Category Archives: Politics

160 African Migrants Repatriated From Conflict-Ridden Libya

GENEVA The International Organization for Migration has repatriated 160 African migrants who have been living under dire conditions in Libya amid the chaos reigning in the country.

The U.N. migration agency says it returned the stranded migrants to their home countries despite what it calls the extraordinarily difficult conditions on the ground. The situation in and around Tripoli has become increasingly violent and unstable since a renegade general began an offensive April 4 to capture the Libyan capital.

Even with thie turbulent backdrop, IOM organized a charter flight this week to Mali carrying 160 migrants. Most will remain in Mali, but 61 migrants from Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso will continue onward to their homes of origin.

IOM spokesman, Joel Millman, said his agency has had to work around the difficulties posed by increased airport security this week. Security has been tightened since the airport was hit by an airstrike. Millman said IOM’s chartered plane has had to adjust to the new limited hours of operation.

Amid the ongoing clashes, IOM staff in Libya coordinated very closely with Libyan authorities to ensure the safe arrival of all migrants coming from different detention centers and different urban areas in Tripoli to Mitiga airport. The airport was briefly affected by the armed conflict this week, but later resumed activity – as I said, only between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. every day, Millman said.

So far this year, the IOM has repatriated 3,175 migrants from detention centers and urban centers. Millman told VOA he does not know how the conflict will affect future returns.

Of course, any insecurity that arises from violence or weather or anything else will upset that well-oiled machine. But I guess, to reiterate what I said at the beginning, the fact that we did it now in this climate indicates we intend to do it whenever we can, he said.

Millman said the IOM helps the migrants reintegrate in their communities upon their return. Upon arrival, he said they receive immediate assistance and medical screenings. He noted that IOM tailors its reintegration support to the specific needs of returnees. He added that the aim is to help them earn a living and become economically self-sufficient within their communities of origin.

Source: Voice of America

Improving the Living Conditions of Refugee Host Communities in Mauritania

Nouakchott – The Hodh Ech Chargui region of Mauritania faces challenges linked to access to water and animal health, with livestock being the only means of subsistence. More than 50,000 refugees who live in the camp and the host communities as well as the host populations are cattle farmers.

To address some of these challenges, Mauritanian government officials, UN agencies and NGOs gathered on 11 April 2019 to answer the question: How can governments and the international humanitarian community improve the living conditions of refugee and host communities?

During the meeting, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) presented the results of the three-phase project, a project critical to providing support to both refugees and host communities, reduce tension over scarce resources like water and the health of livestock.

In Mauritania, IOM has established a presence in the Hodh Ech Chargui region to respond to the influx of Malian refugees after the outbreak of the crisis in 2012. IOM’s activities in the region include community stabilization and community dialogues.

Implemented since 2015, the project allows refugees to substantially improve their livelihoods and help host populations by establishing mechanisms to prevent and manage conflicts of scarce resources. In total, around 20,000 refugees � and 35,000 members of the host population � have benefited from support for income-generating activities, access to water, support for family rearing and inter-community dialogue, through this project.

“Our understanding of proven approaches would allow us to have an impact in our way of serving and assisting populations in need in Mbera, in the Hodh el Chargui, and beyond,” stressed the Ambassador of the United States of America to Mauritania, Mr. Michael Dodman.

“The constant support provided by the United States of America through PRM demonstrates its understanding of the vital needs of refugees and host populations in the Hodh Chargui, who today need more than ever to improve their livelihoods and prevent conflict over natural resources. I take this opportunity to launch a call for contributions from donors to fill the important gaps in the livelihoods sector in and outside the M’bera refugee camp,” said Laura Lungarotti, IOM Mauritania Chief of Mission.

Increasing Livelihood Opportunities for Malian Refugees and Selected Host Communities in Hodh Ech Chargui is funded by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) and implemented in Mauritania.

Source: International Organization for Migration

Ebola Treatment Center in Congo Reopens After Attack

An Ebola treatment center located at the epicenter of the current outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo has resumed operations after it was attacked last month, the country’s health ministry said Saturday.

The center run by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in the district of Katwa was set on fire Feb. 24 by unknown attackers, forcing staff to evacuate patients.

It reopened Saturday, the ministry said in a statement.

“For now it is managed by the ministry in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF,” it said, referring to the U.N. children’s fund.

Aid workers have faced mistrust in some areas as they seek to contain the Ebola outbreak, which has become the most severe in Congo’s history. The WHO has said the distrust is fueled by false rumors about treatments and preference for traditional medicine.

Another MSF center in Butembo was also attacked in late February but reopened a week later.

MSF has pulled out from the area since the two attacks and has not said when it might resume medical activities.

The current Ebola epidemic, first declared last August, is believed to have killed at least 561 people so far and infected over 300 more.

Source: Voice of America

Cyclone Kills more than 150 in Southeast Africa

More than 150 people were killed and hundreds more were missing Sunday after Cyclone Idai swept through southeastern Africa.

The United Nations estimates more than 1.5 million people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe were affected by the storm. Tens of thousands have been cut off from roads and telephones in mainly poor, rural areas.

The cyclone made landfall Thursday near the coastal city of Beira, Mozambique, with winds of nearly 200 kph. The storm then moved west into Malawi and Zimbabwe.

“Tropical Cyclone Idai has compounded destructive flooding that has already occurred as far inland as southern Malawi and eastern Zimbabwe,” World Food Program spokesman Herve Verhoosel told journalists in Geneva.

The U.N. said about 122 people had died in Mozambique and Malawi. Zimbabwean officials on Sunday confirmed 65 deaths.

In Zimbabwe’s eastern Chimanimani district, soldiers on Sunday helped rescue 200 students and staff from a school that was cut off by floodwaters and mud.

The presidents of Mozambique and Zimbabwe cut short their overseas trips to deal with the aftermath of the cyclone.

U.N. agencies and the International Red Cross are helping with rescue efforts, while also delivering food, water and medicines by helicopter.

Source: Voice of America

Armed Men Kill 9, Including Children, in North Nigeria

LAGOS, NIGERIA Armed men killed nine villagers, including children, and torched homes in northern Nigeria on Saturday, official sources said, the latest attack in a surge of violence in the Kaduna region.

“Kaduna state government has confirmed the killing of nine citizens by criminal elements who attacked Nandu in Sanga [district] in early hours of this morning,” state Gov. Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai said on Twitter.

“The security agencies have so far recovered nine corpses, including children. The attackers also burnt several houses in the village,” he added.

Kaduna sits between Nigeria’s majority Muslim north and the predominantly Christian south,

Southern Kaduna is one of many areas blighted by years-long violence between largely Muslim Fulani herders and indigenous Christian farmers over land and water rights.

The clashes have been aggravated by rapid population growth in Africa’s most populous country.

Ethnic, religious turn

The violence has recently taken on an ethnic and religious dimension, with politicians accused of inflaming the violence for political ends.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday condemned the latest violence. He urged all involved “to come to terms with the fact that mutual violence has no winners.”

“No responsible leader would go to bed happy to see his citizens savagely killing one another on account of ethnic and religious bigotry,” he added.

Source: Voice of America