About 4,500 Migrants Rescued in Mediterranean in 24 Hours
The Italian navy and coast guard, together with ships operated by humanitarian organizations, rescued some 4,500 migrants in the Mediterranean on Thursday, according to Reuters.
“We got in a day the number of arrivals we normally record in a week, as it often happens after periods of bad weather,” an Italian coast guard spokesman told Agence France-Presse.
Unfavorable weather last week prevented smugglers launching boats from Libya. Calmer seas over the last few days likely prompted these mass movements from North Africa.
One woman’s body was recovered from a rubber dinghy on Thursday, authorities reported.
“We saved a total of about 4,500 people in about 40 rescue operations,” the Italian official said. The search operations are continuing, as the number of people in distress at sea is unknown.
New Conflict May Displace 2.3 Million Iraqis, Says U.N.
Impending military offensives against ISIS in Iraq could displace as many as 2.3 million people this year, Lise Grande, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for the country, told Reuters.
In what she labeled “the worst-case scenario,” a military operation to recapture Mosul is expected to displace up to 1 million people. More than 1.2 million Iraqis from other areas could also be forced to flee, the Guardian reported.
“We’re literally talking in just a few months about doubling the number of families who are displaced in the country,” Grande said. “We’re trying to pre-position supplies and develop contingencies for all of those areas and we’re doing so with 30 percent of the appeal that we’ve asked for.” The U.N. has received only about $266 million of the $861 million requested for Iraq.
The potential for such a massive humanitarian emergency has prompted aid organizations to call for increased support. This follows the lack of preparedness of the humanitarian community in supporting the 85,000 people who fled fighting in Fallujah last month.
The Norwegian Refugee Council also announced this week that it could no longer provide the required assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) outside Fallujah.
Kenyan Government to Start Closing Dadaab in July
Kenya will begin closing Dadaab refugee camp on July 1, with 5,000 refugees expected to repatriate voluntarily as the first wave, according to local news sources.
The operation to repatriate more than 300,000 Somali refugees to their homes will take place over five months.
The international community has criticized Kenya’s earlier decision to close Dadaab by November of this year, but the government appears determined to go ahead with its plans.
“We are aware of the international outcry regarding the closure,” said Amos Gathecha, an Interior Ministry official, according to Bloomberg. “We are not going back on closing Daadab.” Authorities will monitor “how it will work as far as securing our country goes.”
The repatriation of Somali refugees is expected to cost $200 million, according to a report from the Kenyan National Task Force on Refugee Repatriation. The cost includes facilitation of repatriation, provision of non-food items and cash grants.
- Reuters: Interpol Launches Appeal to Catch People Smugglers
- Inyer Press Service: Fearing Violence, LGBT Refugees Rarely Seek Help
- UNHCR: After Decades in Pakistan, More Afghan Refugees Set to Return
- The New York Times: Water Reaches Syrian Refugees After Jordan Border Closure
- Reuters: With Refugees Here to Stay, Hosts Get Help to Make Them an Asset