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By Kristy Siegfried | 5 December, 2019


Spiralling violence in northern Mozambique worsens suffering in cyclone aftermath. The International Committee of the Red Cross warned on Wednesday that armed violence in Mozambique’s northernmost province, Cabo Delgado, is forcing scores of people from their homes and making it more difficult for families to recover from Cyclone Kenneth, which hit the area in April. The New Humanitarian reports that the violence has left hundreds dead and has displaced around 65,000 people since late 2017, with many more going hungry as farmers abandon their fields. Most of those displaced are living with local families in the relative safety of larger towns such as Mocamia, according to the ICRC. The New Humanitarian met one man who was hosting 64 people in his single-storey house in Mocamia. The ICRC said the growing insecurity was making it difficult to access affected communities and determine the scale of their needs.

Woman killed in container fire on Greek island of Lesvos. A 27-year-old Afghan woman was killed late on Wednesday by a fire that started in the container she shared with her husband and three children at the Kara Tepe accommodation site on the island of Lesvos. Her husband and children survived the fire without serious injuries. Some 1,300 vulnerable asylum-seekers are housed at Kara Tepe, while nearly 17,000 asylum-seekers and migrants are staying in and around the island’s Moria reception centre where a woman died in a container fire in late September. In a statement today, UNHCR said an investigation into the cause of Wednesday night’s incident was underway. UNHCR and international aid agencies have repeatedly expressed concern about conditions for refugees and migrants on the Greek islands and called for measures to relieve severe overcrowding.


UNHCR urges Australia to take up New Zealand’s offer to resettle offshore refugees. In a statement today, the UN refugee agency expressed disappointment about the repeal of medevac legislation by Australia’s Senate on Wednesday. It said the mechanism had proven to be “timely, effective and often live-saving” for refugees and asylum-seekers in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, who have faced more than six years of uncertainty. UNHCR urged the Australian government to use pre-existing legislation to ensure those in need of medical treatment are evacuated and to take up New Zealand’s long-standing offer to resettle some of the refugees there. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sent a public message to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison today confirming that the offer remains open.

At least 58 dead after shipwreck off Mauritanian coast. At least 58 people, including women and children, were killed after the boat they were travelling in capsized off the West African nation of Mauritania today. Eighty-three others swam to shore and are receiving assistance from Mauritanian authorities, IOM and UNHCR. Survivors told IOM staff that at least 150 people were aboard the vessel, which set off from The Gambia on 27 November. They said the boat, which was believed to be heading for Spain’s Canary Islands, was running low on fuel when it approached the Mauritanian coast. Despite Gambia’s small size, more than 35,000 Gambian asylum-seekers and migrants arrived in Europe between 2014 and 2018, according to IOM.

Japanese aid worker and five Afghan colleagues killed in Jalalabad attack. Japanese doctor and aid worker Tetsu Nakamura, his four bodyguards and a driver were killed in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad on Wednesday when gunmen attacked their vehicle. The incident is the latest in a series of attacks on aid workers in Afghanistan. Several media outlets profiled the crucial medical, development and agricultural projects that Nakamura led after arriving in Afghanistan in the 1980s. After witnessing the impacts of a severe drought in the Nangarhar region, where he operated clinics, he focused on building canals to irrigate arid regions. By the time of his death, the canals had improved the lives of nearly a million people, according to authorities in Nangarhar.

Colombia University offers scholarships to refugees and displaced students. The New York city-based university announced on Wednesday that up to 30 displaced students annually will have the entire cost of their tuition, housing and living expenses covered by a university-wide scholarship programme. The scholarship began as a smaller programme for Syrian refugees at The Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Colombia Business School. The new, expanded programme is open to students from anywhere in the world who are either internally displaced, have refugee status or who have applied for asylum in the United States. They must have been accepted into an undergraduate or graduate programme at one of Colombia’s 18 schools.


new initiative means that pupils around the world can ask refugees about their lives without leaving their classrooms. NaTakallam, a social enterprise, uses video chat to connect refugees with students who want to learn a language or who just want to learn more about their experiences. Pupils at Soho Parish Primary School in London huddled around their teacher’s phone to talk to a Syrian refugee, Hadiya Ahmed.


As of 1 December, some 38,800 refugees and migrants were staying on Greece’s Aegean islandsForty-three percent of them are from Afghanistan while another 21 per cent are from Syria.