On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan tore a path of destruction across the Philippines. While the emergency response was successful in providing life-saving assistance, three months on, humanitarian needs remain enormous, especially with respect to the restoration of people’s livelihoods.
In November 2013, a massive typhoon struck the Philippines, killing thousands and forcing hundreds of thousands from their homes. The response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines is the largest to a sudden-onset natural disaster since the 2010 Haiti earthquake and Pakistan floods. Typhoon Haiyan is also the first large-scale natural disaster to strike since the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Transformative Agenda (TA) was adopted, and the first Level 3 (L3) emergency declaration in such a context. Unfortunately, the TA’s debut demonstrated myriad problems.
As Myanmar continues its renewed engagement with the international community, it must begin to address the serious violations of the rights of ethnic minorities that plague the country. It is time for the international community to change its ad hoc approach to Myanmar. Key donors and the United Nations must coordinate their advocacy and use consistent messaging to push the Myanmar government to address the root causes of the abuses suffered by ethnic minorities.
With the support of donor states and the humanitarian community, the Kurdistan Regional Government and Jordan have done a remarkable job in responding to the immediate challenges of the refugee influx. But the limitations of emergency assistance are becoming clear. A new and longer-term approach is now required – one that gives more attention to the situation of refugees living outside of camps, provides greater support to the communities most directly affected by the refugees’ presence, and entails more extensive engagement by development organizations.
Malgré les déclarations des gouvernements maliens et français, qui présentent leurs actions contre les insurgés au nord du Mali comme un succès, le bon déroulement des élections présidentielles en Août et le déploiement partiel de la Mission Multidimensionnelle Intégrée des Nations Unies pour la Stabilisation au Mali (MINUSMA), la situation sécuritaire n’est pas revenue à la normale.
Despite French and Malian government declarations of success against Islamist insurgents in the north of Mali, successful presidential elections in August, and the partial deployment of the United Nations Multidimensional Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA), security conditions in the country have not yet returned to normal.
In the wake of fragile security gains, the prevailing story of Somalia these days is one of progress. The terrorist group Al Shabab was forced from control of the country’s major cities more than two years ago, and Western donors are eager to support the country’s new president. In the past year, rebuilding and economic development in the capital, Mogadishu, has flourished. And yet, in spite of this growing stability, more than one million Somalis remain displaced within the country. In Mogadishu, the United Nations estimates that there are some 369,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in makeshift camps. Some camps are teeming with thousands of families, whereas others consist of just a few dozen people living on private, undeveloped lots. As the city develops, many of these IDPs are being forced from the places that have been their home for years – sometimes decades.
“I just need peace.” Those are the words of Tsehaye, a 35-year-old Eritrean man who has survived torture in his own country, detention in Israel, and years of uncertainty as he waits to hear if he will be recognized as a refugee. RI met Tsehaye in Tel Aviv while researching the experience of African asylum seekers in Israel. Tsehaye’s experience is not unusual. It is the harsh reality for thousands of refugees and asylum seekers in Israel, where a policy of deterrence denies them their freedom, the right to work, access to healthcare, and trauma counseling. The threat of deportation also looms over people like Tsehaye, as Israel has yet to grant refugee status to a single person from Eritrea, despite that country’s long record of human rights violations.
The Syrian refugee populations in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey all face significant challenges. Thousands of people leave Syria for these countries every day, but once safely across the border there is no guarantee of finding adequate support for day-to-day needs such as shelter, food, or healthcare. Longer-term assistance, including education and psychosocial care, is still in the developing stages more than two years into the crisis, and it is sometimes neglected in deference to more immediate needs as the emergency grows.

Recurrent climate-related shocks in West Africa’s Sahel region are having severe impacts on vulnerable populations. Increasingly, those unable to feed themselves or their families have no option but to leave their villages, resorting to new forms of migration that bring with them serious protection risks. New resilience-building initiatives launched by regional bodies, the United Nations, and donors have the potential to begin to tackle the root causes of these populations’ vulnerabilities. However, a lack of coherence and coordination is seriously threatening the effectiveness of these initiatives. With implementation still in the initial stages, there is a window of opportunity to address these shortcomings before significant time and resource commitments are made.