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CrisisInSight Weekly Picks, 13 February 2020

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At least 15 Rohingya refugees have drowned and dozens remain missing after a small boat carrying 130 people capsized in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of Bangladesh. The refugees were primarily from the camps in Cox's Bazar and were attempting to get to Malaysia. Reports indicate that it was one of two vessels making the journey, though there is no sign of the second boat. Malaysia is a common destination for Rohingya refugees trying to escape crowded camp conditions in Bangladesh since has a large Rohingya diaspora of approximately 100,000 people. There is no information indicating the exact number of crossings or attempted crossings made by Rohingya, however, approximately 1,600 left Bangladesh and Myanmar via the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea between January 2018 and June 2019. Crossings often increase during the period from November to March when the sea is safest for the small fishing boats used as transport.

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Insurgent activities such as the attack on electricity lines on 17 January 2020 and intensified attacks on the single safe highway (Kano-Maiduguri Golden Gate) are attempting to cut off Borno state from other parts of Nigeria. Having killed 11 soldiers and 4 civilians in 5 separate attacks on the highway and kidnapping more than 30 people in January 2020, insurgents burnt resting travellers alive on 9 February, killing about 30 and taking away 3 buses containing women and children. These attacks have led to a partial shutdown of movements with the military closing the highway by 15.00 pm daily, stalling the inflow of economic and commercial goods. Villagers living along the highway are also being evacuated. Humanitarian access is likely to be affected as most aid offices are in Damaturu. If the Golden Gate is completely shut down, Maiduguri would become accessible only by air, and this is not affordable for about 90% of the population of the city. Humanitarian access and logistics may also have to be negotiated using flights from Damaturu to Maiduguri.

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On 7 February, two hospitals serving up to 15,000 people were damaged due to clashes in Majzer district, Marib governorate. Damaged facilities included the intensive care unit, occupational therapy unit, inpatients unit, the pharmacy of Al Jafra hospital and a mobile clinic of Al Saudi hospital. Both hospitals were temporarily closed, which limits access to health services of conflict-affected and displaced people residing in this area.Fighting which escalated in mid-January in Sana'a, Marib, and Al Jawf governorates displaced more than 26,800 people, including about 15,000 in Marib. Many of the IDPs have suffered repeated displacement due to the conflict and depleted all their resources. The IDPs are in urgent need of food assistance, non-food items, clothing and protection. Civilian infrastructure is increasingly affected by the conflict, with residential neighbourhoods, health facilities, and IDP camps suffering damages, mostly by shellfire.

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