Roundup: What’s new besides COVID-19?

Coronavirus concerns are grabbing the headlines. But other crises haven’t stopped. Here’s a look at what else is going on.

Residents of Bali wait for shelter kits
Residents of Bali in majority English-speaking western Cameroon wait for shelter kits from the UN after their homes were torched. Photo taken in February 2020. (Jess Craig/TNH)

English-language media has been saturated by coverage of the coronavirus pandemic this month; especially this past week as more and more countries imposed travel and movement restrictions, and attention in other places turned to how the virus impacts lives and livelihoods.

In the aid community, the border closures and clampdowns on travel – as well as concerns over combatting outbreaks in already vulnerable communities – grabbed headlines, including our own. (You can find our coronavirus coverage here.) 

But what about the “other” news? The world’s longer-running crises have not been standing still. Consider the violence in the anglophone regions of Cameroon that has left 1.3 million people in need of aid – the majority inaccessible to aid workers – and the still-displaced Iraqis from cities like Mosul who continue to struggle two years after victory was declared over the so-called Islamic State. Or the crackdown on internet use in the Rohingya camps of Bangladesh, which means residents have a hard time even checking in with loved ones as coronavirus fears ratchet up around the world. 

If you need to catch up on these and other stories that risk being overlooked in the midst of coronavirus concerns, here’s a selection to get you started. 

Violence and obstruction: Cameroon’s deepening aid crisis

Growing violence and government crackdowns on access have left hundreds of thousands of people beyond the reach of aid workers.

How to help migrants make the best decisions at the worst times

Information is power. Let’s empower refugees, migrants, and others on the move.

In Burkina Faso, arming civilians to fight jihadists. What could go wrong?

A new law will provide volunteers with weapons to fight extremists. Rights groups worry it will make matters worse.

Nowhere to go: Mosul residents in limbo as camps close

The Iraqi government says it wants to end displacement. But many people have little to go home to.

For Rohingya refugees, internet ban severs ties to the outside world

From following a genocide trial to calling for help, Rohingya struggle to connect as a months-long blackout leaves refugees fenced off.

South Africa’s xenophobia problem: dispelling the myths

After an upsurge in violence in Durban and Johannesburg claimed seven lives and forced more than 5,000 people to flee their homes, here’s a look at South Africa’s long history of xenophobia and some of the misconceptions that have been allowed to take root.

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