UNHCR: The Refugee Brief – 7 Mar 2018


Aid trucks forced to flee Eastern Ghouta without unloading.The delivery of desperately needed food and medical supplies to Douma in Eastern Ghouta on Monday had to be cut short when the area came under attack. As a result, 14 out of 46 trucks could not be unloaded and nearly half of the food carried by the convoy couldn’t be delivered. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for “safe and unimpeded access” for other aid convoys, including a second one planned for Douma on Thursday. Aid workers who were part of Monday’s convoy reported that residents are spending much of their time in cold, cramped basements with no proper sanitation or access to safe drinking water. Children told UNICEF staff they were getting by on one meal a day of wheat, sugar and water.

More resettlement places needed for refugees evacuated from Libya. EU member states promised an “emergency operation” to evacuate refugees and migrants stuck in Libyan detention centres at a summit in November, but so far European countries have only offered 430 resettlement places for the 1,020 refugees and asylum seekers transferred from Libya to Niger by UNHCR. Addressing the European Parliament on Monday, UNHCR’s regional head for North Africa, Karmen Sakhr said the agency had been advised that “until more people leave Niger, we will no longer be able to evacuate additional cases from Libya”. Izza Leghtas of Refugees International spoke to some of the refugees evacuated to Niger from detention centres in Libya. One Somali woman, who gave birth while in detention, described not seeing the sun or the sky for five months. Although grateful to have found safety in Niger, she worries about those left behind.

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