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Egypt: Egypt blames organised crime after migrant shipwreck deaths

17 September 2014 - 9:25am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Egypt, occupied Palestinian territory, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic

09/17/2014 12:28 GMT

CAIRO, September 17, 2014 (AFP) - Egypt on Wednesday blamed organised criminal gangs of people traffickers operating on its territory after a boat carrying 500 illegal migrants was intentionally capsized off Malta.

The migrants, including up to 100 children, drowned after smugglers sank their ship when the passengers refused to change to a smaller vessel, survivors said.

"There is a Mafia of smugglers that work on smuggling illegal immigrants to Italy," interior ministry spokesman Hany Abdel Latif told AFP when asked about accusations that Egyptian smugglers were behind last week's shipwreck, the deadliest in Europe in years.

In the incident off Malta, just 10 people survived and some of them told the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) that their boat had been intentionally sunk by a group of 10 smugglers said to be Palestinians and Egyptians.

The migrants, many of whom were Syrian, Palestinian, Egyptian and Sudanese, had set out from the Mediterranean city of Damietta in Egypt on September 6.

Abdel Latif said that migrants were entering Egypt under false pretences before trying to travel on to Europe.

"Those Syrians and Palestinians enter Egypt with tourist visas, then attempt to get smuggled to Italy," he said.

According to UN refugee agency UNHCR, more than 2,500 people have drowned or gone missing attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe this year.

aha-jds/mm

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

Chad: Tchad : L'éduction pour les filles dans les camps de réfugiés soudanais, entre obstacle et espoir

17 September 2014 - 1:39am
Source: Jesuit Refugee Service Country: Chad, Sudan

N'Djamena, le 11 septembre 2014. Il ne faut pas sous-estimer ce que représente le fait de devoir marcher pendant des heures pour ramener de l'eau dans la chaleur étouffante du désert du Tchad oriental. C'est l'une des pires difficultés pour les femmes soudanaises vivant dans les camps de réfugiés du Tchad oriental, un lieu où les traditions socio-culturelles tendent à limiter leur rôle aux seules tâches domestiques : tâches ménagères, soins à apporter à de grandes familles, approvisionnement en eau.

Outre la nature patriarcale de la société, la pauvreté augmente les responsabilités qui pèsent sur les femmes et les fillettes. L'enfance ne dure pas longtemps pour les fillettes soudanaises déplacées qui subissent mariages et maternités précoces. Il n'est pas surprenant de voir que certaines tentent de mener à bien leur scolarité tout en s'occupant de leurs familles. Qu'elles soient ou non éduquées, les fillettes doivent veiller aux tâches ménagères, s'occuper des enfants et assurer un revenu pour faire vivre leurs familles.

Les obstacles à l'éducation. En fait, lorsqu'on regarde les chiffres on s'aperçoit qu'au Tchad oriental, le nombre de fillettes inscrites en maternelle et en primaire est plus ou moins équivalent à celui des garçons – ce qui tend à prouver que l'enthousiasme et la curiosité soulevés par l'éducation des filles qui a été largement encouragée au cours des années passées, a eu un impact tangible.

Ceci dit, le nombre d'élèves filles diminue de façon dramatique au fur et à mesure où on s'éloigne du primaire. Le poids des responsabilités fait que les filles sont souvent dans l'incapacité de faire face à leur travail scolaire, ou sont simplement gardées à la maison à cause d'une conception plus traditionnelle du rôle des hommes et des femmes.

Dans le camp de Djabal, seules quelques-unes des 2.500 filles inscrites dans les écoles finissent l'année scolaire ou se présentent aux examens. Dans le camp de réfugiés de Djabal le pourcentage de réussite des filles qui se présentent aux examens d'état à la fin de la classe terminale est de 25% contre 75 % pour les garçons.

Dans les écoles du Tchad oriental gérées par le Service Jésuite des Réfugiés, l'éducation des filles fait partie d'une réponse plus large aux défis auxquels est confrontée la communauté réfugiée. Dans un contexte au sein duquel les femmes sont rarement alphabétisées et sont absentes des rôles de premier plan, l'éducation fait partie intégrante de toute réponse susceptible de changer cet état de fait. La réponse du JRS se fait selon deux axes : proposer l'alphabétisation aux jeunes femmes, mais aussi à encourager les fillettes à fréquenter l'école secondaire et à assumer des rôles de premier plan dans leurs communautés.

Favoriser le leadership. Au cours de l'année scolaire 2013-2014, les femmes ne représentaient que 20 % des enseignants du camp de Djabal. Alors que dans les camps de Kounoungou et de Mile, le pourcentage atteignait respectivement 26 et 27 %. Sachant que dans le même temps, il n'y avait qu'une seule directrice d'école.

La création de groupes de femmes dans les écoles des camps de Kounoungou et de Mile est un premier pas en direction de la promotion des femmes à des postes de leaders. Ces groupes de volontaires promeuvent et défendent le respect des droits des femmes dans les écoles et renforcent la position des enseignantes dans les salles de classe. Les volontaires fournissent divers ateliers aux enseignantes, y compris la formation au leadership, la gestion des écoles, les droits des femmes, l'égalité et la protection. Elles se font également les défenseurs des fillettes ayant survécu à la violence sexuelle et sexiste.

Bien que les mesures prises à ce jour aient encouragé les parents à envoyer leurs filles à l'école, le taux de réussite est relativement bas. Afin de permettre à un plus grand nombre de réussir aux examens de la huitième, dans le camp de Djabal on a mis en place un programme d'accompagnement destiné à aider les 104 filles qui se présentent aux examens à terminer le cursus du primaire en 2014.

Hawa Daoud Issack et Darassalam Djouma Issack, deux fillettes qui ont participé aux cours de rattrapage proposés par le JRS, expriment leur sentiment concernant l'importance de ces cours.

« J'espère que toutes les matières de la huitième seront enseignées dans des groupes d'étude pour nous permettre à continuer de progresser », a ajouté Darassalam.

