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Rescuing refugees: ‘You Never Get Used To It – And That’s A Good Thing’

Rescuing refugees: ‘You Never Get Used To It – And That’s A Good Thing’

It was the silence of the passengers that Hassiba Hadj-Sahraoui first noticed. Usually when the humanitarian rescue boat sees a tiny dinghy bobbing about in the Mediterranean there’s frantic waving and shouting. “When our team approached in smaller boats and everyone was so quiet we realised something was wrong,” she says. “We asked permission to […]

‘Humanitarian Airstrikes’: A Reassuring Gloss For The Actions Of Politicians

‘Humanitarian Airstrikes’: A Reassuring Gloss For The Actions Of Politicians

When the United States bombed the Syrian town of Kobani in 2014 to stop it falling to Islamic State, the retired American general charged with building the military coalition against the jihadists, General John R Allen, said he would not use terms like “strategic target” or “strategic outcome” to describe the action, then added, “We […]

Refugees Claim Abuse By Soldiers As Mali’s Conflict Spreads

Refugees Claim Abuse By Soldiers As Mali’s Conflict Spreads

Hundreds of refugees have arrived in Mauritania, fleeing Mali’s spreading conflict, just a year after armed groups signed up for peace with the government in Bamako. The arrival of more than 500 Fulani nomads from central Mali adds to the strain on Mbera camp in south-eastern Mauritania, where aid agencies are struggling to meet the […]

Little Respite For Iraqis Displaced By Mosul Fighting

Little Respite For Iraqis Displaced By Mosul Fighting

Aid agencies are warning that northern Iraq is in dire need of support due to a renewed offensive in the area, a funding slowdown and the threat of more attacks on the region’s cities, which are likely to result in hundreds of thousands more people being displaced. The UN said camps for displaced people are […]

UN Accused Of Failing As North-East Nigeria At Risk Of Famine

UN Accused Of Failing As North-East Nigeria At Risk Of Famine

The UN has been accused of failing to act quickly enough to save hundreds of thousands of lives in northern Nigeria where a food crisis already killing hundreds of people a day is poised to become the most devastating in decades. Nigerian authorities, who maintain tight control over humanitarian and media access to the region, […]

Violence Around Lake Chad Is Leading Nowhere – Just Deepening Divides

Violence Around Lake Chad Is Leading Nowhere – Just Deepening Divides

The male recovery ward in the hospital is all in blue: blue sheets, pillows, curtains. Outside, the temperature hovers around 40 degrees: inside, large fans keep the air moving. All the beds are occupied by adults – except one. Eight-year-old Abba is the exception. He’s hunched against the wall under the window, and he watches […]

Millions of Iraqi Children Repeatedly And Relentlessly Targeted, Says UN

Millions of Iraqi Children Repeatedly And Relentlessly Targeted, Says UN

One in every five children in Iraq is at serious risk of death, injury, sexual violence and recruitment into armed groups, while nearly 1,500 have been snatched from the streets or their homes since 2014, says a new report (pdf). The UN children’s agency, Unicef, says 3.6 million children face this litany of risks – […]

What People In Humanitarian Crises Need Is Cash, Not Commodities

What People In Humanitarian Crises Need Is Cash, Not Commodities

The evidence is clear: cash works better. In study after study, survivors of conflict and disaster have reaffirmed their wish to choose – to maintain their dignity and use resources more efficiently – by receiving cash instead of food or other “in kind” aid. At last month’s world humanitarian summit in Istanbul, some major donors […]

Kenya Tells UK To Resettle Somali Refugees Living In Dadaab

Kenya Tells UK To Resettle Somali Refugees Living In Dadaab

Kenya says it plans to expel hundreds of thousands of refugees within six months, and argues the international community is partly to blame for leaving it to deal with so many refugees for so long. The deputy president, William Ruto, said it is now up to the developed world to mitigate the fallout, suggesting that […]

World Humanitarian Summit Starts Amid Hope, Hype and Fear Of Empty Words

World Humanitarian Summit Starts Amid Hope, Hype and Fear Of Empty Words

Hundreds of world leaders and politicians will descend on Istanbul on Monday in a nominal attempt to reform the global humanitarian system, despite criticism that their summit is a photo-opportunity that will achieve little. Representatives of 175 countries, including 57 heads of states or governments, will attend the world humanitarian summit, as the outgoing UN […]