Tuesday, April 22, 2014

115 Ethiopian Somali Immigrants capsized trying to cross into Yemen

African migrants whose boat capsized in Yemeni waters before approaching the coast‭.‬

African migrants whose boat capsized in Yemeni waters before approaching the coast‭.‬
SANA’A, April 20—Coastguard and military units on Saturday arrested 115 migrants and refugees traveling in two boats. The detained are from Somalia and Ethiopia.

Shuja Mahdi, the operations director of the Coastguard, said the first boat was encountered near Mayyun island with 75 on board, 15 of them Somalis and four of them women.

Patrols of the 17th Infantry Brigade spotted the second boat carrying 23 Somalis and 17 Ethiopians off the Dubab coast, according to the state-run Saba news agency.

Zaid Alalaya, a senior public information officer at the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR), said March witnessed the largest influx of migrants and refugees over the last three months.

Refugees arriving in Yemen amounted to 8,148 since the beginning of the year, over 3,000 of whom arrived in March, according to Alalalya. Over 1,000 arrived in February, he added.

New refugee arrivals to Yemen numbered about 103,000 and 107,000 in 2011 and 2012 respectively, according to Alalaya. Last year, the number of refugees arriving in Yemen decreased to below 70,000.

Refugees are kept in transit centers after they arrive in Yemen.

According to Colonel Abdulla Al-Zorqa, he director of the deportation department at the Immigration and Passports Authority, Ethiopians tend to face deportation because their primary motive for migrating is assumed to be related to finding work, while Somalis are granted automatic refugee status on arrival because of the conflict in Somalia.

According to Alalaya, Yemen is a transit country for the refugees who migrate to neighboring countries to search for work opportunities.

“The intensified security procedures on the Yemeni-Saudi borders is a reason behind the decline of the number of refugees in 2013,” said Alalaya.

According to Mahdi, migrants are held in three main detention facilities in Ahwar district of Abyan, Bab el Mandeb in Taiz and Maifa’a district of Shabwa.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Security challenges face Boston for attack anniversary marathon

Puzzle of 65 Ethiopians arrested in Ruiru house | The Star

NABBED: Some of the 65 Ethiopians arrested in Ruiru.

NABBED: Some of the 65 Ethiopians arrested in Ruiru.
The police are investigating how 65 illegal Ethiopian immigrants sneaked into Ruiru and booked into a guesthouse without being detected at a time security organs are cracking down on illegal immigrants and suspected terrorists.
The large party of men arrived on Tuesday night and were all ushered into a house by a local accomplice. Ruiru police chief Issac Thuranira who led an operation to arrest the foreigners said yesterday the illegal immigrants had been in Kenya for three days.
Sources said the focus of the probe will be to establish how the large number of people made their way deep into Kenya without being stopped at the road blocks between Ruiru and the Kenya-Ethiopia border.
An Ethiopian refugee in Kenya identified Yusuf Wadeh Badole has been identified by the police as the man who made plans for the big group. Badole was granted asylum by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) on January 30.
He was among the people arrested yesterday by police from the Ruiru Police Station and taken to the Safaricom Kasarani Stadium for screening. Police also arrested Jacob Muturi, the caretaker of the guest house where the aliens were living.
Muturi told the police he did not know when the group came into the building as he lives away from the guest house. He told the police that the landlord whom he identified as Teresia Wanjiru had rented the house to a tenant whom left last week.
He claimed that he came into the guest house when the police arrived and that he wanted to lock the house as instructed by his boss. Two men who were driving in a Toyota Probox which had brought food to the group were also arrested and the vehicle towed to Kasarani police station.
Badole was driving the vehicle and was in the company of a second man. A police source said they will focus on the police and immigration officers manning the Kenya-Ethiopia border.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspects were being trafficked to South Africa after which they would find their way to Europe. Interior and coordination Cabinet Secretary Joseh Ole Lenku yesterday made an impromptu visit to the Kasarani stadium and held discussions with top police commanders in charge of the screening centre.
A police crackdown of illegal immigrants, especially Somalis, in the past two weeks has sparked off a tide of political and religious acrimony. Somali politicians and Muslim clerics have blamed the police for racial profiling, racial discrimination and human rights abuse.
But the police have maintained they are keen to rid the country of foreigners who might be linked to terror attacks in Mombasa and Nairobi. Thousands of Somalis were arrested and detained at the Safaricom Kasarani Stadium as their travel papers are verified by the police and immigration.
On Thursday former Speaker Farah was summoned by the police after he claimed in a TV talk show that the government could be fueling terror attacks to carry favour with the Western powers.
- See more at: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-163714/puzzle-65-ethiopians-arrested-ruiru-house#sthash.ZTRuxxwN.dpuf

