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129 deportees arrive in Haiti amid coronavirus concerns

Rwandan refugees

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A plane carrying 129 migrants who were deported from the U.S. landed Thursday in Haiti amid concerns that the second such flight this month could strain the impoverished country’s limited resources as it fights the COVID-19 disease.

Authorities whisked the group away in buses and took them to a hotel in the capital of Port-au-Prince, where they joined more than 60 other recent deportees already serving a two-week quarantine.

Three of the migrants who arrived in early April have tested positive for COVID-19, although so far none in the group that departed San Antonio, Texas on Thursday has a temperature, said Jean Negot Bonheur Delva, director of Haiti’s migration office. The newest group includes 50 children from ages ranging 5 to 15, he told The Associated Press.

The World Health Organization is providing Haiti with free testing kits, although the local government is paying for three meals a day and the deportees’ two-week stay at hotels including one in the north coastal town of Cap-Haïtien, where nearly 400 migrants are under quarantine after being expelled from the nearby Turks & Caicos Islands.

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Bonheur declined to say how much the situation is costing the government as a Miami-based Haitian rights advocacy group called on President Jovenel Moïse to stop accepting deportees and ask that U.S. President Donald Trump place a moratorium on deportations.

“These flights do not only put the deported individuals at risk, but they also threaten to spread the coronavirus in Haiti, a country as you know all too well is ill-equipped to deal with a pandemic,” wrote Marleine Bastien, executive director of the Family Action Network Movement.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has said it has tested 425 detainees in custody as of April 21, a small fraction of the more than 32,000 in custody.

Government officials in Haiti did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe said earlier this week that the country is caring for the deportees.

“They are Haitians. They are coming home. We have to receive them,” he said in an interview Monday with Radio Vision 2000.

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Haiti has reported at least four deaths and more than 60 confirmed new coronavirus cases. Among the infected is a young man who was among the deportees who arrived in early April and escaped earlier this week from the hotel where he was placed under quarantine.

Officials say the man hasn’t been found. Keller Polynice, mayor of Ganthier, told AP that he erroneously told Radio Ginen earlier on Thursday that the man had been found in his community. Polynice said the man he had mentioned is a deportee but was released after testing negative for Covid-19.

Source: AP

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IOM launches open South America portal

International Organisation of Migration (

Buenos Aires – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, this week launched the Open South America Portal, a web platform providing migrants and stakeholders in the region with access to reliable and timely information on human mobility restrictions and health and safety measures adopted by governments in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Open South America, available in SpanishEnglish and Portuguese, shares official information by country on the latest measures, including border restrictions, quarantine requirements and COVID-19 tests for migrants and travellers.

The portal also provides updated information on authorized entry points and key places for travellers and migrants, such as consulates, migrant care and health centres, airports, border crossings points and ports. This information can be explored through an interactive map.

The platform, funded by the IOM Development Fund, is also accessible to vulnerable migrants who may be stranded or are at risk of receiving misinformation on migration.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, South America has been one of the most impacted regions worldwide. According to the World Health Organization figures, as of 8 July 2021 there were 33,475,765 COVID-19 cumulative cases in the region, which represents 89 per cent of the total cases in Latin America, and 18 per cent of all infections recorded globally.

READ  Finally, NIgeria backtracks, places travel ban on US, 12 others

Countries such as Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador all experienced severe outbreaks. For example, Brazil currently reports the third highest number of cumulative cases (18,855,015) and second highest death toll (526,892) globally.

“Open South America will facilitate orderly, regular and responsible migration in South America amid the uncertain times of COVID-19 and after the pandemic,” said Minister Ana Laura Cachaza, General Director of Consular Affairs of the Government of Argentina.

“Migrants’ access to up-to-date information through innovative online tools is essential considering the changing migration dynamic in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America.

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29,000 Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians, other Africans migrated through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in 2021 —IOM

The International Organisation for Migration has said that 29,000 individuals including Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians and other Africans have emigrated to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea this year.

About 13,000 were arrested by the coast guards and returned home while 761 migrants were said to have perished in the sea.

Disclosing this to journalists in Abuja on Friday, the Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, Mr Franz Celestin, said less than five per cent of migrants usually made it to Europe, adding that the vast majority stay in Africa.

He further said that a lot of migrants were trafficked within the Economic Community of West African States, adding that Mali was the number one destination point for trafficked Nigerian women.

Responding to questions on the number of people who have undertaken the perilous trip to Europe through the Mediterranean, the IOM Chief said, “A combination of unemployment and underemployment is pushing people to migrate.

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“In this year, 29,000 migrants from Sub-Sahara Africa have migrated to Europe through the Mediterranean. About 13,000 were intercepted by the coastguard while 761 died.”

International Organisation of Migration (

Celestin stressed the importance of tackling human trafficking which he said grossed about $150 billion annually.

“Traffickers make a lot of money and they would continue to do it until a coordinated response is evolved to stop them. We are collaborating with Interpol in this respect; we are connected to the Interpol i/247 database. We connected the MIDAS to the Interpol database where we pass the information on traffickers to the Interpol,” he stated.

Celestin explained that the IOM has been involved in the biometric registration of children in the North-East, noting that the agency has registered no fewer than 17,053 children in 18 different internally displaced person camps between 2019 and May 2021 in Borno State.

The agency chief also disclosed that IOM was involved in the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Compact for North-East.

READ  Emirates Airline, Air Rwanda resume passenger flights to Nigeria 

 

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FG condemns killing of Nigerian footballer in UK

Kelvin

The Federal government has condemned the alleged killing of a Nigerian Footballer, Kelvin Igweani, by the UK police.

Recall that Igweani, a Nigerian Footballer, was shot dead by officers, who attended a call out to a house, where a child was found with serious injuries.

Reacting, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), in Abuja on Wednesday described the incident as very unfortunate,and sad.

Dabiri-Erewa condoled with the family of the deceased and the Nigerian communities in the UK while praying that God grants rest to the soul of the departed.

“We call on the UK government for a thorough and proper investigation to be carried out on the incident,” the statement added.

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