and 81,000 more will be relocated within the next three months despite criticism from those being relocated. Accounts of people who have moved to the island say that conditions are harsh and dozens have died attempting to escape on boats back to Cox’s Bazar. There is no guarantee that there will be freedom of movement for those who are moved to the island. (Reuters)

Three million people in Myanmar are in need of aid due to conflict, food insecurity, natural disasters and COVID-19. Many have chosen to flee but have had to leave behind vulnerable populations like elderly people and pregnant women. The military coup in February caused two million people to be displaced. (UN News)


Colombia/ Venezuela 

Indigineous children in La Guajira face the highest levels of malnutrition in Colombia and are at imminent risk of death. Currently, 16,000 children under five have been identified in this group. Since January, 115 children and toddlers have died although numbers are likely higher as many families live in remote regions and have limited access to authorities to report numbers. Communities in La Guajira lack sufficient food and water to meet basic needs. (Colombia Reports)

Sanctions against Venezuela have exacerbated the humanitarian crisis, decreasing availability of necessary products and causing mass migration. Food availability has decreased by 73% due to imports falling. Sanctions have also blocked access to blood transfusions, machine parts for hospital machines, and basic medicines, including HIV/AIDS treatments. These shortages have caused a “brain drain,” leaving state companies and public services without 30-50% of their staff. (The Wire)


Gaza/ Palestinian Territories

Economic decline in the West Bank and Gaza is reaching a breaking point. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process warned that the situation is becoming increasingly desperate for Palestine. Israeli settlement construction plans will sever the connections in the West Bank, undermining any chance for a two-State solution. (UN News)


Haiti  

Thousands of Haitians are facing deportation after spending thousands of dollars and facing extreme danger to reach the U.S. border. The U.S. has returned more than 7,000 people to Haiti in the last few weeks. Mexico said they would take in 13,000 Haitians but hundreds are still facing deportation. In Haiti, these families have faced daily violence and are unable to feed their children or send them to school. (Amnesty International)

More than half of those deported to Haiti are women and children, left to face natural disasters, gang violence and the COVID-19 pandemic. They return more vulnerable than they were when they left, with only their clothes and the added trauma that they endured on the dangerous route to the United States. Children are at high risk of child trafficking, sexual exploitation, and abuse. (Forbes)


India  

Floods in India have killed dozens of people and destroyed crops and infrastructure. Currently, the death count stands at 46 and is expected to rise. These floods have been caused by unseasonal heavy rain. (Reuters)

Aid groups in India expect flows of thousands of refugees as armed conflict, political repression, and targeted campaigns in Myanmar continue to force people to flee. 15,000 people have fled to India since the military coup eight months ago. Indian government policy is to keep borders closed but locals have been providing assistance to those fleeing. (NY Times)


Lebanon  

More than 3,000 Lebanese have fled to Cyprus in the last two years. Families have come seeking safety and safe education for their children. Schools in Cyprus have received a large influx of students. Lebanese nationals are beginning to apply for refugee status in small numbers through UNHCR, despite being classified up until now as economic migrants. (The National News)

Traders and “corrupted people” are reportedly responsible for withholding 74% of the country’s subsidized goods thus contributing to the economic crisis. The hoarding and smuggling alongside what the World Bank calls a “deliberate” mismanagement of the crisis by the ruling elite has led to the shortages which have affected every aspect of Lebanese society. Hospitals no longer have medicine to treat patients, including baby formula, chemotherapy drugs, and medicine to treat pregnant women. (CNN)


Pakistan

Pakistan is facing its biggest economic crisis in history, making the list of top ten nations with the largest foreign debts. The IMF and the Pakistani government are working together to find solutions, however potential options threaten to further marginalize the agricultural sector and those within it. This news comes among growing concerns that the economic collapse in Afghanistan will greatly affect neighboring countries, financially and politically. (Hindustan Times)


Sudan

Humanitarian partners calculate that about 31% of the population in Sudan will need humanitarian aid in 2022. This reflects a significant increase of people, now 14.6 million, in dire need of food security, health care, WASH, protection, and nutrition. The Humanitarian Response Plan is only 30% funded, leaving many vulnerable people without aid. (OCHA)


Syria

Water shortages in Syria cause disease, complicate the fight against COVID-19 and make daily survival more difficult. Families that relied on farming are facing food insecurity. These shortages have affected millions and caused tens of thousands of parasitic diseases and diarrhea. (Al Jazeera)

Syria faces widespread hunger, economic decay, and devastating climate change effects. Syria is one of the nine countries at ‘very high risk’ of extreme climate events and the third highest at risk of drought, with 40% of irrigated agricultural areas unable to access water. The ongoing food insecurity due to conflict and displacement has combined with food prices skyrocketing across the country. These circumstances place 1.8 million people at risk of hunger in addition to the 60% of the population that cannot access safe, nutritious, and adequate food. (OCHA)

Reports show continuing human rights abuses for those who return to Syria. Human Rights Watch has documented extrajudicial killings, torture, kidnappings and sexual violence against Syrian refugees that return. Over 500,000 Syrian refugees have returned from Lebanon in the past four years, as they have been severely affected by Lebanon’s economic crisis. (Al Jazeera)


Yemen

10,000 children, or four children a day since 2015, have been injured or killed in Yemen. This number was released this week, a reminder of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen. More than 11 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance. These numbers only include those verified by the UN, many deaths are unrecorded. (UNICEF)

Aid funds are dwindling as violence increases in Yemen and millions more are in need of assistance. Agencies are helping nearly 13 million people in the country. Three million people began to need aid in only the last few months. Five million people may see their food aid reduced by the end of the year due to lack of funding. (Al Jazeera)

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