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

1000 Ethiopians flood to Ethiopia everyday into Gambella

Displaced South Sudanese citizens wait at a Sudanese border checkpoint in Joda, where Sudan's White Nile state meets the South's Upper Nile, after fleeing battles between rebel and government forces. (Ashraf Shazly, AFP)

Displaced South Sudanese citizens wait at a Sudanese border checkpoint in Joda, where Sudan's White Nile state meets the South's Upper Nile, after fleeing battles between rebel and government forces. (Ashraf Shazly, AFP)
Geneva - Up to 1 000 refugees from war-torn South Sudan are fleeing to Ethiopia each day, many of them on the brink of death, the UN said on Tuesday.

A massive 95% of the arrivals are also women and children, added the UN, citing witnesses saying that both boys and men have been forcibly recruited by armed men or killed along the way.

Since fighting erupted in December, refugees have been "arriving at a rate of 800-1 000 per day, and they are arriving on their last legs," Melissa Fleming, spokesperson for the UN refugee agency, told reporters in Geneva.

If they had not received immediate help, "these people would be dead. They were really, really in bad shape," she said, following a recent visit to the region.

More than 95 000 South Sudanese refugees have crossed into Ethiopia since violence erupted in the world's youngest nation last December between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and fighters loosely allied to former vice president Riek Machar.

Nearly 200 000 more have sought refuge in Sudan, Uganda and Kenya, while more than 800 000 are displaced inside South Sudan, according to UN figures.

Some of those arriving in Ethiopia's Gambella region had walked up to three weeks to reach the border, Fleming said, adding that most were "very hungry, [with] up to 37% malnourished and needing emergency attention."

More than 4 000 malnourished children were receiving nutrition supplements, as were at least 3 500 lactating mothers, said Fleming.

Thousands of people have been killed in the violence that has also taken on an ethnic dimension, pitting Kiir's Dinka tribe against Machar's Nuer people.

New camps 

Fleming on Tuesday also joined a chorus of aid workers voicing alarm over the low number of young men reaching the border.

"Generally in situations like these, we would see many more men arriving," she said.

But women were reporting that their husbands and sons had been forcibly recruited by unidentified armed groups or killed along the way, she said.

"People are arriving very traumatised by this and obviously in a state of shock," she said.

The UN and other organisations were scrambling to fly in new tents, build new camps and move refugees to higher ground as the rainy season approaches in Ethiopia, Fleming said.

At least 86 000 South Sudanese refugees are spread across four camps in Ethiopia, but nearly 10 000 people are also camped out at border crossing points.

In preparation for the rainy season, UNHCR has relocated refugees in low-lying water-prone areas in Kule camp and aid workers were due to begin a similar operation in the Leitchour camp on Tuesday, Fleming said.

The agency is also working with Ethiopian authorities to prepare a new and high-lying camp near Kule that should be able to shelter 30 000 refugees from late April.

A new transit centre was also being built near the Pagak border point to accommodate up to 5 000 people, Fleming said.