Autres défis éducatifs. Pourtant dans certaines écoles, les enfants doivent rentrer chez eux pendant les récréations pour se procurer de l'eau potable là où ils le peuvent. Mais au lieu de renvoyer leurs enfants à l'école après la récréation, certains parents gardent les fillettes à la maison pour les tâches ménagères. En d'autres termes, l'accès à l'éducation peut être lié à l'accès à l'eau potable. Pour essayer de faire en sorte que les fillettes continuent l'école, trois nouveaux puits ont été creusés près de l'école cette année.

Mais ce n'est pas le seul défi pour les fillettes. Au Tchad oriental, les jeunes mères soudanaises sont très fécondes. Une troisième crèche a été ouverte cette année. On espère que cela encouragera les jeunes mères à poursuivre leurs études au lieu de quitter l'école pour s'occuper de leurs enfants à la maison.

Ceci dit, en dépit de l'accès à l'eau potable et de l'amélioration des structures pour la garde des enfants, les questions économiques qui pèsent sur les fillettes, et sur les jeunes mères plus particulièrement, ne sont pas résolues. Au Tchad oriental, les réfugiés n'ont guère d'opportunités pour devenir financièrement indépendants. Conscient de l'importance du bien-être des familles pour l'éducation des fillettes, des programmes de développement ont été mis en place pour les réfugiés soudanais vivant dans le camp de Djabal. Si les parents arrivent à gagner leur vie, ils auront moins besoin que les fillettes contribuent à la sécurité financière de leurs familles.

Même s'il y a encore beaucoup à faire pour garantir le droit de toutes les fillettes à une éducation de qualité, les femmes soudanaises vivant dans des camps de réfugiés sont de plus en plus conscientes de leur situation sociale vulnérable et sont plus enclines à encourager leurs filles à aller à l'école. Il nous reste à faciliter les choses pour que les familles pauvres puissent concrétiser leur bonne volonté.

Isidore Ngueuleu, Responsable de l'Advocacy et de la Communication au sein du JRS Afrique de l'Ouest

Chad: Education for girls in Sudanese refugee camps, between obstacles and hope

17 September 2014 - 1:34am
Source: Jesuit Refugee Service Country: Chad, Sudan

N'Djamena, 11 September 2014 – Walking long distances to fetch water in the blistering desert heat of eastern Chad is not to be underestimated. It is one of the most arduous of tasks facing Sudanese women living in refugee camps in eastern Chad, a place where socio-cultural traditions tend to limit their role strictly to the domestic sphere: household chores, caring for large families and fetching water.

In addition to the patriarchal nature of society, poverty places even more responsibility on refugee women and girls in their households. Childhood is short for displaced Sudanese girls amongst whom early marriage and motherhood are prevalent. Unsurprisingly, many struggle to keep up with their studies and simultaneously care for their families. Educated or not, girls must ensure that household chores are done, young children are looked after and income is made to meet the needs of their families.

Impediments to education. In reality, the number of girls enrolled in pre-school and primary classes in refugee camps in eastern Chad is more or less equal to that of boys – an indicator that the enthusiasm and curiosity regarding girls education, encouraged in recent years, has had a tangible impact.

However, the ratio of female to male students falls dramatically as we advance up the educational ladder. Under the weight of domestic responsibilities, girls are frequently unable to keep up with their schoolwork, or are simply kept at home in line with more traditional gender roles.

In Djabal camp, out of the nearly 2,500 girls enrolled very few finish the school year or pass their exams. The pass rate for girls in Djabal camp, taking public exams at the end of grade eight, is 25 percent, as opposed to 75 percent for boys.

In schools managed by the Jesuit Refugee Service in eastern Chad, educating girls is part of a wider response to the challenges facing the refugee community. In a context in which women are rarely literate and are absent from leadership roles, providing education is an integral part of any response that hopes to alter this reality. The JRS response focuses on offering literacy classes to young women and encouraging girls to attend secondary school and in take on leadership roles in their communities.

Enhancing leadership. In the 2013-2014 school year, women comprised barely 20 percent of the teachers in Djabal camp. The equivalent statistic in Kounoungou and Mile camps were 27 and 26 percent respectively. Only one of the school principals was a woman.

The establishment of women's groups in camp schools in Kounoungou and Mile is an initial step towards promoting women leaders. These volunteer groups promote and defend the respect for women's rights in schools and reinforce the capacity of women teachers in the classroom. The volunteers provide a variety of workshops to women teachers, including leadership training, school management, women's rights, equality and protection. They also act as advocates for girl survivors of sexual- and gender-based violence.

Even though the measures undertaken so far have encouraged parents to send their daughters to school, retention rates remain low. In Djabal camp, in order to facilitate a greater success rate in grade eight exams, a tutorial programme has been set up to reinforce capacity for the 104 girls undergoing exams to complete primary school in 2014.

Both Hawa Daoud Issack and Darassalam Djouma Issack, young girls who have participated in the remedial classes organised by JRS, agree on the importance of the classes.

"I hope all the grade eight subjects will be taught in study groups to allow us to continue our progress," added Darassalam.

Further challenges to education. Yet, in some schools, children have to go home during the breaks to get drinking water anywhere nearby. Instead of going back to school after the break, some parents keep the girls at home to do household chores. In other words, access to drinking water can mean access to education. In an attempt to keep girls at school in Djabal camp, three new wells have been built this year near the school.

But this is not the only challenge the girls face. The rate of childbirth among young Sudanese mothers in eastern Chad is very high. A third school crèche was established this year. It is hoped this will encourage more young mothers to stay in school rather than dropping out to care for their children at home.

Even with access to drinking water and improved childcare facilities, the economic issues affecting many girls, particularly young mothers, remain unresolved. Refugees in eastern Chad have few opportunities to become financially independent. Increasingly recognising the importance of family wellbeing to girls education, livelihood programmes have been established for Sudanese refugees in Djabal camp. If their parents develop ways of earning a living, the household contribution of their daughters will then become less essential in ensuring the financial security of their families.

