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Executive Summary for September 6th

We review the latest news related to refugees, including the French truck drivers’ blockade of Calais camps, reports of the disease risk facing refugees along Jordan’s border with Syria, and the disappearance of child refugees in the U.K.

Published on Sep. 6, 2016 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

French Truck Drivers Demand Closure of the ‘Jungle’ Camp

French truckers, farmers and local business owners blocked access to the main highway into Calais on Monday to demand the government’s closure of the overcrowded Calais “Jungle” camp, reported the Guardian.

The blockade of about 40 trucks, 50 tractors and a human chain was lifted Monday night after the region’s top state official reassured protesters “the camp would be dismantled and funds made available for struggling businesses.”

The protest followed interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve’s announcement last week that France will close the “Jungle” in a “controlled operation as rapidly as possible.” He did not provide a date for the closure.

Between 7,000 and 10,000 migrants are estimated to live in the camp. Many are reportedly using increasingly dangerous methods while attempting to board trucks in order to reach Britain.

“They damage the trucks, they break the windshield, they cut the truck sides, they climb in the truck and destroy the merchandise,” said Bertrand Wyfolscki, a truck driver from St. Omer, near Calais.

‘Ghost’ Refugees Face ‘Critical Emergency’ Along Jordan-Syria Border

Humanitarian agencies are warning of an impending health catastrophe, with tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, at least half of them women and children, stranded along the Syria-Jordan border for the past two months. A suicide attack at a military checkpoint close to the Jordanian border on June 21 led to a halt in humanitarian aid. Medical NGO, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), has called for the “immediate resumption of aid.”

The refugees have been stuck in the desert for over two months without adequate “access to healthcare or enough water or food,” aid workers told the Guardian.

Without basic sanitation and medical facilities, no food deliveries and scarce water supplies, the refugees are risk of disease and starvation, according to aid workers.

“These are some of the most extreme conditions on Earth,” said Natalie Thurtle, the medical team leader for MSF, describing the harsh summer temperatures and lack of resources in the desert.

“There is almost certainly a hepatitis outbreak,” Thurtle said, adding that malnutrition scored of outbreaks of jaundice are a daily feature among the stranded population.

The U.N. under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs, Stephen O’Brien, described the situation during a visit to northern Jordan last week.

“In between two berms are tens of thousands of tents quite sparsely populated compared to a normal organized refugee camp,” he told U.N. Radio. “You have to imagine … completely out in the middle of desert … in very, very hot [conditions], baking in the tents.”

Given the upcoming U.N. summit, the situation at the border could undermine Jordan’s “credibility and that of any solutions they are offering” as co-host of the upcoming major international Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, said Neil Sammonds, Amnesty International researcher on Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

Hundreds of Child Refugees Have Disappeared in the U.K.

British authorities have reported that at least 360 child refugees are currently missing, according to figures published by the Independent on Sunday. Over 200 children have been missing for more than two years and may have been trafficked for sexual exploitation or modern slavery. Some 9,287 unaccompanied minors have sought asylum in the U.K. over the past five years, according to federal statistics.

Labour M.P. and former shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the figures prove that the current government is “failing” vulnerable children that should be legally protected.

“We are failing victims of child trafficking, effectively turning a blind eye to their disappearance,” she said.

In a similar case in Germany, at least 8,991 unaccompanied refugee children under 17 were missing since July 1 of this year, according to federal police reports.

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