Humanitarian Exchange articles tagged:IDPs

Humanitarian crises frequently give rise to new kinds of settlements for internally displaced persons (IDPs). In the Balkans in the 1990s, humanitarian actors provided assistance in ‘collective centres’ – pre-existing buildings such as schools and churches – which subsequently received increased attention. I wrote an article in this magazine about the ‘tent villages’ set up following the earthquake in Pakistan in October 2005. The conflict in South Sudan since 15 December 2013 has arguably produced yet another type of IDP settlement to add to the humanitarian lexicon: ‘Protection of Civilians (PoC) sites’. These settlements have hosted more than 100,000 IDPs…
Humanitarian workers can give a plethora of reasons why they do not prioritise addressing gender-based violence (GBV) in humanitarian crises. Unlike lack of food, water or shelter, GBV is often not seen as life-threatening. The reality, however, is that rape, sexual harassment, physical assault and murder are committed largely against women and girls in camps, displacement situations and conflict areas. Despite the UN Assembly passing numerous resolutions addressing violence against women in conflict, high-level advocacy has had little effect on the situation on the ground. In humanitarian crises where there is continuing violence against civilians, what can we do to…
From its inception at the Global Conference in Oslo in June 1994, PARinAC – Partnership in Action – has set the tone and agenda for NGO– UNHCR relations. Its defining characteristic is that it has always been as much about the process of cooperation as about the building up of partnership structures; it is not an end in itself but rather a methodology for NGO– UNHCR relations. As a result of increased NGO–UNHCR cooperation there has been a more coherent and comprehensive approach to working with refugees and IDPs. In the autumn of 1998, UNHCR and its NGO partners proposed a review of the structures of PARinAC. How has it developed since…
From Iran to western China, Central Asia is suffering its worst drought in decades. One of the states hardest-hit has been Afghanistan; poor and conflict-ridden, it is also the least able to cope Afghanistan is in its third year of severe drought, compounding the effects of conflict and international isolation. Precarious security conditions and problems of access make needs difficult to assess, but it is clear that the food crisis in much of the country has become acute. Millions of Afghans have little or no access to food, and require international humanitarian food aid. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands more have been forced from their homes, congregating in camps in Afghanistan or across…
Over the past five years, Community-based Therapeutic Care (CTC) has carved a niche for itself as an effective and sustainable way of providing selective feeding services in emergencies. From its first implementation in Ethiopia in 2001, CTC has sought to break away from traditional centre-based, inpatient treatment of severe acute malnutrition. The results so far have been very positive; CTC programmes in Malawi, Ethiopia and South Sudan have consistently shown high coverage, high recovery and low defaulter rates. Much of this success can be attributed to the active role that beneficiary communities have played in the planning, implementation and handing-over…
The conflict in Darfur has once again highlighted the challenge of meeting the shelter and settlement needs of large numbers of displaced households in an insecure and rapidly changing environment. Traditional settlement and shelter solutions in Darfur typically enabled these needs to be met, albeit with differing degrees of adequacy. The displacement of over 1.6 million households has disrupted social networks and the self-management of established settlements through which issues of livelihood security, personal safety and essential shelter and sanitation needs were addressed. Displaced households have sought protection and support through a number of different approaches to temporary settlement, including…
The crisis in Darfur has left some 80,000 people dead, displaced over 1.6 million (nearly 30% of Darfur’s estimated six million people), and created 300,000 refugees. What makes this crisis particularly shocking is the structural character of the violence: villages have been torched, and civilians have been deliberately targeted by (aerial) bombing, summary executions, massacres and systematic rape as part of a strategy of fear instigated by the Sudanese military and the so-called Janjaweed, armed and supported by the government of Sudan. The crisis in Darfur has therefore demanded both a humanitarian and a political response. The political response has…
War epidemiology has emerged as a powerful tool for expanding our understanding of the impact of war on civilians, and for influencing policy aimed at protecting civilians from systematic harm. Mortality statistics generated from rigorous field studies can raise awareness of increased risk among vulnerable populations, and can serve as evidence that military groups and civilian combatants have violated wartime codes of conduct. Recent mortality studies illustrate the widespread (and often controversial) attention that statistical evidence of civilian casualties can generate. A study of mortality in Kosovo, published in 1999, documented a pattern of targeted assault on older men. An…
Despite a ceasefire agreement in February 2002 and a gradual transition from war to peace, Sri Lanka still has a significant internally displaced population. Although numbers have declined considerably in the past two years, there are still some 360,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) – including, according to UNHCR, over 80,000 in nearly 300 welfare centres in the north and east. While there have been numerous attempts to describe and analyse this population, very little is actually known about the risks and vulnerabilities facing Sri Lanka’s IDPs, in particular the 200,000 or so in parts of the country still nominally controlled…
Twenty years after the devastating famine in 1984, Ethiopia still faces food security crises. In 2003, up to 15 million people were considered food insecure. Despite much research, we still do not know enough about how local people in different settings understand and cope with food shortage. This article reports on research which aimed to explore how people in Ethiopia have experienced famine, related epidemics and food aid. The research, conducted between July and September 2003, was carried out in 20 locations across the four main regions of the country – Amhara, Oromia, Southern and Tigray – together representing the…
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