"Refugees are extraordinarily resilient, but cuts in food assistance – sometimes as high as 50% – are having a devastating impact on the health and nutrition of thousands of families” .
2 million refugees in 10 countries across Africa will be affected by severe food shortages unless urgent support is made available to them.
We are so proud to announce the appointment of internationally acclaimed writer Neil Gaiman - @NeilHimself - as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador after more than 3 years of committed support! What do you want to ask Neil about standing #WithRefugees? Join us today at 4:30pm GMT:
February is the coldest month in Ukraine. Cut off from heating supplies by conflict, 62-year-old Nina and her beloved cat, were struggling to keep warm and well until we reached her frontline Donetsk village with aid, clothing, coal and firewood.
Two and half years since the conflict in Eastern Ukraine began, over 2 million people have fled their homes and around 800,000 remain in or near the conflict zone. We are working hard with partners to mitigate the effects of the winter.
Everyday life, especially in winter, is very tough. Many vulnerable villagers have been left isolated because of fear, danger and their remote locations, combined with bad roads and damaged infrastructure. This is on top of existing movement restrictions, difficulties in delivering humanitarian aid and problems with electricity and gas supply.
“She is very very smart. A lot smarter than I am. She seems to be losing hope, but I won’t let that happen" .
When Ammar talks about his wife Sana it's clear he's her number one supporter. Before fleeing Mosul and seeking safety in a displacement camp, Ammar worked as a mechanic and Sana was studying hard, hoping to get a place at university and then become a teacher.
New parents Shadi and Sawa, can't take their eyes off one month old Sham. They met and fell in love in Azraq Camp, Jordan, after fleeing war in Syria.
Their love, and the birth of Sham represents hope amongst the heartbreak of life as a refugee. Shadi was a teacher in Damascus with dreams of becoming an eminent scientist. For now he works as a volunteer teacher sharing his passion for maths physics and chemistry with his young pupils.
“They want to know about us and we want to know about them. There’s so much to tell and explain” says Kamala of her German classmates .
We love this photo of her raising her hand at school in Golzow, a village on the German-Polish border where her family have settled after fleeing Latakia in Syria. Their arrival boosted numbers in this shrinking village and helped saved the school from closure .
Kamala is a bright pupil and has now been promoted from her introductory reception class up into the third grade, where her favourite subjects are maths, music and sport.
This photo was taken by our @shabiamantoo in Yemen, who told us: "I met this baby and her mother at a UNHCR supported drop-in centre for survivors of gender based violence. As Ethiopian refugees in Yemen, they have endured unimaginable hardship as a result of first enduring a dangerous sea crossing to Yemen, and then because of the war. During her boat journey across the Red Sea to Yemen, the mother suffered from terrible violence. She now receives psycho-social support at our centre to help her cope with the ordeal. Mother and baby are struggling to get by with the most limited food and medical assistance. The situation for civilians in #Yemen is increasingly desperate" .
This week we launched a campaign called #DangerousCrossings, to raise awareness about the situation for people who continue to cross into Yemen.
"I walked for two days to the border but I didn't use the main roads. We walked through the bush because if you meet soldiers they might kill you" .
Sidah is one of 6,000 South Sudanese refugees who used the Democratic Republic of the Congo route to reach Uganda since the middle of 2016. Due to checkpoints and banditry along the main roads, more refugees are forced to use this longer route, walking several days to reach Uganda, usually with few belongings and limited access to food and water.
In total more than 1.5 million people have now been forced to leave South Sudan and seek safety since conflict erupted in December 2013. Women and children continue to bear the brunt of the conflict, making up 86 per cent of refugees arriving in Uganda .
Our colleagues in Yemen describe the situation on the ground in the northern city of Sa'ada and the destruction which has caused millions of people to flee.
“Those who decide to flee need to know which dangers lie ahead. We must not allow unscrupulous smugglers and traffickers to lure people into risks and dangers where they hope to find protection.” This video, by African musicians singing in 5 languages, was produced to raise awareness of the dangers faced by people crossing to and through Yemen .
Learn more about our #DangerousCrossings campaign here: http://trib.al/6Z5fAB5
"We can't study here, unless they rebuild it" .
Hamza, 11, survived war in Aleppo but his school was ruined. With his dad's business also destroyed, Hamza must now work instead of studying. He is determined to return to the classroom and become a doctor . -------------------------------------- #bestoftheday#Syria#Aleppo#instahope#realpeople#video#boy#kid
“This is the first time we have had a peaceful sleep in two years. Just before we left our village, hails of bullets were flying around. We are thankful for the support we received” .
Zahra, a 60-year-old Iraqi who found shelter at a UNHCR camp after fleeing her village outside Mosul.