Even though much still needs to be done to guarantee all girls' access to quality education, Sudanese women in refugee camps are becoming more aware of their vulnerable situation in society and are more willing to encourage their daughters to attend school. Now we have to make it a lot easier for families in poverty to make willingness a reality.

Isidore Ngueuleu, JRS West Africa Advocacy and Communications Officer

World: Global Estimates 2014 - People displaced by disasters

17 September 2014 - 1:08am
Source: Norwegian Refugee Council, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre Country: Chad, Niger, Philippines, Sudan, World, South Sudan preview

22 million people displaced by disasters in 2013, global trends on the rise

Latest report from IDMC shows that 22 million people were displaced in 2013 by disasters brought on by natural hazard events – almost three times more than by conflict in the same year.

NEW YORK, 17 September 2014: Four decades of data show that twice as many people are being displaced today than in the 1970s. A new report by the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, launched today at the UN in New York, reveals this is largely due to the growth and concentration of urban populations, particularly in vulnerable countries.

“This increasing trend will continue as more and more people live and work in hazard-prone areas. It is expected to be aggravated in the future by the impacts of climate change”, said Jan Egeland, the Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

Displacement caused by disasters is a global phenomenon that is growing in scale, frequency and complexity. “More people today are exposed and vulnerable. Our report shows that much more can be done to prepare for and prevent displacement caused by disasters”, said Jan Egeland.

According to the report, no region of the world is immune to disasters, but as in previous years the worst affected was Asia, where 19 million people, or 87.1 per cent of the global total, were displaced. Both wealthy and poorer countries are affected, although developing countries bear the brunt, accounting for more than 85 per cent of displacement.

Major disasters drive the global trend. In the Philippines, typhoon Haiyan alone displaced 4.1 million people, a million more than in Africa, the Americas, Europe and Oceania combined.

Viewed relative to population size, seasonal floods also caused significant displacement in sub-Saharan Africa, most notably in Niger, Chad, Sudan and South Sudan – countries with highly vulnerable populations who are also affected by conflict and drought. Given that Africa’s population is predicted to double by 2050, displacement risk is expected to increase faster than in any other region in coming decades.

The extent to which populations in the most developed countries are exposed to hazards also led to some of the world’s largest displacements. Typhoon

Man-yi in Japan displaced 260,000 people and tornadoes in the US state of Oklahoma 218,500.

“Most disasters are as much man-made as they are natural,” said IDMC’s director, Alfredo Zamudio. “Better urban planning, flood defences and building standards could mitigate much of their impact”.

As world leaders prepare to gather for the UN Secretary General Ban Ki- moon's Global Climate Change Summit, this evidence calls for action to be taken to reduce disaster risk and to help communities adapt to changing and more unpredictable weather patterns, without which much more displacement will occur in the future.

END

The full report, highlights document, and graphics are available to download here

Notes to the editor:

IDMC considers that ‘natural’ hazards are events or conditions originating in the natural environment that may affect people and critical assets located in exposed areas. They include climate- and weather-related events as well as geo-physical events such as earthquakes. The impact of these hazards is often strongly influenced by human actions that contribute to disaster risk and long-term changes in the global climate; therefore, the causes of these hazards and disasters related to them are often less than ‘natural’.

It is widely agreed that the vast majority of people displaced by disasters are internally displaced (defined by the 1998 Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement), which is the focus of displacement situations highlighted by the Global Estimates report. A smaller number are displaced across borders, but this has not been quantified globally.

The global figures relate to cases of new displacement each year. They do not include people who have remained displaced for prolonged periods of time following disasters in preceding years. This is a global information blind spot that should be of concern to governments, given that the risks faced by displaced people tend to increase the longer that they are displaced.

For more information, please contact:

Tuva Bogsnes, Norwegian Refugee Council E-Mail: Tuva.Bogsnes@nrc.no Mobile: +(47) 932 31 883

Ane Høyem, Norwegian Refugee Council E-mail: Ane.hoyem@nrc.no Mobile phone: +(47) 975 65 108

Erik Abild , Norwegian Refugee Council E-mail: erik.abild@nrc.no Mobile phone: +(47) 474 19 946

Sudan: External Situation Report on the Population Movements in Sudan (07-13 September 2014)

17 September 2014 - 12:12am
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Sudan, South Sudan preview

Introduction:

During this reporting period (7 September - 13 September), IOM tracked 245 South Sudanese arriving from White Nile to Jabal Awlia, amounting to a daily average of 35 persons per day. All arrivals during this reporting period were tracked by the IOM hub in Jabal Awlia; no South Sudanese were registered in South or West Kordofan. Therefore, the number of South Sudanese entering Khartoum continues to drop. During the previous reporting period (31 August - 6 September), IOM tracked slightly more people, totalling 263 persons, or 38 persons per day.

Sudan: Justice, Truth and Reconciliation Commission launches implementation of second part of program of counting and classification of confilicts in Darfur

16 September 2014 - 10:47pm
Source: Sudanese News Agency Country: Sudan

Al-Fasher, Sept. 16 (SUNA) - The Commission of the Justice, Truth and Reconciliation of the Darfur Regional Authority has begun completing the second stage of the program of the counting and classification of disputes in Darfur states toward a building a data base on the disputes in the region.

The Commissionor of the Justice, Truth and Reconciliation of the DRA, Ibrahim Adam Ibrahim, revealed that the committees assigned for the counting program have started work in the states of East and South Darfur, noting that the counting and classification program will continue for one month.

He renewed the DRA commitment to provide technical and logistic support to both the committee of Justice and Truth and Reconciliation so as to carry out its work and pushing ahead the peaceful process in Darfur.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Commission of the Justice, Truth and Reconciliation of the DRA pointed to the commission's intensive efforts to arrange for signing an agreement of cessation of hostilities between the-Ma'alia and Rezaigat tribes in East Darfur State in the coming days prior to beginning direct talks to put an end to the crisis.

