Conflict Refugees At Highest Level – UN Refugee Agency

UN Refugee Agency, UN Migrant, Migrants CrisisThe UN Refugee Agency says the number of people displaced by conflict is at the highest level.

It estimated that at least 65.3m people were either refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced at the end of 2015.The Agency explained that the number represented one in every 113 people on the planet.

The agency says, this number represents one in every 113 people on the planet.

The UN Refugee Chief, Mr Flippo Gandi also said a worrying “climate of xenophobia” had taken hold in Europe as it struggles to cope with the migrant crisis.

The influx of people, the biggest since world war two, has led to greater support for far-right groups and controversial anti-immigration policies.

In its annual report marking World Refugee Day, the UN said it was the first time the number of refugees worldwide had passed the 60m mark.

The Agency explained that over half of the total comes from just three countries: Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia.

Grandi also stated that it was unfortunate that decisions taken last year by the European Union to better handle the influx “were not implemented”.

400 Madaya Residents Need Medical Treatment – UN official

MadayaUnited Nations Humanitarian Chief has called for the evacuation of some 400 people in the besieged town of Madaya for medical treatment.

Stephen O’Brien said this after the UN Security Council discussed the crisis in the town near Damascus.

“We found some 400 people who must be evacuated Immediately for medical treatment or face dying,” he said.

An aid convoy had earlier brought food to 40,000 residents of Madaya town in Syria, who have been under government siege for six months.

The UN said it had received credible reports of people dying of starvation in Madaya.

According to reports, people were believed to be eating pets and grass to survive in Madaya, near Lebanon’s border.

Simultaneously, aid lorries also entered two towns besieged by rebel forces in the northern province of Idlib under a deal between the warring parties.

The situation in Foah and Kefraya was also said to be extremely dire with an estimated number of 20,000 people trapped there since March.

According to SANA, Syria’s state news agency, 65 trucks loaded with aid supplies entered Madaya and the other besieged towns, Foua and Kefraya.

It was reported that the sight of food trucks brought starving residents to tears.

UN Set To Relieve Starving Madaya In Syria

MadayaReports from the UN refugee agency says about 40,000 people are believed to be eating pets and grass to survive in Madaya, near Lebanon’s border.

In this vein, the United Nations (UN) has directed an aid convoy to leave for Madaya, which was said to be under government siege and its residents, reported to be starving to death.

The plight of Madaya in Syria has drawn international attention, partly due to images emerging of severely malnourished residents.

The town had been besieged since early July by the government forces and their allies.

About 4.5 million people in Syria live in hard-to-reach areas, including nearly 400,000 people in 15 besieged locations who do not have access to life-saving aid.

Migrants Crisis: Hundreds Break in Past Hungarian police

migrants5Hundreds of migrants have broken through police lines on Hungary’s border with Serbia and are walking towards the capital, Budapest.

The Greek Government and the UN Refugee Agency have brought in extra staff and ships to deal with some 25,000 stranded migrants on the island of Lesbos.

A processing centre has also been set up on an abandoned football ground to help them get to Athens.

Violence erupted at a cornfield in Roszke where a poorly equipped migrant holding centre has been set up. Stones were thrown at officers, who responded with pepper spray.

About 300 migrants were later seen walking the wrong way along a motorway, escorted by police officers, though they later agreed to be taken by bus to another holding area.

Earlier, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel warned that the “breathtaking” flow of migrants into Germany would change the country in the coming years.

Hungary has become a flashpoint as thousands of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa move North to claim asylum in Germany and other countries.

The country’s Defence Minister, Csaba Hende, resigned on Monday, reportedly over problems with the construction of a border fence meant to keep migrants out.

Local authorities have been overwhelmed by the migrants who have been forced to live in squalid conditions while Athens had already requested emergency EU assistance to deal with migrants arriving.

Britain To Accept More Syrian Refugees

Britain Set To Accept More refugeesThe Prime Minister of the UK, David Cameron, says his country will provide resettlement to “thousands” more Syrian refugees in response to the worsening humanitarian crisis. 

Although no figure has been decided, the Prime Minister said the extra refugees would come from camps bordering Syria, not from among those already in Europe.

