|Severe humanitarian crisis|
|Situation of concern|
- Severe humanitarian crisis
- Humanitarian crisis
- Situation of concern
- Watch list
Snapshot 20–27 May 2015
Mali: Gao and Timbutku regions have been the scene of multiple clashes between the Azawad Movement Coalition and Malian forces, as well as the pro-government Gatia militia. At least 12 people have been killed, including nine civilians. About 31,500 people have been displaced from three districts in Timbuktu region. They are in urgent needs of water, food, NFIs, and shelter support, but access is limited.
Yemen: Violence increased after the ceasefire ended 17 May, and surged again after the postponement of peace talks on 25 May. Casualty numbers since the escalation of conflict in March have reached 1,870 dead and 7,580 injured. 490,000 people in Sa’ada can no longer be reached, and food items are no longer available in a number of governorates. The fuel crisis is making it even more difficult to meet basic needs.
DRC: A surge in ADF attacks in Beni territory, North Kivu, has displaced more than 15,000 people. In Orientale, 4,000 people have been displaced by an FARDC offensive. In Katanga, 400 cases of measles are being recorded per week in Malemba Nkulu territory.
Updated: 27/05/2015. Next update: 02/06/2015
Afghanistan Country Analysis
26 May: Refugees in Khost and Paktika have exhausted their short-term coping mechanisms and need livelihood opportunities to face long term displacement (UNHCR).
19 May: Four people were killed and 24 wounded by a suicide attack in a parking lot of the Ministry of Justice, Kabul (AFP).
25 May: Two Taliban attacks, in the provinces of Zabul and Kandahar: 70 people, including women and children, were injured in Zabul and six civilians were killed by a roadside bombing in Kandahar province (AFP, 25/05/2015).
16 May: Between 1 April and 15 May, natural disaster events affected 44,823 people (6,690 families) (OCHA).
- Between January and March 2015, 1,810 civilian casualties; casualties from ground engagements and from mortars and rockets rose 8% and 47%, respectively, compared to the same period in 2014. Women and children casualties continue to increase (UNAMA, 12/04/2015).
- 6.9 million in need of humanitarian aid in 2015. Badghis, Helmand, Kunar, Nangarhar, and Wardak most need assistance (UNICEF, 21/01/2015; OCHA, 25/11/2014).
- 242,732 refugees from Pakistan since mid-June 2014; long-term concerns from protracted displacement (UNHCR, 22/04/2015; 06/04/2015).
- As of end of April, there were 873,000 IDPs in Afghanistan, including half displaced in April, and 24% displaced by conflict in 2014 (UNCHR, 24/05/2015).
- Nearly 68,000 people (9,300 families) in 137 districts of 24 provinces have been affected by floods, heavy snowfall, and avalanches over 1 February–15 April. Priority needs are for food, NFIs, and emergency shelter (ECHO, 15/04/2015; IFRC, 18/03/2015).
- 3.7 million people are food insecure (IPC, 01/11/2014).
- 517,600 children under five suffer from SAM, and eight provinces show GAM rates above 15%, breaching the emergency threshold (UNICEF, 21/01/2015, OCHA, 31/07/2014).
Natural disasters and armed conflicts in Afghanistan have caused humanitarian crisis. Assistance needs include food, healthcare, and protection.
The Afghan Government faces both internal and external challenges to its capacity and legitimacy, and political instability. The security environment is highly volatile and expected to deteriorate as international troops gradually withdraw from the country.
Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah were sworn in as Afghanistan’s President and Prime Minister, respectively, on 29 September 2014 (Reuters, 29/09/2014). The pair were rival presidential candidates in disputed elections (AFP, 26/09/2014). President Ghani introduced a list of 16 new cabinet appointments on 1 April, replacing the candidates rejected by Parliament end January (local media, 01/04/2015; AFP, 04/02/2015).
Peace Talks with the Taliban
Peace talks with the Afghan Taliban have been stalled since mid-2013. On 10 January, Afghanistan joined Pakistan in military operations against militants in both countries (British & Irish Agencies Afghanistan Group, 31/01/2015). On 2 May, an Afghan delegation held an open discussion in Qatar with the Taliban (Trust.org, 04/05/2015; AFP, 02/05/2015).
On 22 April, Afghan Taliban announced the start of its spring offensive, targeting foreign embassies and government officials, as well as military (Trust.org, 22/04/2015). Assaults increased in five districts of Kunduz province in early May (BBC, Afghanistan Analyst Network).
There were 1,810 civilian casualties between 1 January and 31 March (655 killed, 1,155 injured). Civilian casualties from ground engagements rose by 8%, casualties from mortars and rockets by 47%, and women and children casualties continue to increase. The sustained use of indiscriminate weapons and IEDs is of concern (UNAMA, 12/04/2015).
3,699 civilians were killed and 6,849 injured in 2014, a 22% increase in casualties on 2013 (UNAMA, 18/02/2015).
Remote parts of southern and southeastern Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan, remain under Taliban control. Taliban numbers have increased by 15% since the beginning of 2013, and the group has intensified attacks. The Taliban is increasingly financed by criminal enterprises including heroin laboratories, illegal ruby and emerald mines, and kidnapping (UNSC, 02/02/2015).
International Military Presence
NATO formally ended its combat mission in Afghanistan on 31 December 2014, moving to the Resolute Support mission made up of 9,800 US troops and 3,000 soldiers from other member states. The mission will focus on supporting Afghan forces’ fight against the Taliban, along with US counter-terrorism operations (Reuters, 01/01/2015). The number of US troops remaining in Afghanistan until end December is significantly higher than the 5,500 initially planned, and has been denounced by the Taliban (Le Monde, 24/03/2015).
Conflict Developments and Incidents
Helmand: Four civilians and three police were killed and seven people wounded in the attack in Lashkargah on 13 May (Reuters, 13/05/2015). On 20 April, Taliban militants attacked a police station in Lashkargah, killing three officers (Trust.org 20/04/2015). Three Taliban attacks in March, targeting provincial officials and a police station, killed 20 people and wounded 69 (AFP, 18/03/2015; 11/03/2015; 03/03/2015).
Kabul: Four people were killed and 24 wounded by a suicide attack in a parking lot of the Ministry of Justice (AFP, 19/05/2015). Three people working with the EU police were killed on 17 May in a Taliban car bombing (AFP, 17/05/2015). 14 civilians, most of them foreigners, were killed in a Taliban attack targeting a guesthouse (AFP, 14/05/2015). A Taliban suicide bomber struck a government bus on 10 May, killing three and wounding at least 16 others (AFP, 10/05/2015). A suicide car bombing of a bus carrying civil servants in West Kabul on 4 May killed one and wounded 15 (Trust.org, 04/05/2015). Bombing and suicide attacks targeting mainly government and foreign officials have killed 24 and wounded at least 32 in March and April (AFP, 10/04/2015; 06/04/2015; 25/03/2015; 17/03/2015; 07/03/2015; 26/02/2015)
Nangahar: A suicide attack killed 33 people and wounded 115 others in Jalalabad on 18 April. President Ghani said Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility, making this its first major attack in the country (AFP, 18/04/2015). A suicide attack targeting a NATO convoy killed three and wounded four (AFP, 10/04/2015).
Kunduz: Taliban offensives took place simultaneously in five districts on 2 and 3 May (Afghanistan Analyst Network, 3/05/2015). The Taliban, supported by foreign fighters, has come close to the provincial capital, cutting it off (Trust.org, 06/05/2015, 07/05/2015; BBC, 07/05/2015; AFP, 08/05/2015). The Government launched a major offensive on 7 May near the city. 100 people, including ten elders, have been killed since an estimated 50 foreign fighters from an unidentified group settled in the province. Residents have been asked for money, girls’ education is regulated, and meetings with government officials are subject to authorisation.
Other incidents: A Taliban suicide attack targeting a government building injured 70, including women and children, on 25 May in Zabul province. The same day in Kandahar province, six civilians were killed by a roadside bombing (AFP, 25/05/2015). Taliban insurgents abducted 27 people in Paktia province on 16 May but released 25 of them the next day (AFP, 16/05/2015; 17/05/2015). Dozens of Taliban fighters attacked local government buildings in Badghis and may have captured the whole area on 10 May (Reuters, 10/05/2015).
During April, security incidents, mainly bombing, gun attacks and fire exchanges, in Laghman, Nimroz, Ghazni, Balkh, Baghlan, Uruzgan and Logar killed at least 46 people and injured dozens (AFP, 25/04/2015, 23/04/2015, 10/04/2015, 9/04/2015, 06/04/2015, 03/04/2015; Trust.org, 26/04/2015).
Suspected Taliban gunmen abducted 31 members of the country’s Hazara Shi’ite Muslim minority on 23 February in Zabul province. As of 11 May, 12 are still held hostage and one had been killed (BBC, 11/05/2015; Trust.org 20/04/2015; AFP, 24/03/2015; 17/03/2015).
Humanitarian Context and Needs
Planning figures are for 6.9 million Afghans in need of humanitarian aid in 2015, including 2.8 million children, compared to 7.4 million in 2014 (UNICEF, 21/01/2015). Badghis, Helmand, Kunar, Nangarhar, and Wardak most need assistance (OCHA, 25/11/2014).
As of 8 May, commercial flights to Kunduz have been suspended (AFP, 08/05/2015). As of 30 April, WFP has reported no accessibility to some districts bordering Pakistan, in east Farah, south Ghor and north Helmand as well as to the north of Badghis and south of Jowzjan (WFP, 30/04/2015).
Security Incidents Involving Aid Workers
Violence against health workers is a public health risk. In April, one health staff was seriously injured in Kandahar province (WHO, 18/05/2015). In Paktia province, 19 mine clearance workers were abducted and released two days later (Trust.org, 20/04/2015; 21/04/2015). Five members of an NGO’s national staff were killed by their abductor on 10 April in Uruzgan (UN, 11/04/2015).
In March, there were 19 incidents against national and international NGOs. Four people were wounded, ten abducted, and two arrested (OCHA, 19/04/2015). There were 293 incidents against aid workers in 2014, including 57 killed (UN, 11/04/2015; OCHA, 31/12/2014).
Between 1 April and 15 May, natural disaster events including avalanches, flooding, heavy rainfall, landslides and mudflows affected 44,823 people (6,690 families). 125 were killed or injured and 6,062 houses destroyed or damaged. The most affected provinces are Badakhshan, Baghlan and Faryab (OCHA, 16/05/2015). Accessibility and security challenges due to road closures and areas controlled by non-state armed groups are hampering needs assessment and aid provision in some provinces. Priority needs are for food, NFIs, and emergency shelter (ECHO, 15/04/2015; IOM/USAID, 15/03/2015; IFRC, 18/03/2015; IFRC; 11/05/2015).
There are 866,000 IDPs in Afghanistan and 205,113 refugees from Pakistan in Khost and Paktika provinces; returns from Pakistan are increasing since December 2014, while around 2.5 million Afghans have taken refuge in neighbouring countries.
As of end of April, there were 873,000 IDPs in Afghanistan, including half displaced in April, and 24% displaced by conflict in 2014. Nearly 220,000 IDPs are in the south, 216,000 in the west, 145,000 in the east and 121,000 in the North Afghanistan (UNHCR, 24/05/2015).
Armed conflicts between armed groups and government continued to be the most cited reason for displacement across the country. Food and NFIs are the most urgent need but the security context challenges access. Another challenge is the identification of genuine IDPs, while host communities sometimes wrongly claim displacement (UNCHR, 24/05/2015).
Fighting in Kunduz has reportedly displaced 14,000 families as of 8 May (AFP, 08/05/2015).
Military operations in Helmand have triggered displacement since February and by 31 March, the Kandahar Provincial Disaster Management Committee (PDMC) had reported 1,896 displaced families. Priority needs are food and NFIs; health needs also emerged in the south (UNHCR, 28/02/2015, 31/12/2014, OCHA 19/04/2015).
Displacement from Pakistan to Afghanistan’s Khost and Paktika provinces has been ongoing since mid-June 2014. As of 13 May, these provinces were hosting around 205,113 refugees (32,543 families) from Pakistan, 75% of them in Khost (UNHCR, 13/05/2015). Funding shortfalls limited response to the most urgent needs, which persist for shelter, nutrition, and WASH (UNHCR, 08/04/2015; 01/04/2015; OCHA; 24/05/2015). Spontaneous returns of refugees to Pakistan have been reported, although the number is unknown (UNHCR, 14/04/2015; 08/04/2015).
An additional 600,000 Baloch refugees who have fled insurgency activities in Pakistan since 1986 are living in precarious conditions, notably in Nimroz (AAN, 31/12/2014).
Returns of Afghans from Pakistan have increased following security incidents in Pakistan, particularly the December Taliban attack in Peshawar. Returnees report an increased number of protection issues and cite eviction notices by authorities as the primary factor that influenced their return (UNHCR, 24/05/2015). As of 13 May, 60,000 Afghans have returned home voluntarily since early 2015, including 21,505 through UNCHR. 6,000 have been expelled (AFP, 13/05/2015; UNHCR, 24/05/2015). 30–40% of undocumented returnees are vulnerable and in need of assistance (OCHA, 28/02/2015; IOM, 13/02/2015). 25,000 people returned in 2014 (AFP, 13/05/2015).
Afghan Refugees in Neighbouring Countries
As of 30 September 2014, there were 2.5 million Afghan refugees in neighbouring countries (USAID, 01/10/2014).
As of April, Badghis province is in IPC Phase 3, Crisis. Badakhshan, Nuristan, Ghor, Daykundi and Bamyan are in IPC Phase 2, Stressed (FEWSNET, 01/05/2015). IDPs and households affected by heavy rains and snowfall in 2015 are expected to remain in Phase 2 through June (FEWSNET, 31/03/2015). By November 2015, it is estimated that 500,000 to 990,000 people will be in IPC Phase 3 or higher (FEWSNET 20/05/2015).
Agriculture and Markets
Floods and avalanches since 23 February have destroyed farmland and orchards across the country (Government, 28/02/2015).
2014 wheat production was 64% lower than 2013, and January 2015 wheat grain and flour prices have increased 12% on average compared to 2014, leading to excess sales of livestock; Badghis province is most affected (FEWSNET, 11/02/2015).
Refugees in Khost and Paktika have exhausted their short term coping mechanisms and need livelihood opportunities to face long term displacement (UNHCR, 26/05/2015). Political uncertainty during 2014 led to decreased investment in many sectors including construction and trade, which are key employers of casual labour. Faryab province saw the largest decline in casual labour wages: rates were 43% lower in September than in 2013 and the five-year average (FEWSNET, 01/11/2014). Decreased prices for some cash crops in 2014 compared to 2013 limited income (FEWSNET, 01/12/2014).
Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has risen by 7% in a year, from 209,000 hectares in 2013 to 224,000 hectares in 2014 (UN, 12/11/2014).
Health and Nutrition
There is a shortage of trained surgeons, anaesthetists, and trauma capacity in conflict-affected areas (OCHA, 25/11/2014). Nearly 80% of maternal and reproductive health needs are unmet (WHO, 10/12/2014). Tuberculosis is also a high burden for Afghanistan, but many new cases were missed out in 2014 due to lack of close monitoring (Government, 24/03/2015).
29 measles outbreaks were reported in April 2015 (WHO, 18/05/2015). 445 laboratory-confirmed cases of measles were reported in the first quarter of 2015, representing a significant increase from last year’s total of 581 cases (WHO, 26/04/2015).
517,596 children suffer from SAM (UNICEF, 21/01/2015). In Uruzgan, Nuristan, Khost, Paktia, Wardak, Kunar, and Laghman provinces, GAM rates were breaching the emergency threshold of 15% in mid-2014 (National Nutrition Survey, OCHA 31/07/2014).
An estimated 45% of all child deaths in refugee and IDP camps are linked to malnutrition (UNICEF, 21/01/2015). The presence of common animal diseases in areas of Khost and Paktika have reduced the availability of meat and milk products to Pakistani refugees and host communities (FEWSNET, 11/02/2015). Fewer than 20% of moderately and severely acute malnourished children received the treatment they needed in 2014 (OCHA, 25/11/2014).
One case of polio has been reported so far in 2015, from Helmand province. 28 cases were reported in 2014, mostly in conflict-affected areas, compared to 14 in 2013 and 37 in 2012 (WHO, 26/04/2015; Global Polio Eradication Initiative, 25/02/2015; 14/01/2015).
1.9 million Afghans are in need of better access to safe WASH facilities (UNICEF, 21/01/2015). Refugee influxes have stretched already limited water and hygiene resources and infrastructure in Khost and Paktika; lack of solid waste management and latrines are major challenges (UNHCR, 08/04/2015).
A growing number of IDPs live in informal settlements in major Afghan urban centres, in substandard and crowded accommodation, with insufficient WASH facilities, food, education, and employment opportunities. Women are particularly at risk, with reduced access to education, health, and livelihood opportunities, and facing significant unmet mental health needs (NRC, 23/03/2015). As of 11 December, 40,629 refugees were in 52 informal settlements in the capital. The most populated is Charahi Qamber (7,436 people) (OCHA, 17/12/2014). Overall numbers on people in informal shelters across Afghanistan are missing.
Educational facilities in Khost are overstretched, with 344 schools employing 6,000 teachers and teaching around 360,000 children. There are 50,000 school-aged refugee children in Khost (Institute for War and Peace Reporting, 05/11/2014).
The Afghan national and local police and three armed groups (Taliban, Haqqani Network, and Hezb-e-Islami) have been listed for recruitment and use of children, which was criminalised in December 2014 (Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict 02/05/2015).
35% of visited detainees in national facilities have experienced ill-treatment or torture, including 42% of child detainees, in a United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) study conducted between February 2013 and December 2014. The same type of study over 2011–2012 showed 49% of detainees had experienced ill-treatment or torture (OHCHR, UNAMA, 25/02/2015).
Mines and ERW
4,271 minefields and battlefields remain in Afghanistan, corresponding to almost 536 km2 in 255 districts of 33 provinces (MAPA/MACCA, 06/04/2015). There is an average of 38 civilian casualties every month and another 61 civilian casualties are recorded due to improvised explosive devices (IED) (MAPA, 18/05/2015).
As of 23 April, 919,546 m2 in Gulan camp has been cleared as well as 1,276,870 m2 around the camp, where refugees have settled more recently (UNHCR, 23/04/2015; 13/05/2015).
Sexual violence is underreported because of the social stigma attached to it and lack of access to Taliban-controlled areas. Between January 2014 and January 2015, UNAMA registered 44 cases (UN Security Council, 15/04/2015).
Central African Republic Country Analysis
20 May: 1,268,000 people are in Crisis and Emergency food insecurity (Food Security and Nutrition Working Group, 20/05/2015).
30 April: During March and April, 150 cases of rape were reported in Bangui, Bimbo, Yaloke, Kaga Bandoro, and Bambari. Many more go unreported (WHO).
- More than 5,000 people have died in violence since December 2013 (Government, 16/09/2014, BBC, 07/01/2015).
- 2.7 million of 4.6 million people needed immediate assistance, half of them children (OCHA, 31/03/2015).
- 1.5 million people are in Crisis and Emergency phases of food insecurity (USAID, 13/03/2015).
- 27% of the health facilities in the country are damaged and 40% are unable to offer health services (WHO, 31/01/2015).
- 177,530 IDPs in displacement sites and 36,930 IDPs in Bangui (OCHA, 29/04/2015, 18/03/2015; UNHCR, 05/05/2015).
- 461,400 CAR refugees in neighbouring countries, 219,720 of whom have arrived since December 2013 (UNHCR 06/03/2015; 17/04/2015).
Health, protection, food, and WASH are top priority needs, as continued violence, looting, and displacement cause further deterioration of an already dire humanitarian situation across the country. Violence between Muslim communities, perceived to have links with the ex-Seleka, and Christian communities, aligned with the anti-balaka militias, has resulted in displacement, targeted killings along communal lines, and human rights abuses.
Between the 4 and 11 May, the Bangui Peace Forum took place. Moderated by President of Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso, 585 participants agreed on a 'Republican Pact for Peace', which sets the calendar for next elections and revision of the constitution; a consensual disarmament model; the establishment of a criminal court; and an agenda of humanitarian and development priorities (Reuters, 22/04/2015; BBC, 03/05/2015; Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, 12/05/2015).
Conflict began in late 2012, when Muslim Seleka fighters advanced from the north, taking control of territory on their way to the capital Bangui, where they held power until December 2013. Seleka committed numerous abuses during their advance and rule, and self-defence militias composed of mainly non-Muslims, ‘anti-balaka’, began to carry out revenge attacks in late 2013. Most ex-Seleka members withdrew to the north at the end of 2013, but fighting persisted between ex-Seleka and anti-balaka, Muslim and Christian communities, and pastoralists and farmers.
African Union forces, MISCA, backed by France, were deployed in December 2013 authorised by the UN. The African Union had already deployed troops to CAR prior to Seleka’s assumption of power, but was overwhelmed by the severity and scope of the conflict. In mid-September 2014, the UN peacekeeping force took over operations under the name MINUSCA.
A transitional government was formed in August 2014. It was rejected by the ex-Seleka, which had proclaimed a de facto, independent, secular state in northeastern CAR in July (IRIN 23/09/2014; Government, 24/07/2014). On 8 April, the ex-Seleka and anti-Balaka agreed to a ceasefire. This was rejected by the transitional Government, just as it rejected an earlier ceasefire agreement (USAID, 10/04/2015).
More than 5,000 people have been killed since December 2013 (BBC, 07/01/2015). Since January 2014, 1,460 security incidents have been recorded (OCHA, 31/03/2015; USAID, 10/04/2015). More than 1,820 security incidents have been recorded since January 2015 (OCHA, 12/05/2015).
Ex-Seleka: Seleka is an alliance of factions created in 2012 and dissolved by President Djotodia in late 2013. However, many fighters remained active, and were dubbed ‘ex-Seleka’. With the exception of 17,114 confined to three military camps in Bangui, most moved out of the capital and controlled much of central and northern CAR by January 2014 (IRIN, 17/09/2014). Bambari, Ouaka reportedly became the ex-Seleka headquarters in May 2014. An estimated 12,000 fighters make up the armed ex-Seleka, including Muslims from the northeast, and Sudanese and Chadians (IRIN, 12/01/2015; international media, 30/09/2014).Rival ex-Seleka groups have clashed on several occasions (Jeune Afrique, 27/10/2014).
Anti-balaka: The anti-balaka were formed in order to counter the Seleka; there are around 75,000 militants, though the numbers are contested, and their main leaders and political programme remain unknown (IRIN, 12/01/2015). After the coup and Djotodia’s resignation, many members of the former government army, the FACA, joined the anti-balaka. It is suspected that up to ten anti-balaka factions function in the vicinity of Bangui (IRIN, 12/02/2014).
LRA: Mbomou and Haut-Mbomou prefectures remain most affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army, which increased attacks as the political crisis left a power vacuum (OCHA, 10/11/2014). In 2015, LRA attacks increased after LRA militant Dominic Ongwen surrendered to US forces in January (BBC, 07/01/2015).
UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSCA): MINUSCA officially took over operations on 14 September 2014, under a one-year mandate. In March 2015, the number of peacekeepers was increased by 1,000, to better protect infrastructure and senior officials in Bangui, bringing the total to 13,000 uniformed personnel (Reuters, 26/03/2015). On 28 April, the UN Security Council extended MINUSCA’s mandate by one year (UN, 28/04/2015).
French forces: As of 21 May, 1,700 of 2,000 French troops were left in CAR (UN, 21/05/2015); they will begin decreasing their presence as MINUSCA increases the number of peacekeepers to 13,000 by late April (USAID, 13/03/2015). On 19 May, the operation was formally handed over to MINUSCA (French Ministry of Defence, 22/05/2015).
EU advisory mission: The EU launched the EU Military Advisory mission (EUMAM RCA) on 19 January, with the objective of reforming the security sector (Government, 16/03/2015).
US military assistance: The US is providing logistical support, special forces, and advisers to African troops operating against the LRA in eastern and southeastern CAR.
Fighting is concentrated around six central and western prefectures: Mambere Kadei, Nana-Grebizi, Nana-Mambere, Ouaka, Ouham, Ouham-Pende, and Sangha-Mbaere (OCHA, 18/03/2015).
Priority areas for civilian protection are Ngaoundaye (Ouham-Pendé), Markounda (border area) and Batangafo (Ouham), Bambari and Kouango (Ouaka), Boda (Lobaye), Gamboula, (Mambéré-Kadéï) and Mbres (Nana-Grébizi) (UNHCR, 15/05/2015).
Nana Grebizi: 300–400 people attacked a MINUSCA camp in Kaga Bandoro in early April, because UN peacekeepers failed to stop raids by Fulani pastoralists (UNHCR, 10/04/2015; Reuters, 10/04/2015). MINUSCA has set up a temporary base in Mbres, as clashes between ex-Seleka and anti-Balaka along the Kaga Bandoro–Mbres route persist. Mbres is currently under ex-Seleka control (UNHCR, 17/04/2015).
Ouaka: A MINUSCA vehicle was attacked on the route from Bambari to Bangui, after alleged Muslims were arrested. Cars were battered and approximately 17 homes were burned (local media, 11/04/2015).
Humanitarian Context and Needs
As of late April 2015, 2.7 million of 4.6 million people need immediate assistance, half of them children (OCHA, 29/04/2015). Delivery of aid is expected to decline because funding remains low (OCHA, 02/04/2015).
Violent attacks, threats against aid workers, and roadblocks hinder the supply of humanitarian assistance outside Bangui (OCHA, 21/01/2015). A rapid assessment on the Niango–Kaga Nze route, in Bamingui-Bangoran province, found that exactions, theft and abuse were current practices in the region (Premiere Urgence – Aide Medicale International, 06/05/2015).
At end February, more than 36,000 people, mostly but not exclusively Muslim, were trapped in seven enclaves across CAR (WHO, 28/02/2015). As of 10 December, priority areas included Bangui’s PK5 neighbourhood, Yaloke in Ombella Mpoko, Berberati and Carnot in Mambere Kadei, Boda and Boganangone in Lobaye, and Bouar in Nana-Mambere (USAID, 19/12/2014). They require urgent humanitarian assistance, particularly protection, health, and nutrition (OCHA, 04/12/2014).
Since March, Fulani trapped in Yaloke (42 of whom have died since their arrival from other conflict areas in April 2014) have been able to travel into town and resume daily activities (UNHCR, 23/12/2014; Reuters, 25/03/2015; USAID, 10/04/2015). However, looting in Yaloke IDP site on 21 March raised tensions (OCHA, 02/04/2015). Since 4 March, over 130 IDPs have left Yaloke for Cameroon; at 17 April, approximately 330 Fulani IDPs were left in Yaloke enclave (UNHCR, 03/04/2015; 17/04/2015).