He pointed out that the disputing parties have expressed their agreement to sign the cessation of hostilities agreement, announcing in the same time the signing of a memo of understanding between the Commission and the Committee for the Darfurian -Darfurian Dialogue.

TA/MO

Sudan: Head of Kalma camp, South Darfur: 'Lift State of Emergency'

16 September 2014 - 9:14pm
Source: Radio Dabanga Country: Sudan

KALMA CAMP (16 Sep .) -

The head of Kalma camp in Bielel locality, South Darfur, has requested the lifting of the State of Emergency, imposed after the displaced massively protested on 4, 5 and 6 September against the repeated raids by government forces on the camp.

Sheikh Ali Abdel Rahman El Taher, the head of Kalma camp, told Radio Dabanga that he has requested the Bielel locality commissioner to lift the State of Emergency, and the curfew, from 8 pm until 6 am, imposed on the locality.

“Since the Kalma camp protests, in which eight displaced were shot dead by government troops, security forces have continued their extensive assaults day and night. They search and rob each and everyone in the locality.”

“These government forces take away whatever they find of personal belongings when searching the few Kalma displaced who currently dare to leave the camp. In addition, they have detained a number of displaced too.”

“Kalma camp is now besieged by security forces from all sides, while the camp “definitely does not host criminals, or any other wrong doers”.

Sudan: Enough Supports Sudanese Activists Speaking Out On Government Crimes [Video]

16 September 2014 - 4:40pm
Source: Enough Project Country: Sudan

Editor's Note: This blog was written by Enough Project intern Naafeh Dhillon.

In the past week, Sudanese activists have launched two dynamic campaigns that draw attention to their government's ongoing crimes and call on the international community to respond with decisive action. Sudan Democracy First Group, a civil society organization dedicated to democratic transformation in Sudan, marked the third anniversary of the resumption of civil war in Blue Nile and the Nuba Mountains with a public art campaign highlighting the government's ongoing aerial bombardment of both areas. In a complementary effort, the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, a human rights group based in Sudan, launched its own campaign calling for stronger human rights monitoring in the country. Both efforts showcase the energy and commitment of Sudanese activists to challenging their government's abuses. The Enough Project stands in solidarity with these brave activists and fully supports their call for change.

The Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG) campaign uses art as a tool for both resistance and resilience. In conjunction with Sudanese-American artist Khalid Kodi, the group organized a series of workshops in war-affected areas of South Kordofan in mid-July 2014. In Kauda, as part of the workshop, people held anti-bombardment signs while standing in front of schools, churches and mosques that had been attacked by government forces. In Yida, the refugees were encouraged and assisted in using recycled and found-objects to produce their art. The workshops allowed men, women and children of all ages to use art to express their dreams, fears and concerns. SDFG plans to use the images and posters created in the Nuba mountains for a media campaign to highlight the plight of the affected civilian population. In the coming weeks, the group will release a series of posters, videos, and drawings done by children affected by the conflict, a booklet depicting the narratives of female victims, and briefing papers, all of which document the severity of the sufferings of the victims of this conflict. Along with eleven other Sudanese activist groups, SDFG issued a statement calling for " an international independent investigation into the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the systematic bombing of civilians, in Nuba Mountains/South Kordofan and Blue Nile."

In a complementary effort, the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) and its partners are running a campaign on Twitter to draw attention to human rights violations in Sudan and ask the UN Human Rights Council to expand international human rights monitoring efforts. The campaign, which will run between Monday 15 September and Friday 19 September, demands that the Council condemn the government's crimes committed throughout the country and appoint a UN expert to monitor and investigate human rights abuses and publicly report on findings. ACJPS argues that there is not enough information getting out about the reality on the ground. Their campaign focuses on the Human Rights Council, which will be meeting in Geneva until September 26. Enough will be joining the Twitter campaign by sharing the following messages:

  • UN #HRC27 must adopt strong #Sudan resolution, appoint independent expert to monitor/report violations in all country http://bit.ly/1ur9fJ2

  • UN expert reports poor prisons conditions in Darfur #Sudan at #HRC27. 3 detainees died due to poor conditions in Port Sudan last month http://bit.ly/1qK6125 via @AfricanCentre

  • Sudan those behind unlawful killings and torture of protesters must be brought to justice #HRC27 http://bit.ly/1uzbdGq via @AfricanCentre

Jordan: Health Sector - Jordan Monthly Report, Period covered: August 1st–31st 2014

16 September 2014 - 3:58pm
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Iraq, Jordan, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic preview

Operational highlights and situation updates

  • Number of Syrian new arrivals has been steadily decreasing since April 2014

  • Number of Iraqi new arrivals slowly increased; approximately 100 people are being registered on a daily basis. From 17 – 21 August alone, there were over 550 newly registered Iraqis. Iraqis can still access Jordan through legal borders, and 66 per cent of these newly registered had arrived one month earlier. The new arrivals mainly hail from Baghdad, Ninewa, Anbar and Salahedine.

  • As of 15 July, UNHCR urban registration centres can no longer register refugees who have left the camps without officially being bailed out by a Jordanian sponsor, which will increase the number of refugees unable to access government health services.

  • IMC will extend mental health services for Syrian refugees in the south, in Ma’an, Tafilah and Karak within MoH primary health care facilities.

  • Over 30 health sector participants attended a two-day workshop on 19–20 August to field test the Guidelines for Integrating Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action.

  • A sub-national polio immunization campaign for hard-to-reach areas was successfully conducted in August and reached 68,274 Syrian children inside and outside the camps; two further national campaigns will be conducted before the end of the year.

  • UNFPA will have to close a number of their JHAS Reproductive health clinics in the urban areas as of 1st September due to funding constraints.

  • Princess Badea hospital in Irbid will no longer be able to provide health services to Syrians referred to them from UNHCR and other health partners (regardless of the availability of cost coverage) as the hospital has reached full capacity.

