News in the Humanosphere: Aid agencies flee new fighting in South Sudan

Nyamor is living with her family in a small farming village outside of Lankien, in northern Jonglei, an opposition held area in South Sudan. All major supply routes but one have been cut off due to fighting. Photo: Aimee Brown/Oxfam

Fighting is intensifying in Unity State South Sudan. Some 300,000 people are in need of assistance, but the fighting is forcing aid agencies to evacuate. Even Doctors Without Borders, also known as MSF, which tends to go where other aid agencies won’t, is fleeing. “​Last year, an estimated 240 MSF staff at Leer Hospital fled into the bush, some carrying critically ill patients with them, as fighting closed in on the town. A month later, the medical staff were still in the bush, struggling to treat patients with rapidly dwindling supplies. ​MSF has run the hospital in Leer for 27 years. Critchley said in March nearly 8,000 people – including more than 1,100 malnourished children – sought treatment at the MSF facility. He said the surge in fighting in Unity state is putting a severe strain on the ability of organizations like MSF to help people in need.” (VOA http://bit.ly/1ASTV8L)

WHO criticized again for Ebola response
A U.N.-sponsored report on Monday denounced the World Health Organization’s slow response to the Ebola outbreak and said the agency still did not have the capacity to tackle a similar crisis. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1F2L7Bd)

Quote of the day: Robert Mugabe
“We see this by the decision taken by Brics [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] countries in establishing a development bank and the establishing of Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank championed by China. This is how we must forge ahead if the voice of the South is going to matter in international affairs,”  (Mail and Guardian http://bit.ly/1ASmvXP)

Surprising personnel announcement of the day.
The White House formally withdrew the nomination of Katherine Dhanani as the first U.S. Ambassador to Somalia in 24 years. No explanation was given.

Africa

About 2,000 people marched through a neighborhood of Burundi’s capital on Monday as police looked on, breaking the government’s ban on any further street protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term in power. (AP http://yhoo.it/1J6u6sT)

European nations have suspended some aid to Burundi, officials said on Monday, cranking up international pressure on the donor-reliant African nation over a crackdown on protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s quest for a third term of office. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1F2L6Nu)

China is negotiating a military base in the strategic port of Djibouti, the president told AFP, raising the prospect of U.S. and Chinese bases side-by-side in the tiny Horn of Africa nation. (Defense News http://bit.ly/1ASTvzf )

Drug-resistant typhoid has become an invisible epidemic in Africa, scientists said on Monday after an unprecedented probe into the disease. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1KXWSLb)

Separatist rebels in Mali ambushed a military convoy near the northern town of Timbuktu on Monday, rebels and military sources said, just four days before a U.N.-backed peace deal was due to be signed. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1FgbjeQ)

The president of Somalia has said he is committed to holding elections on time next summer, before his current term runs out in August 2016, and wants a more inclusive voting process than in the past. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1FgaNgP)

Exiled former Guinean junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara announced on Monday that he would run for president in October elections. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1KXWZXj)

Aid agencies say Nigerian refugees give birth to 45 children every month at the Minawao refugee camp. Most of the children do not have official birth certificates. (VOA http://bit.ly/1Rw93n2)

Democratic Republic of Congo has sent a delegation to Tanzania to request the extradition of the leader of a Ugandan Islamist group blamed for massacres in eastern Congo, Congo’s justice minister said on Monday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1KXXKzw)

Zimbabwe’s decision to make four foreign languages mandatory for pupils in state schools drew derision Monday from a senior educator who described the move as a “pipe dream.” (AFP http://yhoo.it/1F2Ljk2)

MENA

An Al Jazeera journalist on trial in Egypt has filed a lawsuit in a Canadian court accusing his employer of negligence and has demanded $100 million in compensation, his lawyer said on Monday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1KXX6SJ)

Persian Gulf leaders, led by King Salman of Saudi Arabia, are sending increasingly public messages of displeasure with the Obama administration over its policies in the Middle East, even as the president seeks to reassure them this week in meetings at Camp David. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1ASUgsa)

Asia

The Philippines plans to turn some disputed South China Sea islands into tourist sites to promote peace as China builds suspected military facilities on nearby reclaimed reefs, Filipino officials said Monday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1KXWQD3)

