Africa Reaches Historic Record of Refugee Arrivals
More than 18 million people are currently displaced in the continent of Africa – roughly 30 percent of the world’s total internally displaced population and 20 percent of the total refugee population, according to the World Bank.
At last month’s World Humanitarian Summit in Turkey, the World Bank, along with six other banks, announced a plan that would see additional funding and programs focused on the most heavily affected areas of Africa.
“We are focusing on the long-term impacts of displacement in Africa,” Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez, senior director of the World Bank’s social, urban, rural and resilience global practice, said in a statement. “When displacement is protracted, long-term needs like jobs, access to land, and to basic services, education, and social inclusion become critical.”
Since 2010, at least eight conflicts have reignited or begun across the 54 countries in Africa, including Yemen, Libya, Mali and South Sudan.
In Yemen, at least 2.8 million people have been forcibly displaced within the country since the start of the current conflict in March 2015, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Some 2 million of those people are still displaced today, 49 percent of whom are in need of food and 20 percent of whom are short of drinking water.
Libya has been the busiest point of departure in Africa for migrants hoping to reach Europe this year, but this Mediterranean sea route is becoming increasingly dangerous, according to the Libya Herald.
“Libya is still the main departure point of the majority of migrants, but we are also seeing an increase of numbers of migrants sailing from Egypt,” said Federico Soda, director of the IOM coordinating office for the Mediterranean.
In the first six months of this year, some 206,400 migrants and refugees arrived in Europe using sea routes, according to the latest report from the IOM.
Boko Haram Attack in Niger Forces Thousands to Flee Homes
Tens of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes in Niger after a series of Boko Haram attacks earlier this week.
The extremist militant group carried out several attacks on Friday, Sunday and Monday in the southeast town of Bosso in the Diffa region of Niger. The first attack on Friday killed at least 24 soldiers from Niger, two soldiers from Nigeria and wounded at least 112 others, according to the Associated Press.
At least 50,000 people were estimated to have fled Bosso after Friday’s attack, according to UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency.
“The welfare of these people and others forced to flee the violence in Bosso is of great concern,” U.N. spokesperson Adrian Edwards told a news briefing in Geneva on Tuesday. “Insecurity and lack of access have long hampered humanitarian operations in parts of the Diffa region, though Bosso is the only area where we do not implement projects directly.”
Some of those who fled Bosso this week had already been forced to leave their homes before. On May 31, a Boko Haram attack in the nearby town of Yebi forced some 15,000 people leave the town and seek shelter in Bosso, according to UNHCR.
Recent violence from the Nigeria-based militant group Boko Haram has left at least 240,000 displaced people in Niger’s Diffa region. Since the start of the group’s violent campaign in 2009, some 2.7 million have been forced to flee their homes, the AP reported.
Male Refugees Forced to Sell Sex in Greece
Dozens of male refugees from Syria and Afghanistan are being forced into prostitution while waiting for asylum in Greece.
Male migrants, some of them young teenagers, are selling sex for up to 30 euros ($34) and for as little as 2 euros ($2.30), the Independent reported.
“I didn’t have any money. At the airport, there is no healthy work. You can sell drugs, sell sex or work for smugglers to find customers. There was no other way for me. I didn’t even have 20 cents,” Abdullah, a young Afghan migrant, told the Global Post. “I got angry. I had just arrived, and I had to do this just to get some money.”
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