HEADLINES: Refugees

Published On: Donate

The total of people seeking asylum in industrialized countries rose by 17 percent in the first six months of this year compared with the same period in 2010, the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said on Tuesday. The total was likely to be more than double and the highest for eight years, partly reflecting crises in North Africa, the Ivory Coast and Somalia. [The Washington Post]

Tens of thousands of Somalis have starved to death this year from drought and famine conditions, says the United Nations, bringing a new level of urgency to World Food Day activities held over the weekend. The World Food Program is providing rations to more than 7.4 million people affected by the drought, and more than 456,000 refugees have converged on the Dadaab camps in Kenya in search of security and daily meals. The WFP “food basket” of rations provided to refugees from the crisis is made up of staple ingredients and a corn soya blend fortified with nutrients. An entire day’s ration comes to 2,178 calories per person. See how that breaks down for an average rationed meal. [PBS Newshour]

While further delays are ahead, the bill extending the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) passed the Senate late Monday night. The bill would extend benefits to elderly and disabled refugees, covering over 5,600 refugees nationwide. These SSI benefits expired on September 30. The bill is expected to meed significant delays in the House of Representatives. [Politico]

As political unrest and a government crackdown in Syria continue to simmer, more than 7,500 Syrian refugees have fled to camps in southeastern Turkey, and Syrians say many more would come if they could get past the Syrian army. One of these camps, Altinozu, lies deep in the farm fields of Turkey’s Hatay province. It appears to be well-planned and well-run, right down to the asphalt laid between the rows of white tents. On a late summer day, the pavement is brutally hot. But when the winter rains come, it will keep the camp from turning into a muddy swamp. Such planning is considered necessary, because the Syrian uprising is already 8 months old, with no sign of resolution. [NPR]

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