Bangui: Security incidents in Bangui’s PK5 region have resulted in teachers fleeing their posts (OCHA, 04/03/2015). The police station in Bangui opened in March (Reuters, 25/03/2015).
Security Incidents Affecting Aid Workers
232 acts of violence have been recorded against humanitarian organisations since January 2015 (OCHA, 12/05/2015). Attacks limiting access to humanitarian assistance increased from 76 in February to 112 in March. They include thefts of humanitarian assets and facilities as well as threats to staff (USAID, 27/04/2015). UN, NGO, and private vehicles are becoming regular targets on main roads (IOM, 02/02/2015). In April, there were 21 security incidents against humanitarian workers (OCHA, 13/05/2015). On 25 March, a medical worker was killed at a health centre in Gbokolobo village, Ouaka prefecture (OCHA, 02/04/2015).
18 humanitarian workers were killed and six wounded in 142 incidents in 2014 (OCHA, 04/12/2014; USAID, 19/12/2014).
Ouham: Solidarités International, DRC and Intersos have temporarily suspended activities due to looting and robbery in Kabo (07/04/2015). On 9 April, two cars from the Central African Red Cross were stolen (local media, 11/04/2015).
Ouaka: On 10 April, a MINUSCA convoy carrying food was attacked on the route from Bambari to Bangui (local media, 11/04/2015).
Ouham: On 23 April, a severe storm hit Moyenne Sido, affecting 3,500 individuals (IOM, 27/04/2015).
Mambere-Kadei: Storms in Berberati since 24 April have affected 1,110 people and destroyed 200 houses (Red Cross Movement, 14/05/2015).
As of 29 April, there are 426,240 IDPs in CAR (OCHA, 12/05/2015; 15/05/2015). Some 177,500 are living in 108 sites countrywide (including Bimbo and Bangui), 225,000 people with host families, and 35,700 people in the forest (OCHA, 07/01/2015; 04/02/2015; 29/04/2015; UNHCR, 03/04/2015; 21/04/2015).
Bangui: Relative improvements in the security conditions of some neighbourhoods outside Bangui have reduced IDP numbers in Bangui to 36,930 in 34 sites (UNHCR, 05/05/2015). Some suggest this drop may be due to the poor condition of IDP sites (OCHA, 04/03/2015; IOM, 02/03/2015; UNHCR, 03/04/2015).
The largest IDP sites in Bangui house the following numbers: Eglise des Frères Castors (1,375), Don Bosco/Damala (1,379), St Joseph Mukassa (2,352), Mission Carmel (2,731), and Seminaire St Marc (3,980) and Mpoko (under 18,000) (UNHCR, 05/05/2015).
As of 11 May, IOM has deregistered 3,440 people at Mpoko IDP site (IOM, 15/05/2015). The transitional government has announced that the site will close by end May (OCHA, 14/04/2015). The 18,000 remaining are afraid to return home (Reuters, 25/03/2015; USAID, 10/04/2015; OCHA, 14/04/2015; 29/04/2015). A survey of all households previously found that 42% plan to resettle in new areas and 55% want to return to their place of origin (OCHA, 18/02/2015; USAID, 27/03/2015). AVICOM is an alternative site, but does not have adequate services and only 350 people surveyed agreed to move there (USAID, 13/03/2015; OCHA, 02/04/2015). Priority needs include shelter and NFIs, WASH, and health (IOM, 05/01/2015).
Nana Gribizi: 1,584 IDPs were identified on the Kaga Bandoro route in a rapid response assessment, having fled clashes between farmers and anti-balaka. Priority needs are NFIs, WASH, food security and education (Solidarités International, 02/04/2015).
Ouham: 3,600 IDPs are in Kabo and Moyenne Sido IDP sites; 5,200 are staying with host-families (IOM, 13/04/2015). Due to attacks in neighbouring villages, 1,060 IDPs in Kaboro village, Nana-Bakassa subprefecture, are in need of NFIs, food, and access to education (Action Contre la Faim, 11/03/2015). 1,100 people fled to Markounda on 8 April, following the killing of two men in Manda village (UNHCR, 17/04/2015).
Ouaka: Ouaka hosted 57,000 IDPs at 12 March (OCHA, 18/03/2015). In Bambari, there are 9,870 IDPs in Sangaris IDP site; 2,614 IDPs in MINUSCA site; 8,790 at Notre Dame de la Victoire; 9,400 in the Muslim neighbourhood Hadji and Bornu; and 7,900 at Aerodome (UNICEF, 31/03/2015). 3,000–4,000 IDPs who arrived in Grimari in March, due to ex-Seleka and anti-balaka confrontations, need food, NFIs, and health assistance (OCHA, 04/03/2015; international organisation, 13/03/2015). Another 6,000 IDPs from the Grimari route and others from Lihoto Kouango subprefecture are living in Azengue-Mindou commune, in Kouango subprefecture (UNHCR, 03/04/2015). This area has suffered multiple clashes between ex-Seleka and anti-balaka, resulting in displacement and NFI and WASH needs (ACTED, 19/03/2015). In a survey of IDPs in Lihoto, only 11% had access to safe water (the only borehole in the village has not worked in seven years), and the school has been closed for the past three years (ACTED, 19/03/2015).
Refugees in CAR
8,100 refugees and asylum seekers from DRC, Chad, and Sudan are living in camps in Bangui, Bambari, and Zemio (UNHCR, 26/03/2015; 17/04/2015; OCHA; 29/04/2015).
CAR Refugees in Neighbouring Countries
As of April, there are 461,400 CAR refugees in neighbouring countries, 219,730 of whom have arrived since December 2013 (UNHCR 06/03/2015; 17/04/2015). 247,250 are registered in Cameroon, 94,020 in Chad, 94,130 in DRC, and 26,000 in Congo (UNHCR, 17/04/2015).
The Chad–CAR border was officially closed in May 2014, but refugees continue to arrive at a number of border points (UNHCR, 07/2014).
At 8 December, there were 132,414 evacuees from CAR, including third-country nationals and returning migrants (OCHA, 08/12/2014).
There are approximately 94,500 returnees in CAR (OCHA, 31/03/2015). At the beginning of March, people were returning to their districts of origin from displacement sites in Bangui, but many believe this is due to the deteriorating situation of IDP sites and not to improved security (OCHA, 18/03/2015).
Mbomou: 2,980 returnees in Debissaka village, Rafai subprefecture, still fear Ugandan militant attacks. Needs include NFIs, safe water, and access to school (ACTED, 22/04/2015). A rapid assessment of Ndambissoua, Ouago and Zabe villages in Bakouma sub-prefecture determined that 660 returnees need humanitarian assistance, especially WASH as none of the villages have access to improved sources of water (ACTED, 11/05/2015).
Ouham: 10% of the IDPs had to return to Batangafo neighbourhoods to torrential rains (OCHA, 06/05/2015). Approximately 4,200 other IDPs have returned home from Kabo for lack of farming space. An estimated 7,000 people have returned to Kouki village, Nana Bakassa subprefecture (1,400 of the original 1,800 households). They are in need of NFIs, food, and health assistance. Child mortality is high (ACF, 22/04/2015). An assessment of Markounda town in April found that more than 3,300 returnees lacked access to health services and safe drinking water (USAID, 27/04/2015).
An assessment of Batangafo-Ouandago showed that 439 returnee households, 2,200 people, need NFIs and shelter reconstruction assistance (DRC, 21/03/2015).
The lean season has begun and is due to last until August 2015. 1,268,000 people are under Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity (Food Security and Nutrition Working Group, 20/05/2015). The most insecure being households headed by women, displaced people or returnees, and those without financial resources (OCHA, 04/02/2015; 04/03/2015; FEWSNET, 20/04/2015). Households in the north and northwest and IDPs throughout the country need assistance to prevent further negative coping mechanisms (FEWSNET, 01/04/2015). About 19% of people in rural areas are in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and 12% in Phase 4 (Emergency) (OCHA, 04/03/2015). Most IDPs were categorised as IPC Phase 3 in March 2015.
Most of the population will face Crisis conditions, with a minority of households facing Emergency conditions until August 2015 (FEWSNET, 13/03/2015; 20/05/2015). This is worse than the five-year average and a result of insecurity and below-average crop production, food stocks, and household incomes (FEWSNET, 22/01/2015; 13/03/2015).
Agriculture and Markets
Food access is restrained by reduced food production, lack of livelihoods, and high food prices (OCHA, 18/12/2014; FAO, 26/01/2015). Food crop production in 2014 was 58% below average, as a result of insecurity, looting, and the killing of livestock (OCHA, 04/03/2015). Food stocks in rural areas are 40–50% below average due to recurring raids. Fish supply has fallen by 40% and cattle-breeding by 77% compared to pre-crisis levels, and insecurity and poor road conditions have disrupted market linkages and led to significant increases in food prices: prices from March to August 2014 increased 30–70% (FAO, 26/01/2015; OCHA, 18/12/2014).
Health and Nutrition
As of December 2014, two million people need access to health services (OCHA, 19/11/2014; OCHA 22/12/2014). 55% of health facilities are functioning (WHO, 27/04/2015). Only 25% of those offering services have functioning sources of energy, and 21% have access to water (WHO, 31/12/2014). Many health centres have been out of essential drugs for months due to access constraints. Shortages of drugs and qualified staff have been severe in Dekoa, Mala and Ndjoukou (Kemo) (IFRC, 05/12/2014; OCHA, 29/04/2015). There is a lack of access to health services in IDP sites and in the subprefectures of Mbres, Batangafo, and Kouango due to increased insecurity (WHO, 31/10/2014; OCHA, 29/04/2015).
More than 15,000 IDPs from Ngakobo in Ouaka prefecture and health district do not have access to healthcare services (OCHA, 14/04/2015).
Malaria remains the primary reason for mortality (WHO, 30/04/2015). Due to shortage of funding, an NGO reduced its activities by 60% in Paoua and Markounda sub-prefectures, Ouham, where almost 150,000 receive free malaria treatment (OCHA, 13/05/2015).
Based on a national survey, the country has 6.5% severe acute malnutrition (SAM) (UNICEF, 08/01/2015). In 2015, 22,700 children under five will suffer from SAM and 47,000 from MAM (OCHA, 29/04/2015). From January to end March 2015, 6,500 children have been admitted for treatment for SAM (UNICEF, 30/04/2015).
In 2014, 28,000 children were severely malnourished and 75,500 moderately malnourished (OCHA, 04/12/2014; 18/12/2014).
More than 2% of children are malnourished in seven prefectures, compared to only two prefectures in 2012 (UNICEF, 17/02/2015). According to the preliminary results of a SMART survey, there has been a reduction in GAM in Bangui, from 8% in 2012 to around 5% in 2014, likely due to the concentration of humanitarian activities in the city (WFP, 23/09/2014).
2.3 million people do not have access to improved safe water or improved sanitation (OCHA, 23/09/2014; 22/12/2014). 1.4 million people are targeted for WASH assistance in 2015 (OCHA, 29/04/2015).
In Bambari, Sangaris site has 6.8L of water/person/day; MINUSCA has 10L/person/day; Notre Dame de la Victoire 4.0L/person/day; and Muslim neighbourhoods have 2.2L/person/day (UNICEF, 31/03/2015).
In Lihotom, Ouaka prefecture, only 11% of the households surveyed have access to potable water, and the only borehole in the village hasn’t worked in seven years (ACTED, 19/03/2015).
Shelter and NFIs
200 new IDPs in Notre-Dame de la Victoire IDP site in Bambari, Ouaka, need shelter and NFI assistance as well as 2,000 households in Nola, Sangha Mbaere, and Mala, Kemo (OCHA, 18/02/2015; IOM 02/03/2015).
Over 1.4 million children are in need of education (OCHA, 22/12/2014). Only 6,000–10,000 children were enrolled in school 2012–2014 (IRIN, 12/01/2015).
Only 10% of school-aged returnees in Debissaka village, Mbomou prefecture, are attending school due to security threats and attacks (ACTED, 22/04/2015).
In Bangui’s PK5 district, teachers have been leaving due to insecurity, resulting in 60,000 school-aged children in need of safe learning spaces (USAID, 13/03/2015).
An assessment of schools noted that as of end April 2015, 78–88% are open (UNICEF, 30/04/2015). The situation varies across the country, with 25% functioning in Nana-Grebizi, 50% functioning in Ouaka, 63% in Sangha-Mbaere; 67% functioning in Vakaga and 71% in Ouham. Classes, however, are not occurring in a regular manner due to insecurity and absence of teachers. Student enrolment improved by 31% from 2013-2014 but is still 6% below pre-crisis levels (2011-2012) (UNICEF, 30/04/2015).
Crimes against humanity and war crimes have been, and continued to be, reported. Ex-Seleka are listed for child recruitment, killing, rape and other forms of sexual violence, and attacks on schools and/or hospitals. Anti-balaka are listed for child recruitment, and killing and maiming (Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, 04/11/2014).
On 8 January, the UN Commission of Inquiry into human rights concluded that violence towards Muslims by anti-balaka in 2014 constitutes ethnic cleansing (Government, 20/01/2015).
21 Fulani herders who had been captured in Ombella-Mpoko in 2014 were freed by UN peacekeepers in Yaloke. At least 100 are still being held captive (Reuters, 19/04/2015; OCHA, 29/04/2015).
There were 150 reported rape cases in March and April in Bangui, Begoua (Bangui), Bimbo (Ombella-Mpoko), Yaloke (Ombella-Mpoko), Kaga Bandoro (Nana Grebizi), and Bambari, (Ouaka) with many more not reported (WHO, 30/04/2015).
432 children were killed or maimed by violence in 2014 (OCHA, 04/12/2014). The number of children recruited into armed groups has risen to 8,000–10,000, from 2,500 at the beginning of the crisis (The Guardian, 18/12/2014; OCHA, 02/04/2015). Eight major militia groups have agreed to free child soldiers and children used as cooks, messengers, or for sexual purposes (Reuters, 5/05/2015). More than 350 children were freed from armed groups on 14 May (AFP, 14/05/2015). France is in the process of investigating allegations of child abuse by its peacekeeping forces that occurred between December 2013 and June 2014 (Reuters, 29/04/2015).
Democratic Republic of Congo Country Analysis
20 May: More than 15,000 people have been displaced to Beni territory from Mavivi and surrounding villages in the region following ADF attacks (OCHA).
15 May: 1,500 CAR refugees are in need of shelter in Inke camp due to lack of plastic sheeting (UNHCR).
8-12 May: 4,000 people were displaced to Sorodo and Gety Etat localities, Orientale province, following FARDC offensives toward FRPI (OCHA, 22/05/2015).
30 April: In Malemba Nkulu territory, Katanga, there is a confirmed measles epidemic with an average of 400 weekly cases (OCHA)
- Internal conflict in the eastern provinces of Orientale, North Kivu, South Kivu, and Katanga.
- 7 million people need humanitarian assistance (OCHA, 30/04/2015).
- 2.8 million IDPs (OCHA, 30/04/2015).
- Over 2 million children under five are suffering from acute malnutrition (Radio Okapi, 04/11/2014).
- 7.3 million school-aged children are not attending school (Radio Okapi, 10/03/2015).
Needs are highest in the conflict-affected regions of North Kivu, South Kivu, Katanga, and Orientale, where there is large-scale, repeated displacement. IDPs, host populations, and those unable to flee are all vulnerable, as insecurity poses multiple protection risks and prevents access to basic services. Needs vary according to geographic area and conflict dynamics.
Political violence and inter-communal strife have persisted for decades, influenced by longstanding tensions with DRC’s eastern neighbours. Operations by DRC armed forces and UN peacekeepers and infighting between armed groups disrupt security and stability.
National Political Context
Attempts to prolong the president’s term beyond the two-term limit in September and then January were met with violent protests (AFP, 27/09/2014). Although Parliament voted against the legislation to prolong the presidential term beyond 2016, there are doubts regarding the scheduling of elections (AFP, 25/01/2015). Parliamentary elections are due to take place in July 2015. In March and April, activists promoting political participation were arrested (Reuters, 16/04/2015).
At least 40 armed groups are operating in the east of the country (ECHO, 22/10/2014). They range from local militias set up initially as self-defence groups (among them many Mayi-Mayi groups), to secessionist groups, and forces first set up by fighters from Uganda (LRA and ADF/NALU), Rwanda (FDLR) and Burundi (FNL). The UN has a peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO), and an EU mission providing assistance to security sector reform (EUSEC) was extended until 30 June 2015 (EU, 25/09/2014). The UN and the Government are discussing withdrawal of the UN mission (Radio Okapi, 06/04/2015).
Front of Patriotic Resistance (FRPI) is an armed group established in November 2002 in Ituri from the Ngiti ethnic group (TRAC). Attacks increased in Irumu territory, Orientale, in 2015, after a failed disarmament programme at the end of 2014 (OCHA, 19/04/2015). Around 300 FRPI militants disarmed to the FARDC on 17 May in Bunia, Orientale (Radio Okapi, 19/05/2015).
Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) are mainly Hutu Rwandans who were allegedly linked to the genocide. An estimated 1,400 fighters are active, primarily in the Kivu region (Reuters, 22/03/2015).
Mayi-Mayi: At least 20 Mayi-Mayi groups, formed by local leaders along ethnic lines, are active in North Kivu, South Kivu, and Katanga. The number of fighters can range from 100 to 1,000 (AFP 2013).
Allied Democratic Forces/National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF/NALU) is a Muslim militant group founded in the 1990s. MONUSCO and the FARDC launched a second operation in North Kivu to neutralise the group in January 2015 (Radio Okapi, 07/01/2015). ADF activity decreased in January, but by early February attacks against villages in Beni territory had increased (AFP, 04/02/2015; 20/03/2015).
Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), founded by Joseph Kony in Uganda in 1987, has spread to South Sudan and subsequently to DRC and CAR (IRIN).
National Liberation Forces (FNL) are Burundian militants based in South Kivu (AFP 2013).
The armed forces of the DRC (FARDC) comprise 120,000–130,000 fighters (Defence Web, 2013). Seven army and police officers were banned from receiving MONUSCO support in March 2015 because they pose a risk of committing human rights violations (Reuters, 11/03/2015).
The UN Stabilization Mission in DRC (MONUSCO) is made up of almost 18,000 troops, as well as military observers and police units (OCHA, 19/04/2015). The initial mission, MONUC, was established after the signing of the 1999 peace agreement between DRC and five regional states. In March 2014 its mandate was expanded, with the creation of an Intervention Brigade, charged with neutralising armed groups (RFI, 20/10/2014). MONUSCO’s mandate was extended for another year in March 2015, although its force was cut by 2,000 troops (Reuters, 26/03/2015; AFP, 26/03/2015).
An FARDC offensive on the FDLR began on 24 February in South Kivu, then moving to North Kivu territory, where most FDLR operate (AFP, 23/02/2015, 24/02/2015; 26/02/2015). Recent reports suggest that most FDLR are fleeing into the forest rather than risking combat (Reuters, 08/04/2015).
MONUSCO is preparing for voluntary disarmament of ADF and FDLR militants in Beni and Lubero territories (Radio Okapi, 24/04/2015). Since January, more than 60 people have been killed and around 80 kidnapped (OCHA, 23/04/2015). In Lubero territory, FDLR presence has been reported in the communities of Rusamambo, Bukumbirwa, Kasiki, Luhanga and Buleusa, where the FDLR accuses youth of collaborating with Mayi-Mayi militants (local media, 07/05/2015).
Beni territory: More than 300 people have been killed in Beni since October 2014 (international media, 09/05/2015). Investigations confirm that between 1 October and 31 December 2014, 237 civilians were killed, 47 were injured, 20 abducted and two sexually abused (UN, 13/05/2015).
The UN has deployed reinforcements to Beni after suspected ADF killed two peacekeepers and three civilians, and injured 13 others on 5 May near Eringeti town. Four peacekeepers are missing (Reuters, 06/05/2015; RFI, 06/05/2015; international media, 06/05/2015). In May, people left a dozen villages and were asked by authorities to move toward FARDC positions and the towns of Oicha and Beni city following the killing of 20 people (Radio Okapi, 15/05/2015). Schools, markets and shops have been closed due to insecurity (Radio Okapi, 13/05/2015). From 8-13 May, 66 people were killed around the periphery of Beni. More than 300 people have been killed in the past six months by ADF attacks in the region (OCHA, 20/05/2015). In April, 33 people were killed (AFP, 24/04/2015; OCHA, 23/04/2015). 200 Ugandan defence force soldiers were reportedly seen in Beni in April (Radio Okapi, 24/04/2015).
Lubero: The security situation in Banmate, Itala, Bunzoa, Ikobo villages, which lie between Lubero and Walikale territories, is tense due to FDLR attacks (Radio Okapi, 18/05/2015).
Masisi: Renewed fighting broke out mid-March between the Alliance of Patriots for a Free and Sovereign Congo (APCLS) and FARDC around Butemure (UNICEF, 31/03/2015). Communities in Masisi territory say they have seen FDLR activity despite the FARDC having pushed them out. Ten soldiers were killed on 6 April, including three officers (Reuters, 08/04/2015; local media, 08/04/2015).
Rutshuru: Tribal tensions between Hutus and Nande have halted social and economic activities in Nyamilima. Several families sought refuge in the church (local media, 04/05/2015). Armed men kidnapped more than 60 people on 15–16 April (OCHA, 23/04/2015). Six UN peacekeepers were injured in an ambush on the night of 8 April (10/04/2015).
The Front of Patriotic Resistance in Ituri (FRPI), LRA, and Mayi-Mayi Simba are all active in Orientale.
FRPI: FRPI has increased attacks on the civilian population in Irumu territory (Radio Okapi, 09/04/2015). 200,000 people are vulnerable to attack (OCHA, 21/04/2015). Armed groups have attacked IDP camps in Irumu territory seven times since the beginning of March, the last being on the night of 7–8 April (OCHA, 14/04/2015).
Mayi-Mayi: On 12 April, the Mayi Mayi Simba attacked some localities in Mambasa territory dressed as FARDC, killing five, kidnapping others, and raping five women (Radio Okapi, 16/04/2015).
Active armed groups in Katanga include the Mayi Mayi Kata Katanga, the Mayi Mayi Gedeon, and the Corak Kata Katanga. Since January, the Luba and Pygmies (Batwa) have frequently clashed in Kalemie, Manono, and Nyunzu territories (OCHA, 08/04/2015). 55 people were killed in Pygmy attacks in February and March (Radio Okapi, 20/02/2015; AFP, 25/02/2015; Radio Okapi, 11/03/2015).
In Nyunzu, Luba burned several shelters in an IDP camp in May. Women and children are now hosted in a warehouse and require assistance (ECHO, 05/05/2015; OCHA, 06/05/2015). On 1 May, pygmy militants burned 28 Luba homes in Kazala locality, Manono territory. Following the attack, clashes between pygmies and Luba killed eight and injured 30 (local media, 07/05/2015).
On 14 April, Mujinya IDP site was pillaged by alleged FARDC, causing renewed displacement (OCHA, 29/04/2015).
Since early 2015, Katanga’s triangle of death (Pweto, Manono and Moba territories) has experienced a decrease in Mayi Mayi attacks (Radio Okapi, 17/03/2015).
Humanitarian Context and Needs
7 million people need humanitarian assistance (OCHA, 30/04/2015).
The mountainous and volcanic terrain, and lack of tarred roads, limit access across DRC, and access worsens during the rainy season. Insecurity is a major constraint in the east.
North Kivu: Humanitarians are leaving areas of Masisi territory due to insecurity (Radio Okapi, 27/03/2015). Humanitarian groups are considering suspending their activities in Rutshuru and Beni territories due to increasing insecurity; other organisations have already suspended activities along the Oicha-Eringeti route north of Beni (Radio Okapi, 23/05/2015). Some 275,000 IDPs are hard to access in North Kivu due to insecurity, including 44,000 IDPs in sites in Rutshuru territory (OCHA, 30/04/2015).
Katanga: 82% of the roads in Katanga are almost impassable (OCHA, 30/04/2015). An important trade route connecting the villages of Kabwela and Kakuyu in Katanga has reopened after being cleared of landmines (Mines Advisory Group, 17/03/2015). ACTED suspended its activity in Pweto after 14 April due to threats (OCHA, 29/04/2015). In Malemba-Nkulu territory, humanitarian assistance in restricted due to poor roads, especially during the rainy season (OCHA, 30/04/2015).
Security Incidents Affecting Aid Workers
From January to end March, 37 incidents against humanitarian actors were recorded (OCHA, 30/04/2015). There were 35 incidents against humanitarians in North Kivu alone over 14–30 April (OCHA, 30/04/2015). Humanitarian agencies are reporting an increase in kidnapping, robbery and extortion cases in Rutshuru and Walikale territories, North Kivu (USAID, 15/04/2015).
In 2014, 188 incidents involved aid workers; six aid workers were killed (OCHA, 15/12/2014). North Kivu registered 120 security incidents against humanitarian aid workers in 2014, mainly in the city of Goma and Masisi territory (OCHA, 27/01/2015).
Katanga: 48,000 people were affected by floods due to heavy rains in January, including 30,000 who were left without shelter in Bukama, Kabalo, Kasaji, Kasenga, Mulono and Malemba Nkulu territories (OCHA, 12/02/2015; 18/03/2015). More than 5,000 homes were destroyed by rains in Haut Lomami.
Orientale: Heavy rains in Durba on 3 April destroyed 85 homes, leaving more than 400 people without shelter (Radio Okapi, 03/04/2015).
South Kivu: Heavy rains have left approximately 9,700 people without shelter. 16 have died and 12 are missing. Humanitarian access is very limited due to poor road conditions and damage to Kamvimvira and Kawizi bridges, Uvira territory (OCHA, 10/04/2015). In Uvira, rains in March destroyed 1,230 homes, 14 schools, and 850 latrines. In Fizi, 20 died, and 2,300 homes, four schools, and 300 hectares of crops were destroyed (OCHA, 23/04/2015).
At end April, there were 2.8 million IDPs in DRC, including 121,000 displaced between January and March 2015 (OCHA, 30/04/2015). 37,800 were displaced between October and December 2014, 609,600 over all 2014 (OCHA, 19/04/2015). 80% of IDPs are hosted by families and communities who are already facing chronic food insecurity and limited access to services and livelihood opportunities (FAO, 20/11/2014).
North Kivu hosts 1,003,250 IDPs, including 60,450 newly displaced in March (OCHA, 14/04/2015; 23/04/2015). 78% live with host families and 22% in IDP sites, most of which are near Goma. Authorities are moving to close the sites down for security reasons (OCHA, 28/02/2015; AFP, 03/12/2014). The IDP breakdown per region is: 19,300 in Goma city; 172,500 in Beni; 158,500 in Lubero; 238,800 in Masisi; 103,500 in Rutshuru; and 249,800 in Walikale (OCHA, 28/02/2015).
