This Week in Restoring Family Links News 06/08/2015 – 06/12/2015

Do you follow @intlfamilylinks (Restoring Family Links’ account) on Twitter? See an interesting article but just don’t have the time to read it? “This Week in RFL News” is a weekly blog segment that highlights and summarizes some of the news items posted by RFL’s twitter.

Rescued migrants head to safety (AFP/Getty Images)

Rescued migrants head to safety (AFP/Getty Images)

Mediterranean migrant rescues: Over the past several months, the European Union has continued to face a staggering increase in migration. As conflict intensifies between Libyan rival governments and armed forces, smugglers have actively forced thousands of migrants across the Mediterranean to mainland Europe. British officials estimate that over 500,000 migrants will attempt to sail into Europe over the course of this summer, a highly dangerous journey that has left 1,300 dead and many others at risk. Over the weekend, Italian navy ships rescued almost 6000 migrants just 80 kilometers off the coast of Libya, and the number of rescues continue to rise. On Wednesday, Tunisia rescued 350 Syrian and Libyan migrants sailing to Italy and the search is ongoing for hundreds more.

Since February, the Italian Red Cross has been stationed along major migrant entry coastlines to provide humanitarian assistance, and recently, the European Union has increased its presence along the entire Mediterranean to aid refugees. However, the EU is still struggling to better address the issue as it is projected to increase throughout the summer. 

Burundi: Last week, we covered the ongoing refugee crisis in Tanzania, as hundreds of thousands of individuals continue to flee from Burundi to Kagunga and Kigoma with a final destination of Nyarugusu refugee camp. In addition to overcrowding, poor conditions, and high stress due to the violence back home, refugees are faced with the risk of cholera, a highly-contagious stomach disease that continues to spread to more victims each day. However, several nurses working in cholera clinics throughout the camp have stated most cases have a positive outcome. 

A Burundian teenager at Mahama (Zoe Flood/Guardian)

A Burundian teenager at Mahama (Zoe Flood/Guardian)

This week, an unusually high amount of Burundian unaccompanied minors arrived at Mahama refugee camp in Rwanda. As one of the more popular camps, Mahama is a central location for children under 18, especially young boys, and the high volume continues to strain humanitarian response to this region. Though the crisis is extensive and continuing to rise, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been supporting Cross National Societies in the region to meet migrant needs, as well as helping to reconnect families separated by the violence. On Monday, the UNHCR (alongside other UN agencies) made progress on the Burundi Refugee Response Plan for Rwanda (RRP) by briefing members of the donor and diplomatic community. 

Global Refugee Struggle: This week, the New York Times reported that the world is dealing with its worst migration crisis since World War II. According to the UN, by 2014, the amount of persons displaced inside their countries rose to an all-time high of 38 million, while the number of refugees in foreign countries climbed to 16.7 million. Most of the conflict exists in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Ukraine, while the poverty trap adds sub-Sahara Africa and Southeast Asia into the mix. According to the New York Times, the problem in many parts of the world is conflicting opinions on how to respond, and little progress despite strong humanitarian aid. View the full story, including detailed graphs, maps, and pictures here