MEDIA MONITORING

UNHCR: Nansen Refugee Award laureate responds to COVID-19 in South Sudan

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The Bunj hospital in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State is a hive of activity. Construction sounds fill the air as patients stream in and out of the facility. At the centre of it all is head surgeon and medical director, Dr. Evan Atar Adaha. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic reached South Sudan’s borders, Dr. Atar was putting in place preventive measures at the only functional hospital with surgery capabilities in the area, some 600 kilometers from the capital, Juba. “The health system in South Sudan is weak but we need to be prepared and that’s what we are doing,” says the 54-year-old. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, new arrivals into the country are screened or placed in mandatory quarantine as per the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 precautionary measures. This is particularly important for Upper Nile State, bordered by Ethiopia to the east and Sudan to the north – countries that have both recorded significant numbers of COVID-19 cases. South…

UNHCR: UNHCR and some 100 NGOs urge world not to leave refugees behind in COVID-19 responses

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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and hundreds of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), today called on global leaders to ensure that refugees are included in social safety nets and support services for COVID-19 and stressed the need for stronger integration of refugees and refugee-led organisations, their skills and knowledge, in humanitarian responses. The call came as part of the annual consultations between UNHCR and NGOs, co-hosted by UNHCR and the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA), that were held from 28 to 30 September. This year’s theme, Responding to Pandemics, focused on how UNHCR and partners respond and can strengthen partnerships in responses to COVID-19 and other pandemics. The event was attended by participants representing some 100 NGOs, as well as refugee themselves, academia, faith-based organisations and international agencies. For the first time, these NGO consultations were held online in four different languages and across seven time zones. “Thanks also to preparedness measures, we have not yet seen any major outbreaks amongst refugees,” said…

The Hill: Trump administration slashes refugee program amid president’s campaign attacks on immigrants

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The Trump administration will slash the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the United States to a new low next year – permitting no more than 15,000 people fleeing war, violence and persecution across the globe to make a new home in America. The State Department announced the cap late Wednesday and shortly after President Donald Trump attacked refugees during a campaign speech in Minnesota, home to a significant immigrant population from Somalia. "Biden will turn Minnesota into a refugee camp ... overwhelming public resources, overcrowding schools, and inundating your hospitals," Trump said of his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, during the rally. "It's already there. It's a disgrace what they've done to your state." The president also singled out Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat and refugee from Somalia who he has frequently targeted. He called her "crooked," among other attacks. Click here to continue reading from the original source.

UNHCR: Hardships multiply for older refugees amid COVID-19 pandemic

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Despite suffering knee problems and hypertension, 69-year-old Nicaraguan asylum-seeker Esperanza* used to get up at dawn every day to pick coffee to support her family in Costa Rica. “Being old makes it hard to do the kinds of jobs we have to do to keep food on the table,” says the grandmother of 10 who fled Nicaragua in 2018 after a government crackdown on street protests there. “Picking coffee is very physically demanding, and at our age it’s very difficult to be out there in the fields all day, sometimes freezing and shivering under the pouring rain. If we were younger, it would be easier,” she said. As older people seeking safety in a foreign country, life was already “a daily struggle” for Esperanza and her husband, who also escaped to Costa Rica. And now with the COVID-19 pandemic, that situation has only grown tougher. As lockdown hit, Esperanza’s work dried up and she and her husband fell behind on payments for…

UNHCR: Refugee teachers in West Africa champion education despite challenges

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The usual sounds of children shouting gleefully as they pour out of their classrooms at the end of the school day are missing at Ampain D.A primary school in western Ghana. As Bahibo Natacha walks across the school compound, she can’t help but think of how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the situation in the school. “My work has been badly affected because school is now closed,” says the 40-year-old French teacher. “Before, my students had picked up their French studies well but now, I worry that they will fall back.” She has been teaching at the school in Ampain refugee camp since 2014. “I decided to take up teaching because I love children,” says the Ivorian refugee, who worked as a microbiologist in Ivory Coast before she fled to Ghana in 2011, due to post-election violence. Now living in Ampain with her mother and two children, she has taken up teaching with a passion, teaching French to grade three…