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.
Mediterranean migration: On Wednesday, a boat carrying over 600 migrants en route to the European Union capsized 15 miles off the coast of Libya. The Italian coastguard and Doctors Without Borders were among the first to respond to the scene, and latest reports reveal 399 rescues and 25 confirmed deaths. Over the past 48 hours, 5 vessel ships have constantly monitored the area for the 200 migrants still missing since the tragedy occurred. A majority of those aboard are believed to be from Syria. As the hours pass by with no sign of bodies, rescue officials believe that the incident will be the deadliest in months – in mid-April, a boat carrying an estimated 800 migrants also overturned off of the coast of Libya. Only 28 survived the tragedy. Approximately 188,000 migrants have been rescued in the Mediterranean this year, with the number expected to reach 200,000 soon. 2,000 have died during the efforts.
Calais, France: Last week, we reported the sudden surge of migrants storming the Eurotunnel – a staggering 2,000 risked their lives over the course of 2 nights, with one death and dozens injured. This week, as the situation is turning the heads of individuals around the world, the spotlight is on Calais as reports circulate around police and civilian abuse, as well as conditions that migrants face as they reside around the train station.
An estimated 3,000 migrants live in tent and shanty communities called “the Jungle”, where conditions are poor: No running water and little to no food, living space is cramped and hundreds are sick. Humanitarian organizations built temporary refugee centers around the area, but space is limited, and the train system has been largely disrupted this week due to outstretch of migrant areas. Furthermore, Human Rights Watch reported abuse cases from the French police, and British anarchists are rumored to provoke migrants to lash out on authorities. Britain and France are having trouble controlling the crisis, and are looking to the EU to assuage the situation.
Cyclone Komen: Over the past few weeks, severe rainstorms ripped through 12 western states of Myanmar, causing major flooding, landslides, spoiled crops, and families without homes. An estimated 250,000 have been affected by Cyclone Komen, and last week, the Rakhine and Chin states of Myanmar were declared “natural disaster zones.” This week, Myanmar’s government welcomed international assistance to the crisis, and India stepped in to airlift food and medicine to affected communities. Some communities are still inaccessible due to prolonged rainfall and damage to certain areas, leaving internally displaced persons without food or water for several days. Red Cross volunteers have been active ever since the crisis began - Over 340 volunteers have been working closely with local authorities, the UN and Movement partners to carry out evacuation and rescue operations, needs assessments, and to provide food, water, shelter materials, medical care and other basic necessities. Furthermore, increasing humanitarian needs provoked the launch of international emergency appeal in order to further support the Red Cross response to the floods.