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Saturday, October 22, 2011

War, conflict cause migration, disease

Migrants in
war-torn Misrata, Libya 
Violence has far-reaching and long-term consequences

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) along with other organizations pitch in to assist with migration crises and aid forced migrants around the world. At the start of the unrest in Libya, IOM began assisting with the evacuation of thousands of stranded migrants within Libya and principally at the border with Egypt, Tunisia and Niger.This is some of their findings. 

IOM data as of October 7, 2011— IOM recorded 721,772 people leaving Libya

TCNs (Third Country Nationals)
*Cross-border movement statistics only refer to migrants leaving Libya.

As of October 7 —
721,772 migrants crossed Libya’s borders. This figure includes 311,770 Third Country Nationals or TCNs (43 percent of total crossings).

Movements continued with another 11,584 migrants (553 TCNs) crossing the borders to Tunisia, Egypt, Chad and Niger between September 30 and October 6.

IOM Cross Border Movements Map as of October 7, 2011

Between September 30 and October 6 — 2,253 migrants (210 were TCNs) crossed the Egyptian border bringing the cumulative total of arrivals to 229,514 migrants.


Between September 30 and October 6 — 9,287 migrants (335 were TCNs) crossed the border between bringing the cumulative total of arrivals to 313,414 migrants.

War never ends when politicians and war makers announce its ending. 
Flood victims in war-torn Pakistan
Cholera in Haiti

Child migrants in Pakistan


October 11, 2011, Libya/Egypt — In early September, migrants and refugees who had fled Libya and were temporarily at Salloum transit center awaiting onward transportation complained of skin infections, allergy and rashes.

When they detected the infection, IOM dispatched a team of 11 health volunteers to reinforce their health team.
Egypt Britannica map

Internally Displaced in Somalia
Four hundred people had scabies. In a precautionary measure, IOM gave treatment to all migrants and refugees (1,400). A team of IOM specialists in collaboration with the Egyptian ministry of health and the UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] treated for a scabies infection 1,000 migrants and refugees at the Salloum border crossing between Libya and Egypt.

Scabies is an itchy, highly contagious skin disease caused by an infestation by the itch mite.  It transmits by close personal contact with an infected individual  and spreads rapidly. Scabies causes skin rashes and severe, relentless itching. Small children and babies are particularly prone to scabies infections.
Bangladeshi workers
forced to flee Libya


Every year there are an estimated 3-5 million cholera cases worldwide and 100,000-120,000 deaths from the disease whose short incubation period of two hours to five days enhances the potentially explosive pattern of outbreaks, according to the World Health Organization.

A 2010 mid-year UNICEF report said, “The good performance of recent rains [had] initiated a process of recovery for drought-affected women and children in Kenya’s pastoral and marginal agricultural areas. However, this recovery [was] uneven and moderated by persistently high food prices and the cumulative impact of previous poor rainy seasons, which have diminished resilience at the household level.

Kenya Britannica map
“Levels of acute malnutrition still remain unacceptably high in the Arid and Semi Arid areas, with more than 43,000 children under five suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

“While availability of water has improved in recent months, cholera outbreaks continue, despite scaled-up prevention efforts. Rains have also caused localized flooding and landslides in many parts of the country affecting up to 130,000 people, heightening their vulnerability to disease and limiting access to basic services. An upsurge in cases of malaria is anticipated due to the wet conditions that have prevailed over the previous months.

“The political environment in Kenya remains fragile, with the potential for inter-communal violence and population displacement to be triggered by political reform processes..

“Flooding and poor sanitation among displaced people leads to cholera outbreaks and acute watery diarrhea in a number of countries in eastern and southern Africa. Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia have reported cumulatively more than 3,200 cholera cases and over 25 deaths between January and April 2010. Highest numbers of cases were recorded in Zambia with 4,421 cases of cholera and 72 deaths (case fatality rate of 1.6 per cent).

“The impact of natural disasters and political crisis in countries in the Southern Africa region were complicated by the high levels of HIV/AIDS prevalence. The situation of armed conflict presented an acute threat to children and women in Southern Somalia. The food security situation in the Greater Horn of Africa sub-region remains unchanged with 12 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.”

