News Roundup: 5/5/08

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According to the UN news agency, IRIN, the UNHCR is facing a funding shortfall for its financial request for Iraqi refugees:

At present, some 12,000 people (mostly heads of families) receive monthly financial assistance of US$100-$200 to meet their most urgent needs. Their position will be dire should the funds not materialise.

Wilkes said that while in September 2007, some 33,000 people needed food aid, the number had now risen to over 110,000. “By the end of the year that would increase by tens of thousands,” she said.

The spiking costs of food on the global market, such as wheat and grain, will only exacerbate the situation of the desperate. In addition to staggering oil costs, aid agencies will find it ever more costly to deliver aid and may find other nations less willing to contribute funds towards the effort.

The AFP reports that Jordan has imposed new restrictions on Iraqi refugee admittances. The new law, effective since May 1st, requires Iraqi refugees to obtain visas to enter Jordan. Visas are obtainable through Jordanian embassies or courier services.

Vice magazine has a disturbing first hand account of Syrian prostitution clubs, many of which are populated by young Iraqi refugee girls. The author relates:

On the following Friday evening, I went—this time with an Arab friend—to the discotheque in the basement of the Hotel Meridien. After my friend had met a few of the girls there, he confirmed that they were all Iraqi refugees. Some had been prostitutes under Saddam’s regime, and some were there following the very dark, violent, inconceivable cataclysms that the war had brought into their lives. All of them were drunk to the point of staggering up and down the carpeted stairs under the weak, cheap disco lights.


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