refugees

The U.N. Refugee Agency and Italian authorities say they fear at least 700 migrants have died in three separate shipwrecks in the Mediterranean since last Wednesday.

This comes amid a surge of migrants attempting to make the dangerous crossing between Libya and Italy, UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler tells The Two-Way. He adds that search and rescue teams have been able to save 14,000 people making the crossing during the past week.

Greek authorities have started to move migrants and refugees out of the makeshift Idomeni camp, near the border with Macedonia.

The camp houses approximately 10,000 people, many of whom have been there for months. The asylum-seekers were hoping to cross into Macedonia and continue across Europe, but they were blocked from moving forward after the Balkan state closed its borders.

The Greek government, which has long been trying to persuade migrants to willingly leave Idomeni, has pledged to evacuate the camp without using violence, The Associated Press reports.

Let's say a pregnant woman develops high blood pressure.

In ordinary circumstances, her medical team will monitor her condition. If there's a threat to the fetus, the doctor might want to bring on labor early. In the end, mother and baby are usually fine.

But what if she's living in a war zone?

First of all, she might not know she has the condition. Sometimes a pregnant woman with high blood pressure shows no symptoms. And amid the chaos of combat, regular checkups may be hard to arrange.

The wide, white tent pitched in the mud is filled with exhausted Syrians and Iraqi families crowded on cots. They have been camping out at the border between Greece and the tiny Balkan nation of Macedonia for weeks.

Moyaad Saad, a 43-year-old former civil servant from Baghdad, has been here since mid-February. He's cradling his infant daughter, Zahara, who is starting to fuss.

Pope's Syrian refugees begin a new life in Rome

Apr 19, 2016
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Rosie Scammell

He was only on the Greek Island of Lesbos for five hours, but his trip changed the lives of 12 Syrian refugees forever.

The three Syrian families chosen by Pope Francis to accompany him back to Rome have only been living in their new home for a few days. They are in the process of obtaining legal asylum.

The Vatican will pay their living expenses, teach them the Italian language and help them find employment. Little was known about the refugees when they were chosen by the Vatican during the Pope's visit to Lesbos last Saturday.

Bob Johnson started at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in San Francisco, in 1976. He took charge of the Seattle office in 1977, and led the organization for decades, until his retirement in 2016.
Courtesy of Bob Johnson

Bill Radke speaks with Bob Johnson, former executive director of the International Rescue Committee in Seattle, about what it was like to settle refugees in our region for nearly four decades. Johnson retired from his position earlier this year.

Class has just ended at a community center in the southern Swedish town of Ronneby. This is the first stop for refugees in the area, once they've been granted asylum. They receive 60 hours of instruction on how to live in Sweden. The courses cover such things as how to rent an apartment, get a job and grow old here.

Last year, a record number of migrants and refugees — more than 1 million — crossed into Europe, sparking a crisis as countries struggle to cope with the influx of more and more people.

And one element of the crisis is health care.

Migrants often have trouble getting medical care in the country in which they resettle. Those who are in the country illegally have an even harder time.

Syrian kids who passed through Milan's Central Station last year did something very Italian: create artwork. While they waited for trains to take them to northern Europe, Save the Children offered them a chance to draw. They could depict whatever they wanted, says psychologist Vittoria Ardino, president of the Italian Society for the Study of Traumatic Stress, who analyzed 500 of these images.

It took Abdul Arian months to realize that his decision to migrate from his home country, Afghanistan, to Germany was a huge mistake.

He set off nearly a year ago, hoping to be granted asylum so he could attend a university and study psychology.

His journey, organized by smugglers, was long and perilous. Arian, 24, says he nearly drowned off the shores of Greece, when the inflatable dinghy he was traveling in capsized.

He says he and his fellow travelers got lost somewhere in Hungary and walked through the rain for 24 hours before they found the path again.

Anna Pfeifer unlocks a door to one of the apartments for unaccompanied minors in the town of Ronneby, in southern Sweden. She says there are 50 kids at this complex, all between the ages of 15 and 18. They come from countries across Africa and the Middle East — mostly boys, and a handful of girls.

As soon as I walk into the squalid, unofficial migrant camp known as "the Jungle," outside the northern French city of Calais, I meet Amran, a 13-year-old Afghan boy staying here on his own.

How My Bookworm Sister Left Our Refugee Camp

Feb 18, 2016
A woman named Kamin and her six children lived in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya where Faisa Muse, the producer of this story, also lived before moving to Seattle. The woman had been separated from her husband during the conflict in Somalia.
Flickr Photo/European Commission

My sister Nasteha Muse fought hard to get an education.

We grew up in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. Our parents migrated there because of the conflict in Somalia, where they are from. Nasteha remembers the camp as "very harsh, dusty and hot." 

People welcome Syrian refugees at the Toronto airport on Dec. 9, 2015.
Flickr Photo/Domnic Santiago (CC BY 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1PpLV5f

Bill Radke speaks with Stephen Quinn about the difficulties Vancouver is facing resettling refugees, the new symbol for the falling Canadian dollar, and prosecution costs from the 2011 Stanley Cup riot. Quinn is the host of CBC One radio show On the Coast and columnist for the Globe and Mail.

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Heidi Levine

The first time I met Dr. Zoi Livaditou she had just finished examining a busload of Syrian refugees who had been rescued by the Greek Coast Guard.

It was a cool evening in fall at the port of Mytilene, the capital of the Greek island of Lesbos, and Livaditou was dressed in cargo pants and a heavy fleece jacket with a stethoscope dangling around her neck. The refugees in the bus were wet and cold, she told me, puffing on her cigarette, but fortunately everyone was OK. 

“But last night 12 people drowned.” she said.

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