IRC in the News
The UK will provide £30million in new funding to help the most vulnerable people, including children and infants, arriving in Europe and fleeing the Syrian conflict, the International Development Secretary for the UK Justine Greening has announced.
The story of Eat Offbeat begins with hummus. CEO and cofounder Manal Kahi, who moved to New York from Lebanon to attend graduate school at Columbia University, couldn’t find hummus that compared to her Syrian grandmother’s recipe. Nothing was smooth enough or creamy enough.
What’s the secret to good hummus? “There are a lot of little tricks in every family,” Kahi told TakePart, including blending the chickpeas while they’re hot and tossing an ice cube into the mix. But the main difference is simple: “It’s probably the fact that it’s homemade,” she said.
That distinguishing characteristic launched the social-impact-driven meal delivery service Eat Offbeat, which Kahi cofounded with her brother Wissam. Partnering with The International Rescue Committee, they currently employ chef Nidaa Al Janabi from Iraq, chef Rachana Rimal from Nepal, and chef Mitslal Tedla from Eritrea, who create meals delivered to groups at a starting rate of $20 per person, including dishes such as fried cauliflower served with sweet chili sauce and lentils slow-cooked with Berbere spices.
Refugees continue to make their way through a strained Europe, despite the winter cold. About one in four of the 20 million refugees flooding the world is Syrian. The U.S. has accepted just 2,647. “It’s extremely difficult to get into the United States as a refugee — the odds of winning the Powerball are probably better,” an official with the International Rescue Committee said. And Syrians face even tougher odds.
A new report from the International Rescue Committee looks at some of the factors that may be pushing refugee men to leave the Middle East in greater numbers. The IRC’s survey examines conditions in refugee camps in Lebanon, home to more than 1 million refugees from the Syrian conflict, and finds that men are often falling through the cracks of the humanitarian aid system. Fifty-three percent of the unmarried and separated men surveyed were not even registered with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, cutting them off from many of the benefits, including food aid, that they’re entitled to. A third of those not registered believed, mistakenly, that they were not entitled to benefits as single men. Fewer than 1 in 10 had received any benefits in the past 30 days, far lower than comparable surveys for families.
Globally, the people who fight in wars or commit violent crimes are nearly all young men. Henrik Urdal of the Harvard Kennedy School looked at civil wars and insurgencies around the world between 1950 and 2000, controlling for such things as how rich, democratic or recently violent countries were, and found that a “youth bulge” made them more strife-prone. When 15-24-year-olds made up more than 35% of the adult population—as is common in developing countries—the risk of conflict was 150% higher than with a rich-country age profile.
The violence is getting worse. In recent weeks, the rebel Sudan Liberation Army has stepped up attacks, and the Janjaweed and Sudanese have retaliated. Both sides blame the other for the escalation.
An incident in the hamlet of Zalingei in western Darfur last week illustrates the problem. On Friday, the Janjaweed took scores of refugees foraging for wild grains and firewood outside the camp hostage for five hours. Many were tied up and beaten, said Eigil Kvernmo, a relief worker for the International Rescue Committee.
That attack was apparently in retaliation for the abduction of a group of Arabs by the rebels last month. Since the kidnapping, tensions have soared and the United Nations was forced to pull out its international staff for 10 days and stop the delivery of food aid.
Three years ago, the leaders of UN humanitarian agencies issued an urgent appeal to those who could end the conflict in Syria. They called for every effort to save the Syrian people. “Enough”, they said, of the suffering and bloodshed.
That was three years ago.Now, the war is approaching its sixth brutal year. The bloodshed continues. The suffering deepens.
So today, we – leaders of humanitarian organisations and UN agencies - appeal not only to governments but to each of you - citizens around the world – to add your voices in urging an end to the carnage. To urge that all parties reach agreement on a ceasefire and a path to peace.