By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried | 16 October, 2018
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Up to 13 million Yemenis at risk of starvation, warns UN. In an interview broadcast by the BBC on Monday, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Lise Grande said famine could engulf the country in the next three months, with 12 to 13 million civilians at risk of dying of starvation. The World Food Programme’s Yemen country director Stephen Anderson told CNN that the number of people at risk from starvation had risen as a result of the intensifying conflict around the port of Al-Hudaydah, which is vital for aid delivery, as well as a collapsing currency. Anderson said the cost of basic food items had gone up by a third in the past year. “Civilians in Yemen are not starving, they are being starved ,” commented Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, in a statement. He said it was still possible to avert famine if action was taken this month to bring about an immediate ceasefire and agree on a political solution to the conflict.
Fears of humanitarian crisis as thousands of Congolese return from Angola. Some 200,000 Congolese nationals have arrived in Kasai Province over the last two weeks since Angola began enforcing an expulsion order aimed at Congolese migrants working in the informal mining sector. More arrivals have been reported in neighbouring Kasai Central Province as the deadline for the leave order expired on Monday. UNHCR today appealed to the governments of Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to work together to ensure “a safe and orderly population movement” that respects the rights of those affected. The agency also expressed concern at reports that some refugees may have been caught up in the mass movement. Allegations by Congolese migrants that they had been subjected to violence, looting and forced displacement by Angolan security forces and a local tribe in the town of Lucapa in Lunda Norte province were reported by Reuters on Sunday, but were denied by Angola’s police commissioner. UNHCR said the Congolese were “returning to a desperate situation” with limited means to travel from the border to their home areas. The Kasai region is still recovering from two years of conflict.
WHAT’S ON OUR RADAR
Facebook removes accounts linked to Myanmar military. The social media company said on Monday that it had deleted numerous pages and accounts linked to the Myanmar military in response to an investigation by the New York Times which revealed that a number of “seemingly independent entertainment, beauty and informational pages were linked to the Myanmar military”. The Times revealed how military personnel used the social network as a tool for spreading misinformationabout the country’s Rohingya population that helped fuel the violence against them that resulted in their mass displacement to Bangladesh last year. Facebook said it was continuing to work to prevent the misuse of its social media platform in Myanmar.
Coalition launches campaign to lift work ban for UK asylum applicants. The Lift the Ban coalition, made up of 80 organizations, is calling on the UK government to give asylum-seekers and their adult dependants the right to work in any occupation after six months. Currently, asylum-seekers in the UK are only allowed to work if they have been waiting for a decision on their claim for 12 months or more and can fill a role on the shortage occupation list. In the meantime, they must live on the minimal support that the government provides. The new coalition group argues that lifting the ban would allow asylum-seekers to contribute to the economy and would help them to integrate. The Guardian profiles Nahla Ellozi, an accountant from Egypt, who was unable to work for two years while she waited to receive refugee status.
First group of refugees flown to Germany as part of deal between Athens and Berlin. The 117 refugees , most of them from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, flew to Germany on Monday as part of an agreement between Athens and Berlin to accelerate the reunification of refugee families split between the two countries. Some 3,000 people living in Greece are seeking to join family members who have been granted asylum in Germany. The deal between the two countries also stipulates the return of asylum-seekers who have made their way to Germany after being registered in Greece.
Hunger levels double in DR Congo as violence intensifies. Fifteen million people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo do not have enough food to eat, up from 7.7 million last year, according to the World Food Programme. The deteriorating hunger situation is concentrated in 10 provinces most adversely affected by conflict, with conflict-related displacement cited as the reason people are unable to access food, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council. Food production in DR Congo has fallen as farmers have been unable to cultivate their fields for fear of being attacked by armed groups. Last week, UNHCR highlighted DR Congo as one of the six countries where support to the forcibly displaced has been worst hit by funding shortages.
Alessandra Morelli is currently leading UNHCR’s operations in Niger, but she has previously worked in Afghanistan, Greece and Somalia, where she nearly lost her life when the vehicle she was travelling in came under attack. For the sixth instalment of the Awake at Night podcast series, she talked to Melissa Fleming about how she survived and recovered and why she continues to work with refugees.
DID YOU KNOW?
A severe funding shortfall means that UNHCR is only able to provide shelter assistance to one in every 11 of the most vulnerable displaced families in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.