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Cameroon tops ranking of world’s most neglected displacement crises

The NRC analysed 36 crises in 2018 to produce its annual list, based on lack of funding, lack of media attention and political neglect.

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anglophone crisis
Security guards check a vehicle arriving in Nigeria at a checkpoint border between Cameroon and Nigeria, in Mfum, in Cross Rivers State.

A conflict that has forced half a million people from their homes in Cameroon was on Wednesday named the world’s most neglected displacement crisis by aid workers who said the country was edging towards full-blown war.

Hundreds of villages have been burned, hospitals have been attacked and nearly 800,000 children have seen their schools close, said the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), which compiles the annual ranking.

“This culture of paralysis by the international community has to end,” said Jan Egeland, secretary general of the NRC, who recently visited the central African country.  

“Every day the conflict is allowed to continue, bitterness is building and the region edges closer towards full-blown war.”

Cameroonian refugees stand in front of home in Bashu, Boki district of Cross Rivers State, southeast Nigeria, on January 31, 2018. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

The NRC analysed 36 crises in 2018 to produce its annual list, based on lack of funding, lack of media attention and political neglect. Most of the 10 most neglected were in Africa.

“Humanitarian assistance should be given based on needs, and needs alone,” said Egeland in a statement.

“However, every day millions of displaced people are neglected because they have been struck by the wrong crisis and the dollars have dried up.”

A record 68.5 million people had been forced to flee their homes by the end of 2017, said the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in its latest global trends report.

Cameroon, where a conflict between armed groups and security forces in the South-West and North-West has left 1.3 million people in need of aid, scored highly on all three areas measured by the index.

Supporters of the ruling CPDM party, Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement of incumbent Cameroonian President Paul Biya, gather as a patrol of the Cameroonian Gendarmerie deploys in the Omar Bongo Square of the majority anglophone South West region capital Buea, on October 3, 2018 on the sidelines of a political rally. (Photo by MARCO LONGARI / AFP)

It was followed by Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Burundi, all of which have been affected by conflict.

Ukraine, at number five, was the only European country in this list, while Venezuela climbed to sixth place.

The final four countries in the top 10 were Mali, Libya, Ethiopia and Palestine.

Aid agencies are struggling to meet increasing needs worldwide while relying on limited funding, said Helen Thompson for humanitarian organisation CARE International UK.

“Ultimately, humanitarian action alone cannot end humanitarian need,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“These crises require political solutions to put an end to conflict, allowing people to recover, rebuild their lives, and live in peace.”

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Measles is a bigger threat in DR Congo than Ebola – NGO

Last year, cases more than doubled to almost 350,000 from 2017, according to the World Health Organization

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Measles has killed 2,758 people in DR Congo since January, more than the Ebola epidemic in a year, medical NGO Doctors Without Borders said, and called Saturday for a “massive mobilisation of funds.”

The disease, preventable with a vaccine, has infected over 145,000 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo between January and early August, it said in a statement.

“Since July, the epidemic has worsened, with a rise in new cases reported in several provinces,” said the NGO that goes by its French acronym MSF.

“Only $2.5 million has been raised out of the $8.9 million required for the Health Cluster response plan  — in stark contrast with the Ebola epidemic in the east of the country, which attracts multiple organisations and hundreds of millions of dollars in funding,” it added.

MSF tweeted that without a “massive mobilisation of funds and response organisations, the current measles outbreak in #DRCongo could get even worse.”

The NGO said it has vaccinated 474,860 children between the ages of six months and five years since the beginning of the year and provided care to more than 27,000 measles patients.

In the country’s east, Ebola has claimed more than 1,900 lives since erupting last August.

Measles is a highly-contagious diseased caused by a virus that attacks mainly children. The most serious complications include blindness, brain swelling, diarrhoea, and severe respiratory infections.

Last year, cases more than doubled to almost 350,000 from 2017, according to the World Health Organization, amid a rise in “anti-vaxxer” sentiment in some countries that can afford the vaccine, and lagging resources for the preventative measure in poor nations.

DR Congo declared a measles epidemic in June.

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76 people survive shipwreck in DR Congo

The motorised boat was carrying around 100 passengers when it capsized on the lake, near the eastern city of Bukavu.

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DR Congo boat accident claims 11 lives, dozens missing

76 people have survived a shipwreck on Lake Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a regional official said Saturday. However, more than a dozen people are feared to have drowned in the same incident.

The motorised boat was carrying around 100 passengers when it capsized on the lake, near the eastern city of Bukavu. 

“We have already registered 76 survivors,” said Swedi Basila, the regional transport minister for South Kivu province, adding that up to 20 people were still missing.

“No body has been found until now,” he told AFP.

The vessel had been on its way to the island of Idjwi when it hit a large rock and capsized, Basila said.

River transport is one of the most used in DR Congo with its numerous waterways. Boat mishaps are common, typically caused by overloading of passengers and cargo.

Tolls are often high because there are no life jackets and many Congolese do not know how to swim.

In April, at least 167 people were killed in two accidents, prompting President Felix Tshisekedi to make it mandatory for boat passengers to have life jackets. 

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DR Congo authorities ban rallies in Kinshasa as tensions rise

Tensions rose in the capital after youths announced they would hold a protest against the candidacy of a former justice minister

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UDPS opposition party leader Felix Tshisekedi gestures to supporters as Authorities bans rallies

DR Congo authorities have banned political rallies this week in the capital Kinshasa because of tensions between supporters of President Felix Tshisekedi and those of former leader Joseph Kabila, police said Sunday.

Tshisekedi was elected in December to replace Kabila who presided over sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest country for nearly two decades.

Tensions rose in the capital after the youth wing of Tshisekedi’s Democracy and Social Progress party (UDPS) announced it would hold a protest against the candidacy of a former justice minister for the senate presidency.

In response, the pro-Kabila Red Berets movement said it would hold a counter-march to support the candidacy of Alexis Thambwe, who is considered by many a hardliner from the Kabila regime.

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Kinshasa police chief General Sylvano Kasongo told state television that given the tensions in the capital, Kinshasa’s governor had banned all political rallies for this week. “He instructed the police to take all appropriate measures. Anyone who attempts to march or disturb the public order this week will find the police in their way,” he said.

UDPS youth wing spokesman Fils Mukoko told reporters they wanted to protest against seeing “the same faces in charge of the country’s institutions or in the government.”

Kabila’s Common Front for Congo (FCC) coalition won comfortable majorities in both houses of parliament as well as provincial assemblies, and his supporters also dominated elections for the governorships across the country.

Read also: GNA announces a new political plan, promises elections in Libya

None of the candidates the FCC presented for seven key Senate posts is from Tshisekedi’s CACH alliance in the legislature despite an agreement to work together between the two political blocs.

Six months after Tshisekedi’s inauguration and more than a month after the appointment of Prime Minister Ilunga Ilunkamba, who was proposed by Kabila, CACH and FCC negotiators are still struggling to agree on the composition of the government.

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