Summer Surge in Central Mediterranean as Thousands Rescued
Some 6,500 refugees and migrants have been rescued off the coast of Libya in a 24-hour period. The Italian coastguard confirmed this as one of the highest numbers so far this year.
A summer surge in refugee numbers across the central Mediterranean has been seen in both of the past two years. Favorable weather conditions mean more refugees and migrants are expected to set sail this week.
About 1,100 migrants were rescued from boats in the Strait of Sicily on August 28 trying to reach Europe, the Italian coast guard said.
The International Organization for Migration said 105,000 people have reached Italy by boat this year, but an estimated 2,726 refugees and migrants have drowned so far in 2016 trying to reach Europe from North Africa.
More than 400,000 people have survived the voyage to Italy from North Africa since January 2014, some fleeing war, others poverty.
Britain and France Square Up Over Calais Migrant Jungle
Britain’s interior minister will discuss borders and security with her French counterpart in Paris. The August 30 meeting comes amid fears that France will ditch a border deal between the two nations.
The 2003 Le Touquet agreement moved Britain’s border controls to the port city of Calais in northern France. The move has helped to create a large informal camp of refugees and migrants, often referred to as the “Calais Jungle.”
Since Britain voted to exit the E.U. many politicians on France’s popular right have called for Le Touquet to be scrapped. The British government has hinted that it will withdraw security cooperation if this happens.
Xavier Bertrand, president of the Hauts-de-France Nord Pas De Calais-Picardie region that includes Calais, told the BBC that “if the British government don’t want to open this discussion, we will tell you Touquet Agreement is over.”
Thousands of people hoping to smuggle themselves into Britain are living in terrible conditions in the sprawling Calais Jungle, which has become a source of resentment among the French.
South Sudan Refugees Complain of Hunger and Overcrowding
Refugees from the civil war in South Sudan have complained of hunger and overcrowding in Uganda. They told the United Nations’ top refugee official that they were surviving “on empty stomachs,” during an August 29 visit.
The resumption of fighting in the world’s newest nation sent a surge of 70,000 refugees across the border into Uganda. The East African nation is already hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees from the previous round of fighting in South Sudan, as well as people who fled the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The World Food Program has cut rations to refugees who arrived before the current wave, but says it needs an extra $7 million a month to feed refugees in Uganda.
In Uganda the Nyumanzi Transit Center, built as a temporary shelter for 2,000 refugees, is now home to more than 7,000 newcomers, most of them women and children. There is little shelter from the extreme heat, no toilets and few medical supplies.
- The Financial Times: Assertive Member-States Have Benefited From the Union but Are Seeking to Overturn Its Institutions
- IRIN: Troubled Waters: The Mediterranean Is Becoming Even More Deadly for Migrants
- The Guardian: Dramatic Photos Show Refugees Fleeing Libya Being Rescued at Sea
- Voice of America: Somalia Blocks Returnees, Cites Inadequate Humanitarian Support
- The New Yorker: A Court Overturns a Burkini Ban but Not Its Mindset