IRC in the News
When government soldiers riding tanks and Land Cruisers attacked Jim Jiek Buony's small village in South Sudan's Unity state in mid-May, he fled to the forest. A day later he returned to find the village burned. There were seven bodies on the ground, including three women and a child. Grain stocks were destroyed. His 53 cattle had been looted.
Buony and the other survivors set out for a "protection of civilians" (POC) camp in a United Nations base a few days walk away in Unity's capital Bentiu. They were not seeking protection from violence. "We have nothing to eat, no food," Buony told VICE News from the base, where food is distributed. "I have no way to live, so that is why I come to POC."
Despite assurances from United Nations observers that the situation is improving in the Central African Republic, ethnic cleansing, looming civil war and widespread unrest continue to create suffering, especially for the nation’s oppressed Muslim population.
Conflict has raged in the CAR since March 2013, when the Seleka, a group of mostly Muslim rebels, took power. The Seleka were ousted in January 2014, and civil war has since raged between the group and their main opponents, an armed coalition known as anti-Balaka. Since the coup, Christian militias have frequently targeted the country’s minority Muslim population for genocide.
The displaced women of Bentiu have horrific stories to tell. They came from villages in Unity State in South Sudan. When recalling home, one of the first things they'll mention, and with pride, is that they owned cattle.Cattle are South Sudanese gold.
But quickly our conversations turned to husbands and uncles, sons and neighbours who were killed or who they haven't seen since the country's almost 20-month civil war came to their doors.Anna fled her village in May.The 50-year-old woman says when South Sudanese soldiers arrived in her village, they treated her family and neighbours "like animals".
Efforts to provide safe abortions in countries hit by conflict or disasters are being held back by a lack of information and funding, said health experts in London as they presented new research on the state of reproductive health in emergencies. The research found international health workers in South Sudan and Burkina Faso failed to provide comprehensive abortion care because they believed they were unauthorized to do so, when in fact abortion is legal in both countries in certain situations.
Syria is now in its fifth year of civil war. More than half the country’s population has been displaced by the conflict, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) estimates.
In order to keep track of all the aid packages flowing into the country, the IRC built its own FedEx-style package tracking system called CTS, short for Commodity Tracking System. Today the organization announced that it has open sourced the project, allowing any humanitarian organization to use CTS for free or to improve upon the software by adding new features.
Low-income families that qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as S.N.A.P., can get up to $650 a month for a family of four to help pay for groceries. And many of them are spending that money at farmers markets in Arizona.
U.S. president Barack Obama traveled to Kenya and Ethiopia to talk trade and investment, but the International Rescue Committee wants him to do something about the thousands of refugees spilling into both countries from Somalia and Sudan.
Obama landed in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on Friday, two years after Somalia’s Shebab militants killed 67 people in the city’s Westgate shopping mall. It’s this type of violence that has led almost half-a-million Somalis to Kenya since the 1990s. UNHCR said Somalis will account for nearly 70 percent of dislpaced people in Kenya by the end of the year.
Having escaped failed states, the migrants find themselves in a failing one. Once they make their way off the beach, they are welcomed to Europe with a long, hot trek through the island’s mountainous interior followed by days and nights in fetid, crowded refugee camps that veteran international aid workers say are among the worst they have seen.