IRIN editors give their weekly take on humanitarian news, trends, and developments from around the globe.
Thousands flee renewed violence in South Sudan
Last week, UN envoy for South Sudan David Shearer said fighting had diminished greatly since a September peace agreement. He may have spoken too soon. It has since emerged that clashes in the Equatoria region have displaced about 8,000 people internally and sent 5,000 more fleeing across the border into eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, which is in the midst of an Ebola outbreak. Most of the refugees and IDPs are women, children, and the elderly many traumatised after they witnessed violent incidents, including armed men reportedly murdering and raping civilians and looting villages," according to Babar Baloch, spokesman for the UN's refugee agency, UNHCR. The clashes began last month between the army and the National Salvation Front, or NAS, one of more than 70 armed groups in South Sudan and one that didn't sign last year's accord. Five years of civil war have left 1.9 million South Sudanese internally displaced and 2.4 million living as refugees in neighbouring countries.
Overhead costs in focus for world's largest aid grant
The World Bank and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) are among those competing with the UN's World Food Programme for a Euros 500 million European Commission grant. The project supports 1.5 million refugees with cash allowances in Turkey. It's the largest single humanitarian grant in the world, accounting for about 31 percent of the EC's emergency aid budget. One of the issues will be indirect costs. A recent EC audit questioned the seven percent overhead fee paid to WFP (to be reduced to 6.5%), which ran the first phase of the project. WFP told IRIN it is following the financial rules set by its board, which includes EU member states. The Emergency Social Safety Net project is largely implemented by the Turkish Red Crescent. Its chief, Kerem Kinik, in a statement to IRIN, declined to back a bidder, saying his organisation "remains in promotion of an impactful and costefficient programme design".
Yemen heading towards 'catastrophe': UN experts
The UN Panel of Experts on Yemen released its annual report to the public this week. It makes for grim reading on 2018, a period during which the country continued its slide towards humanitarian and economic catastrophe. In 224 pages, the group details widespread violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law by the various parties involved in the conflict. Tip: For the group's look at humanitarian assistance including the Saudi Arabialed coalition's obstruction of civilian flights out of Sana'a, and the Houthi rebels' arrest of aid workers and interference in the selection of aid beneficiaries skip to page 56. In other Yemen news, the US House of Representatives passed a bill that would end the country's support for the war. It still has to pass the Republicancontrolled Senate, and President Donald Trump's pen. If you're confused, yes, last year a similar resolution failed in the House and passed in the Senate, but members have come and gone since then, and the resolution has changed too.
Counting the cost of internal displacement
People displaced within their own borders could be costing the global economy nearly $13 billion a year, according to new research by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. Researchers assessed costs for eight countries experiencing conflicts or disasters, including Central African Republic, Libya, the Philippines, South Sudan, and Yemen. CAR was found to have the highest financial impact for each displaced person about $230 million, or 11 percent of the country's GDP, per year. The research found that the highest burdens come from lost income, support for housing, and healthcare. People in lowincome countries were also impacted worse than those in lowermiddle or uppermiddle income countries. Internal displacement "places a heavy burden on the economy," said Alexandra Bilak, director of the IDMC, "generating specific needs that must be paid for by those affected, their hosts, governments or aid providers". For more on how IDPs need greater protection, read this opinion we published earlier in the week.
Examining aid partnerships
Major donors and aid groups have made broad promises to localise aid putting more power and funding in the hands of locals when crises hit. But change has been slow on the ground, to the frustration of many local NGOs, as we've documented in our continuing reporting on locally driven aid. So how can local and international groups make this all work? New researchexamines aid partnerships in four countries Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, and South Sudan to look at what kinds of practices might contribute to localising aid. There are the positives (locals participating in project design and budgeting), and the negatives (internationals taking credit for local work). But, unsurprisingly, most of the local humanitarians interviewed in the studies said existing partnerships between international and local organisations are not equitable closer to the subcontractingthat characterises many aid relationships. Yet genuine, longterm partnerships are seen as the most likely to accelerate localisation reforms. The ongoing research, which you can read here, comes from a consortium of NGOs including Action Aid, CAFOD, CARE, Christian Aid, Oxfam, and Tearfund.
'I am free from the conflict, but I do not feel free'
The number of child soldiers around the world has more than doubled since 2012, according to Child Soldiers International's analysis of six years of UN reports on children and armed conflict. The latest report verified 8,185 cases of child recruitment in 15 countries a 159 percent rise on the 3,159 cases verified in 2012.
Coproduced by a former child soldier, a new project brings to life the voices of 27 children who were recruited into conflict in northern Uganda.