By Kristy Siegfried | 29 November, 2019
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Concerns for trapped civilians as violence spikes in eastern DR Congo. At least 100 people have been killed in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Beni Territory and thousands displaced since the launch of a government-led security operation against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) on 30 October. People fleeing attacks and fighting between the army and ADF are taking refuge in Beni town, where insecurity and mass protests earlier this week have largely cut off humanitarian access. AP reports that the latest attack in a village outside Beni killed at least 19 people on Wednesday while four Ebola response workers were killed on Wednesday night at a camp for aid workers in Biakato and an Ebola response coordination office in Mangina. UNHCR on Friday called for security to be urgently restored to the region so aid agencies can get help to the affected population in Beni, including hundreds of families currently sleeping in churches and schools.
UNHCR expands help to refugees living in urban areas of Libya. The UN refugee agency said on Thursday that it is boosting its support to some 40,000 refugees and asylum-seekers living in urban areas of Libya and reassessing the role of the Gathering and Departure Facility (GDF) in Tripoli. The GDF was opened a year ago as a transit facility for the most vulnerable refugees awaiting evacuation out of the country but is now severely overcrowded due to the arrival of hundreds of former detainees who made their way to the facility. UNHCR described the situation at the GDF as “unsustainable” and hampering the agency’s ability to evacuate the most vulnerable refugees out of the country. With more urban assistance available from a Community Day Centre in the Gurji district of Tripoli, UNHCR said it would phase out food distributions at the GDF in January and inform people who arrived at the centre “informally” about its urban assistance package, which includes emergency cash, relief items and access to primary health care and medical referrals.
WHAT’S ON OUR RADAR
UN refugee chief warns of “children on-the-move emergency” in Greece. Addressing reporters in Athens on Thursday at the end of a visit to Greece, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said ensuring the protection of 5,000 unaccompanied refugee and migrant children now in the country was one of the priorities he had discussed with the government. Others included tackling overcrowding on the islands and ensuring efficient and fair asylum processes. He expressed support for a new scheme announced by the prime minister earlier this week to move unaccompanied minors from the islands to special accommodation facilities on the mainland. “You need to make sure, even extra sure, because they are children, that they are properly accommodated in safe places and not exposed to risk,” he said.
Refugees rebuild after devastating South Sudan floods. Floodwaters are slowly receding in South Sudan’s Maban County, but some 150,000 Sudanese refugees and 50,000 people in the local host community are now dealing with the aftermath of submerged homes and destroyed crops. AFP reports that refugee families who sought refuge from the floodwaters at a nearby school are trying to build shelters to move into when classes resume. Unable to collect firewood for cooking, some of the refugees have turned to fishing from the floodwaters using spears and mosquito nets. UNHCR is urgently appealing for US$10 million to respond to the flooding in Maban.
Two Syrians die in Slovenia car crash. Slovenian police said that two Syrians hidden in the trunk of a smugglers’ car died early on Thursday when the driver lost control of the vehicle and hit a fence. There were eight Syrians in the car which had crossed the border with Croatia hours earlier. A third man who was in the trunk is in a critical condition. According to police statistics, more than 14,000 people have been intercepted entering Slovenia irregularly from neighbouring Croatia in the first 10 months of this year, a 72 per cent increase compared to the same period last year. Earlier this month, a Syrian man died of exhaustion and cold after crossing from Croatia and becoming lost in a forest.
Inga Viola and Rufas Taban were both diagnosed with HIV in South Sudan before they fled the country’s civil war in 2017. After meeting at a refugee settlement in Uganda, they decided to start a support group for other refugees living with HIV. The group help each other to come to terms with their status and take their antiretroviral treatment – life-saving medication that’s available to refugees at no charge through Uganda’s national HIV programme.
DID YOU KNOW?
UNHCR has evacuated some 5,250 refugees out of Libya since 2017, including 43 who were flown to Niger on Thursday night. They will be resettled to Switzerland at a later stage.