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New thinking needed on food aid for refugees in Africa

JOHANNESBURG, 7 July 2014 (IRIN) - The World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) have launched an urgent appeal to address a funding shortfall that has already resulted in food ration cuts for a third of all African refugees. As of mid-June, nearly 800,000 refugees in 22 African countries have seen their monthly food allocations reduced, most of them by more than half. full report

Genome breakthrough could help fight against sleeping sickness

KISUMU/NAIROBI, 28 May 2014 (IRIN) - Scientists have welcomed the development of genome sequence data on the tsetse fly, the vector responsible for the transmission of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), commonly known as sleeping sickness. They say it could be instrumental in devising strategies to eradicate the fly and reduce deaths and the spread of other diseases associated with it. full report

Melding science and tradition to tackle climate change

KISUMU, 23 May 2014 (IRIN) - In the latest of several partnerships between tradition and modern science aimed at improving resilience to climate change, pastoralists and meteorologists in Tanzania are working together to produce weather forecasts better suited to farmers. full report

Improved mental health care for refugees in Israel

TEL AVIV, 14 May 2014 (IRIN) - Thousands of African refugees and asylum seekers in Israel suffering from trauma and depression after fleeing abuses in their home country or surviving torture camps in Egypt are now getting improved mental health care, though more needs to be done, say refugee groups. full report

Remittance rip-offs

LONDON, 22 April 2014 (IRIN) - All over the world migrant workers are sending money home to their families. The money pays hospital bills and school fees, buys land, builds houses and sets up small businesses. The cash goes from the US back to Mexico, from the Gulf back to India, from the UK back to Somalia, and from South Africa back to Malawi, Zimbabwe and the rest of southern Africa. full report

African migrants in Israel face "voluntary" return or detention

TEL AVIV/JOHANNESBURG, 27 February 2014 (IRIN) - Israel has released figures showing that the number of African migrants choosing to accept “voluntary departure” from the country has been steadily increasing since an amendment to its anti-infiltration law was passed in December 2013, with about 2,200 departures recorded since the beginning of 2014. full report

Sudan and Egypt implicated in human trafficking

JOHANNESBURG, 12 February 2014 (IRIN) - Since 2009, hundreds and possibly thousands of refugees, most of them Eritrean, have been kidnapped in eastern Sudan and sold to traffickers in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, where they are held and tortured until their relatives can raise tens of thousands of dollars in ransom money. According to a report released on 11 February by Human Rights Watch (HRW), security forces in Sudan and Egypt have either turned a blind eye to this violent trade in men, women and children or, in some cases, colluded with the traffickers. full report

Yonathan Habte, trafficking survivor: "At least if I died, it wouldn’t go on"

JOHANNESBURG, 12 February 2014 (IRIN) - In March 2012, Yonathan Habte*, then 26, decided to flee Eritrea where he had evaded military service and was facing jail. With a background in computer engineering, he was confident he could make a life in another African country. Instead, he was kidnapped near the Sudanese border and trafficked to Egypt, where he barely survived three months in two different camps in the lawless Sinai region, near the Israeli border. He talked to IRIN over the phone from Sweden. full report

Breaking the cycle of youth unemployment, poverty

DAKAR, 10 February 2014 (IRIN) - Youth unemployment and underemployment are among the main barriers to development in West Africa, say experts. Not only does the exclusion of young people from the labour force perpetuate generational cycles of poverty, it also breaks down social cohesion and can be associated with higher levels of crime and violence among idle youth. full report

Helping Africa’s urban poor gain from modernization

NAIROBI, 4 February 2014 (IRIN) - Plans to reshape and modernize African cities, in part driven by investment, architecture and construction companies seeking new markets, could deepen existing social inequalities, according to recent research. But these development plans could also benefit the poor if governments are responsive to the needs of their citizens, argue analysts. full report

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