He said that Britain would act with “head and heart” to help those most in need.

Mr Cameron also announced a further £100 million in humanitarian aid for those in camps in Syria, Turkey, Jordan and the Lebanon.

The promise is coming amidst intensified calls for the UK to take in more refugees.

The extra refugees are expected to come from UN camps bordering Syria.

No specific figure has been agreed, but Mr Cameron has previously said the UK would continue to take in “thousands”.

He is likely to make an announcement in Madrid after talks with Spanish and Portuguese leaders that had been intended to cover Britain’s proposals for EU reform.

Speaking during a visit to Portugal, the Prime Minister said: “We have already accepted around 5,000 Syrians and we have introduced a specific resettlement scheme, alongside those we already have, to help those Syrian refugees particularly at risk.

“As I said earlier this week, we will accept thousands more under these existing schemes and we keep them under review.

“And given the scale of the crisis and the suffering of the people, today I can announce that we will do more – providing resettlement for thousands more Syrian refugees”.

Reacting to Mr Cameron’s remarks, UN Refugee Agency spokeswoman, Melissa Fleming said: “We welcome very much the move to increase resettlement spaces for Syrians in the UK.

“Those spaces are going to be critical to the lives and future of 4,000 people.”

EU Leaders Agree To Relocate 40,000 Migrants

eu on migrantsEuropean Union (EU) leaders have agreed to relocate tens of thousands of migrants who have arrived in Italy and Greece.

At a late-night meeting in Brussels, the summit Chairman, Donald Tusk, said 40,000 migrants will be relocated to other EU states over the next two years.

However, there will be no mandatory quotas for each country.

New figures from the United Nations (UN) refugee agency, UNHCR, show that 63,000 migrants have arrived in Greece by sea this year and 62,000 in Italy.

The summit Chairman had earlier called on EU member states to share the burden of the loads of illegal migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean.

Media reports says that leaders have agreed to resettle another 20,000 refugees who are currently outside the EU.

It is also reported that French President, Francois Hollande, said he expected most of the refugees to be Syrians and Iraqis.

Meanwhile, details of where the refugees will go is yet to be decided.

Hundreds Of Migrants Drowned In Mediterranean Sea

Mediterranean SeaThe Italian coastguard says hundreds of people are feared to have drowned after a boat carrying up to 700 migrants capsized in the Mediterranean Sea.

But after a couple of days at sea, in the dark of night on Saturday, the ship was in distress in the Mediterranean and sent out an SOS.

As rescuers approached, the migrants, perhaps 700 people on board, moved to one side of their boat, hoping to be saved. Their movement caused the large, multilevel boat to capsize, sending the desperate crowd plunging into the frigid water, their chance of survival slim.

While the shipwreck was an accident, human traffickers facilitate risky trips like this, risking people’s lives by putting them on rickety ships in unpredictable waters.

So far, 28 people have been rescued and 24 bodies retrieved.

The UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, said the latest sinking could amount to the largest loss of life during a migrant crossing to Europe.

Italian naval and coastguard ships, the Maltese Navy and cargo vessels, along with three helicopters, are all involved in the rescue operation, 130 miles (210km) off the coast of Lampedusa and 17 miles (27km) from the Libyan coast.

Some were rescued on Sunday, said Flavio Di Giacomo, spokesman for the International Organization for Migration.

Mr Giacomo told CNN that 49 survivors were recovered and being taken to Sicily.

But the Italian Coast Guard, which is leading the rescue operation, reported that 28 survivors and 24 bodies have been recovered so far in the area about 110 kilometers (70 miles) north of Libya.

At least 900 other migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean this year.

UN Says Global Refugees Figures Highest Since WW2

Syrian-refugeesIt is World Refugee Day and the United Nations has released a rather alarming report showing the highest refugee figure since World War Two.

The UN Refugee Agency [UNHCR] says the number of people forced to flee their homes because of war or persecution exceeded 50 million in 2013.

The report claims the overall figure of 51.2 million is six million higher than the year before.

The head of the UNHCR, Antonio Guterres, said that the rise as a “dramatic challenge” for aid organisations.

