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Executive Summary for June 13th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including another Mediterranean shipwreck as Europe argues over NGO rescues, the first monsoon rains cause destruction and casualties in Rohingya camps and France closing another informal camp.

Published on June 13, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Another Mediterranean Shipwreck Amid European Arguments Over NGO Rescues

Italy summoned the French ambassador after France decried Italy’s stranding of hundreds of rescued migrants at sea, while another boat went down off the coast of Libya.

At the weekend, the Aquarius NGO rescue ship carrying 629 people, including seven pregnant women, was turned away by Italy and Malta. An Italian coast-guard vessel docked in Sicily a few days later with another 900 survivors and two bodies from Mediterranean shipwrecks.

France slammed the victory lap by right-wing populists in the new Italian government over rejecting the NGO boat. A French government spokesman quoted the French president saying: “There is a degree of cynicism and irresponsibility in the Italian government’s behavior with regard to this dramatic humanitarian situation.”

The Aquarius is now heading to Spain after the new socialist prime minister there offered the ship port. The round-trip is expected to take the ship, run by NGO SOS Mediterranee, around 10 days, leaving Germany’s Sea-Watch the only NGO boat at sea.

The U.S. Navy rescued 40 people off the coast of Libya on June 12. Sea-Watch said at least 12 bodies were recovered from the shipwreck. “This shows what happens when there are not enough rescue assets at sea,” said Sea-Watch spokesman Ruben Neugebauer.

Monsoon Rains Lash Rohingya Camps in Bangladesh

The first rains of the monsoon season hit the camps at the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, leaving at least two Rohingya refugees and 10 Bangladeshis dead.

A 2-year-old boy was killed in Cox’s Bazar when a mud wall fell on him, and a man was killed by a falling tree. Ten Bangladeshis died in the nearby Rangamati hills.

The Bangladeshi government said some 1,500 shacks used by refugees have been damaged or destroyed in the rains. They are working to relocate at least 100,000 Rohingya from the camps, with 28,000 refugees already relocated.

Aid workers warn that the rains bring the risk of an outbreak of waterborne diseases. “Sodden and unstable hills have collapsed over the weekend, destroying latrines. At lower levels, water from flash floods is washing over latrines, carrying sludge through the camps,” said the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent’s Sanjeev Kafley.

France Shuts Down Informal Camp in Dunkirk

French authorities moved some 336 people living in a makeshift camp outside the northern French city of Dunkirk into official reception centers.

Informal camps have sprung up in the area for people hoping to find passage to the U.K. Since authorities destroyed the large “Jungle” camp in Calais in 2016, refugees and migrants have taken to smaller, often hidden encampments.

French interior minister Gerard Collomb has recently stepped up the destruction of informal camps around the country, including several in Paris in recent weeks.

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