Buhimba and Nzulo IDP sites have closed; 700 IDPs returned to their place of origin and 128 were transferred to other sites (OCHA, 20/5/2015).
Beni: More than 15,000 people have been displaced to Beni from Mavivi and other villages in the region following ADF attacks (OCHA, 20/05/2015). There are more than 5,500 new IDPs in Beni territory since early March (OCHA, 11/03/2015). An estimated 45,000 people remain displaced since operations against ADF/NALU began (UNICEF, 31/03/2015).
Lubero: There are about 34,000 IDPs in Lubero territory (OCHA, 23/04/2015).
Masisi: Some 3,800 people fled their homes on 6 March because of the FARDC offensive against FDLR in Kitchanga and Bibwe (OCHA, 11/03/2015). 1,200 people have fled clashes between FARDC and APCLS (OCHA, 24/03/2015).
Walikale: 5,300 IDPs were reported in west Walikale and are living with host families (OCHA, 17/03/2015). Approximately 550 IDPs have been identified in Kibua centre (OCHA, 08/04/2015). Some 1,660 IDPs have been reported in Kalonge, Kibue and Limangi on the Mpofi–Kibua route (OCHA, 23/04/2015).
At 31 March, 661,400 IDPs were in South Kivu (OCHA, 30/04/2015). From January to end March 34,000 people were newly displaced with Mwenga and Shabunda territories being the most affected by the FARDC offensive against the FDLR (OCHA, 31/03/2015). Another 44,000 people have limited mobility. Poor access and limited humanitarian presence make it difficult to measure the impact of the offensive on the population, especially in Mwenga territory (OCHA, 19/03/2015). Approximately 6,500 people have been displaced following clashes between the FARDC and the Mayi Mayi Yakutumba in southern Fizi territory (OCHA, 10/04/2015).
As of end March, there were 550,490 IDPs in Orientale province as well as 342,000 returnees (OCHA, 19/02/2015; 30/04/2015). Around 389,230 people are displaced in Ituri district (OCHA, 22/05/2015). 80,000 people are still displaced due to FRPI activities (UNICEF, 31/03/2015).
From 8 and 12 May 4,000 people were displaced to Sorodo and Gety Etat localities following FARDC offensives on armed groups, including the FRPI (OCHA, 22/05/2015). 1,200 families (approximately 6,480 IDPs) living in Komanda, Ituri territory, say necessary humanitarian assistance has not been provided (Radio Okapi, 23/04/2015). Some 1,620 people have left two villages in Ango territory due to LRA security threats (Radio, Okapi, 25/03/2015). 1,400 people were displaced from 8–12 April due to FRPI attacks (OCHA, 14/04/2015). More than 10,000 IDPs in CEBCA, Adventiste, Bolombia, and Ngombenyama IDP sites in Omanda locality refuse to be relocated. They were displaced by FRPI attacks in September 2013 from south Irumu, FAREDC and armed group clashes on May and June 2014, as well as ADF attacks in November 2014 (OCHA, 08/04/2015).
Katanga hosts 460,600 IDPs, including 24,400 displaced in the first quarter of 2015 (OCHA, 19/02/2015; 15/04/2015; 21/04/2015). 73% are living with host families and 27% in IDP sites (OCHA, 21/04/2015). From January–March 2015, 84,500 people returned home (OCHA, 15/04/2015).
About 16,500 new IDPs were registered in March in Malemba Nkulu and Pweto territories (Radio Okapi, 27/03/2015). Escalated violence between the Batwa and the Luba has displaced an estimated 42,100 people towards Lwizi (Nyunzu) and Nyemba (Kalemie) (UNICEF, 31/03/2015). Approximately 15,000 IDPs, primarily women and children, are living in poor conditions in Nyunzu territory, displaced by intercommunal violence in Manono and Kabalo territories (Radio Okapi, 20/04/2015). 10,000 were displaced from Kabumbulo toward Kibumba, Malemba and Mwanza Seya in mid-March, fleeing Mayi-Mayi attacks (OCHA, 29/04/2015).
Maniema has 181,520 IDPs as of 30 March (OCHA, 19/02/2015; 21/04/2015).
More than 4,000 people arrived in Pagi and Kabambare territories from South Kivu January–March 2015 due to Raia Mutomboki attacks in Shabunda territory and clashes between FARDC and the Mayi Mayi Yakotumba in Fizi (OCHA, 08/04/2015). 2,700 people were displaced from Fizi territory in South Kivu to Kabambare following clashes on 23 March between the FARDC and Mayi Mayi Yakutumba. On 25 and 26 March, clashes between Mayi Mayi Yakutumba caused further displacement in Munzanza, a mining site (OCHA, 02/04/2015).
Refugees in DRC
DRC hosts more than 225,020 refugees (UNHCR, 28/02/2015; USAID, 15/04/2015; OCHA, 19/04/2015; 30/04/2015). DRC provincial authorities insist that assistance should only be delivered within camps, making it difficult to support refugees in host communities.
From CAR: As of 15 May there were 97,195 CAR refugees in DRC, 46,150 of whom had arrived since December 2013 (UNHCR, 21/04/2015; 15/05/2015). 30,000 arrived in Equateur province over December 2014 and January 2015 (Radio Okapi, 28/01/2015). Another 2,400 people arrived in Mobayi, Equateur, in mid-February (UNHCR, 24/02/2015; OCHA, 18/02/2015). A new refugee camp for 19,000 is being built in Bili, Bosobolo territory (Radio Okapi, 10/02/2015). The transfer of refugees to Bili started on 13 March and is expected to last 14 weeks (Radio Okapi, 14/03/2015). As of 15 May, 4,158 CAR refugees were registered in Bili camp (UNHCR, 03/04/2015; 15/05/2015).
From Rwanda: DRC is hosting 117,300 Rwandan refugees (UNHCR, 28/02/2015; 30/10/2014; UN 30/12/2014).
From Burundi: New arrivals of Burundian refugees and returnees have reached 9,420 (OCHA, 20/05/2015; AFP, 24/05/2015). 8,310 are living with host families; 730 are living in Kavimvira transit centre; 130 are at Sange reception centre; and five at Monge Monge reception centre – South Kivu (UNHCR, 18/05/2015). Most are female and hosted by local communities (UNHCR, 06/05/2015). Prior to the recent influx, there were 8,000 Burundian refugees in DRC (OCHA, 23/04/2015).
From Angola: There are 560 Angolan refugees registered in DRC, and 28,000 are undergoing voluntary repatriation (UNHCR, 28/02/2015). From 20 June 2014 until 23 April 2015, 15,520 Angolan refugees had been repatriated (2,970 in 2015 alone) (Government, 30/04/2015).
North Kivu: In March, there were 445,610 returnees to North Kivu (OCHA, 06/02/2015; 14/04/2015; 30/04/2015). Some 13,000 people returned to Rutshuru territory between March and April due to a renewed peace, though this has slowed in May (OCHA, 30/04/2015).
Katanga: During the first quarter of 2015, 84,500 new IDP returnees were counted in Katanga (OCHA, 16/01/2015; 21/04/2015). At 31 December, Pweto territory had 65,700 returnees (OCHA, 18/03/2015). More than 5,300 returnees who arrived in Kasenga Ngayie locality, Moba territory, in February 2015 need multisectoral assistance (OCHA, 08/04/2015). Another 5,800 returnees in Kamena, south of Moba territory, who had fled Mayi-Mayi Kata Katanga violence, arrived in September 2014 and are in need of health, nutrition, food and protection assistance (OCHA, 22/04/2015). As of 31 March, there are a total of 322,293 returnees in Katanga (OCHA, 30/04/2015).
Maniema: As of 30 March, there were 181,520 returnees, including 1,200 since January 2015 (OCHA, 30/04/2015).
Orientale: As of 31 March, there were 333,610 returnees (OCHA, 30/04/2015). 3,000 returnees are awaiting registration in Ango territory (OCHA, 24/02/2015).
South Kivu: At 31 March, there were 209,600 returnees from the past 18 months (OCHA, 23/04/2015). 325 DRC refugees previously in Burundi returned to Uvira territory (OCHA, 23/04/2015).
DRC Refugees in Neighbouring Countries
There are around 442,440 DRC refugees in neighbouring countries, mainly in Uganda (178,220), Rwanda (73,560), Burundi (53,860), Tanzania (55,870), Congo (23,450), Kenya (15,630), South Sudan (14,630), and CAR (5,340) (UNHCR, 31/03/2015; 17/02/2015; 01/01/2015; 31/12/2014).
6.6 million people are facing IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) or 4 (Emergency) food insecurity as a result of armed group activity, inter-communal violence, and displacement (OCHA, 30/04/2015; Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, 28/01/2015; USAID, 15/04/2015). The food security situation in DRC is worsening due to low agricultural productivity, limited access to land, and frequent flooding, with an increase of about 523,000 people in the Emergency phase (Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, 28/01/2015).
The following areas are facing Emergency food insecurity (IPC Phase 4): Ituri (Orientale), Boende (Equateur), Punia (Maniema), Shabunda (South Kivu), Manono, Mitwaba and Pweto (Katanga) (Food Security and Nutrition Working Group, 22/05/2015). In Katanga, 1.3 million people are facing food insecurity from December 2014 until June 2015, 11% more than in the previous seasonal cycle (OCHA, 05/02/2015).
Orientale: Insecurity in Geti area, Irumu territory, is affecting food security, which was IPC Phase 4 (Emergency) in December 2014; 260,000 IDPs, returnees and local communities are affected (OCHA, 19/04/2015).
North Kivu: Farmers are having difficulties accessing their fields because of movement restrictions imposed by the FARDC and the FDLR, who tend to ask for payment for passage (OCHA, 19/04/2015). An assessment of Mugunga 3 Camp showed that food insecurity increased from 48.7% in January to 60.4% in February. Households are adopting negative coping strategies (WFP, 28/04/2015).
South Kivu: The food security situation in South Kivu, where Burundian refugees are arriving, is worrying – especially given the presence of armed groups (WFP, 22/05/2015).
Agriculture and Markets
Farmers in Kipushi, Katanga, are concerned about the upcoming harvests in May 2015 due to the current slow growth of maize and beans (local media 06/04/2015).
More than 3,000 hectares of rice crops have been damaged due to Whitefly infestation in Kibombo territory, Maniema (OCHA, 21/04/2015).
Health and Nutrition
23,000 people in Masisi territory, North Kivu, do not have access to health services (OCHA, 11/02/2015). The health centre in Beni, North Kivu, has had a shortage of medicine since 23 February due to the rise in the number of IDPs (OCHA, 11/03/2015).
More than 17,500 IDPs and host-families in north Beni, North Kivu need health assistance (OCHA, 14/04/2015).
576 cases of an unidentified disease similar to malaria has been recorded in Kayna health zone, Lubero territory, North Kivu. The number of deaths has not been recorded nor announced (Radio Okapi, 26/04/2015). 21 people have been paralysed by an unidentified disease in Sandoa, Katanga since end April. 200 people have fled places where the disease was recorded (Radio Okapi, 15/05/2015).
5,450 cases of measles have been reported since January 2015 (UNICEF, 31/03/2015).
In Katanga, a measles epidemic has been confirmed in Malemba-Nkulu territory, with an average of 400 weekly cases, including ten deaths (OCHA, 30/04/2015). 4,426 cases of measles were reported from January to 26 April 2015, including 78 deaths. In the four weeks to 6 May, 30 children under five have died of measles (OCHA, 06/05/2015). 20 children died from measles in the span of two weeks in Malemba Nkulu, Katanga. One of the causes is thought to be the lack of medicine (Radio Okapi, 25/04/2015). Six children died on 12 May in Mukanga, Katanga (local media, 13/05/2015).
5,290 cases of cholera, including 56 deaths, were recorded from January to mid-April 2015 (UNICEF, 18/05/2015).
In Katanga, 2,000 cases and 37 deaths were recorded between January and 2 April (UN 02/04/2015; OCHA, 18/03/2015). In South Kivu, 1,820 cases have been reported (UNICEF, 31/03/2015). In North Kivu, 880 cases were recorded from January to March 2015 (UNICEF; 31/03/2015; OCHA, 24/03/2015) and 321 cases were reported from 15 April–20 May (OCHA, 20/05/2015). As of 6 April, 75 cases of cholera and five deaths have been reported in Orientale (OCHA, 08/04/2015; 21/04/2015).
In 2014, there were 22,200 cases of cholera and 372 deaths, compared to 26,440 cases in 2013 (WHO, 31/12/2014; UNICEF, 24/12/2014).
Over two million children under five suffer from acute malnutrition (Radio Okapi, 04/11/2014). At May 2014, three provinces were above the 10% emergency threshold: Maniema (22.7%), Bas-Congo (11%), and Bandundu (10%). In Maniema, SAM was recorded at 8.6% (Government, 05/2014).
Inke and Mole refugee camps, provide an average of 10.5L of water per person per day, significantly below standards (UNHCR, 15/05/2015).
An estimated 4.3 million people require WASH assistance in North Kivu (OCHA, 20/05/2015). 5,000 IDPs in Bwalanda, Kashilira and Kikuiku sites in Rutshuru territory, North Kivu need urgent WASH assistance. There is a lack of humanitarian actors doing WASH in this area (OCHA, 14/04/2015).
Access to water in Bunia, Orientale province, is limited (Radio Okapi, 25/03/2015).
Only 40% of the population of Maniema province have access to potable water (OCHA, 02/04/2015).
The refugee site Lusenda, hosting Burundian refugees in Fizi territory, South Kivu lacks potable water (AFP, 25/05/2015).
Heavy rains in Uvira territory, South Kivu, have destroyed latrines (OCHA, 10/04/2015).
More than 235 people in Yamwanda village, Equateur, lost their homes to fire during a month of intercommunal violence (Radio Okapi, 02/04/2015).
Heavy rains on 3 April destroyed more than 85 houses in Durba, Orientale (Radio Okapi, 04/04/2015). An estimated 9,670 people have been left without shelter in Uvira territory due to heavy rains and winds (OCHA, 10/04/2015).
1,500 CAR refugees are in need of shelter in Inke camp due to a lack of plastic sheeting. No shelters have been built in four weeks (UNHCR, 15/05/2015).
7.3 million children aged 5–17 – 28% of the school-aged population – are not attending school (Radio Okapi, 10/03/2015).
Only 40% of school-aged children are attending school in Equateur (Radio Okapi 07/02/2015).
6,000 school-aged children are out of school in Kalemie, Manono, and Nyunzu territories due to clashes between Batwa and Luba, fires, and heavy rains in their localities (OCHA, 08/04/2015). Five schools have been closed since October 2014 in Manono territory, Katanga, affecting 950 students (Radio Okapi, 31/03/2015). More than 85% of the 2,000 school-aged children in Kasanga Nyemba, Kalemie territory, are not attending school (OCHA, 22/04/2015). A school was burned in Garenganze, Manono territory, following clashes between Luba and pygmies. 4,600 students are affected (Radio Okapi, 17/05/2015). More than 30 schools in Kaumulu, Malemba Nkulu territory, Katanga, have been closed since March 2015 due to clashes between the Mayi-Mayi and the FARDC (Radio Okapi, 20/05/2015).
Attacks on schools in North Kivu in February are affecting education (OCHA, 24/02/2015). In Rutshuru territory, confrontations between the FARDC and the FLDR are compromising school activity (OCHA, 24/03/2015).
Military, militias, and other armed groups are all accused of repeated abuses against civilians, including arbitrary arrests, extortion, looting, child conscription, sexual violence, and executions. In Orientale, for example, 12,300 protection incidents against civilians were reported in 2014, compared to 4,800 in 2013 (OCHA, 04/02/2015).
An NGO report determined that 40% of Orientale’s surface contains mines (Radio Okapi, 04/04/2015).
Between 8 and 17 March, 26 kidnappings were reported in North Kivu, including four INGO staff (OCHA, 17/03/2015). Around 30 people were kidnapped by the FDLR in Rutshuru territory, North Kivu on 15 April (Radio Okapi, 16/04/2015).
4,500 child solders left armed groups to be reintegrated into society in 2014 (Radio Okapi, 03/03/2015). In Orientale province, 450 children are still active in armed groups (OCHA, 24/02/2015). From January to March 2015, 924 children were released from armed groups throughout the country, including 809 in eastern DRC (UNICEF, 31/03/2015).
Sexual violence has been a common element of warfare by the armed groups and soldiers in eastern DRC since the breakout of war in the early 1990s. 127 women reported being sexually abused after an attack by dozens of armed men in Kikamba town, South Kivu on 1 May (MSF, 15/05/2015).
Orientale: 2,860 cases of rape have been registered in Karibuni Wamama hospital in Bunia, Orientale province, since 2010. Due to insecurity, the number of rapes reported increases each year, particularly in Ituri territory (Radio Okapi, 05/04/2015).
In Orientale, FRPI are using sexual violence. In Bunia, Irumu and Mambasa territories, 42 cases of sexual violence were reported in February 2015 (OCHA, 19/03/2015). 90% of the 2,900 cases of SGBV reported in Orientale in 2014 occurred in Ituri territory, the others in Uele territory (OCHA, 08/04/2015; 19/04/2015). On 12 April, in Mambasa territory, the Mayi Mayi Simba attacked localities and raped five women (Radio Okapi, 16/04/2015). On 10 May, 26 women were raped by FRPI in Apihinji and Mbulumbulu localities (OCHA, 22/05/2015).
Katanga: There were more than 600 cases of SGBV reported From January to end March in Katanga. 50% came from Nyunzu territory (OCHA, 22/04/2015). Approximately 100 minors were raped in January 2015 in Kalemie, Moba, and Pweto in Katanga province (Radio Okapi, 19/02/2015). In the past year and a half, rapes of young children and babies have been reported (AFP, 19/03/2015).
1,680 SGBV cases were reported in 2014 in Katanga and 840 in Kasai-Occidental (OCHA, 05/02/2015; Radio Okapi, 11/02/2015). 2,012 were reported in Orientale province, and 1,123 in Bas-Congo (OCHA, 10/12/2014, 03/12/2014; Radio Okapi, 27/11/2014).
Iraq Country Analysis
24 May: Eight bombs exploded in Baquba and Baladruz, Diyala Governorate. Reports suggest 14 people were wounded (AFP, 24/05/2015).
24 May: Islamic State (IS) executed 16 Iraqi traders taking food from Baiji to the government-controlled city of Haditha (AFP, 24/05/2015).
8 April–24 May: 180,000 people are believed to have been displaced by fighting in Anbar. 69,000 have fled fighting in Ramadi since 15 May (OCHA, 25/05/2015).
- Around 810 deaths recorded by UNAMI in April, including around 535 civilians. Approximately 12,000 people were killed in 2014, corresponding to the worst levels of violence since 2006–2007 (UNAMI, 02/05/2015; 01/01/2015).
- Around 8.3 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, including 2.9 million IDPs and 2.2 million beyond the reach of aid agencies (ECHO, 12/12/2014; IOM, 30/04/2015; 25/05/2015).
- Access continues to be severely constrained in large parts of Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninewa and Salah al Din (UN, 01/05/2015).
- 248,203 registered Syrian refugees are in Iraq; 64% are women and children (UNHCR, 30/04/2015).
- Protection is a key concern, particularly in areas directly affected by conflict and under Islamic State (IS) control.
The IS insurgency has compounded an already fragile political and humanitarian situation, leading to a level 3 humanitarian crisis and international military intervention. Iraq now hosts one of the largest internally displaced populations in the world. Priority needs are food, water, shelter, fuel, and access to healthcare. Access constraints and human rights violations, particularly in IS-controlled areas, are of major concern. There are large information gaps on the situation of affected populations outside of the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
National Political Context
The perceived marginalisation of Sunni groups by former President Maliki’s Government is considered one of the main drivers of the current conflict. A unity government, led by President Abadi, was formed in September 2014. While trying to balance sectarian tensions inside the country, Abadi has been seeking to garner international support for the fight against Islamic State, including from neighbouring Sunni Arab states (Foreign Affairs, 16/01/2015).
Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I)
Masoud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) have ruled the autonomous KR-I through a coalition government since 2005. Barzani’s term has been extended to 2015, a move denounced as illegal by the opposition. In mid-November 2014, Baghdad and Erbil reached a budget agreement around oil revenues, which was incorporated into Iraq's 2015 national budget law late January; political relations are developing positively, as both sides honoured their part of the deal end March (local media, 26/04/2015; UN, 02/12/2014).
Around 810 people were killed in acts of violence in April, including 535 civilians, with Baghdad most affected (UNAMI, 02/05/2015). At least 12,000 people were killed and more than 23,000 injured in 2014, in the worst violence since 2006–2007. Reported casualty numbers are hard to verify in conflict areas (UNAMI, 01/01/2015).
Islamic State (IS)
In June, IS declared the establishment of a Sunni caliphate, covering the area between Aleppo in northern Syria and Diyala in eastern Iraq. Abu Bakr al Baghdadi was declared caliph and leader for Muslims worldwide. IS has taken over large areas of northern and eastern Syria, and parts of northern and central Iraq. It has attracted more than 20,000 foreigners, out of a total fighting force of as many as 31,000 (ICSR, 21/01/2015; NBC, 02/2015).
Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), made up of around 48,000 troops, are involved in offensives around Baghdad, and in central governorates (Foreign Policy, 28/03/2015). The Prime Minister declared in January that falling global oil prices could lead to possible budget deficits, hampering capacity to undertake military operations (Reuters, 22/01/2015).
Three militias have been supporting government forces on all major fronts against IS since the beginning of the insurgency, as part of the Popular Mobilisation Forces: Asa’ib, Kita’ib Hezbollah, and the Badr Brigades. The Popular Mobilisation Forces are made up of around 100,000 fighters, including 30,000 reportedly backed by the Iranian Government (Al Jazeera, 23/01/2015).
The Kurdish Peshmerga, supported by Kurdish fighters from Syria and Turkey, are engaged in a counteroffensive against IS. Kurdish fighters receive training and equipment from multiple countries, including the United States (AFP).
In August 2014, US forces started airstrikes on IS locations. On 15 September, 30 additional countries pledged to help Iraq fight IS. Iran has dispatched members of its elite Revolutionary Guards Corps and reportedly carried out airstrikes against IS (The Economist, 03/01/2015; The Guardian, 05/01/2015, 04/12/2014).
ISF and Kurdish forces have regained territory in 2015, recapturing populated areas of Diyala in January, and Al Baghdadi in Anbar early March (AFP, 26/01/2015; 08/03/2015). Peshmerga forces are fighting IS in Kirkuk. IS made important gains in Anbar in April.
Anbar: IS captured Ramadi on 17 May, killing at least 500 people in the operation against ISF and associated militias. ISF had launched operations to retake Anbar on 8 April (AFP, 17/05/2015; OCHA, 26/04/2015; ISW, 15/04/2015). Clashes have been ongoing in and around Falluja since 25–26 April, and a curfew is reportedly in place in the southeast of the city (OCHA, 28/04/2015). Three people were killed and 11 wounded by indiscriminate shelling in Falluja on 10 May (AFP, 10/05/2015). On 24 May, IS executed 16 Iraqi traders taking food from Baiji to government-controlled Haditha (AFP, 24/05/2015). IS has begun moving east towards Khaldiyah (OCHA, 19/05/2015).
Baghdad has seen nearly daily bombings and shootings since November 2014. At least ten people were killed in attacks targeting Shi’ite worshippers marching to a Baghdad shrine over 12–14 May (AFP, 14/05/2015; 12/05/2015). At least 11 people were killed and 18 wounded in separate attacks in the governorate on 10 May (AFP, 10/05/2015). On 28 April, eight IDPs were reportedly killed in Baghdad, raising concerns over growing anti-IDP sentiment due to fears of IS infiltration (OCHA, 05/05/2015).
Diyala: An IS attack on a Shi’ite mosque in Baladruz district killed 19 and wounded 15 on 8 May (AFP, 08/05/2015). On 24 May, eight bombs exploded in Baquba and Baladruz. Reports suggest 14 people were wounded (AFP, 24/05/2015).
Kirkuk: Peshmerga forces began operation to dislodge IS from areas of southwestern Kirkuk in February; by 18 March, Peshmerga and Popular Mobilisation forces had retaken Bashir and surrounding villages (ISW, 18/03/2015). Both forces, with the support of ISF, are planning an operation in Al Hawija in the coming months. This cooperation is significant, as visible tensions between Kurdish and Shi’ite rivals over control of Kirkuk city are raising fears that IS will exploit the divisions to advance (ISW, 13/03/2015; Ekurd Daily, 17/02/2015; The Daily Beast, 17/02/2015).
Ninewa: IS continues to carry out security operations south of Mosul, to control tribal resistance and safeguard one of its most important areas of control.
Salah al Din: On 12 April, IS launched three suicide attacks on Baiji oil refinery, the fiercest since ISF recaptured the area in November. Clashes were accelerating as of 5 May, as IS cut off supply routes and occupied positions within the facility (ISW, 08/05/2015). As of 31 March, Iraqi forces and supporters had reportedly recaptured Albu Ajil, Tal Ksaiba, Al Alam, Al Dour, and Tikrit from IS (local media, 31/03/2015; WSJ, 13/02/2015; Al Jazeera, 08/03/2015). Tensions then rose between government forces and allied militias (Reuters, 04/04/2015).
Humanitarian Context and Needs
As of end March, 8.3 million people are estimated to be in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, including 3.85 million children, compared to 5.2 and 2.6 million, respectively, reported at end February (UNICEF, 31/03/2015; 28/02/2015). As of 5 May, Iraq’s 2015 appeal is only 8% funded, leading to serious response cutbacks, particularly affecting the food, health and education sectors (OCHA, 05/05/2015).
Around 2.2 million people in need of emergency assistance are beyond the reach of aid agencies, and access to the estimated 3.6 million people in areas under control of IS and affiliated armed groups is limited (ECHO, 12/12/2014). Several INGOs have suspended activities in IS-controlled areas, or provide emergency assistance through local partners. High insecurity and unexploded ordnance (UXO) also hinders access, as do long delays in obtaining clearance from Iraqi authorities (OCHA, 05/12/2014).
Border crossings: The Ibrahim Khalil border crossing has been closed to Syrians from Kobane since 2 March; most refugees have entered via the Peshkabour crossing (UNHCR, 15/03/2015). Insecurity prevents most civilian movement at the IS-controlled Al Qa’im and Al Waleed crossings, as well as at Rabia (Reuters, 23/11/2014; UNHCR, 28/02/2015; 15/01/2015).
IDP movement restrictions: Over 30% of IDPs are forced to stay within their governorate, due to movement restrictions imposed by neighbouring governorates; restrictions have been reported in Baghdad, Salah al Din, and Anbar (IOM, 15/01/2014; Protection Cluster, 15/01/2015). Access to and in KR-I remains challenging for certain IDPs, particularly those of Arab ethnicity (UNHCR/Protection Cluster, 28/02/2015; OCHA, 23/01/2015).
