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By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   |  9 October, 2018


Refugees bearing the brunt of massive underfunding. Funding for refugees and other forcibly displaced people is becoming increasingly squeezed, causing worsening conditions and hardships for many, according to a new report released by UNHCR today. The agency said it expected to receive 55 per cent of the US$8.4 billion it needs to assist refugees and displaced people in 2018. The report notes that although funding levels are similar to the same period last year, the budget is larger, reflecting much greater needs. There has also been a decline in the percentage of unearmarked or flexible funding that allows the agency to respond quickly to emerging crises. The report highlights six of the most underfunded refugee and displacement situations, four of which are in Africa. The Burundian refugee situation is the most critically underfunded, with just 28 per cent of the needed US$206 million received. Some 400,000 Burundian refugees in neighbouring countries have been impacted by food ration cuts, overcrowded classrooms and inadequate shelters. Situations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Syria and Somalia are also severely underfunded.

Asylum-seekers line up outside police station in northern Greece. Several hundred asylum-seekers were camped outside a police station in Thessaloniki in northern Greece on Monday, waiting to be arrested so they could lodge asylum applications and be moved to reception centres. Police said their holding cells were completely full and many of the asylum-seekers had been sleeping rough in parks and squares in the city for several days. The authorities later transported the asylum-seekers in buses to a nearby reception centre. The Migration Ministry’s regional coordinator for northern Greece told AP that a spike in arrivals to Thessaloniki was creating a bottleneck. Greece’s land border crossing with Turkey has become more popular this year, with nearly 11,000 refugees and migrants crossing the Evros River to reach Greece between January and August, compared to about 2,500 during the same period last year. The Greek Supreme Court yesterday ordered an inquiry into press reports about the mishandling of EU funds earmarked for the management of migrants and asylum-seekers by the Greek government in 2015 and 2016.


Sharp rise in Afghan civilians killed or maimed by IEDs. According to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), almost half of the civilian casualties from conflict-related violence in Afghanistan between January and September were caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs). A new report by UNAMA documents the sharp increase of IED attacks directed at civilians. Meanwhile, the Bureau for Investigative Journalism and the Guardian and Observer marked 17 years of the conflict in Afghanistan by compiling a list of all attacks reported on a single day. They documented the death of at least 60 people in over 30 different attacks across 16 provinces. A total of nearly 250,000 people have been displaced by the conflict so far this year, according to the UN.

Hundreds rescued in Mediterranean bound for Spain. The Moroccan navy said on Monday that it rescued more than 600 migrants and refugees from 31 boats that ran into trouble while trying to reach Spain over the weekend. The Spanish coastguard meanwhile announced on Sunday that it rescued nearly 1,200 people bound for its shores in a 48-hour period. The Times reports that Spain is putting pressure on the EU to give more financial aid to Morocco to stem irregular migration to Europe. In recent weeks, Morocco has also reportedly been asking the EU for more aid. Nearly 38,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Spain by sea since the start of the year, outpacing arrivals to both Italy and Greece.

The worst refugee crises for girls. This report by CARE, released to coincide with the sixth International Day of the Girl on 11 October, ranks the 13 worst refugee crises for girls in order of the total number of girls forcibly displaced. The report highlights specific threats for girls relating to each crisis. In Syria, for example, which tops the list, 1.2 million refugee girls and 1.5 million girls displaced within the country are more likely to be missing out on school than their male counterparts. Not only have schools been reduced to rubble, but girls are often forced to marry early or find work. The report features the stories of displaced girls determined to overcome the obstacles they face.


Have a listen to this debut single from Burundian refugee J P Bimeni’s new album and see if you agree with Laura’s description. Bemeni was targeted during Burundi’s civil war because of his family background and was registered as a refugee in Kenya after nearly dying from a gunshot to the chest. He moved to Wales to attend college at the age of 16 before starting his career in music.


UNHCR’s budget has never been higher, at $8.2 billion for 2018. But as of September, it was only 45 per cent funded.