Eight-year-old Afghan refugee Aziz has not slept in a real bed in almost a year. For now, he still sleeps on a pile of blankets in a complex of filthy, derelict warehouses behind Belgrade’s main train station. But his desperate situation might finally be about to change.
Since neighbouring European Union countries closed their borders in the spring of 2016 and started collective expulsions back into non-EU Serbia, the number of refugees and migrants stuck in the country has swelled from a few hundred to close to 8,000.
In response, Serbian authorities and UNHCR and our humanitarian partners, have increased capacity at heated government shelters for refugees and migrants in Serbia from below 2,000 to close to 7,000 beds.
Thanks to these efforts, some 85% of refugees in the country, including all women and families, are accommodated in 17 government facilities. Meanwhile, a few hundred men and boys still squat in squalid and unsafe conditions.
The coldest winter for years has amplified the urgency of efforts to persuade all remaining children like Aziz to move out of derelict buildings into government shelters.
This Saturday 4th Feb, at 08.45am GMT, our Refugees Chief Filippo Grandi will be live on Facebook from Lebanon .
He'll be speaking about his trip to Syria this week, seeing the devastation of war in Aleppo and Homs first-hand, about Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
“It’s for them to feel a bit safer. Some of them are chased away from their countries by organized crime, street gangs. You can see it in their faces. You can see their desperation because they have to continue their search for safety,” Andrés .
In El Ceibo, near the Guatemala-Mexico border, Andrés and his wife Francisca have made a room available in their family’s small, tin-roofed home to shelter men, women and children who've fled murderous street gangs.
For Andrés, the humanitarian work is not without risks. On different occasions, local criminal groups have approached him and his family, demanding that they stop helping those in transit, and instead work for them as informants. Despite threats, he refuses .
This is what our High Commissioner had to say after witnessing destruction in the ancient city of #Aleppo on a landmark visit to Syria. --------------------------------------- #syria#WithRefugees#UNHCR
A safe haven amid the destruction of Homs, this little Syrian girl plays with our Refugees Chief in a community centre for traumatized children.
The UNHCR Community Center in Al-Midan, in Homs, Syria is one of 74 centers we opened in 2016, and this year we will open another 26 centres, bringing the total to 100. These centres serve as operational hubs for the community services we provide - such as education, vocational training, psychosocial support and awareness-raising activities. The community centres are safe havens for Syrian families who were forced to flee their homes - spaces where displaced communities can meet, socialise, and support each other.
"I'm in Homs. It is urgent that peace comes so that reconstruction can start. People are cold, jobless, homeless. The needs are immense"
- Visiting Syria, our Refugees Chief Filippo Grandi shows the devastating destruction of the city of Homs - and the immense human consequences .
Statement by our #RefugeesChief. Click the link in our bio to read it in full.
The #UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi is deeply worried by the uncertainty facing thousands of refugees around the world who are in the process of being resettled to the United States.
This week alone, over 800 refugees were set to make America their new home, but instead find themselves barred from travelling to the U.S. UNHCR estimates that 20,000 refugees in precarious circumstances might have been resettled to the United States during the 120 days covered by the suspension announced Friday, based on average monthly figures for the last 15 years. Refugees are anxious, confused and heartbroken at this suspension in what is already a lengthy process.
Refugees share the very same concerns about security and safety that Americans have. They themselves are fleeing war, persecution, oppression and terrorism. The individuals and families UNHCR refers to governments for resettlement are the most vulnerable – such as people needing urgent medical assistance, survivors of torture, and women and girls at risk. The new homes provided by resettlement countries are life-saving for people who have no other options.
The vast majority of the world’s refugees are hosted in developing countries, and less than 1 per cent will ever be resettled globally. Those accepted for resettlement by the United States, after a rigorous US security screening process, are coming to rebuild their lives in safety and dignity. UNHCR hopes that they will be able to do so as soon as possible. Resettlement is a sign of tangible solidarity with the world’s most vulnerable refugees.
For decades, the #UnitedStates has been a global leader in refugee protection, a tradition rooted in the tolerance and generosity of the American people. UNHCR hopes the U.S. will continue its strong leadership role and its long history of protecting those who are fleeing conflict and persecution.
Refugees should receive equal treatment for protection and assistance, and opportunities for #resettlement, regardless of their religion, nationality or race. ------------------------------------ #WithRefugees#UNHCR#refugees
A moral stand by a Catholic bishop, who refused to allow a border fence to keep out refugees to be built on church land, has helped to change Austrian government policy on border security. “It is the direct assignment of our Lord to help those in need,” says Bishop Ägidius Zsifkovics of Eisenstadt, in the Burgenland region bordering Hungary.