Anbar remains largely inaccessible. One-fifth of Falluja’s population was left in the city in January, and prevented from leaving (ISW, 18/03/2015; REACH, 27/01/2015). IS checkpoints have proliferated in Hit district, preventing civilian movements outside the city (OCHA, 05/05/2015). The three main roads linking Haditha to other cities in Anbar are closed (OCHA, 23/03/2015). Access to new IDPs from Ramadi in Habbaniyah, Khaldiyah district, has been very limited due to insecurity (OCHA, 17/05/2015). Control of the roads toward Al Baghdadi continues to shift between ISF and IS, which has delayed transportation of food and medical supplies to both Al Baghdadi sub-district and Haditha district (OCHA, 28/04/2015). Restricted access into Baghdad, Babylon, Najaf, Wassit, Sulaymaniyah and Kerbala has been reported for IDPs from Anbar; IDPs were asked to provide a sponsor for their admission into Baghdad from Bzabz bridge (OCHA, 17/05/2015; 22/04/2015; 21/04/2015). At least six IDPs have died from lack of care while waiting at Bzabz bridge. Restrictions have since eased (AFP, 20/05/2015) Hostilities have prevented UNHCR from delivering any supplies to Al Obaidy refugee camp near the Syrian border (UNHCR and ACTED, 30/04/2015).
Diyala: UN staff members were abducted by unidentified gunmen end April, and have not been located since (UN, 08/05/2015).
Kirkuk: Inaccessibility is hampering the delivery of essential medical supplies, equipment, and vaccines, especially access to Al Hawija and Debes districts, where a significant displaced population is reported (WHO, 12/03/2015; IOM, 24/02/2015).
Ninewa: Access to Mosul is impossible for humanitarian actors and communications with areas outside the city are allegedly cut off. Civilians are prevented from leaving the city. Conditions have dramatically deteriorated since IS took control (OCHA, 02/03/2015; WFP, 02/02/2015).
At early April, there are 2.67 million IDPs, 247,860 Syrian refugees, and 1.5 million people in need of assistance in host communities.
As of 25 April, more than 2,966,844 IDPs are in 3,387 locations in Iraq. 31% are in KR-I (868,960) including 452,496 in Dahuk and 247,878 in Erbil. Anbar hosts 422,586 IDPs, Kirkuk 375,120, and Baghdad 412,200. 239,440 or 8% are in 31 IDP camps (mostly in KR-I), 27% in critical shelter arrangements (mostly in Dahuk and Ninewa), and 65% in private settings. Priority needs are for shelter, NFIs, income, and food support (IOM, 26/04/2015; 25/05/2015; UNHCR, 21/05/2015). The number and spread of IDPs pose a major challenge to needs assessment and assistance (IOM, 02/12/2014).
Anbar: 180,000 people are believed to have been displaced by fighting in Anbar between 8 April and 24 May to 15 governorates, including 62% to Baghdad and 18% within Anbar. Priority needs are WASH, food, and NFIs (IOM, 25/04/2015; OCHA, 25/05/2015). 69,000 people have fled fighting in Ramadi since 15 May. 24,000 fled to Falluja and Khaldiyah, with 39,500 remaining in Anbar (OCHA, 25/05/2015). Nearly 47,260 people were displaced by fighting in Karmah district in early May: 94% to Fallujah, and 6% to Abu Ghraib in Baghdad (OCHA, 05/05/2015). Many of the civilians have not been able to flee to safer areas due to ad hoc entry restrictions and ongoing violence (NRC, 21/05/2015).
Erbil: 150 Sunni IDP families originally displaced from Anbar are reportedly arriving in Shaqlawa district from Baghdad each week, due to insecurity. The majority live in poor conditions, mostly in unfinished buildings (OCHA, 03/04/2015).
Salah al Din: 1,300 people have been displaced from Baiji to al Alam subdistrict due to military operations, and are in urgent need of food and NFIs (OCHA, 12/05/2015). Nearly 30,000 people fled operations between ISF and IS in Tikrit in March for areas in and around Samarra. The majority are living in 127 collective shelters. Priority needs are for food, shelter, health, and WASH (ECHO, 11/03/2015).
The humanitarian situation for IDPs in Najaf, Karbala, Babel, Qadissiya, and Wassit in public buildings or collective shelters, with significant food, WASH, and livelihood needs, is also critical (WFP, 27/01/2015; REACH, 27/01/2015).
Between 27 March and 8 May, 145,764 IDPs have returned to their place of origin, mainly in five governorates: Diyala (32% of identified returnees), Ninewa (28%), Salah al Din (21%), Anbar (17%), and Kirkuk (2%) (IOM, 25/05/2015). As of 8 May, around 14,330 IDPs have reportedly returned to Ramadi district in Anbar, and 35,000 to the rest of the province. One reason for the returns is lack of sponsor to enter Baghdad. Families lack basic services and feel unsafe (OCHA, 12/05/2015; 08/05/2015; 05/05/2015).
Around 116,850 IDPs returned to their areas of origin over 26 March–28 April, including 37% to Diyala, 26% to Salah al Din and 26% to Ninewa. 19% returned to unfinished or abandoned buildings (IOM, 25/04/2015). Returnees in Diyala are in need of legal and basic services support (UNHCR, 15/04/2015).
Heavily disrupted basic services and infrastructure, property destruction, mines, IEDs, insecurity, and lost documentation all increase the risks for returnees (UNHCR, 15/04/2015).
Refugees in Iraq
As of 15 May, 248,203 Syrian refugees were registered in Iraq; 43% are women and 41.5% children. KR-I hosts an estimated 97%, with nearly 110,464 in Erbil, 99,951 in Dahuk and 29,859 in Sulaymaniyah; 4,520 were last known to be in Anbar and 1,310 in Ninewa (UNHCR, 30/04/2015; 19/05/2015). Refugees from Aleppo continue to arrive at the Peshkhabour border; 560 arrived 27 April. In total, 19,029 individuals have arrived since January (UNHCR, 30/04/2015). Around 33,810 Syrian refugees have arrived in KR-I from Kobane since 25 September (UNHCR, 15/03/2015).
37.5% of refugees live in nine camps; over half are in Domiz camp in Dahuk (47,940), 10,060 in Kawergosk and 9,750 in Darashakran in Erbil (UNHCR, 30/04/2015). The number of Syrian refugees in Al Obaidy camp in IS-controlled Al Qa’im in Anbar significantly decreased January–March, to 851; understanding the trend is difficult due to access constraints (UNHCR, 15/03/2015, 04/03/2015).
More than 37,660 Syrian refugees returned to Syria over January 2014–March 2015. Reasons for return include high living cost in the KR-I, lack of job opportunities and family reunification (UNHCR, 15/04/2015; 31/12/2014).
There are also 41,700 non-Syrian refugees (UNHCR, 23/04/2015).
Iraqi Refugees in Neighbouring Countries
As of end 2014, there were around 254,000 Iraqi refugees in neighbouring countries, including 200,000 in Turkey, 47,000 in Jordan (the Government estimated 58,000), 8,700 in Lebanon, and over 3,000 in Yemen (PI, 07/01/2015; UNHCR, 01/2015; 30/04/2015).
2.8 million people urgently need food assistance. Needs are particularly high, especially for IDPs, in Anbar (Al Baghdadi, Hit, and Haditha districts), Salah al Din (Tikrit, Baiji and Samarra), Kirkuk, Diyala, Ninewa, and Baghdad governorates. Food supply needs also persist for IDPs in the southern governorates of Qadissiya (Diwaniya district), Najaf, Kerbala, Thi-Qar and Missan (OCHA, 12/05/2015; 05/05/2015).
Many farmers and rural households have abandoned their fields (FAO, 11/2014). Some 120,000 farmers in host communities need agricultural inputs for the winter planting season (OCHA, 06/02/2015). IS controls major wheat storage silos in Ninewa and Salah al Din (FAO 10/02/2015). The prospects for the 2015 winter crop are uncertain in conflict-affected parts of Anbar, Salah Al Din, and Diyala (WFP, 11/03/2015).
Refugees: Reduced access to basic feed is posing a significant risk to refugees’ livestock, especially in Ninewa and Dahuk (FAO, 10/02/2015; UNHCR, 18/02/2015).
800,000 people are in need of livelihood support in Iraq (UN, 18/02/2015). The need for livelihood support is increasing as IDPs’ financial conditions are deteriorating, and unemployment is rising in IS-controlled areas (UNHCR, 15/03/2015; OCHA, 02/03/2015). In conflict-affected areas, casual labour opportunities are limited and wage rates are low (WFP, 11/03/2015). KR-I’s poverty rate increased from 3.5% to 8.1% between 2013 and 2014. GDP growth in Iraq declined by five percentage points to 3% in 2014 (World Bank/Government, 12/02/2015).
In Anbar, Diyala, and Ninewa, purchasing power has fallen by a quarter since February. Food prices are high in Anbar, Ninewa, Kirkuk, Salah al Din, and Dahuk due to conflict and blocked supply lines (WFP, 08/04/2015; 03/2015). In Salah al Din, rice and flour prices have doubled, and increased fivefold in some areas (WFP, 11/03/2015). The conflict in Anbar has dramatically affected agricultural livelihoods.
Refugees: Refugees resort to a rising range of negative coping mechanisms in Dahuk due to high food prices (UNHCR, 15/04/2015). The ability to find sustainable job opportunities is still severely limited, and hampered by competition. As of February, only 5% of refugees targeted for access to wage employment in 2015 had been reached (DRC/UNDP, 28/02/2015).
Health and Nutrition
5.2 million people need health support in Iraq (WHO, 16/03/2015). Acute diarrhoea, acute respiratory infections, and scabies remain a leading cause of morbidity among refugees and IDPs (Government/WHO, 29/03/2015).
A number of health facilities have been damaged by bombing and shelling. None of the three hospitals in Tikrit, Salah al Din, are functioning; in Kirkuk, some 23% of health facilities are not functioning (WHO, 27/04/2015). Recurrent shortages of essential medicines and other supplies remain a challenge, especially in Anbar, Salah al Din, and Ninewa (WHO, 27/04/2015). Difficulties in import and clearing of supplies through customs are reported (OCHA, 23/03/2015). Health professionals are in short supply in KR-I and conflict areas, while insecurity hampers access to healthcare in some areas (WHO, 16/03/2015). The influx of under-vaccinated Syrian refugees into KR-I also increases health risks (WHO, 11/2014).
Limited or unavailable treatment for tuberculosis, leishmaniasis, and hepatitis are major concerns in Salah al Din and Kirkuk (WHO, 16/03/2015).
Anbar: Ramadi’s main hospital came under IS control on 16 May (OCHA, 17/05/2015). The city hospital in Hit district is also reportedly no longer accessible for civilians (OCHA, 05/05/2015). Critical shortages of essential medicines are reported by functioning health structures (ECHO, 16/02/2015). Shortages of fuel affecting healthcare delivery has been reported in one hospital in Anbar, while contact has been lost with facilities in western Anbar (WHO, 16/03/2015). Increased acute illnesses and chronic diseases are reported from Al Baghdadi district, while health concerns are rising in Habbaniya in Anbar due to lack of reproductive health services and safe drinking water (OCHA, 15/05/2015; 05/05/2015). Khaldiyah emergency hospital has suffered direct mortar hits; most staff have been evacuated to Amiriyat al Falluja general hospital (OCHA, 19/05/2015).
Erbil: Handicap International have interrupted transportation services for people with chronic diseases (OCHA, 21/04/2015).
Mosul: Only two units of the main hospital remain functional, staffing levels are down to 30–50%, and severe medicine shortages have been reported (AFP, 12/2014).
Sulaymaniyah: Overcrowding in Arbat IDP camp has reportedly led to referrals to medical facilities in Sulaymaniyah city, putting additional pressure on the health infrastructure (OCHA, 23/03/2015).
Refugees: 20% of the non-camp population has difficulty accessing health services, due to cost and perceived availability (WHO/UNHCR, 28/02/2015). Access to specialised primary services, including mental healthcare and control of communicable diseases, remain priorities in camps (WHO/UNHCR, 31/03/2015).
Five million people need WASH support, while many essential operations face suspension due to funding constraints (UNHCR, 15/03/2015; OCHA, 28/02/2015).
Access to safe water is a critical problem in areas affected by conflict or controlled by armed groups. Power cuts, disruption of supply routes, shortage of chlorine, and broken pipelines have left communities without safe water (WHO, 01/02/2015). IDP sites in Baghdad, Anbar, and Salah al Din, as well as in Babylon and Najaf, urgently need WASH support (OCHA, 28/04/2015).
Refugees: Drainage, waste disposal and water quality remain pressing issues in Darashakran, Akre, Basirma, and Domiz camps (UNHCR, 15/04/2015). In Basirma, the latrine ratio is 23:1, while garbage collection remains an issue in camps in Erbil (UNHCR, 31/03/2015; UNICED and UNHCR, 30/04/2015).
Shelter and NFIs
Around 1.7 million people require shelter and NFI support, mainly in non-camp settings in central and southern Iraq; IDPs in informal, unmanaged settlements are of highest concern (UNHCR/Shelter Cluster, 02/05/2015).
Most camp facilities and services do not meet minimum Sphere standards (REACH 31/10/2014). Arbat IDP camp in Sulaymaniyah is overcapacity and access to basic services is of major concern, as it hosts 19,500 individuals instead of the planned 7,160 (OCHA, 02/03/2015; CCCM, 01/03/2015). Overcrowded Laylan camp in Kirkuk also needs support (OCHA, 03/04/2015). Eleven camps are under construction for an additional capacity of 384,235 IDPs (CCCM, 02/03/2015).
Many IDPs in Ninewa reportedly live in critical shelter conditions (OCHA. 05/05/2015). 75% of returnee houses in Al Alam in Salah al Din have been demolished (OCHA, 27/03/2015).
Refugees: In refugee camps, 24% of households live in unimproved shelters (GoI and UNHCR, 30/04/2015). Basirma, Kawergosk, Akre, Darashakran, and Domiz camps’ capacities are exhausted; overcrowding in camps in Erbil is an increasing concern (Government/UNHCR, 31/03/2015; UNHCR, 15/04/2015; GoI and UNHCR, 30/04/2015). In Sulaymaniyah, refugees renting houses are facing eviction due to the pressure on accommodation (UNHCR, 15/03/2015).
65% of school-aged IDPs across Iraq are out of school (1.7 million children); IDP children residing among host communities are most affected (OCHA, 05/05/2015; 21/04/2015). Over 500 schools, including 376 in Anbar, remain occupied by IDPs, and an estimated 130 by the military, affecting 39,000 children.
Refugees: 61% of school-aged refugee children in camps are attending school, compared to 43% of those out of camps (UNICEF/Save the Children, 31/03/2015). Challenges include limited capacity in schools with an Arabic curriculum, shortages of Syrian teachers, increasing schooling demand, and insecurity (UNHCR, 31/12/2014; 12/02/2015). Syrian refugee teachers have not received salaries since the start of 2015, due to the KR-I’s limited budget (UNHCR, 15/04/2015).
5.2 million people are in need of protection support (OCHA, 28/02/2015). Widespread abuses committed by IS, including targeted attacks, killings, torture, rape and sexual slavery, forced religious conversion, and child conscription, may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Sharia courts have been established in IS-controlled territories, carrying out extreme punishments against men, women, and children (UN, 19/03/2015; 20/01/2015).
Violations allegedly carried out by ISF and associated militias during their counter-offensives against IS, including killings, torture and abductions, also amount to war crimes. Looting and human rights violations have also reportedly been committed (Reuters, 04/04/2015; 21/03/2015; Amnesty, 02/04/2015).
An increase in detention of IDPs is reported, due to growing mistrust from local authorities and communities (OCHA, 19/12/2014).
Eviction concerns remain for urban families in Kirkuk, where arrests and evictions have been reported (UNHCR, 15/03/2015; OCHA, 27/03/2015).
Around 10% of IDPs have no documentation, which is a prerequisite for obtaining residency permits and difficult to obtain outside a person’s area of origin. Up to 50% of displaced families report that at least one family member is missing one or more civil documents (UNHCR/Protection Cluster, 28/02/2015).
Refugees: Refugees are in need of targeted legal responses and services including registration and documentation. Residency in urban areas is reportedly being denied to Syrian asylum-seekers lacking original ID documents (UNFPA, 31/03/2015; Protection Cluster 15/01/2015).
Accurate numbers of women and girls affected by abuses across Iraq are hard to obtain. Reports show an increase in sexual violence, abductions, trafficking, and forced recruitment towards women. In particular, IS reportedly carried out systematic sexual violence against Yezidi women and girls in northern Iraq (HRW, 15/04/2015). Due to stigmatisation, many survivors are reluctant to seek assistance (UNAMI, 08/03/2015).
Around 1.3 million children are internally displaced in Iraq, while 561,000 live in areas under IS and affiliated armed groups’ control (OCHA, 28/04/2015). Concerning issues include harmful practices targeting girls, discrimination of children from ethnic minorities, and children born of rape, who risk being stateless (UN, 07/05/2015; OHCHR, 22/01/2015). IS has reportedly sold children as sex slaves, using minors as suicide bombers, and providing military training to schoolchildren in Syria and Iraq (OCHA, 06/02/2015; Radio Liberty, 10/2014).
ERW and Mines
Iraq is heavily mined, with up to 1,838m2 of contaminated territory; IS is reportedly planting more (Landmine Monitor/ICBL, IRIN, 06/11/2014).
Nigeria Country Analysis
26 May: 27 suicide attacks have been reported so far in 2015 (UNICEF).
24 May: Boko Haram attacked Gubio town in Borno state, killing 37 people (AFP).
23 May: Military forces continue the operation against BH camps in Sambisa forest (AFP).
20 May: IDPs report lack of food as their biggest concern (ICRC).
19 May: BH attacks in Adamawa state killed 21 people (AFP).
- Around 5,825 deaths from Boko Haram-related violence in 2015 as of early May. 7,711 deaths from Boko Haram-related violence were reported in 2014 (ACLED, 07/05/2015; 11/01/2015).
- 1.5 million IDPs (IOM, 29/04/2015).
- 4.6 million people in need of humanitarian aid (OCHA, 08/05/2015).
- 3 million in the northeast expected to be in need of food support until at least October (FEWSNET, 03/2015).
- 1.5 million in need of nutrition assistance, including 461,000 children under five suffering from SAM (OCHA, 10/02/2015).
- 2.2 million people are in need of WASH assistance; 1.9 million in need of shelter and NFIs; 2.2 million in need of protection; and 3.5 million people in need of healthcare (OCHA, 03/2015).
- 1,831 cholera cases reported since January 2015, with 78 deaths (UNICEF, 18/05/2015).
Violence has internally displaced more than 1.5 million people, restricted movement, disrupted food supply, seriously hindered access to basic services, and limited agricultural activities. People affected by violence in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe, and neighbouring Bauchi, Taraba, and Gombe states are in urgent need of protection, shelter, food, and access to health services and education.
Incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, whose party has led the country since 1999, lost to Muhammadu Buhari from the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) during March elections. Buhari is a former president and military ruler from northern Nigeria (AFP, 02/04/2015; 11/12/2014). Although irregularities have been alleged and protests reported, the elections did not spark large-scale violence or displacement (Guardian, 31/03/2015).
National organs were accused of aiding APC supporters in Abia, Imo, Plateau, and Zamfara states during the April state governorship and parliamentary elections (AFP, 04/04/2015). The APC won 21 of Nigeria’s 36 states. 66 violent incidents at polling stations were reported, mostly in Rivers and other southern states (BBC, 13/04/2015).
5,825 fatalities were reported in nearly 240 violent events involving Boko Haram between January and May 2015 (ACLED, 07/05/2015). Since the end of 2014, the conflict with Boko Haram has taken on a more regional dimension, with BH attacks in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, and a strengthened multinational force. With the engagement of regional forces, the Nigerian Government regained territory in early 2015. Boko Haram’s insurgency gained momentum in 2014, when 7,711 deaths due to Boko Haram-related violence were reported by media sources, over half of those reported since May 2011 (ACLED, 11/01/2014). As of 26 May, 27 suicide attacks have been recorded in Nigeria this year, compared to 26 attacks in all of 2014 (UNICEF, 26/05/2015).
Inter-communal clashes fuelled by ethnic and religious tensions, as well as competition between farmers and pastoralists, flare regularly in the Middle Belt area (Benue, Kaduna, Plateau, Nassarawa, and Taraba states) (IDMC, 12/2014).
On 26 May, suspected Fulani herdsmen killed at least 23 people in three villages in the Logo local government area in Benue state (AFP, 26/05/2015). On 19 April, at least 23 villagers died in inter-communal clashes between the Ologba and Egba communities in Benue state, reportedly over fishing rights (AFP, 19/04/2015). In March, 118 people were killed attacks by suspected Fulani herdsmen, which also caused injuries and displacement (AFP, 17/03/2015; ECHO, 17/03/2015). In 2014, around 1,700 people died in inter-communal violence (ACLED, 2014; ICG, 01/10/2014).
Boko Haram (BH)
Boko Haram (“Western education is forbidden”) has been leading an insurgency to create an Islamic state in the predominantly Muslim regions of northeastern Nigeria. The Nigerian authorities have been fighting BH since 2009. Precise BH troop numbers are not known, but estimated at around 15,000 (Amnesty, 13/04/2015). In March, BH pledged allegiance to Islamic State (AFP, 07/03/2015).
Reports of low morale and defections persist among Nigerian forces. Failures to act on intelligence and abuse durin the campaign against Boko Haram are also a problem, impacting relations with the civilian population (ACLED, 31/03/2015). In the past, Nigerian soldiers at times reportedly refused to deploy, or fled from operations (AFP, 22/08/2014).
BH has repeatedly made cross-border attacks into the Far North region of Cameroon, and more recently, Diffa region, Niger. Chad has been providing military support for the fight against BH since January.
The Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF) has reached 10,000 military and civilian personnel, including contingents from Chad, Cameroon, and Niger, in addition to Nigeria and Benin (UNHCR, 26/03/2015). About 2,500 Chadian troops withdrew from Nigeria mid-March, with indications they would be redeployed for fresh offensives elsewhere (AFP, 29/03/2015). The scope and remit of the regional force is unclear; failure to maintain control over liberated towns, such as Gamboru and Marte in Borno state in March and April, have also suggested co-ordination problems (AFP, 25/04/2015; 20/03/2015).
The renewed military offensives of early 2015 and territorial gains by regional forces (36 towns recaptured in Borno) have prompted BH to revert to guerrilla tactics of village raids, abductions, bombings and suicide attacks, with civilians increasingly targeted (AFP, 23/03/2015; US Institute of Peace, 09/01/2015). BH have carried out mass killings and destruction before leaving villages they have raided, such as in Bama in mid-March (AFP, 17/03/2015). Reprisal attacks against Arabic speakers in the northeast have also been reported over accusations of aiding Chad’s army (Reuters, 12/03/2015).
On 22 April, the military announced operations in Sambisa forest, thought to be BH’s last stronghold (Reuters, 22/04/2015). At the end of May, these operations were continuing (AFP, 23/05/2015).
Borno state: On 24 May, BH attacked Gubio town, north of Maiduguri, killing at least 37 people and setting fire to more than 400 buildings. Military forces later reportedly pushed BH out of the town (AFP, 26/05/2015; 24/05/2015). 55 people were killed in BH raids in two villages near Maiduguri on 13 May; another nine, including three soldiers, were killed as BH proceeded to the outskirts of Maiduguri outskirts on 14 May, where Nigerian troops pushed them back (AFP, 15/05/2015; 14/05/2015). Over 4–10 April, at least 30 people were killed after suspected BH raided Buratai, Kwajaffa and Kayamla villages (AFP, 10/04/2015; 06/04/2015; 04/04/2015). Hundreds of people have been found dead in Damasak after BH attacks in April (AFP, 27/04/2015).
On 23 May, the military claimed to have successfully launched an attack on a BH base in Sambisa forest and rescued more than 20 hostages (AFP, 23/05/2015). On 16 May, the military claimed to have demolished ten BH camps in Sambisa forest (OCHA, 19/05/2015).
Adamawa state: On 19 May, eight people were killed and 14 injured in a suspected BH suicide bombing in Garkida village (AFP, 19/05/2015). The same day, BH attacked Sabon Gari Hyembula village in Madagali district, killing three people and abducting seven women (AFP, 19/05/2015). On 22 May, BH attacked Pambula-Kwamda village, also in Madagali district, and killed at least ten people (AFP, 25/05/2015). According to the military, BH had been pushed out of the state in March (AFP, 19/05/2015).
Gombe state: On 1 April, a suspected BH attack near a bus station killed ten people (AFP, 04/04/2015). On 28 March, BH was suspected of killing at least seven people in separate attacks, including at polling stations (Reuters, 28/03/2015).
Rivers state: In April, unidentified gunmen invaded Obrikom and Obor communities, killing six people and injuring two (AFP, 04/04/2015).
Yobe state: Seven people were killed and 31 injured in a suicide attack in Damaturu on 16 May (AFP, 16/05/2015). On 8 May, a suspected BH attack on a school in Potiskum wounded 12 students (AFP, 08/05/2015). On 24 April, BH killed 21 people returning to Bultaram village in Gujba district (AFP, 27/04/2015). On 20 April, a suspected BH suicide attack injured three outside a Shi’ite mosque in Potiskum (AFP, 20/04/2015).
Humanitarian Context and Needs
Some 9.7 million people are staying in 34 areas worst affected by the insurgency, including IDPs. The entire population of northeast Nigeria – 24.5 million people – is indirectly affected; 4.6 million are in need of humanitarian aid (OCHA, 08/05/2015; 30/04/2015). The situation is compounded by limited international presence in the area.
Humanitarian assessments are severely challenged as security concerns are preventing access to some areas near Sambisa forest (OCHA, 30/04/2015).
In Borno state, most routes to affected areas are inaccessible. The road from Damaturu, Yobe state, is the only route for bringing food and other basic commodities to Maiduguri and northern Borno state (ECHO, 13/01/2015). Maiduguri airport is closed to commercial flights.
Movement in BH-controlled areas is reportedly restricted, and the use of vehicles is forbidden, most likely to prevent residents from leaving (IFRC, 23/01/2015).
Media access has also often been prohibited, with BH having destroyed communication and media infrastructure (Reporters without Borders, 05/02/2015).
While the food security sector is 33% funded, health (0%), shelter and NFIs (0%), nutrition (10%), protection (14%), and WASH (13%) remain very poorly funded, severely constraining relief efforts (OCHA, 30/04/2015).
