Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Just a reminder on UN Refugee Experience

A reminder that it ain't easy and it takes time to handle large numbers of refugees...from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
ALBANIA: MORE AID NEEDED 29 Apr. 99 – Western countries must increase their assistance for Albania to help Europe's poorest country deal with the Kosovo Albanian refugee crisis, a UNHCR spokeswoman said yesterday, reports Reuters. "The Albanian government is prepared to take in all refugees which flee there, but in order to take in 300,000 refugees the region needs the maximum help," Judith Kumin told the Berlin-based radio station InfoRadio. Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo on Tuesday told the European Union troika of Austria, Germany and Finland that Albania would need US$820m in economic and humanitarian aid to the end of the year. Kumin also appealed to European countries to honour their pledges to airlift refugees from camps in Macedonia. Le Monde carries an interview with Albanian President Rexhep Meidani saying the flood of refugees is costing Albania US$33m a month. "We're sheltering more than 300,000 deported Albanians and given that we have to spend US$3 per person per day, we arrive at US$33m a month . . . If the refugees stay until the end of December, we'll need US$600m, to which US$255m more must be added to plug the budget deficit and carry out certain projects,'' he said. [UNHCR-Albania needs more help to support refugees – www.reuters.com; Partition of Kosovo would open door to permanent war – www.lemonde.fr]

MACEDONIA: THOUSANDS MORE AT MISERY BORDER 29 Apr. 99 – Up to 4,000 more Kosovo refugees arrived at the main Blace border crossing into Macedonia yesterday, flooding already overflowing camps, reports Reuters. UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond said a train had arrived from Pristina, and witnesses said 20 buses came from there and Urosevac. Five or six refugees were killed when they strayed into a minefield northeast of Blace, Macedonia's information ministry said. One refugee said she had been hit by a sniper. Conditions at Blace, where 3,500 spent the night, were increasingly dreadful. Aid workers had fashioned makeshift shelters from plastic sheeting hung up beside tents. "We may also have to make some rudimentary shelter arrangements in Stankovic,'' Redmond said. A new camp at Cegrane would not be ready until tonight at the earliest, he said. Some 1,700 refugees were airlifted to France, Sweden, Norway, Turkey, the Netherlands, Finland and the Czech Republic. The Times reports misery has returned to the infamous Blace camp, where aid officials admitted that between 400 and 500 refugees, including young children and elderly men and women, were left to sleep on plastic sheets and blankets. They cannot be moved to the larger camps nearby, which are "bursting at the seams." [Kosovo refugees flood Macedonia, camps tense – www.reuters.com; Refugees endure hours of misery as camps struggle to cope with exodus – www.the-times.co.uk]

MACEDONIA: RIOTS AT CAMPS? 29 Apr. 99 – UNHCR yesterday said overcrowding in camps for Kosovan Albanians in Macedonia had become so extreme refugees were "on the verge of rioting," reports Reuters in Geneva. "The people are really living in unbearable congestion. It's very, very tense and it has to be defused very, very quickly,'' UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski told a news briefing in Geneva, adding that the risk of disease outbreaks was also increasing. Reuters adds that a fight broke out over bread yesterday after chronic overcrowding left Stankovic, Macedonia's biggest camp, rippling with tension. A man was reportedly badly beaten by a volunteer helping aid agencies after the man urged him to speed up giving out bread. People had been queuing since 4am. Aid workers at the camp said they could not confirm the report and had not heard of any serious disturbances. But they acknowledged tempers were increasingly frayed as the crowding got worse. The Independent reports refugees penned into squalid, overcrowded Macedonian camps were on the verge of rioting yesterday. [Macedonia refugee camps close to rioting; UNHCR + Fight over bread at Macedonia refugee camp – www.reuters.com; Refugees on verge of riot in the camps – www.independent.co.uk]
I am not too sure if any Americans would be happy with refugee camps like this one: Photo caption:
As Darrel Koop, medical resident and former graduate student in public health at Ohio State University, cared for refugees during the Kosovo war, he traveled to seven refugee camps in Macedonia, including this one outside the village of Cegrane. Photo by Darryl Koop, courtesy of Ohio State University.(source)

Or, more recently, in Chad photo source
And the back of a FEMA brochure on temporary housing, which FEMA is attempting to send to the Katrina damage area (the housing, not the brochure, which deals with, I swear, environmental concerns in the placement of temporary housing (see here)


Of course, FEMA is contracting for 3 cruise ships for use as temporary housing as reported here:
Federal officials are chartering three of Carnival Cruise Lines' ships for six months, part of a plan to provide shelter for as many as 7,000 people displaced by devastating Hurricane Katrina.

The three ships — the Ecstasy, Sensation and Holiday — will be pulled from regular use starting Monday.

Ecstasy, normally ported at Galveston for four-and five-day cruises, and Sensation, normally in New Orleans for similar trips, will both be pulled Monday and are scheduled to dock and house Katrina refugees in Galveston, Texas.
An interior stateroom on the good ship Ecstasy from Carnival Lines.

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