By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried | 7 March, 2018
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Aid trucks forced to flee Eastern Ghouta without unloading.The delivery of desperately needed food and medical supplies to Douma in Eastern Ghouta on Monday had to be cut short when the area came under attack. As a result, 14 out of 46 trucks could not be unloaded and nearly half of the food carried by the convoy couldn’t be delivered. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for “safe and unimpeded access” for other aid convoys, including a second one planned for Douma on Thursday. Aid workers who were part of Monday’s convoy reported that residents are spending much of their time in cold, cramped basements with no proper sanitation or access to safe drinking water. Children told UNICEF staff they were getting by on one meal a day of wheat, sugar and water.
More resettlement places needed for refugees evacuated from Libya. EU member states promised an “emergency operation” to evacuate refugees and migrants stuck in Libyan detention centres at a summit in November, but so far European countries have only offered 430 resettlement places for the 1,020 refugees and asylum seekers transferred from Libya to Niger by UNHCR. Addressing the European Parliament on Monday, UNHCR’s regional head for North Africa, Karmen Sakhr said the agency had been advised that “until more people leave Niger, we will no longer be able to evacuate additional cases from Libya”. Izza Leghtas of Refugees International spoke to some of the refugees evacuated to Niger from detention centres in Libya. One Somali woman, who gave birth while in detention, described not seeing the sun or the sky for five months. Although grateful to have found safety in Niger, she worries about those left behind.
WHAT’S ON OUR RADAR
Refugee girls only half as likely to attend secondary schools as boys. A new report by UNHCR reveals some of the social and cultural obstacles blocking refugee girls’ access to education. Stretched resources and chronic shortages of schools and teachers create even greater barriers in developing countries like Kenya and Ethiopia where only seven refugee girls are enrolled in primary school for every 10 boys. The gap widens as they get older. The report recommends seven ways to get more refugee girls into school.
Harsh living conditions push Syrian refugees to return. New research among returning Syrian refugees finds that poverty, discrimination and the longing to reunite with family members were the main factors that pushed them to leave the relative safety of neighbouring countries. Despite many reporting the lack of a secure income as a major reason for return, most have found it difficult to find jobs back home and have had to reduce daily meals to make ends meet. Some 40 per cent of returnees also said they were concerned about the safety of their families.
Child refugees in UK desperate to be reunited with family. The UK is one of only two countries in the EU that doesn’t grant lone child refugees the right to be reunited with even their closest family. A children’s psychotherapist with the Refugee Council writes for the Guardian about how painful this is for young people who have already been separated from their families during the long, dangerous journey to Europe. A bill that would expand family reunion rights for refugees, including for refugee children, will be debated in the House of Commons on 16 March.
Voices from Al-Amal hospital on Turkey-Syria border. Al Jazeera spoke to some of the staff and patients at Al-Amal hospital which lies just 50 feet from the Syrian border in Reyhanli, Turkey. Every day, patients and their families cross the border seeking treatment that’s unavailable in Syria. Many of the volunteer staff are refugees themselves.
The arrival of thousands of Burundian refugees to a small community in eastern Rwanda has helped turn a small primary school into a school for 21,000 students. The bulk of the children are refugees, but the school also gives local Rwandan children the chance to go to secondary school. Attending classes together has the added benefit of allowing friendships to growlike that between Bellaca, who is Burundian, and her best friend Anethe, who is Rwandan.
DID YOU KNOW?
Over 1,000 children have been killed or seriously injured across Syria in the first two months of this year.