More than 1.4 million Nigerians have been displaced by conflict, including more than 1.2 million internally and 203,000 abroad. 56% of IDPs are children.
There are nearly 1.5 million IDPs in six northeastern states, largely due to the insurgency, compared to 1.2 million in February. 64.5% of IDPs were displaced in 2014. The highest number is in Borno (939,290), followed by Anamawa (222,882), and Yobe (139,591). IDPs mainly come from Borno (68%), Adamawa (15%), and Yobe (11%). 57% are children, 28% of whom are under five; 90% live with host families, while the others live in 42 sites (IOM, 29/04/2015).
63% of IDPs in Borno state are in Maiduguri. In April, some 2,000 IDPs fled to Maiduguri from Gwoza and Bama, where all social services have been destroyed (OCHA, 30/04/2015; IOM, 29/04/2015).
12% of IDPs in Borno state are residing in 16 sites (114,360 individuals): ten are in Maiduguri. 10% of IDPs in Adamawa state (21,950) are living in 15 displacement sites, mainly in Yola south and Girei, while 10% of those displaced in Taraba state (6,300) are living in 10 sites (IOM, 29/04/2015).
Displacement sites are expected to be closed down in the coming months, and IDPs relocated (IDMC, 16/04/2015).
Over 6–15 May, around 12,300 Nigerians arrived from islands on the Niger side of Lake Chad, as they were ordered to leave before planned military operations against BH. Up to 4,000 remain in two transit camps in Geidam in Yobe state (OCHA, 15/05/2015; 11/05/2015).
IDPs in northeastern Nigeria are increasingly returning home despite persistent insecurity and critical lack of access to basic services (OCHA, 28/04/2015). 800 IDPs were relocated from Pompomari site in Damaturu to Adamawa, Borno, Gombe, and Yobe states. Returnees in Adamawa state are in urgent need of shelter, food, health, and education, as villages have been severely damaged by the insurgency. Concerns remain over mines, improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance in locations where IDPs are planning to return (OCHA, 30/04/2015).
As of 17 January, there were 2,120 refugees and asylum seekers of different nationalities in Nigeria (UNHCR, 08/04/2015).
Nigerian Refugees in Neighbouring Countries
Around 207,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries, mainly to Niger, Cameroon, and Chad (OCHA, 15/05/2015).
Dry spells have been affecting southern Nigeria for the past few weeks and are expected to continue (FEWSNET, 24/04/2015). 4.6 million people are estimated food insecure (OCHA, 08/05/2015). The predicted mild El Niño this year is expected to further increase food security concerns (Guardian, 21/05/2015).
More than three million people are expected to be in need of food assistance in the northeast in the coming months (FEWSNET, 11/05/2015).The number of areas in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity is expected to increase in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states until the main harvest in October, as more households begin to face food consumption gaps (FEWSNET, 11/05/2015). Food security is expected to improve slightly during the harvest season, however limited harvests will cause households to experience continued food consumption gaps (FEWSNET, 20/05/2015). Areas worst affected by conflict are expected to be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity in July (FEWSNET, 11/05/2015). Lack of access to IDPs for food distribution, mostly in urban areas, is a concern (FEWSNET, 20/05/2015). IDPs have reported lack of food as their biggest concern (ICRC, 20/05/2015).
Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity is expected for most households outside the northeast through at least September (FEWSNET, 11/05/2015).
Agriculture and Livelihoods
Food prices are atypically high in Maiduguri, as food stocks within the host community are depleting rapidly. At least 350,000 farming households in Michika, Madagali, Hong, and Gombi in Adamawa state are in urgent need of agricultural support (OCHA, 30/04/2015).
Boko Haram enforces rigid movement restrictions and some limitations on trade, negatively impacting people’s ability to obtain food and gain a livelihood (Amnesty, 13/04/2015).
Health and Nutrition
3.5 million people need health assistance. There is a need to pre-position more emergency supplies in IDP camps and host communities, especially in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states, as the IDP population increases with continued attacks (OCHA, 04/03/2015; 04/03/2015). Mortality rates are increasing and vaccination programmes severely hit, with polio vaccination campaigns limited to Maiduguri.
IDPs emerging from captivity, including from Gwoza and Bama, require urgent psychological support (OCHA, 30/04/2015). Most IDPs in host communities have limited access to health services due to various constraints such as lack of information on services and transportation costs (OCHA, 02/10/2014). 3,000 health facilities in the northeast are closed or have been partially destroyed (OCHA, 08/10/2014). As of March 2014, only 37% of health facilities in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states were still functioning.
As of 19 April, 1,831 cholera cases have been reported in 2015, with 78 deaths (UNICEF, 18/05/2015). There has been a resurgence of cases in Kano and Kaduna states, and there is a risk the outbreak could spread further (UNICEF, 10/02/2015). 35,996 cholera cases, including 753 deaths, were reported in 2014.
As of 22 February, 479 cases of meningitis, with 38 fatalities (7.9% case fatality rate) were reported in four areas in Kebbi and Sokoto states(WHO, 22/02/2015).
1.5 million malnourished children and pregnant and lactating women are in need of nutrition assistance, including 461,000 children suffering from SAM (OCHA, 08/05/2015; 04/03/2015). Around 100,000 children in camps are thought to be suffering from SAM (OCHA, 30/04/2015).
In the northeast, 12% of children suffer from GAM (UNICEF, 13/01/2015). 8.7% of children in Maiduguri and Jere, in Borno state, suffer from SAM, and 27.8% from MAM. The nutritional situation of the displaced and host communities is rapidly deteriorating (ECHO, 14/03/2015).
65 cases of lead poisoning, including 28 children deaths, have been reported in Niger state in 2015. Poisoning is suspected to be due to illegal gold mining. In 2010, lead poisoning in Zamfara state killed at least 400 children, and affected more than 2,000 (AFP, 14/05/2015).
The number of children missing out on polio vaccination because of insecurity increased from 778,000 in November 2014 to more than 1.1 million in January 2015 (UNICEF, 13/04/2015). In 2014, 30 type 2 polio cases were reported, and six cases of poliovirus type 1 (GPEI, 15/04/2015).
2.2 million people are in need of WASH assistance (OCHA, 04/03/2015).
WASH conditions in IDP host communities are critical, with reports of inadequate latrines and lack of access to safe water (IDMC, 16/04/2015). In the northeast, only 46% of the population have access to improved sources of drinking water and 21% to latrines (UNICEF, 13/01/2015).
Shelter and NFIs
1.9 million people are in need of shelter and NFIs; people in conflict-affected areas whose homes were damaged are particularly affected (OCHA, 04/03/2015).
In 14 IDP sites, up to a quarter of IDPs are living outdoors. Shelter repair is a priority need in 36 IDP sites, while blankets are reported as the most needed NFI (IOM, 29/04/2015). Only 10% of IDPs in the camp were reported to have a roof, WASH facilities were lacking, and many relied on relatives for food (MSF, 31/03/2015).
10.5 million children are out of school in Nigeria, including 60% in the northeastern part of the country (UNICEF, 04/2015).
More than 300 schools have been severely damaged or destroyed by insurgents in the northeast (OCHA, 30/04/2015). As of April, schools in 19 of the 27 local governments areas in Borno state remain closed, after having been shut down in March 2014 (UNICEF, 06/04/2015).
BH has repeatedly targeted schools and other educational institutions. More than 300 schools have been severely damaged or destroyed, and at least 196 teachers and 314 school children were killed between January 2012 and December 2014 (UNICEF, 13/04/2015).
2.2 million people are in need of protection assistance; women are at particular risk of sexual violence and trafficking in displacement sites, while separated and unaccompanied minors are also among the most vulnerable (OCHA, 04/03/2015; IDMC, 16/04/2015; UNICEF, 13/04/2015).
As parents fear sending girls to school due to insecurity, advocacy groups have raised concerns over increased rates of child marriage (Thomson Reuters Foundation, 20/05/2015).
Islamic scholars and clerics are often among the first targets during BH raids on towns and villages, as they are considered unbelievers because they do not adhere to BH interpretation of Islam (Amnesty, 13/04/2015). Indiscriminate killings by the group have also been reported once villages are recaptured: between 600 and 1,000 residents were killed in Gwoza mid-2014 (Amnesty, 13/04/2015).
Abduction, Torture, and Forced Recruitment
Kidnappings of groups of women and girls by BH continue. More than 2,000 women and girls have reportedly been abducted by the group since January (AFP, 30/04/2015; BBC, 14/04/2015). Around 1,000 women and children rescued from BH over 28 April–4 May have been taken to Yola camp for rehabilitation (local media, 05/05/2015; AFP, 03/05/2015).
Women and girls have been trafficked, raped, abducted and forcibly married in areas controlled by BH (OCHA, 30/04/2015). Young men are also being forcibly recruited and executed (Amnesty, 13/04/2015).
Since July 2014, nine incidents have been recorded of children used as suicide bombers (UNICEF, 26/05/2015).
Nigeria’s police and military is thought to practice routine torture (BBC, 18/09/2014).
Sierra Leone Country Analysis
17 May: In the week to 17 May, eight confirmed Ebola cases were reported from Urban Western Area, Port Loko and Kambia, an increase from two the previous week (WHO, 20/05/2015).
- As of 24 May, Sierra Leone reported 12,706 cumulative Ebola cases, including 3,908 deaths (WHO, 26/05/2015).
- The cumulative number of reported Ebola cases across the region has reached 27,013, including 11,134 deaths (WHO, 26/05/2015). The numbers of registered cases and deaths are largely inaccurate.
- Between February and March 2015, 770,000 people (10% of the population) were in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) food insecurity. 1.32 million were in IPC Phase 2, Stressed. Numbers are projected to increase to 1.1 million in Phase 3 and 1.69 million in Phase 2 by the June–August lean season (Cadre Harmonisé, 01/03/2015).
- The national public health system is overstretched and struggling to deliver non-EVD care (UNICEF, 05/12/2014; ACAPS, 26/02/2015).
Unrest and Resistance to Ebola Response
There are concerns that the State of Emergency measures are being used by the ruling party against its opposition. Police have been accused of using excessive force, protests have been banned, journalists have been arrested for criticising the response, and political figures have been arrested (local media, 26/04/2015; Amnesty International, 04/05/2015).
Reports continue of people fleeing from response teams, hiding bodies, conducting secret burials, and occasional physical assaults on burial teams (Voice of America, 25/03/2015). Resistance to the Ebola response is still being reported in chiefdoms of Kambia and the Urban Western Area, including people not seeking treatment (UN, 08/05/2015). The town of Barmoi and the surrounding chiefdom has seen an influx of soldiers and the closure of markets, reportedly in response to resistance to containment measures (Doctors of the World, 03/05/2015).
Humanitarian Context and Needs
All response activities are restricted by poor terrain and a lack of transport (Doctors of the World, 04/05/2015). Poor coordination between agencies and road access issues, particularly in rural areas, can render it impossible to reach communities within 24 hours of being placed under quarantine (UNMEER, 16/03/2015). In addition, poor mobile phone coverage is impeding disease surveillance in Koinadugu, Kailahun, and Pujehun (UNMEER, 29/03/2015).
Between February and March 2015, 770,000 people (10% of the population) were in Phase 3, or Crisis, food insecurity. 1.32 million were in Phase 2 (Stressed). This is projected to increase to 1.1 million in Phase 3 and 1.69 million in Phase 2 in the June–August lean season (Cadre Harmonisé, 01/03/2015).
Less access to food and decreased farming output are among the main effects of the Ebola crisis (BRAC, 21/05/2015). 95% of respondents reported in a survey that the food security situation is worse than before the EVD crisis. EVD survivors, quarantined households, people with chronic illness and people from poor and very poor households are most affected. Unmet food needs are higher in areas with high EVD exposure (78%) than low EVD exposure (54%) (ACAPS, 04/2015).
About 76% of Ebola-related food-insecure individuals live in rural areas (FAO, 17/12/2014; WFP, 05/01/2015). Kambia and Port Loko have seen the highest uptake of negative coping strategies, although food prices have remained stable or decreased (WFP, 30/04/2015). The majority of households reports a decrease in frequency of meals, particularly among Ebola-affected, rural and larger households; and smaller meals (BRAC, 21/05/2015).
Agriculture and Markets
Following the opening of the border with Liberia, there are signs that markets and trade are recovering across Sierra Leone. Prices of local/imported rice and palm oil are still above average, but mostly stable (WFP, 25/03/2015). In a FEWSNET survey, 53% of respondents reported that the most important market in their area operated at reduced levels in early March, and 10% reported market closures. 35% of traders reported reduced market supply compared to other years. Most cited travel restrictions as the main reason (FEWSNET, 03/04/2015). 32% reported that rice cultivation activities were below-average in April (FEWSNET, 30/04/2015).
In February 2015, 95% of informants described the livelihoods situation as worse than in February 2014. Unemployment, loss of income opportunities and death of caregivers were the main reasons (ACAPS, 02/04/2015). An assessment in five districts indicated decreased household incomes and more unemployment were among the main effects of the Ebola outbreak, in households with and without members being infected. More than 80% of respondents reported a decreased income compared to before the outbreak (BRAC, 21/05/2015).
Health and Nutrition
The already weak health infrastructure is very fragile and unresponsive. An estimated 3.5 million people are at risk due to unmet health needs (ACAPS, 04/2015). A health facility survey by UNICEF and MoHS show that the majority of health facilities are open, and utilisation trends have increased in all except the heavily affected districts, but usage of health facilities remains lower than before the Ebola outbreak (UNMEER, 13/04/2015).
Only 50% of the population is seeking healthcare, compared to 80% before the crisis. Reported consequences of the crisis include increased mortality, self-medication, increased morbidity, and under-resourced health facilities. There is a correlation between EVD exposure and the severity of the health situation (ACAPS, 04/2015).
The highly affected areas of Western Area, Port Loko and Bombali have seen a 28% decrease in health service attendance as of April 2015, compared to October–January 2013 (UNICEF, 07/04/2015). Most districts showed an initial drop in primary healthcare visits at the onset of the Ebola outbreak in June, and a further decline as the epidemic reached its peak in November–December. Kenema, Port Loko, and Kailahun districts recorded the greatest decrease in use. Services related to malaria and diarrhoea are most affected (ACAPS, 25/03/2015).
In Moyamba, analysis of burial data indicates that as many deaths were recorded in four months as in previous one-year periods. 40% of deaths are children under five. In the same district, only 12% of primary health units have facilities to diagnose and treat TB. HIV cases are believed to be almost completely undiagnosed in the area. A substantial increase in both HIV and TB is very likely, in Moyamba at least (Doctors of the World, 03/05/2015).
As of 24 May, 12,706 cumulative Ebola cases have been reported in Sierra Leone, including 3,908 deaths (WHO, 26/05/2015).
Eight confirmed cases were reported in the week to 17 May, compared with two the previous week. Four cases were reported from Freetown, three from Port Loko district and one from Kambia district. Only one case came from an unknown chain of transmission (WHO, 20/05/2015). Over 19–21 May, three more case were confirmed: two in Urban Western area and one in Port Loko (UNMEER, 22/05/2015).
Nine of 14 districts have been declared Ebola-free, having gone 42 days without reporting any new cases (WHO, 13/05/2015).
Healthcare provision: 304 health workers have been infected. 221 have died of Ebola; approximately one in ten of the country’s health workers. On 14 May, the first health worker infection in five weeks was confirmed (WHO, 13/05/2015; 20/05/2015).
Containment measures: Porous borders between Sierra Leone and Guinea are posing a challenge to surveillance (UNMEER, 15/04/2015). Officials from both countries have agreed to share information on population movement and established screening protocols at border points between areas of active EVD transmission (UNMEER, 07/04/2015; 15/04/2015).
A three-day stay-at-home was enforced across Sierra Leone from 27 to 29 March. Ten new cases were found. There were several security incidents (AFP, 29/03/2015; Reuters, 29/03/2015; AFP, 01/04/2015). In the Kaffu Bullom chiefdom of Port Loko, a group of health workers came under attack, and in Freetown residents and security forces clashed over food distributions.
In August, legislation was passed imposing a jail term of up to two years for anyone concealing an Ebola-infected patient, and of up to six months for anyone entering or leaving Ebola-affected areas without medical authorisation (AFP, 22/08/2014; international media, 30/08/2014).
The cumulative number of reported Ebola cases across the region has reached 27,013, including 11,134 deaths (WHO, 26/05/2015).
Ebola has had a large impact on maternal and newborn health in all districts, but Kailahun seems to be the most affected. Nationwide, there were an estimated 2,948 maternal deaths from May 2014 to April 2015 – 735 more than is usual in a year. Newborn deaths are estimated to have reached 9,867 – 2,562 more than is usual in a year (UNFPA, 30/03/2015).
Delivery of services has improved: the percentage of women giving birth in a clinic increased to 64% in April, compared to 28% in November. The percentage of women who received at least one prenatal visit increased from 56% to 71% in the same period (World Bank, 16/04/2015). Fear, misinformation, mistrust of health workers and facilities, and desertion of already understaffed health facilities are among the main reasons preventing women from accessing maternal and reproductive health services (UN WOMEN, 27/03/2015; UNFPA, 30/03/2015; Government, UNFPA, DFID and Irish Aid, 25/05/2015).
Family planning services in health facilities have been interrupted (IRIN, 04/02/2015).
Since the Ebola outbreak the impact of malaria has almost certainly increased due to reduced and or delayed access to treatment. In December 2014, the number of suspected malaria cases had decreased by half compared to December 2013, and only 20% of those cases were receiving treatment (ACAPS, 25/03/2015). Paediatric malaria admissions decreased by 80% in Moyamba; this is likely to have led to greater under-five mortality (Doctors of the World, 03/05/2015).
There is a high need for grief counselling as a Knowledge, Attitude and Practice survey found that at least 50% of respondents knew someone who had died from Ebola (UNMEER, 15/02/2015). According to an assessment, reduced access to community support systems and normal coping strategies means that trauma due to the Ebola crisis is putting people at risk of mental health problems (International Medical Corps, 09/01/2015).
It is predicted that, compared to observed trends from 1992 to 2012, the number of people who are undernourished during 2014–2016 could increase by 1.30–1.39%. This increase has been linked to the Ebola outbreak (UNDG, 11/03/2015). A UNICEF assessment in 60 of 150 chiefdoms identified 273 (1.27%) children with SAM (UNICEF, 25/03/2015).
According to a UNICEF survey, about 14% of primary health units have no access to water. This is most widely experiences in Tonkolili, Pujehun, and Kambia districts, where 35%, 27% and 26% of primary health units lack water access, respectively (UNICEF, 04/2015). Furthermore, 54% of all schools do not have access to water year-round (UNICEF, 11/03/2015)
Concerns have been raised about waste from Ebola facilities being dumped in waste collection sites. This poses a risk for health, especially to waste pickers (PI, 20/03/2015). About a third of the population live without latrines (UNMEER, 20/11/2014).
Respondents in all districts have said the educational situation has worsened since the outbreak because of school closures (ACAPS, 02/04/2015). Schools reopened on 14 April, nine months after they were closed (UNMEER, 15/04/2015).
46% of households who reported not sending a child to school cited inability to afford school as the main reason (BRAC, 21/05/2015).
Discrimination and stigmatisation of Ebola survivors is still widely reported (UNMEER, 29/03/2015). 47% of people surveyed indicated that stigma and discrimination exist in their communities: social and family exclusion were the main issues. Fear of Ebola was cited as the main reason for discrimination and stigma (ACAPS, 02/04/2015).
Sexual and Gender-based Violence
According to the Government, gender-based violence and sexual assault dramatically increased over 2014 (international media, 09/01/2015; IRIN 04/02/2015). Stigmatisation and discrimination have resulted in abuse and mistreatment of especially women. Many female survivors reported being afraid of experiencing gender-based violence as a result of Ebola (Ministry of Social Welfare, Oxfam, UN Women, 27/02/2015).
Many sexual assault and domestic violence clinics have been closed during the epidemic, and there is a lack of doctors. Consequently, there is almost no treatment and counselling available, or expertise to provide evidence for trial (IRIN, 04/02/2015).
More than 2,000 cases of sexual abuse against children were recorded in 2014 – a record high. Many more cases have likely gone unreported (Ebola Deeply, 14/03/2015).
Due to limited household resources, children are predisposed and sometimes forced to engage in income-generating activities. Long-term consequences include possible school drop-outs. There are reports of girls having turned to sex work for income. Orphans are considered particularly vulnerable (The Guardian, 28/04/2015). Visibly pregnant girls will not be allowed to return to school, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Education (Ebola Deeply, 14/03/2015; Voice of America, 13/04/2015).
According to UNICEF, as of 29 April, 8,619 children have lost one or both parents to Ebola and 742 are unaccompanied or separated from their caregiver (UNICEF, 29/04/2015). Other sources reported as many as 12,023 registered orphans, with Port Loko the most affected district (Street Child, 02/2015).
Somalia Country Analysis
23 May: A member of parliament was killed and another wounded in Mogadishu. A senior government official was killed in a separate attack (AFP).
19 May: An April nutrition assessment indicated 33% GAM and 19% SAM in Bulo Burde, Hiraan region (USAID).
- Widespread violence and insecurity, particularly in south-central Somalia.
- Insecurity and bureaucratic impediments continue to hinder humanitarian access.
- 1.1 million IDPs, mainly in the south-central region, with high concentrations in Mogadishu (UNHCR, 12/2014).
- 2.75 million people need safe water (OCHA, 12/03/2015).
- 3 million are estimated to need emergency health services (OCHA, 12/03/2015).
- 731,000 people are at Crisis and Emergency levels of food insecurity (OCHA, 12/02/2015).
- More than 218,000 acutely malnourished children under five have been reported, mainly in south-central Somalia (OCHA, 23/02/2015).
- 1.7 million children are out of school (OCHA, 12/03/2015).
- More than one million Somali refugees live in neighbouring countries, mostly Kenya, Ethiopia, and Yemen (UNHCR, 12/2014).
Protracted conflict, consecutive years of drought, natural hazards, and disruption of basic infrastructure have led to large-scale displacement in Somalia and across the region. Almost half the population of Somalia, around 3.2 million people, is vulnerable to external shocks and lacking access to basic goods and services, with an estimated 1.5 million people living in seven regions affected by the Somalia–African Union military offensive: Bakool, Gedo, Lower Shabelle, Hiraan, Bay, Banadir, and Lower Juba.
Somalia suffers from a chronic fragility of state institutions as a result of two decades of civil war. Infighting between presidents and prime ministers is a recurrent problem. Vision 2016, the Federal Government’s policy covering constitutional revision, the establishment of regional administrations, and transition to multiparty democracy, is opposed by key figures in the state (UNSC, 25/09/2014; ICG, 01/11/2014).
About 1.5 million people live in areas that could be directly affected by the Somali–African Union offensive on Al Shabaab (OCHA, 19/09/2014). Al Shabaab itself continues attacks on civilians, humanitarian personnel, and government officials: armed actors conducted more than 340 violent incidents targeting civilians and humanitarian personnel between 1 March and 20 April (USAID, 19/05/2015).
On 15 May, Al Shabaab attacked and took control of the towns of Mubakar and Awdeegle in Lower Shabelle, reportedly killing between six and 15 Somali soldiers. Several militants also died (international media, 15/05/2015; 17/05/2015). On 13 May, Al Shabaab seized a boat carrying at least ten foreign nationals was near the town of El Dheer in Galgaduud region. All passengers were detained (international media, 13/05/2015). On 12 March, Al Shabaab attacked a fortified area in the central town of Baidoa, where a number of regional government headquarters and a United Nations compound and airport are located (AFP, 12/03/2015).
Mogadishu: Al Shabaab attacks in Mogadishu mainly target political figures. 76 people were killed in the first three months of 2015 (local media, 19/01/0215; 16/02/2015; AFP, 22/01/2015; 16/02/2015; 28/03/2015; 18/04/2015; 21/04/2015; PI, 22/01/2015; BBC, 09/02/2015; 28/03/2015; 14/04/2015; Reuters 11/03/2015). On 23 May, militants killed a Somali member of parliament in Mogadishu and wounded another. Asenior government official was killed in a separate attack (international media, 23/05/2015). On 6 May, a government official was shot dead and an AU troop convoy was bombed outside the capital (Reuters, 06/05/2015).
Al Shabaab is a militant Islamist group and off-shoot of the Islamic Courts Union. It took over most of southern Somalia in 2006, seeking to establish an Islamic state. Numbering 7,000–9,000 militants, Al Shabaab typically targets Somali government officials, AMISOM forces, and perceived government allies. Attacks in urban centres and along transport axes are common. Al Shabaab was forced out of Mogadishu in 2011 and Kismayo in 2012, and lost Barawe, Lower Shabelle, in October 2014.
Al Shabaab has also carried out a number of attacks in Kenya. The largest was on 2 April, when Al Shabaab attacked Garissa University: 147 people were killed and 79 injured (BBC, HRC, 02/04/2015). Kenyan fighter jets then destroyed two Al Shabaab camps in Gedo, although this information has not been independently confirmed (BBC, 06/04/2015).
In November 2013, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) force was increased to 22,000 from 17,600. Its mandate has been extended until 30 November 2015 (UNSC, 25/09/2014). The Somali National Armed Forces (SNAF) and AMISOM launched a military offensive against Al Shabaab-held areas in March 2014 (OCHA, 05/2014). The second phase of the offensive began in late August. Bakool, Gedo, Lower Shabelle, Hiraan, Bay, Banadir, and Lower Juba regions are all affected.
Over 2,200 conflict incidents with humanitarian impact were reported in the first nine months of 2014, including military operations, active hostilities, and other forms of violence against civilians (OCHA, 17/10/2014).
Humanitarian Context and Needs
Between March and 20 April, 343 violent incidents impacting humanitarian operations and protection of civilians were recorded across the country (OCHA, 24/04/2015). Insecurity on the main roads makes needs assessment, delivery of humanitarian supplies, and response difficult (OCHA, 21/11/2014). Even in areas where there has been no active conflict, illegal checkpoints, banditry, and demands for bribes are common (OCHA, 17/10/2014).
Al Shabaab has cut off road access to towns controlled by AMISOM, including Rabhure and Wajid in Bakool (FEWSNET, 16/04/2015). Bulo Burde in Hiraan is only accessible by helicopter; Belet Weyne–Mogadishu and Mogadishu–Baidoa–Dolow are most affected. The Puntland–Somaliland border is closed (OCHA, 24/04/2015; Logistics Cluster, 29/04/2015; OCHA, 12/05/2015).
The indefinite closure of Bosaso Airport, Puntland, for renovation, has severely constrained humanitarian operations (PI, 08/01/2015).
