The world’s forcibly displaced population remains at a record high, with war, conflict and persecution increasing the number of displaced people to 68.5 million individuals — as many as the entire population of Thailand. More innovative and comprehensive approaches are required to address this situation.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) continues the 4th “NAMJAI (Generosity) FOR REFUGEES” fundraising campaign with Saharat “Kong” Sangkapricha to raise funds to support the current global refugee crisis.
“The fast growing refugee crisis has left millions people in limbo. They are urgently in need of basic assistance,” – said Kong Saharat. “I want to encourage Thai people to support UNHCR by attending my birthday charity concert and making a commitment to donating to ‘NAMJAI FOR REFUGEES’ to enable UNHCR to deliver essential services to meet the basic needs of refugee families: shelter, clean water, clothing and health services.’’
According to latest UNHCR statistics, one person is newly displaced every two seconds as a result of conflict or persecution around the world. The majority have been driven from their homes by war and conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and Myanmar.
“The global population of forcibly displaced people has remained at a record high. The current needs of refugees far outweigh the available resources,” said Giuseppe de Vincentiis, UNHCR Representative in Thailand. “For years, the generosity of Thai people has made a significant contribution to lifesaving support and the rebuilding of lives of refugee families in Thailand and across the world. Continued support from individuals and all sectors is crucial to UNHCR’s ability to protect and make a difference to the lives of refugees.”
“Kong Saharat & Friends: The Birthday Charity Concert for UNHCR” will be held on Friday 10 May 2019 at Muangthai Rachadalai Theatre with special guests including Burin Boonvisut, Max Jenmana and the famous bands Nuvo, Benja and The Begins Grand. All proceeds will go to UNHCR to support them to deliver basic assistance to refugees around the world. Tickets are available at 800/ 1,000/ 1,500/ 2,000/ 2,500/ 3,000 Baht and can be purchased at any 7-Eleven or on the website www.allticket.com.
“NAMJAI FOR REFUGEES” campaign has been supported by many Thai public figures such as Wannasingh Prasertkul, the famous TV host and Nirut Sirichanya, the legendary actor:
Nirut Talk for UNHCR: Nirut’s Story, a live talk by Nirut Sirichanya, a legendary actor hosted in October 2018;
Documentary and Story Telling workshop by Wannasingh Prasertkul, a well-known documentary filmmaker held in January 2019;
The upcoming Photo Exhibition by Wannasingh Prasertkul in May 2019.
You can also be a part of NAMJAI FOR REFUGEES campaign by making a regular donation via www.unhcr.or.th or calling +66 2206 2144.
NAMJAI has no limit to its sharing with those in need. Join the family of UNHCR and help meet the most basic survival needs of millions of refugees.
“NAMJAI FOR REFUGEES” won the Asia-Pacific Communications Award 2016 under the category of “Campaign by Non-Profit Organization”.
UNHCR and the humanitarian community in southern Africa are deeply saddened by the loss of life and the injuries following the devastating Cyclone Idai that hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi between 14 and 16 March 2019.
As of 27 March, the cyclone has killed more than 650 people across southern Africa and the number of fatalities continue to rise. Over one million people are estimated to have been affected throughout the three countries, and some 200,000 people to be displaced in the region and in urgent needs of shelter, food, clean water and core relief items.
Some 12,000 refugees (3,000 families) out of the 13,000 living in Tongogara refugee camp, south-eastern Zimbabwe, have also been heavily affected.
UNHCR and partners are already responding on the ground, relocating affected refugee families to safer shelters and providing life-saving supplies. But more support is urgently needed to reach to all those affected by this disaster, and the Tongogara camp may still be affected by flash floods.
We are already mobilizing emergency shelter and core relief items from our global stockpiles to support an initial 30,000 of the most vulnerable people affected by the cyclone in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
Donate now. SMS text 30 to 4642789 (to donate 30 THB)
Abdulhay and his family come from Eastern Ghouta, an enclave near Damascus where tens of thousands were trapped for years. “We had money, but there was nothing to buy at the shops,” his mother, Rana, 37, recalled. “Sometimes we had to eat the grass on the ground. We used to dig holes in the ground to get water.”
One day her husband slipped out to get food from a nearby community. Along the way, a sniper shot him dead, leaving Rana to raise their five children on her own.
They managed to escape to Damascus in 2014. By then, Abdulhay and his siblings were malnourished and had missed months of schooling. But life in the capital, and then in Homs, was a struggle too.
