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Assistance and protection for migrants rescued at sea

Posted by LIZ DAVENPORT

GAMBIA

The Gambia Red Cross, in close collaboration with the Gambian Immigration Department (GID), is assisting migrants rescued at sea under the project “Assistance and protection of the most vulnerable migrants in Africa Occidental “, executed in collaboration with the Spanish Red Cross and financed by the European Union within the framework of the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. The intervention complements the GID’s assistance activity at the Migrant Reception Center in the Tanji region, the only center enabled in the country to receive migrants rescued at sea. Through the provision of humanitarian assistance such as accommodation, first aid and referrals to health centers, the distribution of hygiene kits and clothing,

In this regard, Zakaria Darboe, GID supervisor in Tanji center, states: “Before this project we did not even have a place to house migrants, there is an open space that was not comfortable before, but with the intervention of The Red Cross shelter is now available. Food was also always a problem … when the migrants arrived they are hungry and tired; before we had no help to offer, but now with the Red Cross the situation is under control, there is always food, shelter, medical assistance, counseling … we appreciate it very much. Migrants also appreciate it, they are provided with everything they need. “

Zakaria Darboe (GID supervisor), Musa Baldeh (West Coast Region project focal point) and Bubacarr Singhateh (project coordinator)

Humanitarian assistance is regulated through a protocol signed in March 2021 with the GID, to ensure that the Gambian Red Cross provides assistance and protection to migrants who may have these needs, true to its principles, in complete neutrality, without get involved in matters related to legal migration. . The boat departure season is expected to begin shortly and the needs in central Tanji will increase considerably. The optimal conditions for the Atlantic migration route range from June to September, and according to the GID, the number of migrants who embark on a boat trip is beginning to be considerable, so the situation they expect is that the number of assistances will increase. migrants due to the socioeconomic impact of Covid-19 in The Gambia.

 “We expect the trends to be greater. The season in which the greatest number of people migrate is just around the corner, summer begins and it is the time of year when they are preparing their migratory route ”. “After the end of Ramadan, the migration season will begin effectively and it is expected that a greater number of people will migrate this time, due to the obstacles that Covid-19 has brought, so we all have to be prepared.” 

As a complement to humanitarian assistance, a capacity building program on migration-related issues has also been launched within the project to strengthen the capacities of Red Cross staff and volunteers and local authorities and institutions. to contribute to the protection of migrants and the fulfillment of their rights in The Gambia.

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