Executive Summary for August 18th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including Greek plans for new migrant camps to ease island overcrowding, Jordan relenting over a Syrian toddler after a video goes viral and WFP halving refugee rations in Uganda.

Published on Aug. 18, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Greece to Ease Overcrowding on Island Camps

Greece plans to build new refugee facilities to ease overcrowding on its islands. Nearly 11,000 refugees and migrants are currently being held in camps intended for 7,450 people.

Tensions have been rising on Greece’s Aegean Islands, where thousands of people are stranded while their asylum applications inch forward and others are flown back to Turkey.

“We are facing a lot of problems on the islands,” an anonymous Greek official told Reuters. “People feel trapped and disillusion is growing.”

New facilities with a capacity for 1,000 people each will be built, but their locations and numbers have not been announced.

“We are moving to a decongestion process while speeding up the processing of asylum requests,” the official said. “The new facilities will be better, more permanent, smaller dwellings.”

The charity Save the Children said that 3,800 of those on the islands were children. Conditions at the island facilities have been described as “disgraceful” by campaigners.

Syrian Toddler Shown in Distressing Video Taken Into Jordan

Jordan has flown the family of a seriously ill Syrian toddler into the kingdom. A distressing video of a sick Syrian toddler prompted Jordan to make an exception after it was widely seen online.

The video shows the boy crying and in distress with his scrotum swollen to half the size of his head. It also shows a man, believed to be a relative, pleading for assistance.

Some 70,000 Syrians are camped on the border with Jordan in the hope of receiving aid or being allowed into the kingdom. The border has been closed since a June attack on a military outpost claimed by ISIS killed seven Jordanians.

Aid agencies have been granted occasional access to the area, known as the berm for the desert wall marking the border. Jordan has refused to open up access despite regular reports of water shortages, malnutrition and disease.

WFP to Halve Rations for Refugees in Uganda

The World Food Program (WFP) will halve rations for some refugees in Uganda in response to an influx of South Sudanese. The United Nations agency said it was being forced to do so by the scale of new arrivals.

Uganda is already home to more than 300,000 South Sudanese, as well as a population of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Refugees who arrived more than one year ago now face a cut in rations.

“We have been left with no option but to reduce food assistance for many of the refugees in Uganda, in order to stretch available resources and prioritize the most vulnerable new arrivals,” the WFP’s Mike Sackett said in a statement.

As many as 8,000 South Sudanese were crossing into Uganda every day in mid-July after fighting restarted in a civil war in the world’s youngest nation.

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