Greece: IOM Says New Witnesses Provide Further Details of Mediterranean Shipwreck Tragedy

16 September 2014 - 10:58am
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Egypt, Greece, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic

Geneva - IOM Greece staff in Crete today interviewed more survivors of the deliberate shipwreck of migrants heading to Europe from Egypt.

The survivors provided corroboration that the traffickers turned violent when the 500 migrants they were escorting to Europe refused to switch to an unseaworthy boat.

The survivors told IOM Tuesday that they already had been forced to change boats three times. When they refused a fourth switch - because they felt the smaller vessel was unsafe – an violent argument ensued. The smugglers threatened that if the passengers did not board the smaller boat they would be returned to Egypt, the survivors told IOM. The migrants persisted saying they would rather return than board the smaller boat.

At this stage, according to testimony from four of six survivors, the ten smugglers, said to be Palestinian and Egyptian, began yelling and throwing sticks at the migrants.

The smuggler’s vessel approached the boat with migrants some of whom managed to jump into the smaller boat. Witnesses say the smugglers forced them in the water and then rammed the bigger boat. It began to sink immediately while the smugglers stayed in the area until they were certain that the migrant’s vessel had sunk, witnesses said.

“After they hit our boat they waited to make sure that it had sunk completely before leaving. They were laughing” one of the survivors told IOM.

“When the boat was first struck, one of the passengers killed himself in despair by hanging,” he added.

The survivors, women among them, included two Palestinian nationals, an Egyptian national and one Syrian. All the witnesses stated that the smugglers were Palestinian and Egyptian nationals.

The two Palestinian survivors in Crete said their voyage began hopefully at what they called a “travel” office in Gaza, which made arrangements to get them to Italy. The cost of travel for each migrant was US$2000, paid in advance. The survivors said they had received grants to rebuild their homes and used that to pay the smugglers. The migrants were advised by the “travel” office to be in a particular spot in Egypt so that they could travel onwards by boat.

According to their statements, they arrived separately at the rendezvous in Egypt where four buses waited to take them to the Port of Damietta near Alexandria. The survivors estimated that each bus contained up to 100 persons. At the port they boarded a ship, which they estimated was 15-18 metres long with migrants already aboard.

“When we got to the port to board it looked like the ship was already half full,” the witness said.

The Captain did a headcount, and without including minors under 10 years old, counted 400-450 migrants. Based on this testimony IOM believes that up to 100 children may have been aboard and are lost at sea.

According to witnesses testimony the ship had two decks with 300 people below and 200 on the upper deck. They were at sea for four days and had to change to smaller vessels three times. Witnesses stated that the 300 people who were in the lower deck were trapped and drowned immediately. The survivors say they watched as those thrown in the water clung to each other trying to stay alive.

“The rest of us linked arms in a circle so that no one else would be lost,” a survivor told IOM in Crete.

Several managed to stay above the water for up to three days. But on the third day the weather changed: strong winds and waves swept the area and people began to disappear under the water.

Sometime later a freighter picked up nine survivors. Seven of these, including a 2 year-old girl were flown by a Greek military helicopter to hospital in Crete. One of the survivors perished and a girl remains in critical condition.

Survivors in Crete have provided the authorities’ information on the criminal gangs to the Greek Coastguard.

For more information, please contact

More information: www.iom.int - Facebook.com/iommigration Twitter @IOM_News

Spokespersons : Leonard Doyle Tel: 41 22 717 9589 – Mobile: 41 79 285 71 23, Email: ldoyle@iom.int
Christiane Berthiaume Tél: 41 22 717 9361 – Mobile: 41 79 285 4366, Email : cberthiaume@iom.int
Joel Millman Tel: 41 22 717 9486 – Mobile: 41 79 103 87 20, Email: jmillman@iom.int

World: IOM Says New Witnesses Provide Further Details of Mediterranean Shipwreck Tragedy

16 September 2014 - 10:58am
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Egypt, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World

Geneva - IOM Greece staff in Crete today interviewed more survivors of the deliberate shipwreck of migrants heading to Europe from Egypt.

The survivors provided corroboration that the traffickers turned violent when the 500 migrants they were escorting to Europe refused to switch to an unseaworthy boat.

The survivors told IOM Tuesday that they already had been forced to change boats three times. When they refused a fourth switch - because they felt the smaller vessel was unsafe – an violent argument ensued. The smugglers threatened that if the passengers did not board the smaller boat they would be returned to Egypt, the survivors told IOM. The migrants persisted saying they would rather return than board the smaller boat.

At this stage, according to testimony from four of six survivors, the ten smugglers, said to be Palestinian and Egyptian, began yelling and throwing sticks at the migrants.

The smuggler’s vessel approached the boat with migrants some of whom managed to jump into the smaller boat. Witnesses say the smugglers forced them in the water and then rammed the bigger boat. It began to sink immediately while the smugglers stayed in the area until they were certain that the migrant’s vessel had sunk, witnesses said.

“After they hit our boat they waited to make sure that it had sunk completely before leaving. They were laughing” one of the survivors told IOM.

“When the boat was first struck, one of the passengers killed himself in despair by hanging,” he added.

The survivors, women among them, included two Palestinian nationals, an Egyptian national and one Syrian. All the witnesses stated that the smugglers were Palestinian and Egyptian nationals.

The two Palestinian survivors in Crete said their voyage began hopefully at what they called a “travel” office in Gaza, which made arrangements to get them to Italy. The cost of travel for each migrant was US$2000, paid in advance. The survivors said they had received grants to rebuild their homes and used that to pay the smugglers. The migrants were advised by the “travel” office to be in a particular spot in Egypt so that they could travel onwards by boat.

According to their statements, they arrived separately at the rendezvous in Egypt where four buses waited to take them to the Port of Damietta near Alexandria. The survivors estimated that each bus contained up to 100 persons. At the port they boarded a ship, which they estimated was 15-18 metres long with migrants already aboard.

