In the flood of facts and figures, data and doom that defined much of 2018's humanitarian news, it was sometimes easy to overlook the people at the heart of those stories: the families trying to rebuild homes and lives in Iraq or the Philippines or Afghanistan; Malians and South Sudanese hoping for peace; Congolese and Venezuelans facing healthcare crises; aid workers intent on doing their jobs in Indonesia or Syria or Ukraine or Myanmar.
As 2019 begins, we offer a glimpse of some of their stories to mark the year past and to open the way to the on-the-ground stories we'll report in the new year.
Risky rebuilds in Nepal
RASUWA DISTRICT, NEPAL � More than three years after the powerful earthquakes that struck Nepal in April and May 2015, government reconstruction subsidies had not covered the cost of rebuilding. A rush to meet government deadlines to access earthquake reconstruction funds pushed people to take on high-interest loans or build tiny, uninhabited homes they couldn't afford to finish. The money I borrowed to rebuild my home is expensive, Parang, whose home was flattened in 2015, told IRIN. The interest is 36 percent per year. The bank won't pay me, so people in the village lent me the money.