Monday, April 7, 2014

UN appeals for $120 million to assist 80,000 South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) UN World Food Programme (WFP) and appealed for $120 million to help the over 80,000 South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia fled from their conflict-torn new Africa nation.
The heads of UNHCR and WFP who visited the refugees in Ethiopia's border region of Gambella made the appeal to the international community. 
UNHCR is currently leading an inter-agency regional appeal for more than US$ 370 million to fund the refugee response in Ethiopia, Kenya, Republic of Sudan and Uganda.The refugees, mostly women and children, reported walking up to three weeks before reaching the border from neighboring South Sudan to meet refugees who recently fled the conflict.  
Many described surviving on grass, wild fruits and leaves. They were visibly exhausted, traumatized and famished, and scores of young children are registering an alarmingly high malnutrition rates.
During their visit to Gambella, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres and WFP's Executive Director Ertharin Cousin, together with humanitarian partners and Ethiopian officials, visited the newly-built Kule Camp.  
The new camp houses over 23,000 South Sudanese refugees and the Pagak border entry point, where hundreds of people cross daily from South Sudan, according to the UNHCR. 
“The physical and psychological condition of these people is shocking. This is a tragedy I had hoped I would not see again,” Mr. Guterres said. “Many of these people are becoming refugees for the second time.”
Altogether, over 88,000 South Sudanese have sought refuge in Ethiopia since the conflict erupted in mid-December 2013.
The two Agency chiefs expressed concern that the numbers could climb sharply in the coming months if the conflict does not come to an end, and worry that lack of funds could thwart an adequate humanitarian response.
"Today we witnessed a mother arrive in Ethiopia where help was available, only to lose her youngest child, who was too weakened by their journey. This is a political crisis that is now evolving into a humanitarian catastrophe,” Ms. Cousin said.
"We must work together and redouble our efforts to ensure that people receive nutritious food, clean water and other basic services on both sides of the border, so that not another mother cries like she did today because she loses her child."
WFP delivers high energy biscuits and other food (sorghum or wheat, pulses, vegetable oil, sugar and salt) at the border points and in camps, along with fortified nutritional supplements to those malnourished, particularly children under five years old, pregnant women and nursing mothers.
UNHCR and the Government of Ethiopia, through its refugee agency, ARRA, coordinate the response with humanitarian partners.  
UNHCR is providing medical assistance, shelter in the new camps - Lietchuor and Kule - as well as water and sanitation, core relief items and other protection services to the arriving refugees at the major points of entry. UNHCR has prioritized vulnerable groups, in particular children with severe acute malnutrition and their families for relocation to the new camps. 
In addition, UNHCR and ARRA continue registration of arriving individuals. The two UN officials arrived in Ethiopia following a two-day visit to South Sudan, where they met displaced people, humanitarian partners and discussed the crisis with President Salva Kiir and other government officials.
“Peace is an absolute must,” Mr. Guterres said. “The international community must come together to do everything possible to press the parties to reach a political solution and forge peace. If there is no peace soon, I fear there could be a true humanitarian calamity.”
Last week, WFP launched a major cross-border operation from Ethiopia, to deliver roughly 15,000 metric tons of food by air, river boat and truck to several hundred thousand South Sudanese and Sudanese refugees living in remote and inaccessible parts of South Sudan.  
Cousin expressed her appreciation to the Ethiopian government for authorizing this corridor noting truck delivery is also significantly less expensive than the airdrops WFP is also having to deploy.
Nearly 255,000 South Sudanese have sought refuge in the neighboring countries of Uganda, Kenya and Sudan, as well as Ethiopia. The massive influx is straining the humanitarian response. 
UNHCR has deployed a Mi-8 transport helicopter, with room for 20 passengers and a cargo capacity of four metric tons, to the Gambella operation to assist refugees arriving at the Akobo entry point, a hard-to-reach location

Thursday, April 3, 2014

South Sudan Refugess Urgent support needed to save lives in Gambella Ethiopia

More than 17.000 refugees have arrived Gamebell in Ethiopia. Photo: NRC
Urgent support needed to save lives
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Emebet Abdissa (03.04.2014)
Around 75.000 people have crossed into Ethiopia from South Sudan, since the fighting in the young nation erupted in December 2013. The humanitarian situation for the refugees is alarming.
NRC has been on the ground responding to the needs of the refugees in Gambella in Ethiopia. More than 17.000 refugees have arrived Gamebell, and NRC is working in several camps where delivery of timely humanitarian assistance is urgently required.