“When we got to the port to board it looked like the ship was already half full,” the witness said.

The Captain did a headcount, and without including minors under 10 years old, counted 400-450 migrants. Based on this testimony IOM believes that up to 100 children may have been aboard and are lost at sea.

According to witnesses testimony the ship had two decks with 300 people below and 200 on the upper deck. They were at sea for four days and had to change to smaller vessels three times. Witnesses stated that the 300 people who were in the lower deck were trapped and drowned immediately. The survivors say they watched as those thrown in the water clung to each other trying to stay alive.

“The rest of us linked arms in a circle so that no one else would be lost,” a survivor told IOM in Crete.

Several managed to stay above the water for up to three days. But on the third day the weather changed: strong winds and waves swept the area and people began to disappear under the water.

Sometime later a freighter picked up nine survivors. Seven of these, including a 2 year-old girl were flown by a Greek military helicopter to hospital in Crete. One of the survivors perished and a girl remains in critical condition.

Survivors in Crete have provided the authorities’ information on the criminal gangs to the Greek Coastguard.

For more information, please contact

More information: www.iom.int - Facebook.com/iommigration Twitter @IOM_News

Spokespersons : Leonard Doyle Tel: 41 22 717 9589 – Mobile: 41 79 285 71 23, Email: ldoyle@iom.int
Christiane Berthiaume Tél: 41 22 717 9361 – Mobile: 41 79 285 4366, Email : cberthiaume@iom.int
Joel Millman Tel: 41 22 717 9486 – Mobile: 41 79 103 87 20, Email: jmillman@iom.int

World: Global emergency overview Snapshot 10–16 September

16 September 2014 - 8:37am
Source: Assessment Capacities Project Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Ukraine, World, Yemen, South Sudan preview

Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea: Transmission remains high, and case numbers doubled between the last week of August and the first of September in Liberia; in Sierra Leone 150 cases were reported for each of the last two weeks. Fewer cases have been reported in Guinea – 49 between 5 and 7 September – but the case fatality rate has been extremely high, at 65%. Currently, the secondary impact of the epidemic will potentially leave 500,000 in dire need of humanitarian assistance in Sierra Leone, while WFP has targeted 449,000 people for food assistance in Liberia.

Pakistan: Monsoon rains have affected almost 2.5 million people in Azad Kashmir, Punjab, and Gilgit Baltistan. 140,330 evacuations had been made. In Sialkot, Punjab, waterborne diseases have been recorded in Bajwat, Head Marala, Chaprar, and Pasrur (DAWN, 11/09/2014). The flood waters are now moving towards Sindh province, with warnings for Guddu and Sukkur.

Updated: 16/09/2014. Next update: 23/09/2014

Global Emergency Overview Web Interface

Sudan: ACT/Caritas Appeal Darfur – 2014 Programme SDN141, EA 24/2013, Revision 2

16 September 2014 - 5:31am
Source: Norwegian Church Aid, Caritas, ACT Alliance Country: Sudan preview


Dear Colleagues

Please find attached the revised appeal and budget for the NCA Darfur Programme, supported by the ACT Alliance and Caritas networks.

Shortly after the first reduction and revision to the 2014 Appeal budget and annual plan, the Darfur Programme found it necessary to make a second revision to reduce the budget further from the first revision of USD 7,989,096 to USD 7,200,653 (this presents a 27% reduction from the original budget). The main reasons for the additional revision is the slow inflow of funds to the Darfur account, as well as a strong indication from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that their initial pledge is unlikely to match the applied for amount 2.5 million USD, and will instead be closer to 1.8 million USD. This agreement has yet to be signed.

Funding for the prolonged humanitarian crisis in Darfur has seen a rapid and steady decline since the secession of South Sudan in 2011. Overall funding for needs in Sudan (exemplified in the annual Humanitarian Workplan) has declined from 57% in 2013 to 31% to date in 2014.

There remains a great need in the area with increasing conflict and insecurity affecting the population. In 2014 there have been over 300,000 new displacements in Darfur, and the total number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)in the region is now larger than ever, with the number of IDPs in some areas outnumbering the host populations by 4:1.

This revised appeal aims to deliver vital emergency aid to over 400,000 individuals in East, Central and South Darfur. In 2014 the cuts in funds and planned activities have been across all sectors, and the implication of both budget reductions to the programme is high. However, all departments do their best to work around it in ways that will avoid detrimental impact as much as possible. We hope that the necessity of this second revision meets with your understanding and look forward to your continued support for those affected by the conflict in Darfur.

Sarah Kambarami

Greece: IOM Investigates Reports of Deliberate Drowning of 500 Migrants in Mediterranean

16 September 2014 - 5:12am
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Egypt, Greece, Malta, occupied Palestinian territory, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic

Switzerland - Investigators from the International Organization for Migration have obtained eyewitness testimony of a tragic incident in which as many as 500 migrants were drowned when their vessel was deliberately sunk in the Mediterranean.

These reports point to a growing death toll off Europe’s shores which this year already approaches 3,000. That’s nearly four times the figure from 2013, which IOM’s Missing Migrants Project estimated to be 700 deaths.

“The numbers dying off Europe’s coasts are shocking and unacceptable,” said IOM’s Director General William Lacy Swing, “These are women, children and men who only hope for a more dignified life. The risks they take reflect their desperation and we cannot keep abandoning them to their fate.”

IOM staff and Italian police have interviewed two survivors brought ashore to the town of Pollazzo in Sicily. Both are Palestinian men from Gaza who were rescued separately after days in the water clinging to flotation devices. They told investigators that their overcrowded vessel was sent to the bottom by enraged smugglers when demands that they move to a less seaworthy vessel were rejected by the migrants. The survivors, aged 27 and 33, who have requested asylum, described harrowing scenes as exhausted victims succumbed all around them.

By Tuesday morning authorities in Italy, Malta and Greece had confirmed to IOM staffers the rescue of 10 migrants from the lost vessel. Additionally, three bodies from the shipwreck have been found.