Security Incidents Involving Aid Workers
Over 40 security incidents involving aid workers took place in the first four months of 2015: eight people were killed, 14 injured, seven abducted and 20 arrested or detained (OCHA, 24/04/2015). A 400-strong UN military unit was deployed in Mogadishu with a mandate to protect aid workers in May 2014 (UN).
Floods damaged about 6,600 hectares of crops and displaced around 16,500 people in south-central Somalia in April–May: 8,250 people in Jowhar–Mahaday, 3,900 in Sablaale, 2,700 in Galkayo, 1,530 in Wanla Weyne and 120 in Buur Hakaba (OCHA, 12/05/2015).
Rainfall along the Juba and Shabelle river basins decreased in the week to 18 May, and was forecast to further decrease in the following week. River levels have dropped significantly in upstream areas, but remain high in the middle and lower reaches of Shabelle. The risk of flooding is moderate among the lower Shabelle. No flood risk is foreseen along the Juba (FAO, 20/05/2015).
An estimated 1.1 million Somalis were IDPs by February 2015, 893,000 in the south-central region, 129,000 in Puntland, and 84,000 in Somaliland. 369,000 IDPs live in makeshift camps in Mogadishu (UNHCR, 06/05/2015). Figures showed little to no change over 2014, when some 80,000 were displaced due to the SNAF-AMISOM (OCHA, 04/12/2014).
The Tripartite Agreement between the Kenyan and Somali Governments and UNHCR, signed in November 2013, establishes a legal framework for those Somali refugees wishing to return home (UNHCR 15/08/2014). Luuq, Baidoa, and Kismayo have been designated to receive returnees. 3,000 refugees have registered to return, compared to the original target of 10,000. (UNHCR, 08/12/2014). As of 21 April, 2,060 returnees had arrived; 1,497 in Kismayo, 513 in Baidoa, and 39 in Luuq (UNHCR, 22/03/2015; local media, 21/04/2015). Somali refugees in Kenya cite insecurity and lack of earning opportunities as their main uncertainties regarding a return to Somalia (UNHCR, East African, 02/08/2014; UNHCR, 11/08/2014).
Refugees and Returnees from Yemen
As of 21 May, 8,214 arrivals from Yemen have been registered in Somalia. 5,233 arrived in Puntland, 2,886 in Somaliland and 95 in Mogadishu. More than 80% are Somali returnees (IOM, 21/05/2015). Camps are overcrowded and there is not enough capacity to meet the new arrivals’ needs (local media, 13/05/2015; UNHCR, 14/05/2015).
Somali Refugees in Neighbouring Countries
972,020 Somalis are refugees in neighbouring countries: at least 423,153 in Kenya, 246,603 in Ethiopia, and 244,204 in Yemen, with the remainder in Uganda, Djibouti, Eritrea, and Tanzania. 3,107 new Somali refugees were registered in 2015 (UNHCR, 06/05/2015).
An estimated 731,000 people are in Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phase 3 and 4) food insecurity and nearly 2.3 million additional people are classified as Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until June 2015 (OCHA, 10/03/2015).
In parts of Hiraan and Bakool that are affected by roadblocks and conflict, most households will likely face Emergency (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity through September 2015 (USAID, 19/05/2015).
About 76% of those who face acute food insecurity are IDPs: the situation is Emergency in Dolow and Crisis in the 12 other IDP settlements (FSNAU, 05/03/2015). Among non-IDPs, 12% of food insecure live in rural areas, and 12% are urban poor: poor households are in Crisis and a significant number of the poorest are in Emergency (FSNAU, 05/03/2015; FEWSNET, 16/04/2015). With a fourth consecutive below-average harvest in agropastoral areas, both agropastoral and urban households are expected to remain in Crisis unless trade resumes and humanitarian access increases (FEWSNET, 16/04/2015).
Agriculture and Markets
At the end of March, the main planting season began as the gu rains started. Gu rains have peaked in most of the country, reducing water shortages and improving crop prospects, particularly in south-central regions. In most areas normal migration is being reported, except in East Golis pastoral livelihood zone in the northeast (FSNAU, 19/05/2015; FEWSNET, 13/05/2015). The rainfall estimate was moderate in the most of the north in early May. However, little to no rain fell in the northeastern pastoral areas of Bari and Nugal Valley of Garowe. Pasture is therefore less available (FEWSNET, 04/05/2015; 13/05/2015).
Blocked roads and intensified fighting in Hiraan and Bakool during the past six months has further limited trade and transportation access, decreased the demand for labour, and increased food prices dramatically (FEWSNET, 16/04/2015; USAID, 19/05/2015). Urban communities in Xudur and Waajid in Bakool, and Bulo Burde in Hiraan, face acute insecurity because of trade disruptions (FSNAU, 05/03/2015).
Following the Al Shabaab attacks on Garissa University in Kenya, the Central Bank of Kenya revoked the licences of 13 money remittance providers based in Nairobi in an effort to curb the financing of terrorism. Money received in Somalia from overseas is used to meet basic needs, including water, healthcare, and education (AFP, 08/04/2015; Adeso, 10/04/2015). In early February, a number of banks in the US, UK, and Australia also broke ties with money transfer operators in Somalia (Inter Press, 06/02/2015). USD 1.3 billion in annual remittances, representing 25–45% of Somalia’s GDP, will stop entering the country (OXFAM, 19/02/2015).
Health and Nutrition
Around 3 million people are in need of emergency health services (OCHA, 12/03/2015). As of November, 1.5 million people in south-central Somalia no longer have access to primary health services, and 300,000 children under five no longer have access to primary health services and free immunisation (UNICEF, 31/10/2014).
The number of acute watery diarrhoea and suspected cholera cases increased rapidly in late April in the Kenya–Somalia border town of Dhobley in Lower Juba. As of 17 May, 129 people have been admitted to hospital and five have died (IOM, 19/05/2015). Between January and March, central regions reported 691 measles cases, 1,094 malaria cases, and 692 cases of acute watery diarrhoea (WHO, 17/05/2015).
1.3 million people are in need of nutritional support (OCHA, 12/03/2015). Current GAM levels are 12% and SAM 1.9%, a decrease from previous levels (which were 14.9% and 2.6%, respectively) (FAO, 05/03/2015). The situation is very critical (over 15% GAM and increasing) among Riverine livelihoods in Gedo and Shabelle regions, in urban districts of Belet Weyne and Bulo Burde in Hiraan region, as well as in urban Burao in Togdheer region (FSNAU, 29/04/2015). In Bulo Burde, GAM is 33% and SAM 19%, according to an April nutrition assessment (USAID, 19/05/2015).
A survey conducted October–December 2014 indicates that 203,000 children under five are acutely malnourished. 38,000 of these are severely acutely malnourished, a slight decrease from previous surveys (OCHA, 19/02/2014). The number of acutely and severely malnourished children has declined by 7% and 13%, respectively, since July 2014 (UNICEF, 31/01/2015). This is thought to be a normal seasonal variation.
1.7 million children are out of school. Children of displaced families remain the most vulnerable and neglected in access to education. 78% of children in south-central Somalia have no access to education. (OCHA, 12/03/2015).
2.75 million people need safe water (OCHA, 27/03/2015). On 24 March, ECHO reported that water shortages in Bay, Bakool, Hiraan, and Middle Shabelle had led to displacement. Ten children died of dehydration in Yagley village in Middle Shabelle.
The major protection issues in Somalia are physical insecurity during the SNAF-AMISOM offensive; SGBV, including cases of sexual violence during inter-clan conflict; child protection violations; killing of civilians (including children); separation of children; and forced/secondary eviction. The areas most affected are Middle and Lower Shabelle and Lower Juba (UNHCR Protection Cluster, 10/2014).
Forced evictions remain a critical concern, particularly in urban areas (NRC, 18/05/2015). Reports indicate that over 25,700 IDPs were forcibly evicted from public and private land and buildings in January and February 2015 (UNHCR, 28/02/2015). Another 19,250 IDPs were forcibly evicted from Mogadishu over 3–5 March. The majority fled to settlements in the outskirts of the city. An assessment found more than half in need of access to shelter, 80% in need of access to safe water and latrines, 70% lacked access to food, and 60% are in need of health services in the new locations (Food Security Cluster, 23/03/2015). Human Rights Watch reported that authorities beat some of those evicted, destroyed their shelter, and left them without food, water, or assistance (HRW, 20/04/2015).
Over 32,500 people were forcibly evicted in 2014; over 90% were IDPs. The majority moved to the outskirts of the city, particularly Sarakustra and Tabelaha. Others sought refuge in nearby IDP settlements. Forced evictions have also been reported in Kismayo, Bosaso, and Luuq (UNHCR, 28/02/2015; ECHO, 25/03/2015; NRC, 18/05/2015).
In September 2014, a Human Rights Watch report stated that AU forces have been raping and sexually exploiting women and girls in their bases in Mogadishu, sometimes using humanitarian assistance to coerce them into sexual activities (HRW, 08/09/2014).
197 grave violations against children were recorded in January 2015 (UNICEF, 31/01/2015). Grave violations include recruitment or use of children, killing, maiming, rape or other sexual violence (UNICEF). In Tayeeglow, Lower Shabelle, an estimated 115 children have been abducted by Al Shabaab, 80 of whom are still held (OCHA, 21/11/2014). 4,314 cases of child exploitation and abuse were reported January–November 2014 (OCHA, 30/11/2014).
South Sudan Country Analysis
26 May: The South Sudanese Government claims it has retaken Malakal, Upper Nile state (Al Jazeera, 26/05/2015).
19 May: In Melut Protection of Civilians camp (PoC), two mortar bombs killed four (UNHCR, 22/05/2015).
18 May: The suspension of aid operations has cut 650,000 people in need from relief in Unity and Upper Nile states (MSF, 18/05/2015; ICRC, 18/05/2015)
15 May: 13,000 children were reportedly recruited by armed groups since the beginning of 2014 (R2P Monitor, 15/05/2015).
- Frequent fighting between government and opposition forces continues in Unity, Jonglei, and Upper Nile states.
- 6.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in 2015; 4.1 million people to be assisted by the end of 2015 (OCHA, 08/01/2015).
- Between 3 and 2.5 million people are in Crisis or Emergency food insecurity in April 2015, including nearly half of the population of Jonglei, Unity, and Upper Nile (FEWSNET, 04/2015, WFP, 15/05/2015).
- 1.55 million IDPs since December 2013 (UNHCR, 08/05/2015). Almost 117,000 are in UNMISS bases (UNMISS, 13/04/2014). 68% of IDPs are estimated to live in flood-prone areas (OCHA, 08/2014).
- 260,000 refugees in South Sudan (mainly from Sudan, DRC, Ethiopia, and CAR).
- 525,000 South Sudanese refugees since December 2013 (UNHCR 04/2015).
Jonglei, Upper Nile, and Unity are priority states, and the priority sectors are food security and livelihoods, health, NFIs and shelter, nutrition, and WASH. Insecurity is hampering the delivery of assistance. The UN reports widespread violation of human rights and targeted violence against civilians.
Violence has spread across eastern South Sudan since December 2013. Fighting is most intense in the oil-rich northeastern states. Strife has progressively adopted the characteristics of an inter-communal conflict between the Dinka tribe allied to South Sudan President Kiir and government forces, and the Nuer, loosely allied with former South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar.
Relations between Sudan and South Sudan have been poor since South Sudan gained independence in 2011. The violence in South Sudan since December 2013 has exacerbated tensions, with additional concerns in Khartoum regarding an influx of refugees and arms, as well as disruption of oil flow. Sudan has accused South Sudan of using Sudanese militia groups to fight insurgents. South Sudan has made similar accusations.
Since violence broke out in December 2013, President Kiir’s government forces (SPLA), who are predominantly Dinka and backed by Ugandan troops, are pitted against a loose alliance of military defectors loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar (SPLM-in-Opposition, or SPLM-IO), along with ethnic Nuer militia forces. Despite a significant reduction in intensity from January 2014, violence persists.
Peace talks, mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African regional bloc, collapsed on 5 March, as two parties failed to meet a deadline for an agreement on power sharing and security issues in the final round of peace talks held in Addis Ababa (international media, 6/03/2015). IGAD said it plans to resume talks between the two parties in April (local media, 11/03/2015). Just before the deadline, on 3 March, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution setting out criteria for targeted sanctions on individuals or entities threatening security and stability in South Sudan (UN, 03/03/2015).
On 24 March, the South Sudanese parliament voted to extend President Kiir’s term by three years, thereby cancelling elections scheduled for June 2015 (AFP, 24/03/2015).
Following a 60% drop in oil production and widespread inflation, the central bank of South Sudan is allegedly printing money to meet a budget shortfall. The UN has warned of hyperinflation in the coming months (AP, 22/03/2015). The South Sudanese currency depreciated by approximately 26 percent from December 2014 to March 2015. Although the official Bank of South Sudan exchange rate remains pegged at 3.1 South Sudanese Pounds (SSP) to 1 U.S. Dollar (USD), the informal exchange rate reached 8.5 SSP for 1 USD in mid-April (FEWSNET, 18/04/2015).
New Insurgent Groups
According to reports, part of the South Sudan Democratic Movement (SSDM) Cobra faction, based in Pibor, Jonglei, has splintered from SSDM and allied with SPLM-in-Opposition. However, a senior member of the Greater Pibor Area Administration denied these reports (local media, 15/02/2015).
South Sudan Resistance Movement/Army
Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang, former military spokesperson for the SPLM-in-Opposition, left SPLM-IO and announced the formation of the South Sudan Resistance Movement/Army, consisting of members from the Lou-Nuer ethnic group. He declared a unilateral ceasefire with the government forces. According to local media, all three commissioners of counties in Greater Akobo, a Lou-Nuer territory, have dismissed his claims of a new movement (local media, 08/03/2015).
On 29 January, the South Sudanese Government acknowledged the formation of a new armed opposition movement, the Revolutionary Movement for National Salvation (REMNASA), in Western Equatoria state. REMNASA is estimated to have 100–200 soldiers (local media, 29/01/2015).
Most violence is occurring in the oil-rich northeastern states of Unity, Upper Nile, and Jonglei. Clashes have intensified since January, with a significant escalation since March.
At least 50,000 may have died since December 2013, although access restrictions make numbers hard to verify (International Crisis Group, 15/11/2014). On 3 April 2014, according to local media, representatives of the Nuer community stated that over 17,000 Nuer had been killed by pro-government forces since December.
International Military Presence
The UN Security Council voted in December 2013 to increase the number of peacekeepers in the country from 10,000 to 12,500. As of 28 February 2015, there were 11,669 uniformed personnel. The current mandate is up to 30 May 2015.
Border Tensions with Sudan
On 8 April, the South Sudanese government accused Sudan of carrying out air raids against villages near the border in Western Bahr el Ghazal and Northern Bahr el Ghazal states. Four civilians were killed and nine injured, according to local media reports (local media, 9/04/2015; 10/04/2015).
Clashes between the Government and SPLM-in-Opposition
The heavy fighting around Leer, which began in April, has begun to subside (ICRC, 25/05/2015). Renewed heavy fighting between government and opposition forces has been reported in Bentiu and Rubkona since the end of the rainy season in late October (AFP, 10/11/2014; Reuters, 04/01/2014; OCHA, 12/02/2015). Widespread violence, including burning, looting, and rape, are being reported in Rubkona, Mayom, Guit, Koch, and Mayendit counties as of mid-May (International media, 15/05/2015). On 15 April, government officials temporarily transferred the capital of Unity state from Bentiu to Mankien, Mayom county, due to insecurity (UNMISS, 15/04/2015). In mid-March, fighting was reported north of the Bentiu PoC site (OCHA, 19/03/2015).
On 26 May, South Sudanese government forces claim to have retaken Malakal (Al Jazeera, 26/05/2015). On 19 May, two mortar bombs landed in Melut PoC, killing four (UNHCR, 22/05/2015). Heavy fighting between government and opposition forces started in Malakal on 22 April. Separate skirmishes were reported on 23 April in Gelachel, a town between Malakal and Nasir (local media, 22/04/2015; 23/04/2015).
In March, heavy fighting, including heavy shelling, between government and opposition forces was reported in Duk Duk, Renk county, and Manyo county (OCHA, 06/03/2015; local media, 09/03/2015).
Inter-clan animosity stems from competition over water resources and grazing land. Deaths from inter-communal fighting have increased since the second Sudanese civil war (1983–2005), as have attacks, abductions, and population displacement.
Inter-communal violence has been reported in counties across Lakes state since September 2014. In March, more than 100 people were reportedly killed and 36 wounded, as more than 1,400 cattle were looted from six cattle camps in Rumbek Centre and Rumbek East counties (OCHA, 19/03/2015).
On 29 March, a grenade exploded in Bentiu PoC site, injuring ten civilians. According to NGOs operating at the PoC site, the incident occurred during clashes between two groups of civilians.
On 20 May, in Melut PoC, following a dispute at a water point, a grenade went off, injuring five (UNHCR, 22/05/2015). In early April, fighting was reported between armed youth from Dinka and Shilluk communities in Akoka county, Upper Nile state (local media, 2/04/2015). According to unconfirmed reports, 23 people were killed (OCHA, 13/04/2015).
One person was killed and around 60 injured in inter-communal clashes within the PoC site. Local media reports 3,500 IDPs left the PoC (local media, 13/05/2015; 11/05/2015).
Humanitarian Context and Needs
6.4 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in 2015 (OCHA, 08/01/2015). The delivery of aid is restricted by heavy fighting, logistical constraints, and administrative impediments. In March 2015, 64 access‑related incidents were reported, including cases of violence against humanitarian personnel and assets, suspension of activities, and detention of humanitarian staff. A third of these cases were reported in Unity state (OCHA, 14/04/2015).
The suspension of aid operations has cut off 650,000 people in need from relief in Unity and Upper Nile State (MSF, 18/05/2015; ICRC, 18/05/2015). Humanitarian actors have evacuated staff from Leer, Koch, Nyal, Ganyiel and Mayendit in Unity State, as well as around Melut in Upper Nile, due to heavy fighting. Since late April, some 151 staff from 22 organisations have been relocated (OCHA, 15/05/2015). UNMISS PoCs are still operating in the area. A surge in violence, including the disappearance of three WFP staff members, has led to the suspension of all WFP operations in Akoka and Fashoda counties, Upper Nile state (OCHA, 30/05/2015).
On 13 May, Parliament passed an ‘NGO Bill’, which requires that organisations sign a 'country agreement'. Similar agreements have been used before to control organisations in Sudan. The bill would also ban the formation of forums for international NGOs (which could hinder coordination), and allow the Government the right to impose unspecified fees (IRIN, 13/05/2015).
Incidents against humanitarian personnel and assets reported in January and February 2015 included assault, burglary, harassment, arrest, and detention. Most cases were reported in Juba (Central Equatoria), Bentiu (Unity), and in Upper Nile state (OCHA, 18/03/2015). On 17 February, a British aid worker was shot in Juba (international media, 18/02/2014). In February, eight access incidents related to insecurity were reported in Lakes state (OCHA, 18/03/2015). A WFP staff member and one UNMISS contractor are still being held after their abduction in Malakal in October 2014 (UNMISS, 17/10/2014; WFP, 17/10/2014). Two WFP staff members and a WFP-contracted driver have been missing from Upper Nile state since 1 April (WFP, 10/04/2015).
As of 31 December 2014, over 1.55 million South Sudanese had been displaced internally and over 551,636 South Sudanese refugees had moved across borders since December 2013 (UNHCR, 13/04/2015; 21/05/2015). Fluid displacement patterns and limited access to rural areas make numbers difficult to verify (UNHCR 11/07/2014).
There are approximately 1,55,059 IDPs in South Sudan: 595,500 in Jonglei, 437,600 in Unity, 74,100 in Central Equatoria, 244,900 in Upper Nile, and 125,400 in Lakes (OCHA, 15/05/2015). Since the beginning of May, fighting south of Bentiu has displaced up to 100,000 more people (UNHCR, 08/05/2015; 21/05/2015).
An estimated 802,120 IDPs are under 18 (UNICEF, 26/03/2015). Displacement patterns remain fluid, driven by violence, floods, and the search for emergency assistance (IOM, 03/09/2014).
The South Sudanese Government has rejected a UN plan to relocate 100,000 IDPs to places of their choice, which included areas under SPLM-IO control (local media, 10/05/2015).
Since January 2015, an estimated but unverified 13,800 people have been displaced due to inter-communal violence in Lakes state (OCHA, 19/03/2015).
Over 120,000 IDPs are sheltering in six Protection of Civilians (PoC) sites on UNMISS bases including 60,000 in Bentiu, 34,000 in Juba UN House, 26,000 in Malakal, and 2,600 in Bor (UNMISS 20/04/2015; 21/05/2015). Bentiu PoC site received approximately 2,400 new IDPS between the 4 and 11 May (UNMISS, 24/02/2015; OCHA, 15/05/2015) By 30 April, 8,955 new IDPs had arrived in the Malakal PoC site (UNMISS, 23/04/2015).
Refugees in South Sudan
259,232 refugees are in South Sudan: 235,000 are from Sudan, 15,500 from DRC, 4,900 from Ethiopia, and 2,040 from CAR. Over 134,000 refugees are based in Upper Nile and around 96,500 in Unity (UNHCR, 07/05/2015; 19/04/2015; 30/04/2015). Most of the Sudanese refugees in Upper Nile state reside in four refugee camps in Maban county (OCHA, 03/04/2014).
Since 23 December, 11,554 new refugees arrived in Yida (UNCHR, 18/05/2015). Arrival rates have increased sharply in 2015. Of the new arrivals in Yida between 20 and 26 February, 65% were women and children (OCHA, 21/02/2015). Refugees cited aerial bombardments, ground attacks and lack of livelihood and education opportunities as reasons for leaving (UNHCR, 30/01/2015).
The South Sudanese Government wants to close Yida camp by June 2015 and relocate refugees to other camps. The South Sudan Government and UNHCR have agreed to expand Ajuong Thok refugee camp to accommodate up to 40,000 people. 520 were transferred from Yida in early May (UNCHR, 06/05/2015). Pamyr, a new site 8km from Yida, has been identified as a potential refugee camp (UNHCR, 19/02/2015).
As of 28 August 2014, 186,000 people had returned since the beginning of the crisis: 70,000 in Jonglei, 109,000 in Unity, and 5,000 in Northern Bahr el Ghazal (OCHA, 28/08/2014).
Earlier reports indicated a total of 1.9 million returnees from Sudan since 2007.
South Sudan Refugees in Other Countries
551,636 South Sudanese have sought refuge in neighbouring countries since the onset of the conflict, 15 December 2013 (UNHCR, 21/05/2015).
Sudan: 143,363 South Sudanese nationals have arrived in Sudan since 15 December 2013 (UNHCR, 15/04/2015; 21/05/2015). Between 9 and 24 April, 5,000 more refugees arrived from Upper Nile state (UNHCR, 24/04/2015). There have been unverified reports of large movements of people towards West Kordofan state, at the border with Sudan (UNHCR, 18/05/2015).
As of late March, the Sudanese Government has refused to recognise South Sudanese nationals as refugees and instead considers them to be Sudanese citizens (UNHCR, 03/04/2014). UNHCR declared this constitutes an obstacle to accessing humanitarian assistance.
Ethiopia: 208,177 South Sudanese refugees (UNHCR, 21/05/2015).
Uganda: 154,244 refugees (UNHCR, 21/05/2015).
Kenya: 45,852 refugees (UNHCR, 21/05/2015).
Between 3 and 2.5 million people were in food security Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels in April 2015. The worst affected areas include southern and central Unity State, western Jonglei, and southern Upper Nile state (FEWSNET, 20/04/2015; WFP, 15/04/2015).
Food security is expected to reach to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in several counties in Unity, Jonglei and Upper Nile state during April (FEWSNET, 23/02/2015). An early onset of the lean season is expected, and an estimated 3.5 to 4 million people will be in Crisis and Emergency food insecurity in May and June (Oxfam, 18/05/2015).
The food security situation has worsened in Warrap and Lakes states, as they experienced above-normal flooding in 2014, which affected crop harvests, livestock migration, and disease patterns. In Lakes state, increased inter-clan fighting and cattle raiding has affected the stability of livelihoods (IPC, 02/2015). According to WFP’s Vulnerability Analysis Mapping, 15% of households in Warrap state are severely food insecure, the highest percentage in South Sudan (WFP, 12/2014).
Livestock are moving into agricultural areas, rather than conflict-affected pastoral zones. This has destroyed crops, heightens the risk of livestock disease transmission, increases competition for natural resources, and is likely to have an impact on local power structures (FAO, 12/2014). Conflict has also affected trade flows and market infrastructure, and weakened financial systems (WFP, 02/2015). The country depends on food imports, and a de facto devaluation of the national currency between 2011 and 2013, the reduction in oil exports, and the increase in imports, all have a negative impact on households’ purchasing power.
Health and Nutrition
5.8 million people need health assistance. Waterborne diseases in flooded areas, as well as kala azar (visceral leishmaniasis) in Jonglei, are the most pressing health concerns (WHO, 10/2014). Malaria, acute respiratory infections, acute watery diarrhoea, and acute bloody diarrhoea are the main causes of illness among the IDPs (WHO, 15/02/2015).
Due to fighting in Unity, a hospital in Koch has been destroyed. It provided healthcare to around 35,000 people (international media, 12/05/2015).
A measles outbreak has been confirmed in Bentiu PoC, with 130 cases of measles reported as of 9 April (OCHA, 13/04/2015)
An estimated 10% of new refugees arriving in Yida suffer from measles (UNHCR, 30/01/2015).
As of 4 February, at least 229,000 children are estimated severely malnourished (UNICEF, 04/02/2015). Malnutrition screening of 22,917 children in January and February in the three conflict-affected states found GAM levels above the emergency threshold of 15% in Upper Nile (17.2%), Unity (18.9%) and Jonglei (26%) (UNICEF, 26/03/2015). In the traditionally high burdened states in non-conflict affected areas, the GAM rates were highest in Warrap (17.2%) and Northern Bahr el Ghazal (14.6%) (WFP, 12/2014). The highest GAM rates were recorded in Leer county (34.1%) and Panyijar (32.8%), Unity state; Akobo East, Jonglei State (31.8%) and Uror (27%), Jonglei; and Aweil South, Northern Bahr el Ghazal (26.1%) (UNICEF, 20/11/2014).
In the town of Leer, at least 1,400 children were reported malnourished, and are no longer receiving treatment (MSF, 09/05/2015; Medair, 13/05/2015). In Bentiu PoC site, screening of 9,288 children under five revealed a SAM rate of 1.8%. In Jonglei state, 10,865 children under five were screened: 4.8% were severely malnourished. In Upper Nile 4,899 children under 5 where screened, and 0.6% were identified as SAM (UNICEF, 21/05/2015).