Chad Britannica map
In this year’s report, UNICEF raised concern that many outbreaks of cholera begun outside the typical cholera season now affect countries where the disease was not endemic. The children’s fund feared further spread in coastal areas of central Africa where higher than normal rainfall is expected through the end of this year.

UNICEF identified three major cross-border cholera outbreaks: the Lake Chad Basin (Chad, Cameroon, Nigeria and Niger), the West Congo Basin (Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic) and Lake Tanganyika (Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi).
Uganda Britannica map

“The virulent diarrheal disease is spreading quickly along waterways between and within countries, causing an ‘unacceptably high’ rate of fatalities.”
Sweeping through west and Central Africa, one of the biggest epidemics in the vast region’s history, cholera has infected more than 85,000 people and killed at least 2,466 so far this year.

Cholera is a bacterial infection of the intestines that is spread by water contaminated with human excrement. In many parts of the world, the lack of safe drinking water and proper waste disposal can be a deadly combination.  

Despite efforts to improve the situation, the number of cholera cases – and deaths – keeps rising. In Uganda, for example, this is particularly true during the rainy season, when waste is often carried into rivers and lakes. Lacking other options, people continue to collect drinking water and often fall ill. It is common to see men, women and children filling water containers in rivers and lakes, despite the very real threat of cholera.

Sources and notes


IOM works in the four broad areas of migration management: migration and development, facilitating migration, regulating migration, and addressing forced migration. Cross-cutting activities include the promotion of international migration law, policy debate and guidance, protection of migrants’ rights, migration health and the gender dimension of migration. IOM works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners.

External Situation Report October 10, 2011

Africa and Middle East — “IOM Tackles the Spread of Scabies among Migrants and Refugees at Salloum Border Crossing,” http://www.iom.int/jahia/Jahia/media/press-briefing-notes/pbnAF/cache/offonce/lang/en?entryId=30769

IOM Headquarters: 17 route des Morillons • C.P. 71 • CH-1211 Geneva 19, Switzerland, www.iom.int

For those stranded on the border between Libya and Egypt, Salloum is the main crossing point between Libya and Egypt. Operating at Salloum Land Port since March 2011, the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Roses) has helped these displaced people by providing breakfasts, telephone facilities and travel documents, http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/field-newsletter/egypt-libya-newsletter-2011-09-20.htm


Egypt (officially Arab Republic of Egypt) is located in the northeastern corner of Africa. Its land frontiers border Libya in the west; the Sudan in the south, and Palestine in the northeast. (Israeli forces occupied the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip in eastern Egypt after the Arab–Israeli War of 1967. In 1982, the Sinai was returned to Egypt.) In the north its Mediterranean coastline is about 620 miles (1,000 kilometers), and in the east its coastline on the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba is about 1,200 miles. The capital is Cairo.
Egypt was the home of one of the principal civilizations of the ancient Middle East and, like Mesopotamia, it was one of the very earliest urban and literate societies.


Libya (officially Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, formerly  Libyan Arab Republic or  People’s Socialist Libyan Arab Republic) is in North Africa; bounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the north; Egypt on the east; the Sudan on the southeast; Niger and Chad on the south; and Tunisia and Algeria on the west. Libya is largely composed of the Sahara, and the population is concentrated along the coast, where the de facto capital, Tripoli (arābulus), and Banghāzī (Benghazi), the de jure capital, are located. 

Cholera epidemic spreads in west, central Africa: UN — The virulent diarrheal disease is spreading quickly along waterways between and within countries, causing an ‘unacceptably high’ rate of fatalities, the U.N. Children's Fund UNICEF said,” October 11, 2011, http://www.worldbulletin.net/?aType=haber&ArticleID=80093

UNICEF, http://www.unicef.org/health/uganda_53862.html

UNICEF Humanitarian Action Mid Year 2010 Review, http://www.unicef.org/files/HAR_Mid-Year_Review_2010.pdf



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