The survivors in Sicily told IOM that they left the port of Damietta in Egypt on Saturday September 6th, with some 500 men, women and children from the Middle East and Africa aboard. They said they were forced to switch vessels several times but resisted a switch to a replacement craft they deemed un-seaworthy. Enraged, the traffickers reportedly rammed the boat with their own, the witnesses said.

The two witnesses told IOM staff they fled Gaza through Egypt at the beginning of September.

According to their testimony there were Syrians, Palestinians, Egyptians and Sudanese aboard.

“If survivors’ reports are confirmed, this will be the worst shipwreck of migrants in years, not an accidental tragedy, but the apparent deliberate drowning of migrants by criminal gangs who extort money for their desperate journeys. Their actions are as callous as they are evil,” said IOM spokesperson Leonard Doyle.

Other survivors of the tragedy who were brought ashore in Crete confirmed that there were some 500 migrants on the vessel when it sank.

Most of the 500 passengers drowned, but others managed to remain afloat by holding on to debris and flotation devices. After almost two days in the sea, a Panamanian-flagged merchant vessel “Pegasus”, carrying 386 migrants rescued from yet another boat, found the two Palestinian men floating in the water. They were taken to the Italian port of Pozzallo two days ago where they remain in a state of exhaustion and shock after their experience.

A UK-flagged vessel saved another five adults and a child from the sea and they are now in Crete. Two others were rescued off Malta.

Authorities are also investigating a report that a further 200 people are missing, presumed drowned in an incident off Libya and another 15 died off the coast of Egypt.

If these reports are verified, the death toll for the past week would be over 700 people lost at sea, making this one of the most deadly periods of recent years.

For more information, please go to www.iom.int; Twitter @IOM_news; facebook.com/iommigration.

For more information, please contact:

Leonard Doyle, Tel: 41 22 717 9589, Mobile: 41 79 285 71 23, Email: ldoyle@iom.int Christiane Berthiaume, Tel: 41 22 717 9361, Mobile: 41 79 285 4366, Email : cberthiaume@iom.int Joel Millman, Tel: 41 22 717 9486, Mobile: 41 79 103 87 20, Email: jmillman@iom.int Flavio di Giacomo, Mobile: 39 06 44 186 207, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int

World: IOM Investigates Reports of Deliberate Drowning of 500 Migrants in Mediterranean

16 September 2014 - 5:12am
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Egypt, occupied Palestinian territory, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World

Switzerland - Investigators from the International Organization for Migration have obtained eyewitness testimony of a tragic incident in which as many as 500 migrants were drowned when their vessel was deliberately sunk in the Mediterranean.

These reports point to a growing death toll off Europe’s shores which this year already approaches 3,000. That’s nearly four times the figure from 2013, which IOM’s Missing Migrants Project estimated to be 700 deaths.

“The numbers dying off Europe’s coasts are shocking and unacceptable,” said IOM’s Director General William Lacy Swing, “These are women, children and men who only hope for a more dignified life. The risks they take reflect their desperation and we cannot keep abandoning them to their fate.”

IOM staff and Italian police have interviewed two survivors brought ashore to the town of Pollazzo in Sicily. Both are Palestinian men from Gaza who were rescued separately after days in the water clinging to flotation devices. They told investigators that their overcrowded vessel was sent to the bottom by enraged smugglers when demands that they move to a less seaworthy vessel were rejected by the migrants. The survivors, aged 27 and 33, who have requested asylum, described harrowing scenes as exhausted victims succumbed all around them.

By Tuesday morning authorities in Italy, Malta and Greece had confirmed to IOM staffers the rescue of 10 migrants from the lost vessel. Additionally, three bodies from the shipwreck have been found.

The survivors in Sicily told IOM that they left the port of Damietta in Egypt on Saturday September 6th, with some 500 men, women and children from the Middle East and Africa aboard. They said they were forced to switch vessels several times but resisted a switch to a replacement craft they deemed un-seaworthy. Enraged, the traffickers reportedly rammed the boat with their own, the witnesses said.

The two witnesses told IOM staff they fled Gaza through Egypt at the beginning of September.

According to their testimony there were Syrians, Palestinians, Egyptians and Sudanese aboard.

“If survivors’ reports are confirmed, this will be the worst shipwreck of migrants in years, not an accidental tragedy, but the apparent deliberate drowning of migrants by criminal gangs who extort money for their desperate journeys. Their actions are as callous as they are evil,” said IOM spokesperson Leonard Doyle.

Other survivors of the tragedy who were brought ashore in Crete confirmed that there were some 500 migrants on the vessel when it sank.

Most of the 500 passengers drowned, but others managed to remain afloat by holding on to debris and flotation devices. After almost two days in the sea, a Panamanian-flagged merchant vessel “Pegasus”, carrying 386 migrants rescued from yet another boat, found the two Palestinian men floating in the water. They were taken to the Italian port of Pozzallo two days ago where they remain in a state of exhaustion and shock after their experience.

A UK-flagged vessel saved another five adults and a child from the sea and they are now in Crete. Two others were rescued off Malta.

Authorities are also investigating a report that a further 200 people are missing, presumed drowned in an incident off Libya and another 15 died off the coast of Egypt.

If these reports are verified, the death toll for the past week would be over 700 people lost at sea, making this one of the most deadly periods of recent years.

For more information, please go to www.iom.int; Twitter @IOM_news; facebook.com/iommigration.