A Singapore government crackdown on a teen video blogger and independent news and opinion website has focused attention on free speech limits, and perhaps the next election, in this cosmopolitan but famously strict city-state. (AP http://yhoo.it/1J6tROp)

Young girls are routinely used as barter to settle disputes or arrange marriages between families in Afghanistan. Despite attempts from the international community to strengthen the country’s formal justice system, where the legal age of marriage for women is 16, Afghans still largely favor traditional forms of mediation over the country’s legal courts. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1KXX9hi)

Malaysia has detained more than a thousand Bangladeshi and Rohingya refugees, including dozens of children, police said, a day after authorities rescued hundreds stranded off Indonesia’s western tip. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1F2LnAg)

Thai police have downplayed a probe into more than 50 officers transferred over suspected links to human trafficking networks, saying the transfers were “standard operating procedure” and that most of the officers were suspected only of negligence. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1F2L34z)

An appeals court acquitted a powerful politician in southern India of corruption charges Monday, clearing the way for Jayaram Jayalalitha to return to public office. (AP http://yhoo.it/1F2L4W1)

The Indonesian navy says it turned away a boat packed with hundreds of Rohingya Muslims that reached Indonesian waters. The passengers were instead given food, water and directions to neighboring Malaysia. (AP http://yhoo.it/1J6u6Jq)

The Americas

Mexican health officials are investigating after two babies died and 29 children were hospitalized from suspected adverse reactions to shots from the country’s national vaccination program. (CNN http://cnn.it/1KXX9hp)

The United States heard widespread concern Monday over excessive use of force by law-enforcement officials against minorities as it faced the U.N.’s main human rights body for a review of its record. (AP http://yhoo.it/1F2L4oX)

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet named a new Cabinet on Monday, hoping the changes will arrest the fall in her popularity ratings and overcome scandals that have rocked her administration. (AP http://yhoo.it/1FgaMJY)

A party in power for over two decades in Guyana faced off in general elections Monday against a new coalition of opposition parties that seeks to challenge a tradition of racial politics and accuses the government of President Donald Ramotar of mismanagement and corruption. (AP http://yhoo.it/1F2KY0z)

Women are going out daily to warn poor Haitians about recruiters for orphanages who roam the countryside offering money, or false promises, to desperate parents struggling to raise children in the Western Hemisphere’s most impoverished country. (AP http://yhoo.it/1F2L2xx)

...and the rest
The European commission is due to unveil new proposals to impose migrant quotas on its members on Wednesday, while plans are also being drawn up for military attacks to target the trafficking networks. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1KXX79c)
Opinion/Blogs

Global Dispatches podcast: Reza Aslan discusses religion, escaping Iran, and why Bill Maher gets Atheism wrong. (Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/1EwsmTp)

A Development Fairytale or a Global Land Rush? (Inter Press Service http://bit.ly/1KXWXyH)

No One’s Talking About What The Pacific Trade Deal Means For Diets (The Salt http://n.pr/1J6ukA2)

Gates Foundation says it does support the U.N. development agenda (Humanosphere http://bit.ly/1Eu3yfw)

A Ticking Time Bomb in Burundi (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1RwfzKq)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: “the older I get, the less interested I am in how the West sees Africa, and the more interested I am in how Africa sees itself.” (Development Truths http://bit.ly/1RwfHcQ)

The Special Envoy Gap: Why the US government has taken so long to name a new Special Envoy to the Great Lakes (Congo Siasa http://bit.ly/1RwfYNa)

Psychologists stay home: Nepal doesn’t need you (IRIN http://bit.ly/1FgbkPS)

This Mother’s Day, Let’s Commit To Saving 3.3 Million Moms (Huffington Post http://huff.to/1Eu30X8)

Let us Support #midwives4all (The Observer http://bit.ly/1J6upny)

Don’t Leave Indigenous Peoples Behind in SDGs (Inter Press Service http://bit.ly/1FgaVwT)

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About Author

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is a New Hampshire-based reporter for Humanosphere. Before joining Humanosphere, Tom founded and edited the aid blog A View From the Cave. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, GlobalPost and Christian Science Monitor. He tweets at @viewfromthecave. Contact him at tmurphy[at]humanosphere.org.