Executive Summary for August 26th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including asylum seekers helping with earthquake relief in Italy, refugees fleeing into Darfur and reports of a drop in illegal border crossings into Europe.

Published on Aug. 26, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Asylum Seekers Join Italy Earthquake Recovery

Refugees have been among the first responders to the earthquake that devastated central Italy on Wednesday, killing more than 250 people. Some joined clear-up efforts, while other asylum seekers donated money, charity workers said.

In Calabria, in the south of the country, some 70 refugees and asylum seekers gave up their daily allowance of 2 euros ($2.30) – an amount meant to cover personal expenses – to help survivors.

“Pictures and video of the earthquake made them think of the wars and disasters they fled from,” Giovanni Maiolo, local coordinator of the Protection System for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

In Arquata del Tronto, where the quake killed almost 50 people, Abdullai, from Benin, was among 17 asylum seekers who spent the day cleaning an area designated as an emergency operations center.

“At first I was very scared,” he said after experiencing his first earth tremor. “Then I understood that they needed as much help as possible, and I want to do my part.”

50,000 South Sudanese Flee Into Darfur

The desperate situation in South Sudan was underlined as 50,000 people have fled into Darfur this year. With renewed fighting in the civil war, the troubled region in neighboring Sudan was taking in refugees.

The U.N. said South Sudan refugees started entering eastern Darfur in January, driven by insecurity and hunger. Meanwhile the medical charity, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders, said two of its clinics were destroyed during fighting in the Greater Upper Nile region of South Sudan in the previous month.

Illegal Crossings Into E.U. Drop in 2016, Says Frontex

The European Union’s border agency said the number of illegal crossings into the E.U. had fallen in the first quarter of 2016. Frontex reported that the total had decreased steadily after peaking in October 2015.

With more than 150,000 such crossings detected, the eastern Mediterranean experienced the largest pressure from migration, the report said.

Despite the fall from the October peak, the figures in the first three months of 2016 were the highest in any first quarter since Frontex began keeping records in 2007.

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