Conflicts in Syria, Central Africa Republic and South Sudan fuelled the sharp increase, as indicated in the report.

To mark the World Refugee Day, Mr Guterres visited a refugee camp on Thursday to draw attention to and appeal for support with regards to Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

“An attitude of compassion and solidarity from the international community in relation to the Syrian refugees and to the countries hosting the refugees is needed more than ever. And what the international community is doing is very little compared with the suffering and the needs of the people we met,” he said.

There are now over one million Syrian refugees displaced in Lebanon, making up a quarter of the population.

Lebanon hosts the highest number of Syrian refugees in the region.

“We have only 20 per cent of the Syrian children in Lebanon, in formal education in foremost schools where they can get a diploma and then use it to move ahead in their lives.

“It is very little what we are doing and we need much more support of the international community for the Syrian refugees but also much support for a country like Lebanon, Jordan and countries that are facing enormous challenge,” Guterres stressed.

At least 50,000 Syrian children work as child labourers in Lebanon, often as street vendors or at farms to support their families.

Meanwhile, Syrian army helicopter killed at least 20 people this week mostly women and children in the first attack on a refugee camp in southern Syria.

Residents and opposition activists said that the army dropped several barrel bombs and highly destructive improvised explosives, which has been condemned by western parts as a war crime.

Network Africa: Tension, Threats And Unrest, Egyptians Find The Funny Side Of Life

In spite of the concerns raised by the Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, over the Boko Haram insurgents, the Federal Government of Nigeria remains optimistic and has given the assurance that its war against terror is being won and there’s no need to panic.

At a news conference in Abuja, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, revealed that the military was fully equipped to deal with security threats in the country’s North East.

In South Sudan, it’s starting to look like a case of one step forward two steps back; as fighting has broken out in Upper Nile State, making this the first major clash since the Government and rebels signed a ceasefire agreement in January.

Both sides have accused each other of starting the violence in Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile State. We speak to Philip Aguer, the SPLA spokesperson who is currently in Malakal to give us more details on the situation there.

Meanwhile, in South Africa, the search for gold has led to the death of at least 3 people and the arrest of about 22. The bodies of three illegal miners have been discovered at a disused mine, East of Johannesburg. The abandoned mine is in the same area where more than 20 illegal miners were recently rescued after being trapped underground for several days.

Network Africa also finds out if Uganda would be joining the likes of Nigeria, Angola, Burundi and well over a score of countries who have got anti-gay laws in place by not succumbing to the pressure of Washington, which does not support the move, or would they bow to the pressure from Washington not to sign the Anti-Gay Bill into law?

 Across Africa

We also bring you a couple of stories which made headlines in Africa this week, starting with former Rwandan Mayor, Onesphore Rwa-Bu-Kom-Be, who got sentenced by a German court for his role in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.

The head of the UN Refugee Agency in Liberia is concerned about the alleged “forced deportation” of 14 Ivorian refugees.

Lawyers for deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi have walked out of his trial on charges of espionage and conspiring to commit acts of terror. Mr Morsi was put in the soundproof cage in recent appearances to prevent him shouting and disrupting proceedings.

The defendants have said they cannot follow proceedings because of the cage, but the judge insisted that headphones installed inside the dock would allow them to listen.

The Egyptian Prime Minister, Hazem Beblawi, has confirmed that Islamist militants in the Sinai Peninsula are becoming a threat to foreign tourists, and they are not leaving anything to chance concerning an apparent ultimatum given by Islamist militant group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis for tourists to leave the country. We bring you a chat with Elizabeth Arrott of the Voice of America, who is in Cairo for a clearer understanding of the situation.

Egyptian Comedy Club

Despite the tension, threats and unrest, some Egyptians have embraced the funny side of life. An Egyptian comedy club is giving new talent a platform to perform and introduce them to the international world of stand-up.

It was founded by Hashem El Garhy and its called ‘Al Hezb El Comedy’ meaning ‘The Comedy Party’. It remains the only existing comedy platform in Egypt, which offers aspiring comedians room to perform.

Enjoy this episode of Network Africa.