His tone of compassion has encouraged hundreds of lay volunteers to help asylum seekers and put the rural region on the map when it comes to integrating refugees.
After the refugee crisis of 2015, the Austrian authorities considered erecting a fence but now instead, at one village, there will be a crowd control barrier, leading to a police container, and the army will be deployed where necessary.
Bishop Zsifkovics says he had no objection to the revised scheme. “Every state has the right to protect its borders.” In an interview in Vienna, the bishop, whose Croatian forebears fled the Ottomans five centuries ago, explained why he was horrified at the idea of a fence for Burgenland. “I grew up here, with the Iron Curtain, and experienced the humiliations at the border crossing, together with my grandfather. He was a wine dealer, who sold wine to Hungarian clients.” When the government first put forward its fence plan, three out of 20 local landowners, including the church, refused to cooperate.
UNHCR/ @GordonWelters ---------------------------------------#Austria#Hungary#WithRefugees#Refugees#refugeestories
The needs of refugees and migrants worldwide have never been greater, and the U.S. resettlement program is one of the most important in the world.
The longstanding U.S. policy of welcoming refugees has created a win-win situation: it has saved the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in the world who have in turn enriched and strengthened their new societies. The contribution of refugees and migrants to their new homes worldwide has been overwhelmingly positive.
Resettlement places provided by every country are vital. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and IOM, the International Organization for Migration, hope that the U.S. will continue its strong leadership role and long tradition of protecting those who are fleeing conflict and persecution.
UNHCR and IOM remain committed to working with the U.S. Administration towards the goal we share to ensure safe and secure resettlement and immigration programmes.
We strongly believe that refugees should receive equal treatment for protection and assistance, and opportunities for resettlement, regardless of their religion, nationality or race.
We will continue to engage actively and constructively with the U.S. Government, as we have done for decades, to protect those who need it most, and to offer our support on asylum and migration matters .
UNHCR/ Nick Otto -------------------------------------------- #refugees#unitedstates#migration#unitednations#WithRefugees
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"In this time of unrest in the Middle East and change in our country, when frustration and xenophobia seem to dominate our news cycle and social media, I hope we can all look at the faces of those we fear and see what is sometimes hardest of all to recognize: ourselves." @benstiller recently travelled with us to meet Syrians in Jordan where he learned that nobody wants to be a refugee. Thank you, Ben, for standing #WithRefugees. UNHCR/ @jordi.matas --------------------------------------------#refugees#jordan#syria#benstiller
“One day, I hope to return to Syria so I can breathe again. Even if it’s just for one day. That would be enough.” —Doaa Al Zamel .
As compassion for the world's refugees diminishes, how can we ensure people will still care? Our Head of Communications @MelissaRFleming has written a book, A Hope More Powerful Than The Sea, which recounts the miraculous tale of Doaa Al Zamel, a Syrian refugee who, at 19 years old, saved herself and an infant after their boat sank in the Mediterranean Sea. And it is more relevant than ever .
Doaa was forced by the Syrian war to live a grinding existence with her family in exile. Despite all this, she still had hope and fell in love with another refugee, called Bassem. He promised to take her to safety in Europe where they would marry and build a new life. Doaa knew the risks. She didn’t know how to swim, but for the second time in her life, she felt she had no choice but to flee. The sea may have taken the love of her life, but Doaa still found the strength to save a young child .
“It is over, we are going back home" .
Great news - Gambian families in Senegal are starting to return home. Senegalese families generously sheltered their fleeing neighbours and pooled resources to share what they had“ .
Via @humansofny ・・・
“For the last eight years I’ve been the head of communications for the UN Refugee Agency. My job is to make people care about the sixty million displaced people in the world. I wish I could tell every single one of their stories. Because if people knew their stories, I don’t think there would be so many walls. And there wouldn’t be so many people drowning in the seas. But I don’t think I anticipated how difficult it would be to make people care. It’s not that people are selfish. I just think that people have a hard time caring when they feel insecure. When the world is unstable, people feel vulnerable. And vulnerable people focus on protecting what they have. They focus on their own families. They focus on their own communities. It can be very hard to welcome strangers when you’re made to feel threatened. Even if those strangers are more vulnerable than you.” --------------------------------------------This is my friend @MelissarFleming, who I think is one of the most important people in the world, and who was so instrumental in helping organize the HONY refugee series. Tomorrow at 7pm we will be in conversation at the Union Square Barnes and Noble, to celebrate the launch of her new book: A Hope More Powerful Than The Sea, which tells the powerful story of a young woman who survived a shipwreck while fleeing the war in Syria. If you can’t make the signing, you can get the book through link in bio.
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