The screening of over 600,000 children across the country in 2014 found an SAM rate of 6.7% and an MAM rate of 12.6% (UNICEF, 19/08/2014). Twice as many needed treatment for SAM in 2014 than in 2013 (UNICEF 15/07/2014).
1,316 cases of visceral leishmaniasis, including 39 deaths (case fatality rate 3.18%), have been reported in Lankien, Ulang, Walgak, and Chuil (Jonglei) since the beginning of 2015. Of these, 837 were new cases, 188 were relapses, and 18 did not complete treatment (WHO, 15/02/2015; 29/03/2015).
7,204 cases and 199 deaths were recorded in 2014, compared to 2,992 cases and 88 deaths for all 2013 (WHO, 08/01/2015). Most cases were reported in Jonglei (OCHA, 30/10/2014). Kala azar is a chronic and potentially fatal parasitic disease transmitted by the bite of infected sandflies.
Water coverage in the IDP sites of Melut PoC, Bentiu PoC, and Malakal PoC was only 12.9 litres/person/day, 7.6, and 10, respectively. This is below the minimum UNHCR recommended standard of 20 (UNHCR, 10/04/2015; IOM, 14/05/2015).
There have been 1,085 cases of acute watery diarrhoea in Maban county's four refugee camps (UNHCR, 08/05/2015). Malakal PoC, Bentiu PoC, and Melut have 56, 207 and 55 latrines per person IOM, 14/05/2015).
1.7 million children and adolescents are in need of emergency education, including 400,000 who have dropped out of school (UNICEF, 16/01/2015).
Children are not attending school in 70% of IDP sites (CCCM, 17/04/2014). The inability to pay teachers’ wages has limited education activities in displacement areas (OCHA, 26/10/2014). 83 schools are occupied by armed groups or IDPs (OCHA, 27/03/2014). Many schools remain closed in Jonglei, Unity, and Upper Nile. Rising insecurity has disrupted education in remote villages in Lakes state: Yirol West, Cueibet, Rumbek North, Rumbek East and Rumbek Central counties are most affected. The state ministry of education has relocated 19 primary schools from remote areas into Rumbek town for safety reasons (local media, 20/03/2015).
A UN Security Council report stated that all parties to the conflict since December 2013 were responsible for grave violations against children in 2014, including killing and maiming, recruitment and use, abduction, and rape and other forms of sexual violence (UN, 30/12/2014).
13,000 children have reportedly been recruited by armed groups since the beginning of 2014 (R2P Monitor, 15/05/2015). On 21 February, an unidentified armed group abducted at least 89 boys, some as young as 13, from their homes in the town of Wau Shilluk, near Malakal (Upper Nile). According to UNICEF, the number may be in the hundreds and the children have been recruited as child soldiers. The Shilluk militia, allied with SPLA, is believed to be responsible (UNICEF, 28/02/2015). Since January, UNICEF has released 1,757 children who had been recruited as child soldiers by the Cobra faction (UNICEF, 24/04/2015).
UNICEF has identified over 5,830 unaccompanied and separated children since the conflict began in December 2013 (UNICEF, 02/09/2014).
According to the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, rape has been used as a weapon of war between government and opposition forces (international media, 23/10/2014). In May, 12 rape cases have been reported in a series of attacked in southern Unity state (UNICEF, 20/05/2015). Early and forced marriage, rape, and domestic violence have been reported in Maban refugee camps (Batil, Doro, Gendrassa and Kaya) (OCHA, 16/10/2014). In Melut (Upper Nile), firewood collection remains a major safety concern for women and girls, with reports of GBV (OCHA, 26/10/2014). Gang rape and forced marriage are increasing in Cuibeit county, Lakes state, and Magwi and Torit counties, Eastern Equatoria state, as a result of inter-communal violence (OCHA, 09/02/2015).
26 May: An estimated 1.4 million people face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity. Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile and West Kordofan are worst affected (FSNWG, 26/05/2015).
21 May: Government forces attacked and burned Medeim El Jebel, in Blue Nile state. 14,000 are believed to be living in the open without shelter (local media, 21/05/2015).
18–19 May: An unknown number of villagers were injured, three were raped and one was killed during attacks by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Tawila, North Darfur (local media, 19/05/2015; All Africa, 21/05/2015).
- Protracted insurgencies by armed groups are occurring across Darfur, and South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. The conflict in South Sudan has also raised tensions.
- 6.6 million people (20% of the population) need humanitarian assistance (OCHA 17/11/2014): 4.4 million in Darfur and 980,000 in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states (OCHA, 11/2014).
- 1.4 million people face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity. Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile and West Kordofan are worst affected (FSNWG, 26/05/2015).
- 1.2 million children under five acutely malnourished, an estimated 550,000 are severely acutely malnourished (OCHA, 23/04/2015).
- Renewed fighting between armed opposition groups, militias, and the Sudanese army in Darfur since March.
- 3.1 million IDPs. Two million in Darfur prior to the latest clashes (OCHA, 03/2015), and 431,000 displaced in 2014 (OCHA, 12/2014) and 43,000 newly displaced in 2015 (OCHA, 02/2015).
- Humanitarian access remains a significant problem due to insecurity, mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), logistical constraints, and restrictions placed by the authorities.
Several regions of Sudan are facing large-scale internal displacement due to violence, widespread food insecurity, malnutrition, lack of access to basic services, and recurrent natural disasters. Humanitarian access to conflict zones is severely restricted.
Numerous, protracted insurgencies are being waged by several armed groups across Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile. Darfur has been the scene of inter-communal clashes and conflict between the government and armed opposition for over a decade, and fighting intensified in March 2014. Violence in Blue Nile and South Kordofan grew significantly after South Sudan won independence in 2011. Tensions also continue to run high between Sudan and South Sudan.
Profound divisions within Sudanese society have persisted since independence in 1956, and the Government’s exploitation of intercommunal differences has aggravated the situation.
Parliamentary and presidential elections were held 13–15 April, and according to unofficial estimates President Omar al Bashir achieved a landslide victory. Voter turnout was reportedly extremely low (AP, 13/04/2015; international media, 19/04/2015). The Sudan Revolutionary Front and the National Umma Party, and other opposition groups boycotted in the elections (Al Jazeera, 27/04/2015).
Tensions between Khartoum and Juba, persistent since South Sudan’s independence in 2011, increased when violence erupted in South Sudan in December 2013. The disruption of oil flow is a key concern for both countries. In November 2014, South Sudanese officials accused the Sudanese Government of bombing Raga county, Western Bahr el Ghazal state, and Maban county, Upper Nile state, where more than 220,000 Sudanese refugees are living (AFP, 14/11/2014).
The Sudanese Government has accused Juba of using Sudanese militia groups, and the South Sudanese army (SPLA) has accused Khartoum of supporting the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement -in-Opposition. Both the opposition and Khartoum have denied the accusations.
Sudan Revolutionary Front
The Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), formed in 2011, is seeking a comprehensive peace process covering the whole country. The Government is only willing to discuss the conflict in Darfur.
The SRF is made up of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), mainly active in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, as well as Darfur’s three largest opposition groups: the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM); the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahid Al Nur (SLM-AW); and the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Arkou Minnawi (SLM-MM).
In March 2015, the Sudanese government and a number of Darfur opposition-group commanders led by Mohamedain Ismail Basher, formerly the SLM-MM operations commander, signed a peace agreement in N’Djamena, Chad.
Blue Nile and South Kordofan States
While the SPLM governs the independent South Sudan, the SPLM-North continues an insurgency in Sudan’s Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, which have routinely opposed government rule. Talks between Khartoum and the SPLM-N have repeatedly failed, and negotiations last collapsed in April 2014, reportedly over the SPLM-N’s demand for a comprehensive peace process.
Extensive military operations aimed to end armed opposition in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile began at the end of 2013. Tribal fighting also intensified in Darfur and Kordofan regions in 2013 and 2014, leading to thousands of deaths and injuries and forcing over 300,000 people to flee their homes. Large-scale violence by pro-government militia against the IDP population in Darfur continues in 2015.
UN Peacekeeping Mission
Relations between the Government of Sudan and the UN peacekeeping mission deteriorated following the Government’s refusal to allow a UNAMID investigation of mass rape in Tabit, North Darfur at the end of 2014 (AFP, 30/11/2014). A working group of UN, AU and Sudanese officials reached an agreement on the terms of reference for UNAMID’s exit strategy in February and held a four-day meeting 16–19 April (local media, 8/03/2015; 20/04/2015).
Security in Darfur has reportedly deteriorated significantly since late December 2013, with numerous airstrikes by the Sudanese Air Force (SAF). Attacks by pro-government militia on IDPs and villagers, their shelters, and commercial convoys, are frequent.
On 18 and 19 May, an unknown number of villagers were injured and at last one killed during attacks by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Tawila locality, North Darfur (local media, 19/05/2015; All Africa, 21/05/2015). In early January, 15 villages were burned and another 30 abandoned during fighting between government forces and armed groups in Tawila and Um Baru localities, North Darfur (OCHA, 08/01/2015; local media, 06/01/2015).
On 1 April, Sudanese warplanes dropped ten bombs in an airstrike on Rowata, Central Darfur, killing 14 civilians and injuring 18 (local media, 7/04/2015).
Inter-communal violence: Following weeks of tension, fighting erupted between the Southern Reizeigat and Maaliya tribes in East Darfur on 10 and 11 May near Abu Karinka, East Darfur State. Approximately 100 tribesmen were killed and around 168,000 individuals are believed affected. Over 665 houses were destroyed. Fighting has now stopped. Around 24,000 people who were displaced are believed to be returning home (local media, 17/05/2015; international media, 11/05/2015; OCHA, 17/05/2015).
On 22 March, clashes between Falata and Salamat tribes in South Darfur left more than 36 dead and more than 70 wounded (local media, 26/03/2015). On 20 March, clashes between Berti and Al Zayadia tribes killed or injured an estimated 30 people near El Fasher, North Darfur. Several villages were also reported burned (AFP, 20/03/2015; local media, 20/03/2015).
In 2014, there were serious clashes between Misseriya and Salamat in Central Darfur, between Misseriya clans in West Darfur, and between Maaliya and Rizeigat in East Darfur (local media, 20/08/2014).
Kordofan and Blue Nile
Information on Blue Nile and South Kordofan states is difficult to obtain as government authorities severely restrict access to the fighting zone.
On 21 May, government forces attacked and burned Medeim El Jebel village, in Blue Nile. Some 2,000 families (14,000 people) are believed to be living in the open without shelter (local media, 21/05/2015). Fighting between SPLM-N and government troops intensified in March, with SPLM-N claiming they captured the garrison town of Habila on 28 March. According to the South Kordofan and Blue Nile Coordination Unit (SKBNCU), aerial bombardment and shelling increased significantly from the last week of March (SKBNCU, 03/2015). On 4 April, SPLM-N claimed that they had captured a truck in South Kordofan, which was carrying ballot boxes for nationwide elections to be held on 13 April (AFP, 05/04/2015). On 25 April, the SPLM-N claimed that they attacked the Sudan Air Force (SAF) from Kululu hills, south of Kadugli town (local media, 27/04/2015).
According to a Human Rights Watch report, the Government of Sudan dropped cluster bombs on civilian areas of South Kordofan’s Nuba Mountains between February and March 2015. The Sudanese Government has denied possession of any stockpiles of cluster bombs, which are prohibited by the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions (Human Rights Watch, 16/04/2015).
Humanitarian Context and Needs
6.6 million people (20% of the population) are in need of humanitarian assistance; more than half are in Darfur and South Kordofan and Blue Nile states (OCHA 17/11/2014).
In October, 4.4 million people in Darfur, more than half of the region’s population, needed humanitarian assistance (OCHA). This includes 2.4 million IDPs, 1.9 million non-displaced severely affected by violence, and 136,000 returnees or refugees from neighbouring countries.
In South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, 749,000 need assistance in government-controlled areas and 378,000 are estimated displaced by conflict in SPLM-N territory. Limited access to non-government areas makes verification impossible.
Humanitarian access for international relief organisations is a major problem. The Humanitarian Aid Commission has been accused of impeding the distribution of food, water, and shelter materials to IDPs in South Darfur (local media, 09/05/2015). Humanitarian operations are heavily hampered by insecurity, the presence of mines and ERW, logistical constraints, and government restrictions.
A significant portion of Abu Karinka, East Darfur was destroyed in May. An unknown number of residents are in need of water, food and fuel; electricity has been cut off (OCHA, 14/05/2015). In South Kordofan, all towns in Habila, Dilling and Al Qoz localities were inaccessible after fighting in March, with the exception of Dilling town (OCHA, 29/03/2015).
Administrative and Logistical Constraints
August 2013 regulations ban foreign humanitarian groups and UN agencies from working for human rights, and the Government has banned humanitarian access to areas controlled by opposition groups.
East Jebel Marra has been virtually inaccessible since 2010. Access to IDPs in Darfur is constrained by militia checkpoints and insecurity.
There has been no humanitarian access from Sudan to opposition-held areas in South Kordofan since October 2013.
Security Incidents Involving Aid Workers
Three national aid workers have been killed in Blue Nile state and two attacks on aid organisations have been reported between January and Feburary 2015 (ECHO, 10/02/2015; MSF, 22/01/2015). 25 aid workers were abducted in Darfur in 2014, the highest number of abduction cases recorded since 2004 (OCHA, 22/01/2015).
As of February 2015, there are 3.1 million IDPs in Sudan, 2.5 million of whom are in Darfur (OCHA, 30/04/2015).
2.4 million IDPs reside in 46 camps and 68 settlements in Darfur (82,530 orphans, 34,099 widows, and 52,352 sick and elderly), according to a survey conducted by the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) from December 2013 to April 2014. OCHA reported in June that government policy to prevent the creation of new camps is an obstacle to the verification and registration of IDPs.
67,000 people have been displaced by fighting between Berti and Zayadia tribes in Mellit, North Darfur late February early March (OCAH, 03/05/2015).
457,000 people were displaced in Darfur January–December 2014, more than in any year since 2004: 141,000 have reportedly returned (OCHA 31/12/2014; 20/07/2014).
Over 121,000 people have been displaced in North and Central Darfur, including Jebel Marra, since early January. 41,304 have been verified in North Darfur. OCHA, 05/02/2015; 15/02/2015; 01/03/2015; 31/03/2015).
Jebel Marra: More than 3,000 displaced arrived at areas controlled by the Sudan Liberation Movement, led by Abdel Wahid El Nur (SLM-AW) in Jebel Marra, which is in both North and Central Darfur states. According to SLM-AW, the displaced had fled attacks by government forces on Golo and the neighbouring villages in January (local media, 15/03/2015).
North Darfur: 148,000 total IDPs as of March 2015. 107,000 IDPs; 124,000 returnees in 2014 (OCHA 31/12/2014). OCHA has verified another 41,304 newly displaced: 4,458 in Rwanda camp; 10,888 in Shagra A, B, C, Behir, and Um Hajaleed towns; 4,587 in Tawila town; 1,645 in Kino and Midasis villages; 4,000 in Guldo town; 6,189 in Argo camp; 418 in Dali camp; 7,450 in Um Baru UNAMID site; 1,031 in Majdob town; and 624 in Nifasha camp (OCHA, 22/02/2015).
South Darfur: According to HAC, 2,500 people from the Salamat tribe fled Al Nadeef village for Katila locality, in South Darfur’s Buram locality following fighting between the Salamat and Falata on 21 March (OCHA, 29/03/2015). 105,000 IDPs (OCHA, 31/12/2014). 736 villages were destroyed December 2013–April 2014 (DRA cited by local media 16/07/2014).
Central Darfur: 74,000 verified IDPs as of the beginning of January 2015; 68,000 IDPs; 5,000 returnees in 2014 (OCHA 31/12/2014). In the week ending 10 May, 344 people came to Zalingei camp, Central Darfur, after their homes were burned down by militia groups (OCHA, 10/05/2015). In March and April 2015, an estimated 16,300 IDPs arrived in Guldo town from central Jebel Marra locality, fleeing fighting between government and militia, as well as lack of humanitarian assistance. Of these, 6,200 people are from Golo, Jebel Marra, according to aid agencies (OCHA, 08/04/2015).
East Darfur: 35,000 IDPs as of end November 2014 (OCHA, 31/12/2014).
West Darfur: 1,300 IDPs were reported by OCHA in December 2014, in stark contrast with an earlier local government figure of 373,000 (OCHA, 07/09/2014; DRA cited by local media 16/07/2014).
Blue Nile and South Kordofan: In South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, 378,000 people are estimated displaced in SPLM-N territory (OCHA, 03/02/2015). With no presence in the SPLM-N territory, the UN is unable to verify these figures (OCHA, 19/05/2014). Between 9 and 18 March, an estimated 23,600 people fled fighting between SPLM-N and government troops and arrived in Al Abassiya, Abu Jubaiha and Rah Abu Jubaiha and Rashad towns as well as surrounding villages in South Kordofan state, according to the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC). Almost 60% were women and children under five. An estimated 19,000 were in Al Abassiya and Abu Jubaiha localities (OCHA, 23/03/2015).
According to HAC, nearly all people who fled their homes in Habila due to fighting at the end of March returned in early April (OCHA, 08/04/2015).
West Kordofan: More than 52,000 people were reported displaced in September (OCHA, 21/09/2014).
Abyei: According to an inter-agency mission, nearly 800 IDPs were confirmed to have fled Marialahak village to Rummamier village, following attacks by armed Misseriya (OCHA, 12/04/2015).
Refugees in Sudan
There are 314,101 refugees in Sudan (OCHA, 10/05/2015). As of 20 May 2015, more than 143,363 are South Sudanese nationals who have arrived in Sudan since 15 December 2013 (UNHCR, 13/05/2015). Between 8 and 19 March, more than 5,000 refugees arrived from Upper Nile state, South Sudan, fleeing fighting between government and opposition forces (UNHCR, 19/03/2015; OCHA, 03/05/2015).
Approximately 77,139 South Sudanese refugees live in White Nile, 33,200 in Khartoum, 11,566 in South Kordofan, 17,633 in West Kordofan, 3,661 in Blue Nile and 164 East Darfur (UNHCR, 20/05/2015). 66% (85,240) are children (UNICEF, 02/2015). 91% of households are female-headed (UNHCR, 29/01/2015).
All sites in White Nile state are beyond capacity, though the number of new arrivals is decreasing (. Access for aid workers is a concern (ECHO, 23/09/2014).
It is estimated that over 350,000 people of South Sudanese origin are in Sudan (OCHA, 30/04/2014). 6,800 displaced South Sudanese are living in the disputed area of Abyei (OCHA, 17/12/2014).
Sudanese Refugees in Other Countries
As of January 2015, OCHA reported 367,000 Sudanese refugees in Chad, 233,000 in South Sudan, 35,000 in Ethiopia, and 1,880 in Central African Republic (UNHCR, 23/02/2015; OCHA, 03/02/2015).
10,000 refugees from South Kordofan are reported to have fled to South Sudan (Yida, in Unity state) since 23 December 2014. At 500 people a week, the rate of arrival is double that of the same time period in 2013 (UNCHR, 30/01/2015).
Despite improved food security conditions, acute food insecurity persists. An estimated 1.4 million people face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity. The most conflict affected areas – Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile and West Kordofan – are the worst affected (FSNWG, 26/05/2015).
The number of food insecure will increase to 4 million in June and peak at 4.2 million in August/September (FEWSNET, 01/02/2014; OCHA, 03/05/2015). An estimated 25–30% of IDPs in SPLM-N-controlled areas of South Kordofan will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) (FEWSNET, 03/2014). Hundreds of families in Graida, South Darfur, are facing food shortages after clashes between Falata and Massalit tribes destroyed more than 165 homes (local media, 22/02/2015).
Food availability has otherwise improved. Harvests in North and West Darfur are above-average due to good rains and increased cultivation in some areas. The preliminary findings of the joint Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM) estimates that 2014/15 national production will be 50% above the five-year average (FEWSNET, 12/2014).
Health and Nutrition
The UN estimated in mid-December 2013 that 165,000 children in SPLM-N-controlled parts of South Kordofan and Blue Nile do not have access to basic health services.
There are indications that the health situation in Darfur is deteriorating; many have no access to healthcare.
A measles outbreak began in late 2014. 167 confirmed measles cases were reported in the week ending 3 May, compared with 101 cases during the previous week. At 3 May, 4,127 suspected measles cases, 2,336 confirmed cases, and 35 deaths have been reported in 2015. West Darfur is worst affected (653 confirmed cases, nine deaths). Kassala has had 397 confirmed cases and five deaths, while in Red Sea state, there have been 352 cases and five deaths (WHO, 03/05/2015).
1.2 million children under five were estimated to be acutely malnourished as of April 2015. This revision of the planning figures resulted in a drop from 2 million estimated at the end of September 2014 (OCHA, 23/04/2015). An estimated 550,000 were severely malnourished in 2014 (UN, 05/05/2015).
A fall in the water level in the White Nile River is affecting water supply to Jouri and El Redis refugee camps in White Nile state, where water intake dropped to 9L per person per day in both camps (UNHCR, 08/05/2015).
There are currently only two functioning handpumps in Guldo town, Central Darfur where 16,300 new IDPs have arrived (OCHA, 12/04/2015).
20 water pumps have stopped working in El Salam camp, South Darfur in the past five months, affecting 80,000 people (Radio Dabanga, 04/05/2015).
Water supply problems were reported in Tawila, North Darfur, Kereinik locality, West Darfur, and El Jeer district, South Darfur and Abu Kershola, South Kordofan, in March (OCHA, 01/03/2015). Kassab IDP camp in Kutum is suffering from a severe shortage of drinking water since the beginning of May. Reports suggest that 11 out of the 20 water pumps at the camp broke down (local media, 25/05/2015). Drinking water crises have also been reported in (local media, 22/02/2015; 14/05/2015).
3 million children aged 5–13 are out of school in Sudan. 1.9 million of these are primary school aged children (UNICEF, 14/04/2015).
Mines and ERW
250 locations covering an estimated 32km2 are contaminated by mines and ERW, with the greatest concentrations in Kassala, Gedaref, Red Sea, Blue Nile, South Kordofan, and Darfur (UNMAS). South Kordofan is the most heavily mined area of Sudan, according to the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor.
Sexual and Gender-based Violence
Rape of IDPs by pro-government militia was frequently reported by the local media in North, South, and Central Darfur and Jebel Marra in 2014. On 18 and 19 May at least three cases of rape were reported during attacks by the RSF in Tawila, North Darfur (local media, 19/05/2015). Reports in early November suggested that more than 200 women and girls had been raped by Sudanese soldiers in Tabit area in North Darfur. Sudanese troops denied UNAMID access to assess the situation (Reuters, 17/11/2014).
As of March 2014, the Sudanese Government refuses to recognise South Sudanese nationals as refugees and instead considers them to be Sudanese citizens (UNHCR, 03/04/2014). All foreigners in Sudan had to register with the immigration administration by 1 April. UNHCR has declared this constitutes an obstacle to humanitarian assistance.
Syria Country Analysis
25 May: Airstrikes were carried out by government planes after Islamic State (IS) took Palmyra (SOHR).
23 May: 2,500 people have been killed by coalition airstrikes since the beginning of the IS offensive (SOHR).
22 May: IS seized the al Tanf crossing on the Iraq–Syria border (ISW).
21 May: Since the seizure of Palmyra, IS is in control of over half of Syrian territory (SOHR).
- Over 220,000 deaths documented March 2011–December 2014, including over 63,000 civilians, almost 11,000 of them children (SOHR 12/2014). 2014 recorded the highest number of deaths, with 76,000 fatalities.
- 12.2 million people in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, including 5.6 million children (OCHA/UNICEF 12/2014).
- 7.6 million IDPs (OCHA 28/12/2014).
- 4.8 million people live in hard-to-reach areas (OCHA 12/2014).
- 3,978,851 Syrians are registered or waiting to register as refugees outside Syria as of 26 May (UNHCR 26/05/2015). Children make up 51.6% of the refugee population.
- 711 of 1,921 primary health centres and 37 of 92 public hospitals are out of service. 26 of 41 basic emergency obstetric care centres are reported non-functional (Syrian Ministry of Health/UNFPA 30/11/2014).
- 13,000 people have died in detention since March 2011, including more than 100 children, reportedly from torture (SOHR, 13/03/2015).
The conflict has killed over 220,000 people and caused large-scale displacement. Protection concerns are widespread. WASH and access to food are high priorities, as well as access to health services. Humanitarian needs in areas under prolonged and ongoing siege are particularly high because access is obstructed.
A new round of Russia-mediated peace talks started on 6 April. The National Coalition did not participate (Al Jazeera, 06/04/2015). On 27 March, main opposition parties inside Syria, Building the Syrian State Party and National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change (NCCDC) announced formal participation in the Russia-peace talks (AFP, 27/03/2015).
On 4 May, the Geneva III conference began. UN envoy de Mistura will hold separate consultations the Syrian Government, some opposition groups, and regional powers such as Turkey and Iran. Opposition groups have criticised the invitation to Iran, which they consider signals that de Mistura is too close to the Government (BBC, 05/05/2015).
Widespread conflict and high levels of violence continue, including indiscriminate aerial bombing by government forces and indiscriminate shelling by armed opposition (UNSC 21/11/2014). High frequency conflict locations are Aleppo, Idleb, Damascus, Rural Damascus, Quneitra, and Dar’a governorates (SOHR in SNAP, 03/2015). Central governorates have witnessed an increase in airstrikes and the use of barrel bombs, especially Rural Damascus.
In 2014, 76,000 people were killed in the conflict, the highest toll since the war began. 18,000 civilians, including at least 3,500 children, were among the victims (SOHR, 02/01/2014). At least 6,550 civilians died during airstrikes, half of them in Aleppo. More than 220,000 people have died since fighting began in March 2011 and more than one million people have been wounded or suffered permanent disabilities (SOHR, 02/12/2014, 07/02/2015, UNICEF, 03/2015).
Government forces: Government forces have control of several areas near Aleppo, in and around Homs city, and several areas in the Qalamoun region in Rural Damascus. Government forces control As-Sweida governorate, Tartous, parts of Dar’a and Lattakia, several areas in Idleb, and positions in predominantly IS or Kurdish controlled areas in Al Hasakeh. Increased Iranian involvement in generating irregular forces to augment pro-Government ranks appears to be fraying government command-and-control structures and challenging direct Syrian state control (ISW, 24/03/2015).
Islamic State (IS, formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) declared an Islamic caliphate on 30 June, defining the group's territory as running from northern Syria to the Iraqi province of Diyala, northeast of Baghdad. IS has been in full control of Ar-Raqqa governorate, its stronghold in Syria, since October 2014. It holds significant swathes of territory in Aleppo, Al Hasakeh, and Deir-ez-Zor, and is fighting in Rural Damascus, Damascus, and Homs.
