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.
Eurotunnel: After completing dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean to the European Union, many migrants are now faced with their next challenge: how to reach the United Kingdom – a country well-known for having a smoother process when applying for asylum than other EU nations. Out of sheer desperation, migrants seem to be up to the challenge, and are trying even more dangerous methods to get there. This week, over 2,000 migrants attempted to storm the Eurotunnel, a railway that connects Calais, France to southern England. Reports say that one Sudanese man died in the efforts, with few others injured. The “Calais Crisis” has stirred up tensions between the UK, France, and Eurotunnel authorities, though the spotlight is on the entire European Union for being unable to control the migrant influxes this summer. In an effort to secure the tunnel, EU governments spent $5.2 million to erect barriers to control the number of incoming refugees, and London announced another seven million pounds to help France secure its end of the Eurotunnel.
Though the journey is dangerous and has already caused dozens of injuries, few are lucky enough to succeed. This week, the British Red Cross was able to provide medical assistance to those who made it to Kent, though supplies and volunteers are limited. According to The Guardian, more than 90 people per day are now seeking help – a significant increase from 60 per day that was reported 2 weeks ago. As many as 9 migrants have died during the journey in June and July alone.
Germany: Over the past few months, migrant and refugee crises in the European Union have been a large component of our weekly news. Countries such as Italy, Greece, France, and the UK all receive high numbers of migrants and refugees every single day, and just as expected, the problem is growing more severe, and expanding across more countries. This week, a new surge of refugees arrived to Germany, and the government is overwhelmed. A majority of refugee centers are full, and the government is scrambling to find new methods to house refugees. In order to alleviate the crisis, officials offered private hostel vouchers, the German army offered their barracks, and the Red Cross built 21 emergency accommodations centers for refugees in need. Despite these measures, some refugees still have no place to sleep, and thousands sleep in public parks every night in order to stay together. Unfortunately, these accommodations are only temporary, and the tent sites will close down in October.
In addition to a lack of shelter, numerous reports of xenophobic attacks and rallies against refugees circulated in the news this week. Most attacks stem from gang violence or anti-Muslim protestors who station themselves outside of refugee reception centers. The anti-Muslim movement has become one of Europe’s more pressing issues, and only time will determine how the movement will progress as more refugees enter into the European Union this year.
Restoring Family Links in Jordan: As raging conflict and poor living conditions in Syria force thousands of families to flee to Jordan in search of a safe place to live, many family members become separated. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) helps reunite them through tracing services and by putting them back in touch. This week, the ICRC reports of a reconnection story between a Syrian mother and her two children after almost a year. Check out the full story here.