By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried | 6 February, 2018
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Violence in DR Congo’s Ituri province displaces thousands.At least 30 people have been killed amid clashes between two ethnic groups – the Hema and Lendu – in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s north-eastern Ituri province. The governor of the province told Reuters that many huts had been burnt down and that thousands had been displaced by the fighting between the two communities. The violence echoes fighting between the Hema and Lendu that devastated the region between 1999 and the early 2000s. The number of Congolese refugees from the region arriving in Uganda picked up significantly on Monday, with UNHCR reporting that 1,386 people crossed Lake Albert to the village of Sebagoro. UNHCR expressed concern that the fighting could spread to neighbouring areas.
Dozens killed by airstrikes in Syria’s Idlib province.Monitoring groups recorded as many as 150 airstrikes in Idlib province on Monday, the heaviest aerial bombardment since the fall of Aleppo more than a year ago. Residential areas bore the brunt of the strikes, which left at least two hospitals severely damaged and forced residents to flee to open ground. At least33 people have been killed by the airstrikes in and around Idlib province since Saturday, according to the civilian group known as the White Helmets. Another 23 civilians were killed by airstrikes in rebel-held eastern Ghouta outside Damascus on Monday, according to Reuters. In a statement released on Tuesday, the UN warned of a “compounded humanitarian crisis”in several parts of the country and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities for at least one month to enable the delivery of aid and the evacuation of the wounded and sick.
WHAT’S ON OUR RADAR
Conflict in Myanmar’s Kachin State flares up. The conflict between the Myanmar military and the Kachin Independence Army in northern Myanmar has escalated since 19 January, according to a UN report which describes heavy fighting in three areas. NGOs report that at least 2,500 people have been displaced and some are still sheltering in the forest.
Growing number of refugees and asylum-seekers living in poverty in Britain. The Red Cross has recorded a 20 per cent rise in demand for food parcels among asylum-seekers and refugees in the past year. The charity said that at least 23 per cent of the 15,000 experiencing destitution last year had refugee status. The risk of destitution is often highest when asylum support, including housing, comes to an end just 28 days after refugee status is granted. Campaigners are calling on the government to extend the period that refugees receive support.
A freezing journey ends in tragedy. The Washington Post tells the story behind the 15 Syrian refugees who froze to deathattempting to cross a snowy mountain pass into Lebanon last month. Survivors from the group, who were fleeing fighting in Deir al-Zour province, recount how their smuggler told them the route into Lebanon would be short and easy. They were totally unprepared for the mountainous terrain and freezing conditions. One small group became so tired, they decided to lie down on the ground and go to sleep. Few survived the night.
Lessons to be learned from Jordan Compact. Aid policy experts Cindy Huang and Nazanin Ash consider early implementation of the compact between donors and the government of Jordan to create employment opportunities and basic services for refugees and their host communities. Despite a number of challenges, they conclude that the approach of bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders that bridge the humanitarian and development divide is “game-changing”. They argue it could be improved upon by carefully reviewing the evidence of what has and hasn’t worked.
The Lemon Tree Trust, a UK-based charity, uses innovative approaches for “greening” refugee camps. Residents receive help planting gardens using greywater and donated vegetable and flower seeds. In 2017, the trust ran a competition in Domiz camp in northern Iraq. Jomaa Hassan won the prize for best innovation garden. In this short film he explains what his garden means to him.
DID YOU KNOW?
The number of refugees resettled worldwide dropped by over 50 per cent between 2016 and 2017.