One Killed, Thousands Displaced In Rohingya Camp Landslides

Bangladesh flag


Monsoon-triggered landslides in Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh have killed one person and left more than 4,500 homeless, aid officials said Sunday.

About 35 centimetres (14 inches) of rain fell in 72 hours before the landslides started Saturday in camps around Cox’s Bazar that house more than 900,000 of the Muslim minority who fled Myanmar, the UN said.

Twenty-six landslides were reported in makeshift camps built on hills near the border with Myanmar. Trees there have been torn up to build huts and for firewood, leaving the terrain unstable.

UN refugee agency official Areez Rahman said about 30 shanty camps have been affected by the storms. One woman in her 50s died after being hit by a wall that collapsed, he told AFP.

Nur Mohammad, a 40-year-old Rohingya in the main Kutupalong camp, said 12 relatives had fled their tarpaulin-clad huts on the hills to take shelter with him.

“My home is already overcrowded. I’m worried how I will feed all these people,” he said.

Officials said some 5,000 Rohingya on a strip of no man’s land between Bangladesh and Myanmar had also been badly hit by the storms.

“Children are suffering from diarrhoea and we don’t have enough drinking water,” camp leader Dil Mohammad told AFP by phone.

He said most of the camp was knee deep in water as Myanmar authorities had put a dam on a nearby river.

Bangladesh’s refugee commissioner Mohammad Abul Kalam said on Sunday emergency preparations were being made.

Monsoon storms killed 170 people in the refugee camp in 2017.

Last year the UN refugee agency moved 30,000 Rohingya out of areas considered at high risk of landslides and floods.

Some 740,000 Rohingya fled a military crackdown in Buddhist-dominated Myanmar’s Rakhine state in August 2017, joining about 200,000 already living in camps across the border.

Bangladesh wants to relocate up to 100,000 of the refugees to a remote island in the Bay of Bengal but this is opposed by the refugees and international rights groups.


Three Million People Have Fled Venezuela Since 2015 – UN


An estimated three million people have fled the crisis in Venezuela since 2015, most of whom should be considered refugees, the United Nations said Tuesday. 

UN refugee agency spokeswoman Liz Throssell said that an average of 3,000 to 5,000 people are leaving Venezuela each day, as the country’s economy continues to deteriorate amid a power struggle between President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Gauido.

“We’re looking at about three million people who have left Venezuela since 2015,” Throssell told reporters in Geneva.

The UNHCR said 460,000 Venezuelans have made formal asylum requests, mostly in neighbouring Latin American countries.

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The agency added that it was issuing a “guidance note” to countries to advise them that most displaced Venezuelans are entitled to international protection.

“This is because of the threats to their lives, security or freedom resulting from circumstances that are seriously disturbing public order in Venezuela,” UNHCR said in a statement.

The UN agency also called on all states “to ensure that Venezuelans, regardless of their legal status, are not deported or otherwise forcibly returned to Venezuela.”

The economy in oil-rich Venezuela was already spiralling downward before Maduro was sworn in for a second six-year term in January.

Guaido then claimed constitutional legitimacy as the National Assembly speaker and declared himself acting president.

He quickly won recognition from more than 50 countries but has failed to topple Maduro, who is backed by Venezuela creditors China and Russia and retains the support of the country’s powerful military.


Ortom Sanctions Traditional Ruler Over Threats To Cameroonian Refugees

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom


The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom of Benue State has ordered that disciplinary action should be taken against a traditional ruler in Kwande Local Government Area.

Ortom’s directive follows allegations of harassment and security threats to Cameroonian refugees in the state.

While receiving the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Antonio Jose at the Government House in Makurdi on Saturday, the governor said the actions of the kindred head of Anyake have resulted in the withdrawal of a $300,000 intervention grant from the European Commission.

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As part of punitive measures, he, therefore, directed also directed a downward review of the estimated amount for compensation for the 59 hectares of land allocated for the resettlement of the Cameroonians.


Palestinian Govt To Build Tent For Refugees Amid Israel Row

Abbas Calls For Mideast Peace Conference In Rare UN Speech
file photo President of Palestine and Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a United Nations Security Council concerning meeting concerning issues in the Middle East, at UN headquarters, February 20, 2018 in New York City. Abbas called for an international Middle East peace conference to be convened later this year. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP


Hundreds of tents are to be erected near the Gaza-Israel border for a six-week show of support for Palestinian refugees, officials said Thursday, in what may stir fresh tensions with Israeli forces.

Palestinian families are to set up hundreds of tents — possibly thousands – for the protests running from March 30 to May 15, organisers said.

Protesters plan to call for the right of Palestinian refugees across the Middle East to return to homes they fled in the war surrounding the 1948 creation of Israel.

Organisers said the families could stay in the tents for prolonged periods, with youth and community activities planned.

The demonstration has the backing of all political factions in the Gaza Strip, including its Islamist rulers Hamas.

Israeli media said the army viewed the event as a potential security threat, while authorities were concerned over how to respond if violence erupted with women and children among the protesters.

Last month, four Israeli soldiers were wounded when an improvised explosive device was planted along the Gaza border, apparently during a protest.

The dates for the demonstration have significance for Palestinians.

“Land Day” on March 30 commemorates the killing of six unarmed Arab protesters in Israel in 1976.

May 15 is what the Palestinians refer to as the Nakba, or the catastrophe, marking when more than 700,000 Palestinians fled their land during the war that led to the creation of Israel.

Hamas has denied it initiated the tent protest.

“This is a popular movement and has a peaceful, community-based nature supported by national and Islamic factions and resorted to after all other routes the Palestinians took did not bear fruit,” Bassem Naim, a top Hamas official, told AFP.

“We expect the occupation to suppress it but it carries all responsibility.”

Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot said the army was concerned that families could become involved in marches toward the border with Israel.

Army “officials are worried that any attempt to stop the people marching by force will severely damage Israel’s public image”, it said.

“Officials are also worried about possible civilian casualties and about the possibility that the protests along the fence might devolve into armed conflict.”


NEMA Evacuates 270 Nigerian Refugees From Cameroon

Some Nigerian refugees who recently returned from Cameroon have been moved from the Internally Displace Persons’ camp in Mubi, Adamawa State to their home state of Borno.

The 270 refugees who are mostly women and children were caught up in Boko Haram attacks in Cameroon in 2014, but managed to escape.

Most of them have been returning with the help of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), following reports of harsh treatment by Cameroonian security agencies.

A NEMA official, Abubakar Sadiq, explained that the IDP camp in Mubi serves as a transit camp, after which the returnees are relocated to their respective states of origin.

“This camp serves as a transit camp. Even now, we have some of them who arrived recently from Cameroon. We cannot say that this camp is closed since we have some Nigerians returning on their own.

“This camp serves as a point of reception. When we receive them we profile them, the security operatives check them, and then we prepare for their onward movement to their states of origin,” he said.