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UNHCR releases supplementary COVID-19 appeal to meet exceptional refugee needs in 2021

A Syrian refugee queues up to collect her winter cash assistance at Azraq camp, Jordan. © UNHCR/Mohammad Hawari

 

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, released today its supplementary appeal for 2021 COVID response seeking an additional US$455 million.

While most of the pandemic-related activities amounting to $477 million have been already mainstreamed and included in UNHCR’s 2021 Global Appeal totaling $8.616 billion, the supplementary COVID-19 response released today focuses on exceptional socioeconomic and protection impacts related to COVID-19 as millions of refugees, internally displaced and stateless people fall into conditions of extreme hardship.

Monitoring carried out by UNHCR since the onset of the pandemic paint a bleak picture of the well-being and protection of refugees and others of concern, with 74 per cent of them now able to meet only half or less of their basic needs, and 83 per cent engaging in one or more negative coping mechanisms to meet their basic needs.

READ  Over 130 migrants killed after U.S. deports them to El Salvador, rights group says

Response to these needs is ranked in six priorities within the supplementary appeal and include efforts to reduce vulnerability through cash assistance; use of cash to help meet basic needs and facilitate access to services; protection of incomes and livelihoods through consumption support to the most vulnerable and their entrepreneurial efforts; prevention and response to gender-based violence (GBV), in particular strengthening the availability, accessibility and quality of GBV case management; promotion of mental health and psychological well-being through training the first line responders.

Prioritized activities also include communication and engagement with communities and non-traditional partners with the aim of prioritizing accountability to affected people and risk communications and community engagement. Restoring education is another priority and these activities include safe reopening of schools in accordance with health protocols, mitigating learning loss through investing in online and offline distance education and support for the most vulnerable through unconditional cash grants for the most vulnerable, in particular for adolescent girls.

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In addition, a limited number of critical health, WASH and shelter activities that could not be mainstreamed into regular programming are included, as well as a small global stockpile of key items to respond rapidly to needs and safeguards shortages of PPE or instability on global markets. The supplementary appeal also aims to ensure UNHCR’s capacity to respond to major new COVID-19 outbreaks in 2021 and provide logistical support where necessary for the delivery of vaccines to forcibly displaced populations.

UNHCR is grateful for all the contributions received from both the government and private sector supporters. Our 2020 COVID-19 appeal for $745 million was funded at 64%. In all, donors have so far committed over $1.1 billion for UNHCR’s programmes in 2021 and beyond, showing strong solidarity with refugees and confidence in UNHCR’s work.

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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  Over 130 migrants killed after U.S. deports them to El Salvador, rights group says

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  Cracking the $150b business of human trafficking

“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.

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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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