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UNHCR seeks assistance for thousands of Ethiopians fleeing Tigray region

 

In the past two weeks alarming reports have come out of Ethiopia’s Tigray region, where armed conflict has forced tens of thousands of people to flee into Sudan. Those living inside the region face the prospect of further fighting and a lack of food, fuel and power.

We are very worried about the local populations, the refugees and our staff who remain there. Communication blackouts make access and contact incredibly difficult. Meanwhile, in Sudan, our teams are working under very difficult circumstances, receiving refugees at the border.

I urgently want to update you on what we know.

The situation is unravelling into a full-scale humanitarian crisis and we have two immediate concerns:

More than 42,000 Ethiopian people have already crossed the border to Sudan in less than 10 days, with around 2-3,000 more arriving daily. More than half of them are women and children. Refugees arrive exhausted and scared. Our colleagues met teachers, nurses, office workers, farmers and students who were completely caught by surprise when the fighting erupted. They fled with nothing except what they had with them and had to walk for hours and days and cross a river to seek safety in Sudan. With fighting ongoing, we fear a major outflow in the days to come.

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Within Ethiopia’s Tigray region, the number of internally displaced people is growing by the day. We are concerned about the safety and security of all civilians in the region, including the 100,000 Eritrean refugees who have already lost their homes once, and are living in four camps there amidst the conflict. With all the challenges of power shortages and communication blackouts, along with a scarcity of food and fuel, we must ensure refugees and other displaced people have access to basic services and protection.

We are faced with immense challenges: lack of access in Tigray and fear for the local and refugee populations; transit centres in Sudan which have exceeded capacity and are very difficult to reach; overwhelmed teams on the ground.

We urgently need your support to provide emergency shelter, clean water, food and medical aid to people like Gannite, a refugee woman who just fled Ethiopia to Sudan.

“We did not know what was going on when we heard the gun shots.” Gannite said. “Many people were killed – we could see 10, twenty bodies lying on the ground. That’s when we decided to leave. I walked until my legs were injured and bleeding. I thank God that we are safe here and we have something to eat.”

READ  Sustainable reintegration: IOM, Edo govt open pineapple factory to engage returnees, others

With your help, UNHCR and its partners are supporting the Sudanese government to respond to this new emergency. We are distributing lifesaving items such as blankets, jerrycans, face masks and soap upon arrival at border areas, we are identifying the most vulnerable in need of specific help, and we have already relocated over 5,000 refugees to the newly established Um Raqubasite. We have also identified a second site and are rushing to provide shelter kits for refugees to build their own family shelters. But the numbers keep growing and much more needs to be done.

You can also donate via bank transfer using the information below.

Account Name: UNHCR Special Account

Account Number: 0002706104

Bank Name: Standard Chartered Bank

We need your support to help us act now. Even the smallest gift could help save a life.

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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  Human trafficking in West Africa: three out of four victims are children says UNODC report

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.

READ  More than 100 migrants feared dead as boat capsizes off Libya

“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  Sustainable reintegration: IOM, Edo govt open pineapple factory to engage returnees, others

 

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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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READ  More than 100 migrants feared dead as boat capsizes off Libya
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