For more information, please contact:

Leonard Doyle, Tel: 41 22 717 9589, Mobile: 41 79 285 71 23, Email: ldoyle@iom.int Christiane Berthiaume, Tel: 41 22 717 9361, Mobile: 41 79 285 4366, Email : cberthiaume@iom.int Joel Millman, Tel: 41 22 717 9486, Mobile: 41 79 103 87 20, Email: jmillman@iom.int Flavio di Giacomo, Mobile: 39 06 44 186 207, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int

World: Food Assistance Outlook Brief, September 2014

16 September 2014 - 4:51am
Source: Famine Early Warning System Network Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Djibouti, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, World, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Sudan preview

PROJECTED FOOD ASSISTANCE NEEDS FOR MARCH 2015

This brief summarizes FEWS NET’s most forward-looking analysis of projected emergency food assistance needs in FEWS NET coverage countries. The projected size of each country’s acutely food insecure population is compared to last year and the recent five-year average. Countries where external emergency food assistance needs are anticipated are identified. Projected lean season months highlighted in red indicate either an early start or an extension to the typical lean season. Additional information is provided for countries with large food insecure populations, an expectation of high severity, or where other key issues warrant additional discussion.

Chad: Tchad : Vue Génerale des Opérations - Statistiques par camp, bureau et région de la population des personnes concernées par le HCR (Au 14/09/2014)

16 September 2014 - 3:27am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Sudan preview

Madagascar: Emergency Transboundary Outbreak Pest (ETOP) Situation Report for August with a Forecast till Mid-October, 2014

16 September 2014 - 1:18am
Source: US Agency for International Development Country: Algeria, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Republic of Tanzania, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe preview

Summary

The Desert Locust (SGR1) situation remained calm in winter, spring and summer breeding areas in the western outbreak region in August and only low density adults were reported in Mauritania, Niger and Chad, and a similar situation is highly likely in northern Mali where the ongoing security situation continuous undermining survey operations. No locusts were reported in Algeria, Libya, Morocco or Tunisia during this month.

In the central outbreak areas, hatching was reported in northeastern Ethiopia where a few mature copulating small swarms and 1st and 2nd instar hoppers were detected and controlled during August. Survey and control operations are in progress in Ethiopia. In Sudan, scattered low density solitary mature adults were detected in the summer breeding areas in Northern, River Nile, Khartoum, Kassla and Kordofan States. Breeding adults and 3rd instar hoppers were also reported in Wadi Half in northern Sudan, but control operations were not warranted during this period. No locusts were reported in Oman in August and adult groups and immature swarms were reported in northern Red Sea coast in Yemen, but could not be confirmed due to the absence of surveys.

The SGR situation remained calm in the eastern outbreak region and only a few scattered adults were reported along the Indo-Pakistan borders (DPPQS/India,
FAO-DLIS).

Forecast: Breeding will likely continue in northeastern/northern Ethiopia. Limited breeding is also likely in Sudan, and Sahel West Africa where good to heavy rains fell recently. Small-scale breeding is likely along the Indo-Pakistan borders and slightly increase locust numbers during the forecast period, but significant developments are not likely.

South Sudan: IOM Regional Response to South Sudan Crisis, External Sitrep, 8-14 September 2014

16 September 2014 - 12:00am
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, South Sudan preview

Highlights

South Sudan: IOM provides 30 litres safe water available per person per day

Sudan: Over 47,646 refugees have been tracked and registered by IOM.

Kenya: Heighted refugee movement recorded in Kenya this reporting period.

Ethiopia: Number of migrants relocated by IOM in Ethiopia reaches 173, 862.

Uganda: Uganda remains the second largest receiving country in the region for refugees from South Sudan.

Overview

Over 1.3 million people remain displaced in South Sudan since civil conflict began in December 2013. Approximately 449,000 others have fled South Sudan and crossed into neighbouring countries of Kenya (42,700 individuals), Uganda (124,900 individuals), Ethiopia (190,900 individuals) and Sudan (93,400 individuals). Millions are at the risk of hunger and diseases.

The general security situation during the reporting period has been tenuous and unpredictable with reports of explosions and attacks taking place in Renk, Upper Nile State. Cattle raiding and tension were also reported in Rumbek. Addittonally, UNMISS continues to investigate the shooting down of their helicopter on 26 August. This incident has led to inquiries into aviation safety in Unity State and security is being enhanced at the Rubkona airfield.

IOM Sudan has tracked and registered a total of 47,646 people entering the country since the beginning of the conflict. During this period, IOM has tracked 263 South Sudanese arriving from White Nile and Jabal Awlia, amoun-ng to a daily average of 38 persons per day. No South Sudanese were registered in South or West Kordofan.

As of 10 September, a total of 124,900 South Sudanese refugees had entered Uganda (UNOCHA: 11 September) since the crisis began on 15 December 2013. Uganda remains the second largest receiving country in the region for refugees from South Sudan. Measures are being put in place at the Arua District Health Office, to ensure preparedness on the management of Ebola among border authorities.

From the total of over 451,000 South Sudanese refugees who have fled into neighboring countries, 190,900 have crossed into Ethiopia. (OCHA: 11 September) Ethiopia has continued to take the lead in accep-ng the highest number of refugees from South Sudan. IOM has assisted 171,641 refugees in Gambella and 2,221 in Benishangul-Gumuz since the conflict broke out in mid-December, 2013.

Due to the recent fighting in South Sudan, there has been a heightened refugee outflow into Kenya in the past two weeks as compared to previous weeks. An average of 397 refugees were registered to have crossed the Nadapal border into Kenya during this repor-ng period. Heavy rains have caused previously dry riverbeds to over flow, but this has not stopped the movement of refugees crossing the border.

Sudan: United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) - August 2014 Update

15 September 2014 - 10:51pm
Source: UN Mine Action Service Country: Sudan, South Sudan preview

The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), as an integral section within UNISFA, supports the implementation of UNISFA’s mandate in Abyei and the deployment of the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM) along the international border. UNMAS operations reduce the threat of landmines and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) that enables freedom of movement for UNISFA, the JBVMM, civilians, and providers of humanitarian aid within the UNISFA area of responsibility. In August, UNMAS field operations stood down for the rainy season. However, UNMAS maintains an emergency capacity to respond to any explosive ordnance disposal task that may arise. The highlight of the month is the support provided to the JBVMM in the delivery of the Integrated Ground Patrol (IGP) Training in Kadugli on August 3-14.