Democratic Union Party (PYD) and People’s Protection Units (YPG): Syrian Kurds, repressed by the current Syrian Government, have been in de facto control of Kurdish zones in the north since Government forces withdrew mid-2012. Kurdish leaders from the PYD formed an armed wing, the YPG, aiming to secure control over predominantly ethnic Kurdish areas in northern and eastern Syria (ISW 19/09/2014). Media has reported the YPG has 65,000 fighters (Today’s Zaman, 04/01/2015).
Jabhat al Nusra (JAN), linked to Al Qaeda, is increasingly consolidating its control in northwestern Syria, previously held by the collapsing moderate opposition. JAN has turned against other opposition factions, which are considered mainstays of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). In contrast, mainstream Islamist groups have begun to strengthen relations with JAN. The dissolution of the Hazm Movement in western Aleppo governorate cements JAN gains in the area (ISW, 02/03/2015).
Opposition alliances: The Sham Front, a military command made up of five major factions, including Ahrar al Sham, Jaysh al Mujahideen, and Harakat Nour al Din al Zenki, was dissolved on 14 April (ISW, 30/12/2014). On 26 April, Ahrar al Sham, Jaysh al Islam, and five other Aleppo-based opposition groups announced the formation of the Aleppo Conquest Operations Room in Aleppo city (ISW, 28/04/2015). On 14 May, the Aleppo Conquest Operations Room extended its membership to include 31 opposition groups, including factions based in Idleb and Hama (ISW, 20/05/2015).
Christian militias: Christian militias in northeastern Syria, in alliance with Kurdish forces and other armed opposition groups, are attempting to counter IS advances. Reportedly, they number up to 450 (The Guardian, 03/03/2015).
International intervention: As part of a multinational campaign against Islamist militant groups, a US-led coalition began airstrikes on IS and JAN military installations in mid-September. Jordan has carried out 56 airstrikes on IS targets in three days in February (BBC, 08/02/2015). More than 2,500 people have been killed by coalition airstrikes so far, the vast majority of them IS fighters, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR, 23/05/2015).
Turkish officials confirmed an agreement between Turkey and Saudi Arabia to provide joint logistical and financial support to anti-Assad forces in Syria on 7 May; Turkey had been thought to be supporting the offensives to seize Idleb city and Jisr al-Shughour. According to unidentified Turkish officials, Turkey plans to pressure JAN to renounce its affiliation to Al Qaeda (ISW, 12/05/2015).
Increasing Iranian involvement may potentially serve their larger strategic objectives by positioning Iranian forces closer to the disputed Israeli-controlled Golan Heights (ISW, 11/02/2015; 10/03/2015).
Since the seizure of Palmyra on 21 May, IS in control of more than 50% of Syrian territory (SOHR, 21/05/2015). However, IS has come under pressure on four fronts in Syria (ISW, 17/03/2015). The YPG, supported by other armed groups, and coalition airstrikes have considerably challenged IS in the north (ISW, 02/03/2015). IS appears to have shifted the main effort of its military campaign to target the Government in central Syria (ISW, 24/03/2015). On 15 May, US commandos killed senior IS official Abu Sayyaf in Deir-ez-Zor (BBC, 17/05/2015).
Over 1–12 April, the Government carried out almost 1,500 airstrikes, killing 183 civilians and injuring more than 1,300 people (SOHR, 13/04/2015).
The increasingly Islamist and jihadist composition of militant ranks in northern Syria strengthens JAN’s position in northern Syria, and these groups are increasingly coordinated. The fall of Jisr al Shughur to JAN and allied forces is a key indicator of the Government’s inability to defend terrain without the assistance of Iranian proxies such as Hezbollah (ISW, 26/04/2015).
Aleppo: Over 17-18 May, IS seized two government-held villages in the outskirts of the Sheikh Najjar Industrial District, northeast of Aleppo city (ISW, 20/05/2015). On 30 April, US coalition airstrikes on Ber Mahli village near Seren killed 64 civilians, 31 of whom were under 16 (SOHR, 04/05/2015). Clashes between IS and regime forces continue in north Aleppo (SOHR, 07/04/2015). Kurdish forces, backed by Ar-Raqqa armed groups, have gained control over 242 villages around Kobane as well as the city area (SOHR, 19/02/2015).
On 13 April, JAN led an assault on an intelligence base in Aleppo city, and clashed with government forces. Government attacks on civilian infrastructure in the city forced the closure of schools (AFP, 13/04/2015). Aleppo city saw heavy clashes between opposition and government forces in early March, and high casualties on both sides (BBC, 04/03/2015; AFP, 05/03/2015).
Al Hasakeh: YPG forces, supported by US airstrikes, took control of Abd al Aziz Mountain over 18-20 May (ISW, 20/05/2015). Clashes continue between YPG and IS in the Tal Tamr countryside (SOHR, 01/05/2015). Following a joint YPG and Syriac Military Council offensive on IS positions, IS began an offensive on Assyrian positions in February (Long War Journal, 24/02/2015; AFP, 07/03/2015). On 11 April, YPG forces pushed IS back from Tal Tamr town (AFP, 12/04/2015).
Ar-Raqqa: Kurdish forces made gains against IS, taking over three villages near Ain Issa on 12 April, a town less than 60km from Ar-Raqqa city. Over two days, Kurdish forces took seven villages from IS (AFP, 12/04/2015; SOHR, 12/04/2015).
Damascus: Over 18–20 May, Jaysh al Islam launched an offensive against the government-held Brigade 39 military base in the Eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus (ISW, 20/05/2015). JAN is now the main group inside Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp; IS had seized large parts of the camp on 5 April but had largely withdrawn ten days later, after expelling their main rival group, Hamas-linked Aknaf al Maqdis (Reuters, 15/04/2015). Government forces have shelled the camp and dropped barrel bombs on it, according to the SOHR (AFP, 05/04/2015; UN, 29/04/2015).
Dar’a: Sustained fighting has been recorded since mid-February, when opposition groups launched a large-scale campaign, seizing control of several strategic locations in the governorate (WFP, 31/03/2015).
Deir-ez-Zor: In March, pro-government forces made their first attack deep into IS-controlled Deir-ez-Zor countryside since IS’s occupation of the province in July 2014 (ISW, 10/03/2015).
Homs: IS seized Palmyra on 21 May (BBC, 21/05/2015). Unconfirmed reports from Syrian state TV claimed that IS has killed more than 400 people since taking the city (Guardian, 24/05/2015). According to SOHR, IS has killed 217 people, including 67 civilians, in and around Palmyra since 16 May. 600 people are believed to be held captive by IS (SOHR, 25/05/2015). On 25 May, the government carried out airstrikes on Palmyra (SOHR, 25/05/2015). IS continues to expand westward, and on 22 May seized the Suwannah area southwest of the city (ISW, 22/05/2015). On 22 May, IS seized the last remaining border crossing under government control, al Tanf (ISW, 22/05/2015). On 14 May, IS seized the government-held town al Sukhna, cutting off government communication lines to positions in western Deir-ez-Zor (ISW, 20/05/2015).
Idleb: Over 19–20 May, the Jaysh al Fatah Operations Room advanced south of Ibled city, isolating the remaining government stronghold Ariha (ISW, 20/05/2015). JAN and other militant groups seized Jisr Al Shughur, one of the Government’s last strongholds in Idleb governorate, on 25 April. The city has since been targeted by at least 20 airstrikes (AFP, 26/04/2015). On 10 May, JAN and other militant groups stormed a hospital complex in southwestern Jisr Al Shughur. 250 people, including 150 government troops, were in the complex (AFP, 10/05/2015). On 8 May, at least three chlorine-filled barrel bomb attacks were reported: on a hospital near the town of Kansafra, and on the towns of Al Janudiya and Kafr Beteekh (Syrian American Medical Society Foundation, 08/05/2015). JAN and Ahrar Al Sham, backed by other opposition groups, seized Idleb city on 29 March (ISW, 24/03/2015; AFP, 29/03/2015; Syria Comment).
Rural Damascus: Maydaa buffers a crucial opposition supply line into the partly besieged Eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus (ISW, 04/05/2015). The Syrian Government targeted Maydaa on 3 May, but Jaysh al Islam regained control over 5–9 May (ISW, 12/05/2015).
Humanitarian Context and Needs
Some 12.2 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, including 5.6 million children. The humanitarian situation appears most critical in the governorates of Aleppo, Ar-Raqqa, Rural Damascus, and Deir-ez-Zor (SNAP, 28/01/2015).
Parties to the conflict continue to target public infrastructure and facilities. Water cuts in Aleppo, rural Damascus, Deir-ez-Zor, Ar-Raqqa, and Idleb are frequent and deliberate (UNICEF, 15/02/2015). Syria experienced severe drought conditions in 2014, impacting the availability of drinkable water and the health status of the population, as well as reducing agricultural output and local food production.
The UN’s response efforts are chronically underfunded: As of 30 March, 90% of the Strategic Response Plan for 2015 has not been funded (OCHA, 07/04/2015).
4.8 million people are living in hard-to-reach areas, including up to two million children (UNICEF, 12/2014).
There is a trend of tit-for-tat blocking of access between IS and its opponents, making IS-controlled areas hard to reach, particularly from northern Al Hasakeh, underlining the importance of cross-border access (OCHA, 16/01/2015). Similarly, stakeholders do not allow assistance to reach people perceived to be affiliated with opposing parties, for example in government-controlled areas of Lattakia, Hama, and Idleb. Siege tactics are used by all actors in the conflict.
83% of lights in Syria have gone out since the beginning of the conflict, indicating the impact on infrastructure and supplies (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, Islamic Relief, et al., 16/03/2015).
Security Incidents Involving Aid Workers
69 humanitarian workers have been killed in the conflict since March 2011. 27 UN staff (including 24 UNRWA staff) have been detained or are missing (UNSC 21/11/2014). Five aid workers have been killed and three injured since the beginning of 2015 (Aid Worker Security Database, 20/04/2015).
Trapped and Hard-to-Reach Communities
440,000 civilians are besieged (OCHA, 21/04/2015). An estimated 228,000 civilians are under siege in Deir-ez-Zor (OCHA, 21/04/2015). 212,000 people remain besieged in Nubul and Al Zahra in rural Aleppo; Eastern Ghouta, Daryya, and Moadamiyah in Rural Damascus; the Old City in Homs; and Yarmouk camp in Damascus (UNSC 21/11/2014; UNICEF, 12/2014).
Aleppo: February saw an increase in clashes on the fronts inside Aleppo city, especially on the Salamiyah and Sheikh Hilal roads that are used by the UN (UNFPA, 10/03/2015).
Ar-Raqqa: As of end January, persistent insecurity continued to render Ar-Raqqa governorate completely inaccessible (WFP, 04/03/2015). IS has closed the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and several small local charities, and appropriated warehouses and equipment. Several INGOs continue to operate cross-border into Ar-Raqqa (OCHA, 30/01/2015).
Damascus: At 6 April, a significant percentage of the 18,000 civilians in Yarmouk camp were in the area controlled by armed groups, according to UNRWA. There are no operational hospitals or medical facilities for the civilian population trapped inside the besieged camp (Save the Children, 07/04/2015; WHO, 10/04/2015). UNRWA has been unable to provide assistance to Yarmouk camp since fighting broke out in early April (UNRWA, 17/05/2015).
Rural Damascus: It was estimated in March that close to a quarter of a million people in Ghouta were in urgent need of assistance (WFP, 04/03/2015). Over February–March, an escalation of violence and attacks were reported in several besieged locations of Eastern Ghouta (OCHA, 18/03/2015).
Deir-ez-Zor: IS has cut off access to government-controlled areas of Deir-ez-Zor, leaving an estimated 228,000 civilians under siege since February: minimal relief supplies have been airlifted into the city (OCHA, 21/04/2015). Volatile security conditions and the presence of armed groups along access routes have prevented WFP deliveries since May 2014 (WFP, 31/12/2014).
Homs: As of 21 April, three inter-agency convoys have reached Homs governorate (Talbiseh, Al Wa’er and Ar-Rastan). Ar-Rastan was last reached in March 2014 (OCHA, 21/04/2015). Under partial siege since October 2013, over half of Al Waer’s 350,000 residents are IDPs, who are mostly living in substandard accommodation (WFP, 22/10/2014).
Idleb: As of 14 April, lack of access due to insecurity continues to significantly hamper tracking of population movement, safe registration of IDPs, identification of lifesaving needs and provision of humanitarian assistance (OCHA, 14/04/2015). 20,000 predominantly Shia in Foah and Kefraya towns in Idleb are cut off and surrounded (OCHA, 08/04/2015).
Border closures or tight restrictions by neighbouring countries are dissuading people in life-threatening situations from seeking refuge abroad. Humanitarians have voiced concern over the inconsistent application of regulations at border crossings. Palestinian refugees are particularly affected by closed borders and forced returns from neighbouring countries (UN 24/11/2014).
Turkey: Only Bab al Hawa and Bab al Salam border crossings are open as of 24 April (OCHA, 24/04/2015). Restrictions since 1 January 2015 mean that refugees crossing between Turkey and Syria can only spend three out of every six months in Turkey. Those without a valid passport or travel document will be turned back (IRIN, 14/01/2015).
There are 7.6 million IDPs within Syria; 50% are children (OCHA 25/11/2014). There are 147 IDP camps in northern Syria, and 175,520 IDPs are sheltering in camp settlements (OCHA, 30/01/2015).
1,755,000 people are displaced in Aleppo; 1,388,000 in Rural Damascus; 918,000 in Idleb; 584,000 in Lattakia; 493,000 in Homs; 464,000 in Deir-ez-Zor; 453,000 in Hama; 437,000 in Damascus; 391,000 in Dar’a; 249,000 in Al-Hasakeh; 202,000 in Tartous; 168,000 in Ar-Raqqa; 73,000 in As-Sweida; and 57,000 in Quneitra (OCHA, 02/04/2015).
Multiple displacement has increased, due to changed conflict dynamics, ongoing violence, the depleted capacity of host families, depletion of savings, and the search for better livelihoods (MSNA 30/10/2014; OCHA/REACH 30/10/2014).
In Idleb, at least 133,831 people have reportedly been displaced by fighting since late March, including 35,000 to government-controlled areas (OCHA, 11/05/2015). JAN and allied forces’ capture of Jisr al Shughur on 25 April displaced 40,000 people (OCHA, 11/05/2015). At least 11,000 people have fled Palmyra since IS’s takeover on 21 May (UNHCR, 22/05/2015). Many civilians have reportedly not been allowed to flee to government-controlled areas (OCHA, 11/05/2015).
Palestinian refugees in Syria: There are 560,000 Palestine refugees (OCHA, 21/04/2015). 470,000 Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA are in need of assistance (UNRWA, 21/04/2015). Over 50% have been displaced within Syria (UNRWA 28/10/2014).
Iraqi refugees: There are an estimated 29,000 Iraqi refugees in Syria (UNHCR 25/11/2014).
Syrian Refugees in Neighbouring Countries
3,978,851 Syrians are registered as refugees outside of Syria as of 26 May (UNHCR, 26/05/2015). Children make up 51.6% of the refugee population.
Turkey: 1,759,846 registered refugees (UNHCR, 04/05/2015). The Government suspended pre-registration in October to focus on the full biometrical registration process (UNHCR, 05/01/2014).
Lebanon: 1,183,327 refugees (UNHCR 07/05/2015). Lebanon’s borders have been closed to Syrian refugees since 24 October. Since January, Syrians wanting to enter Lebanon must apply for a visa (BBC, 05/01/2015).
Jordan: 627,287 refugees (UNHCR 06/05/2015).
Egypt: 134,329 refugees (UNHCR 06/05/2015).
Iraq: 248,367 refugees (UNHCR 05/05/2015).
PRS: 42,000 have been recorded with UNRWA in Lebanon, 14,348 in Jordan (UNRWA, 02/03/2015) and 860 in Gaza. Around 4,000 are reportedly in Egypt (UNRWA 28/10/2014).
Almost 30,000 IDPs returned to their areas of origin (mostly in Dar’a) in March (OCHA, 21/04/2015). Reportedly, around 70,000 people have returned to Kobane (IRIN, 07/05/2015).
9.8 million people require food, agriculture and livelihoods-related assistance, according to the Food Security and Livelihoods sector analysis. Of these, around 6.8 million people live in high priority districts and need critical food assistance (WFP, 26/03/2015). IDPs outside formal camps are most susceptible to food shortages (MSNA, 10/2014).
Food dispatches continue to be hindered by worsening security, particularly in the northeast and south (WFP 25/11/2014).
The food aid basket for 4.2 million Syrians was cut by 40% in October (AFP, 10/2014).
Agriculture and Markets
According to FAO estimates, Syria’s overall cereal production in 2014 was approximately 25% below total 2013 production (FAO, 05/03/2015). Drought and conflict have both impacted production.
Since August 2014, the price of 1kg of rice has increased by 26%. Between August 2014 and February 2015, the average retail price of bread rose by approximately 33%, while the price of diesel rose by 92% (WFP, 28/02/2015). Since 2011, the average monthly price of wheat flour increased 197%; rice has gone up 403% (WFP, 31/01/2015).
More than half the population lived in extreme poverty at the end of 2013. Unemployment is at 54% (3.39 million people) (Syrian Centre for Policy Research/UNDP, 19/10/2014). Gross domestic product has contracted by more than 40%, and exports have fallen by 90%. Oil production has dropped by 96% (World Bank/IMF/AFP, 02/12/2014). Official diesel prices increased by 102% from January 2014 to February 2015, while petrol prices increased by 30% over the same period (WFP, 27/02/2015).
Health and Nutrition
Over 2.4 million people are in need of health assistance, with highest numbers reported from Ar-Raqqa (627,600), Aleppo (475,270), and Al Hasakeh (356,200).
Diarrhoea is one of the main causes of death for children under 12 months old (IFRC, 24/07/2014). Tuberculosis, typhoid, hepatitis A and scabies have become endemic in northern Syria (AFP, 28/11/2014).
The number of available health professionals has fallen to approximately 45% of 2011 levels and there are severe shortages of surgeons, anaesthesiologists, laboratory professionals, and female health professionals (WHO, 27/03/2015). Local production of medicines has been reduced by 70% and many lifesaving treatments are not available (WHO, 27/03/2015). Hospitals are unable to cope with the demand for surgery, due partly to the increase in the number of injured – averaging 25,000 each month (PHR, 10/2014). Since the start of the conflict, some 200,000 Syrians have died from chronic illnesses due to lack of access to treatment and medicines.
Only 43% of hospitals are fully functioning (UNICEF, 29/01/2015). 711 of 1,921 primary health centres are out of service (Syrian Ministry of Health/UNFPA, 11/2014). Aleppo, Rural Damascus, Homs, Dar’a, and Deir-er-Zor have the highest number of non-functional public hospitals. As of end February, only four public hospitals remained operational in Aleppo governorate, and only 132 primary health care centres (WHO, 22/02/2015). Al Sakhour hospital in Aleppo suspended all activities after being bombed on two consecutive days at end April. Two medical facilities have been targeted since mid-April (MSF, 04/05/2015).
In Ar-Raqqa, no obstetric, gynaecological, or paediatric services are reportedly available for the 1.6 million people living there (PHR, 27/02/2015). Little to no mental health services are available (PHR, 27/02/2015).
In Idleb governorate, the escalation of conflict since 26 March has rendered all three Ministry of Health-run hospitals either non-functional or inaccessible. All pharmaceutical warehouses have been destroyed (OCHA, 14/04/2015). Ishan hospital in Saraqab was damaged in an airstrike on 18 April, rendering it non-functional (OCHA, 22/04/2015).
Attacks on Health Workers and Facilities
Since 2011, Physicians for Human Rights has recorded the killing of 615 medical personnel and 242 attacks on 187 medical facilities. At least 36 attacks were carried out with barrel bombs. Government were found to be responsible for 88% of attacks on medical facilities – including the 36 attacks with barrel bombs – and 97% of medical personnel deaths – including 141 deaths by torture and execution (PHR, 17/04/2015).
Some 31,400 cases of hepatitis A were reported in 2014. Since January 2015, 1,000 have been recorded per month (UNHCR, 10/05/2015). Hepatitis A is linked with lack of safe water and poor sanitation.
Three million women and girls of reproductive age are in need of assistance in Syria, including around 432,000 pregnant women. 26 of 41 basic emergency obstetric care centres are reported as non-functional (Syrian Ministry of Health/UNFPA, 30/11/2014).
More than 350,000 individuals in Syria are estimated to suffer from severe forms of mental illness; over two million people suffer from mild to moderate problems such as anxiety and depression disorders, and a large percentage suffer from moderate to severe psychological/social distress (WHO/UNHCR, 19/10/2014).
In areas with high IDP concentration, 2.3% SAM – above the 2% crisis threshold – and 7.2% GAM rate has been reported (UNICEF, 21/10/2014). It is estimated that four million women and children are in need of preventative and curative nutrition assistance (UNICEF, 15/02/2015).
4.6 million people are in need of WASH assistance. Six out of ten governorates report major problems in the WASH sector.
The availability of safe water is at a third of pre-crisis levels (WHO, 27/03/2015). The reliability of urban piped water is severely reduced and the quality of drinking water cannot be guaranteed due to a lack of testing facilities. Fuel shortages also affect water supply (UNICEF, 15/02/2015). One-third of water treatment plants no longer function, and sewage treatment has halved (PHR, 10/2014; WHO/UNICEF, 22/07/2014).
Shelter and NFIs
1.6 million people are in need of shelter assistance (MSNA, 30/10/2014). 1.2 million houses have been damaged, 400,000 of which have been totally destroyed (UNHCR, 30/10/2014). Only IDPs in government-controlled areas receive shelter response, through collective shelter rehabilitation and private shelter upgrade (UNHCR, 20/11/2014).
Dar’a, Lattakia, and Quneitra have acute needs, followed very closely by Hama, Ar-Raqqa, Aleppo, Al Hasakeh and Rural Damascus. 40% of people identified in need of shelter are located in Aleppo governorate, as are 34% of people identified in need of NFI assistance (MSNA, 30/10/2014). Satellite imagery analysis indicated that fighting in Kobane affected 3,250 structures, destroying 1,200 (UNOSAT, 06/03/2015).
2.7 million people are in need of NFI assistance. The dispatch of non-food items (NFIs) has fallen significantly since April 2014 (MSNA, 30/10/2014).
The estimated number of children enrolled in basic education increased from 2.9 million in the 2012/13 academic year to 3.6 million in 2014/15. Likewise, the gross enrolment ratio in basic education rose from 66% in 2012/13 to 79% in 2013/14 (UNICEF, 15/02/2015). In areas of prolonged active conflict, education enrolment is estimated to be around 6% (Save the Children, 23/03/2015). The primary reason for student drop-out is the need to work to support the family.
Continued conflict and the recent closure of some schools in Ar-Raqqa and Deir-ez-Zor governorates and parts of rural Aleppo in Syria are believed to have disrupted education for 670,000 school-aged children (Syrian Interim Government/OCHA, 07/11/2014). Around 90% of schools in Idleb city have stopped functioning due to violent conflict (OCHA, 14/04/2015).
In 2014 there were at least 68 attacks on schools across Syria, killing at least 160 children and injuring over 340 (UN, 06/01/2015). 4,000 Syrian schools have been destroyed, damaged, or used to house IDPs. 76 UNRWA schools – more than two-thirds – have become unusable.
Non-state armed groups continue to commit violations, including summary executions. Ethnic and religious communities in IS-occupied areas have been targeted directly (UN Human Rights Council 11/2014). IS executed 1,429 people in Syria during June - November, the majority civilians (UN Human Rights Council, 14/11/2014; SOHR/AFP, 17/11/2014). On 21 February, it was reported that the Syrian Government had executed at least 48 people, including ten children – the families of opposition fighters – in Rityan village, north of Aleppo (AFP, 21/02/2015). Human and organ trafficking are reported (UNHCR 20/11/2014).
In Aleppo governorate, barrel bomb attacks killed 3,000 civilians in 2014 (Amnesty, 05/05/2015).
In 2015 alone, IS has trained over 400 children as fighters (AFP, 24/03/2015). Non-state armed groups and the Government’s Popular Committees are increasingly recruiting children: over 120 cases – more than half by the Free Syrian Army – were documented between 1 January and 19 August 2014, including girls, and some as young as eight (UNSC, 08/2014). In Ar-Raqqa, IS is using education to foster a new generation of recruits (UN Human Rights Council, 14/11/2014).
There have been allegations of chlorine attacks. On 8 May, at least three chlorine-filled barrel bomb attacks were reported in Idleb: on a hospital near the town of Kansafra, and on the towns of Al Janudiya and Kafr Beteekh (Syrian American Medical Society Foundation, 08/05/2015). In March 2015, a chlorine gas attack in Idleb governorate, reportedly carried out by government forces, killed six and poisoned over 70 people (MSF, 18/03/2015). A chlorine gas attack was reported on the town of Kafr Zeta on 28 August (OPCW, 09/2014). An OPCW commission found confirmation that a toxic chemical was used in three villages of northern Syria earlier in 2014.
In May 2015, OPCW inspectors reported having found traces of VX and sarin nerve agents at an undeclared site (AFP, 08/05/2015).
Mines and ERW
Large quantities of unexploded ordnance and many booby-trapped houses in the Eastern sector of Kobane city and the surrounding countryside are preventing return (OCHA, 17/02/2015). Since late January, there have been 45 explosions and 66 people killed, the vast majority of them civilians, according to a demining NGO (IRIN, 07/05/2015).
In 2013, there were 2,403 civilian casualties from landmines, victim-activated improvised explosive devices (IEDs), cluster munition remnants, and other explosive remnants of war (International Campaign to Ban Landmines/Cluster Munition Coalition, 19/11/2014).
Abduction and Detention
200,000 people are estimated to be in government detention, including 20,000 detainees who are unaccounted for (SOHR/HRW, 02/12/2014). 13,000 people have died in Government detention since March 2011, including more than 100 children, reportedly from torture (SOHR, 13/03/2015).
Some 7,000 government troops held by opposition forces are unaccounted for (SOHR, 07/2014). Another 1,500 IS, other opposition, and Kurdish fighters have been kidnapped during battles in the first half of 2014 (AFP, 07/2014).
IS are holding at least 50 civilians hostage after a raid on Mabujeh village, Hama governorate, at end March (AFP, 10/04/2015). On 24 February, IS abducted between 220 and 300 Assyrian Christians from Tal Tamr, Al Hasakeh governorate. By 2 March, 21 had been released (Al Jazeera, 02/03/2015).
Sexual and Gender-based Violence
IS has sought to exclude Syrian women and girls from public life. Forced marriage of girls to IS fighters and the selling of abducted girls into sexual slavery have been reported (UN Human Rights Council, 14/11/2014).
Journalists and other media workers are systematically targeted.