News in the Humanosphere: Record 38 million people displaced in their own countries

Some of the tens of thousands of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) arrive by truck with their few possessions at the Zamzam camp. (UN Photo/Olivier Chassot)

This is now the third year in a row in which there has been a record number of people displaced within their own countries around the world. “Conflicts and violence in places like Syria and Ukraine have displaced a record 38 million people inside their own countries, equivalent to the total populations of New York, London and Beijing, a watchdog group said Wednesday. Nearly one third of them – a full 11 million people – were displaced last year alone, with an average of 30,000 people fleeing their homes every day, the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) said in a report. … According to the latest available U.N. statistics, there were some 16.7 million refugees in the world at the end of 2013, meaning the total number of displaced people is well above 50 million. ((AFP http://yhoo.it/1cnqVki)

U.N. whistleblower back to work
A United Nations tribunal has lifted the suspension of a U.N. worker who leaked information to French authorities about an internal investigation into accusations that French soldiers in Central African Republic sexually abused some children they were sent to protect. (AP http://yhoo.it/1AFNHsG)

Quote of the Day
“All lights are blinking in Burundi. All alarms are going. So where’s the fire brigade?” Norwegian Refugee Council head Jan Egeland.

Burundi Crisis

Government and opposition rivals in Burundi have held talks on ending deadly demonstrations against a third term bid by the president, officials said Wednesday, as international concern mounted over the crisis. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1AFDAnJ)

Burundian Police have arrested an opposition leader after he attended a meeting of foreign ministers from the East African Community who were seeking a solution to the unrest in the country triggered by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term. (AP http://yhoo.it/1AFNENA)

Nearly 40,000 refugees have fled Burundi to neighboring Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the last month, amid protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term, the United Nations said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1AFNDco)

Africa

Two of the world’s poorest countries, Chad and Niger, are getting little attention from donors as they struggle to cope with refugees, a food crisis and grinding poverty, a U.N. official said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1JQKxuC)

Boko Haram’s supply lines are being cut off, creating conditions for the security forces to deliver a potential knockout blow to the extremists who have created havoc in northeastern Nigeria for years. (AP http://yhoo.it/1cnqQgq)

Sexual violence is widespread in Somalia and rarely prosecuted. If anyone is punished at all it is often the victim, not the perpetrator. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1cnGvMH)

Al Shabaab Islamist militants shot dead a government official in Mogadishu on Wednesday and, in a separate attack, bombed an African Union troop convoy outside the Somali capital, police and a spokesman for the group said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1AFDGM8)

Nigerian troops rescued 25 more children and women from Boko Haram early Wednesday as the soldiers destroyed seven more of the extremists’ camps in a northeastern forest stronghold, the army spokesman said. (AP http://yhoo.it/1cnGS9S)

The United Nations has deployed reinforcements to its Democratic Republic of Congo peacekeeping force near the eastern town Beni, after two soldiers were killed in an ambush. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1cnGYyj)

Niger troops have deported more than 3,000 Nigerian fishermen and refugees escaping Boko Haram, forcing them to undertake a brutal three-day trek in which a dozen people died, an official and witnesses said Wednesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1cnH8G4)

MENA

2.2 million Iraqis were forced to flee the Islamic State group, a Norwegian humanitarian group report released Wednesday revealed. (AP http://yhoo.it/1cnqUfY)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel barely met the legal deadline to form a new government on Wednesday night, and will start his fourth term with the slimmest of parliamentary majorities, made up of right-leaning and religious parties. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1F6MAcN)

The United Nations has adopted a cautious approach to the Syria talks it launched this week, avoiding raising expectations that this latest initiative can end a four-year-old conflict which has so far defied all diplomatic efforts to resolve it. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1cnGYP5)

Asia

Authorities in Thailand have dug up the bodies of six apparent Rohingya migrants from Myanmar not far from a mass grave found at the weekend, the military said on Wednesday, and U.N. officials called for a regional effort to end human trafficking. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1cnqLcH)

Health workers are rushing to vaccinate more than half a million children in Nepal as fears grow that last month’s massive earthquake has made youngsters more susceptible to disease. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1AFNINn)

As many as 10,000 Afghan families have fled their homes as Taliban insurgents and government forces prepared for a major battle for control of the southern fringes of Kunduz city, officials said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1AFNF45)

Four Afghan men were sentenced to death Wednesday for the savage lynching of a woman falsely accused of blasphemy, a landmark judgement in a nation where female victims often have little legal recourse. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1AFDvAz)

Police fatally shot a man in northern China who was on his way to Beijing to ask the central government to help house and take care of his children and elderly mother, police and a lawyer said Wednesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1cnqMxa)

The Americas

Colombian authorities said they planned to investigate alleged sexual abuses of children by US contractors and military staff. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1JQKOOi)

Disapproval of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet’s performance has risen to a record high for the center-left politician, as ongoing corruption scandals erode trust in her government and the political establishment, according to a poll published on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1AFNHJf)

With a brand new Americas office in Mexico City, Amnesty International wants to tackle the “hidden crisis” afflicting human rights in the vast region, the organization’s head said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1AFNDt6)

California water regulators on Tuesday adopted the state’s first rules for mandatory cutbacks in urban water use as the region’s catastrophic drought enters its fourth year. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1DSATPH)

Venezuelan authorities are investigating a mass grave found near the Colombian border. (AP http://yhoo.it/1AFNKES)

...and the rest
British-based drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline opted Wednesday to keep its stake in its stand-alone HIV business as it set out its strategy following a big deal with Switzerland’s Novartis. (AP http://yhoo.it/1AFNFBg)
Opinion/Blogs

Nepal’s progress on health violently set back by massive quake (Humanosphere http://bit.ly/1Ihpktp)

Use Data, Not Nepotism, to Deliver Aid in Nepal (TIME http://ti.me/1IOX8Nl)

A message from Haiti to Nepal (Verite Sou Tanbou http://bit.ly/1DSMhv0)

Bullets before the ballot – Bujumbura diary (IRIN http://bit.ly/1IhuGon)

Ebola shows how our global health priorities need to be shaken up (Guardian http://bit.ly/1Ihuaa7)

Building a new Nepal: why the world must heed the lessons of Haiti (Guardian http://bit.ly/1c717rC)

Celebrating a first Mother’s Day, knowing the inequality of maternal health firsthand (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1AFNMga)

Counterfeit Seed: The Contrarian’s Take (Campaign for Boring Development http://bit.ly/1IOWUG4)

Analysis: Despite Saudi strikes, Yemen rebels remain dug in (AP http://yhoo.it/1cnqK8s)

Strategic Philanthropy and Its Discontents (SSIR http://bit.ly/1PprdD6)

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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.