The Authority for Refugees and Returnees Affair (ARRA) together with UNHCR and other NGOs  started receiving refugees into Tierkidi/Kule Camp located about 52 km from Pagak entry point since 3rd March 2014. In total 252 refugees, all mothers with malnourished children, have been the first group to be relocated and provided with emergency kits (temporary shelter, food rations cooking utensils and sleeping mats).

Shelter construction. Photo: NRC/ Melchizedek Malile

1,500 refugees have received shelter assistance through the emergency tent installation being conducted by NRC and UNHCR. Awareness rising on hygiene promotion has been launched in the camp targeting the new arriving families and the partners are also constructing trench latrines and hangars. Most refugees relocated to Kule camp on the first week of March are from South Sudan towns of Malakal, Maiwut and Lankien. After spending close to a month at Pagak entry point, they were later relocated to the new Kule refugee camp where they have been provided with emergency kits.

Poor road infrastructure and security concerns still calls for urgent relocation of refugees to safer and proper camp sites. However, NRC’s team in the field continue to accommodate the basic needs of refugees.

The extended Horn of Africa region is volatile and frequently affected by natural disasters and human driven conflicts with South Sudan being a case in point. The fighting has claimed thousands of lives and caused untold damage on public and private property. More than 900,000 people have been displaced and uprooted since fighting erupted mid-December between South Sudan Government’s army and opposition forces. Since the flare-up of the conflict, influx of refugees into Ethiopia has increased exponentially and this has necessitated  the opening of new camps in Lietchor, 180km from Gambella city and Tierkidi/Kule 25 km away from Pagak entry point.

New arrivals at Pagak. Photo: NRC/Melchizedek Malile

Between January and March 2014, the number of South Sudanese refugees who crossed into Ethiopia amounted to 74,118. Out of this, 39,588 relocated to Lietchor, Fugnido and Kule while others waiting by the border entry points of  Matar, Pochalla, Burbuiey, Akobo and pagak to be relocated to the camps. Lietchor Refugee Camp was intended to host 14,000 asylum seekers from Wanthowa Woreda in 2014, but the ongoing conflict and the influx of refugees has necessitated a change of plans and it now  hosts refugees from all entry points.

There is high demand for services and amenities upon the refugees’ arrival. On top of food, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene and other basic needs, protection is of high importance to the refugees especially those still at the border point.

Shelter needs

NRC established its field office in Gambella in 2013 to provide adequate support to the South Sudanese refugees through the provision of transitional shelters. By November and early December 2013, NRC Ethiopia’s shelter team in partnership with other area and regional teams were making efforts to meet the shelter needs of the targeted beneficieries in Okugo and Pugnido camps. By the end of December 2013, NRC Gambella shelter team completed the construction of 700 traditional shelters known as Tukuls in Pugnido, and an additional 861 family tents have been completed in Okugo camp.

Okugo refugee camp. Photo: NRC/Emebet Abdissa

In close cooperation with UNHCR and ARRA, NRC’s shelter team is assisting in emergency shelter, latrine and permanent shelters. At the moment, NRC is the only actor responding to shelter needs of the South Sudanese refugees in Gambella region. NRC is also involved in demarcation of plots and clearing of sites for emergency shelters and permanent shelters in the camps.

A mother prepares food for her child in Lietchor refugee camp, Gambella. Photo: NRC/Melchizedek Malile

Around 25 reception centers, more than 400 emergency shelters in Lietchor, 210 family tents and more than 2500 emergency tents in Kule camp are being constructed by NRC. Construction of 300 permanent shelters has been completed out of the targeted 720 in Lietchor camp. In the coming weeks, more funding and quick humanitarian response from all humanitarian actors will be needed to mitigate the deteriorating situation and save lives.