After several months they fled to Lebanon, eventually making their way to this informal settlement near Tripoli, in the north of the country. They are one of 28 families, mostly from Homs Governorate, living here in tented shelters – wooden frames with plastic tarps for walls and wood stoves for heat.
Today, under blue skies, Abdulhay played football with other children in the dusty compound. But winter here can often be harsh. UNHCR has worked to improve shelter conditions and installed proper latrines to improve sanitation. It also provides winter cash assistance to most of the families here, as well as legal and psychosocial support.
The prospect of returning to Syria is one that weighs heavy on the family. “This is the closest thing to our hearts,” Rana told the High Commissioner. “But I’m worried about my children. If we go to Syria, my son [17-year-old Jassem] is going to be conscripted into the military.”
In nearby Zouq Bhannine, Grandi visited another family who have wrestled with thoughts of going back. “Every one of us wishes to return today, even before tomorrow comes,” said Wafaa, 45, who is living in an unfinished building with five children, three daughters-in-law and two grandchildren. “But we need peace and security.”
Wafaa noted that her daughter and sister recently went back to Talbiseh, the town in Homs Governorate which the family fled in 2014. She calls them often, but the connection is weak.
“I can hear the pain [of separation] in her voice. We just cry on the phone without saying a word.”
“I can feel from my daughter’s voice that the situation is difficult there too,” she said. “I can hear the pain [of separation] in her voice. We just cry on the phone without saying a word.”
Wafaa’s husband vanished on his way to Lebanon in 2013, where he had hoped to rejoin two of their sons. He and the other people in the car were never heard from again. Wafaa was then displaced inside Syria for 18 months before fleeing to Lebanon with the rest of their children.
“When I came here I achieved what I wanted in terms of bringing all of my children together,” she said. She hopes that going back would not jeopardize the family’s safety or unity.
Whether, and when, to return is a question facing millions of Syrian refugees in the region. Safety and security is a crucial factor, but not the only one. For many people, the answer also hinges on concerns about housing; legal issues, such as missing documents and property deeds; availability of livelihoods; and access to health care and schools.
Meanwhile, young Abdulhay has something else on his mind. He sees other children with their fathers and misses his own, a man he barely remembers.
“He always asks about his father’s yellow taxi, and whether he can have it when he grows up,” Rana said. “I tell him, ‘It’s yours, Abdulhay. It’s there waiting for you.’ ”
News comment: UNHCR’s Grandi expresses shock following massacre of innocent worshipers in New Zealand
Submitted by webmaster on 19 March 2019
News comment: UNHCR’s Grandi expresses shock following massacre of innocent worshipers in New Zealand.
“It is with great sadness that I have heard the news of the horrific attacks against two mosques which took place today in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 49 people are believed to have been killed. I offer my sincerest condolences to the families and friends of the victims and to the people of New Zealand. I share my solidarity with them in their grief and sorrow.
When she wakes up in her family’s fragile shack each morning, Hamamah faces the bitter reality of war in Yemen.
“Every day is a fight for survival. We do not know how or if we will eat,” says the gaunt 16-year-old.
Since heavy fighting drove her from her home in Taiz, a city in south-western Yemen, two years ago, the teenager has known nothing but bitter hardship.
With few options, Hamamah got married to ease the burden on her parents, already struggling to feed and provide for her siblings displaced by war.
“Everyday is a fight for survival. We do not know how or if we will eat.”
A few months ago, she gave birth to a stillborn girl. Her baby died because, Hamamah believes, she did not have enough to eat and could not pay for medical care.
“When I got pregnant I couldn’t afford to go see a doctor,” she says, her words punctuated with heavy sighs. “I remember feeling very weak throughout my pregnancy. We didn’t have enough to eat and I became increasingly weak; so I think my baby also became weak and she didn’t survive
It is difficult to call Hamamah’s residence a house. The structure which shelters her and her husband, Mohamed, looks more like a decaying garden shed. With no reliable paid work, Mohamed struggles to find the US$30 in rent that they have to pay each month.
“If we don’t pay the rent, we will be evicted,” she says. “I don’t know where we will go. Maybe we can build a small shelter on some land somewhere … I don’t know.”
As the war approaches a fourth anniversary in March, the family’s struggle grows more dire by the day. Each morning, Mohamed scrambles to find paid work, which makes the difference between the family eating or going hungry.
“Without work you are completely dependent on others… you are at people’s mercy. If I manage to get daily work, I can make three or four dollars a day; so we manage to buy some food…if not…” he trails off.
Hamamah and Mohamed are not alone in their suffering. Their desperate battle for survival is shared by most in Yemen, where 24.1 million people – more than three-quarters of the population – are in dire need of life-saving assistance.
Today, the United Nations and its humanitarian partners launched an appeal which seeks US$4.2 billion to provide vital aid to Yemenis in desperate need this year, including more than 3.3 million who, like Hamamah and Mohamed, have been uprooted by the war.
“Without work you are completely dependent on others…
you are at people’s mercy.”
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is leading the interagency protection response in Yemen. UNHCR and its partners are providing legal assistance to the most vulnerable – with an emphasis on issuing civil documents that are often lost when fleeing danger. UNHCR also provides counselling to address the mounting psychological impact as a result of the prolonged conflict.
Additionally, together with UN and NGO partners, UNHCR is working to improve living conditions on hosting sites for children, women and men uprooted by fighting across Yemen, by constructing transitional shelters, installing water and sanitation facilities and communal kitchens.
Where appropriate, UNHCR and its partners are also providing rental subsidies and cash grants to rehabilitate damaged houses. It aims to provide essential household items to displaced and highly vulnerable families across the country.
Without continued funding, humanitarian agencies will be forced to discontinue life-saving protection assistance and services to vulnerable people including women, children, the elderly, people with disabilities and survivors of gender-based violence, leading to further impoverishment and heightened vulnerability.
GENEVA – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is mourning today the tragic loss of three colleagues killed in the Ethiopian Airlines crash in Ethiopia yesterday morning (10 March).
UNHCR’s own Nadia Ali, Jessica Hyba and Jackson Musoni were among the passengers on board the ET 302 flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi which crashed shortly after take-off.
Ethiopian Airlines has confirmed that there were no survivors. Fatalities also include colleagues working for other United Nations agencies, as well as for non-governmental partner organizations and other international organizations.
“We’ve been struck by sudden and terrible loss,” said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, cutting short his visit to the Middle East and urgently returning to UNHCR headquarters in Geneva. “This is devastating for all families who lost their dear ones in yesterday’s crash. Our thoughts are with them.”
“We are doing everything we can to help Nadia’s, Jessica’s and Jackson’s families at this most difficult and painful time. On behalf of all UNHCR staff worldwide, I extend my deepest sympathies to their families. We mourn today our dear colleagues and friends. UNHCR has lost dedicated humanitarians who tirelessly worked for the millions worldwide forced to flee wars and persecution.”
Nadia Adam Abaker Ali, Sudanese national aged 40, joined UNHCR in Nyala, Sudan in 2010. As Assistant Protection Officer, she had been working there to help Sudanese people who fled from Darfur. Before joining UNHCR, Nadia was working as a health specialist in Nyala and Khartoum. She leaves behind a husband and daughter aged six.
Jessica Hyba, Canadian national aged 43, had been working as Senior External Relations Officer with UNHCR in Mogadishu. She had taken this latest assignment in February this year. Jessica joined UNHCR in Iraq in 2013 and had also worked at UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva. Prior to UNHCR, Jessica had a long and distinguished service with Care Canada, Care International and UNICEF. She leaves behind close family including two daughters, aged 9 and 12.
Jackson Musoni, Rwandan national aged 31, had been working since late 2017 as Associate Field Coordinator in Sudan’s East Darfur. He had joined UNHCR in 2014, working in Butare, Rwanda. From 2011 to 2014 Jackson had been working for the Rwandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. The close family he leaves behind include three children aged eight, five and four.
From the UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi led colleagues in UNHCR operations around the world in observing a minute of silence this afternoon.
This week more than 500 refugees in Thailand are expected to return to south-eastern Myanmar as part of a voluntary repatriation process led by the Royal Thai Government and the Government of the Union of Myanmar, with the support of UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, and its partners. This is the third such movement, providing returning refugees a chance to rebuild their lives in their home country following decades of displacement in Thailand
United Nations aid agencies and NGO partners launched today the 2019 Joint Response Plan (JRP) for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis. The appeal seeks to raise US$920 million to meet the massive needs of more than 900,000 refugees from Myanmar and over 330,000 vulnerable Bangladeshis in host communities.
Critical aid and services such as food, water, sanitation and shelter represent more than half of the funding needs this year. Other key sectors of the appeal include health, site management, protection activities including child protection and addressing sexual and gender-based violence, education and nutrition.
UNHCR's work is humanitarian, social and non-political. Its Statute and subsequent UN resolutions mandate the agency to provide international protection and seek durable solutions for refugees and other people of concern.