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For Migrants, Death due to Dehydration, Starvation,Sexual Attacks has become rampant in North Africa

The Geneva-based organization reports at least 120,000 migrants have passed through Niger this year on their way to Europe

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USAIM provides funding and support for IOM projects worldwide. Image source: www.usaim.org
  • IOM said, this year in 2016, actual number of deaths is way higher than 471
  • Starvation, dehydration and extreme heat waves in the Sahara desert are the primary causes for death
  • Smugglers lie to the migrants about the way to safety, then often abandon them after receiving money

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that discovering of 34 dead migrants in the Sahara this week brings the number of known migrant deaths on the African continent this year to 471.

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Migrants in Africa blindly follow smugglers. Image courtesy: dw.com

IOM believes these deaths may be only a small percentage of the true number of migrant fatalities across North Africa.

The Geneva-based organization reports at least 120,000 migrants have passed through Niger this year on their way to Europe. Yet, the only deaths recorded by IOM in Niger are the 34 victims who died after being abandoned by their smuggler this week.

The agency said many more people have died from exposure, starvation or dehydration in the vast Sahara Desert.

It said there also is an alarming trend of violent deaths for migrants in North Africa. IOM spokesman Joel Millman told VOA that sexual attacks have been responsible for dozens of deaths.

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“This indicates terrible abuse of people en route, whether this is just armed men taking advantage of these people or it is part of sex trafficking,” he said. “I do not really have the details of that. We do know of literally hundreds of women from Nigeria have been forced into prostitution in Libya after being told they did not have enough money to make the trip up from Nigeria to the coast.”

Millman said smugglers often mislead people by telling them the border is only five kilometers away. After taking their money, they leave the migrants to wander, often with fatal consequences.

“We also hear about vehicles that run out of gas or become disabled in the high temperatures,” he said. “While waiting for relief, people die of dehydration. That is very common on that route.”

IOM began its Missing Migrants Project almost 18 months ago. In that time, it has recorded deaths for 678 migrants traveling in Africa, with 70 of those deaths occurring just in the past two weeks.

-prepared by Saurabh Bodas (with inputs from VOA), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter Handle: @saurabhbodas96

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Commute to Work by Walking, Cycling Instead of Car to Reduce Early Death Risk

Driving to work may increase risk of early death

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Cycling your way to work may reduce risk of early death. Pixabay

People who walk, cycle and travel by train to work are at reduced risk of early death or illness compared with those who commute by car, according to a new study.

For the findings, published in the journal The Lancet Planetary Health, the researchers conducted a study on more than 300,000 commuters in England and Wales. They used census data to track the same people for up to 25 years, between 1991-2016. The researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge in the UK, suggest increased walking and cycling post-lockdown may reduce deaths from heart disease and cancer.

“As large numbers of people begin to return to work as the COVID-19 lockdown eases, it is a good time for everyone to rethink their transport choices,” said study researcher Dr Richard Patterson from the University of Cambridge.

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People travel by train to work are at reduced risk of early death or illness. Pixabay

The research team found that compared with those who drove, those who cycled to work had a 20 per cent reduced rate of early death, 24 per cent reduced rate of death from cardiovascular disease during the study period, a 16 per cent reduced rate of death from cancer, and an 11 per cent reduced rate of a cancer diagnosis.

Walking to work was associated with a seven per cent reduced rate in cancer diagnosis, compared to driving. The team explain that associations between walking and other outcomes, such as rates of death from cancer and heart disease, were less certain.

One potential reason for this is people who walk to work are, on average, in less affluent occupations than people who drive to work, and more likely to have underlying health conditions which could not be fully accounted for.

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The study shows that those who drove had a 20 per cent increased rate of early death compared to those who cycled to work. Pixabay

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The research also revealed that compared with those who drove to work, rail commuters had a 10 per cent reduced rate of early death, a 20 per cent reduced rate of death from cardiovascular disease, and a 12 per cent reduced rate of cancer diagnosis.

This is likely due to them walking or cycling to transit points, although rail commuters also tend to be more affluent and less likely to have other underlying conditions.”With severe and prolonged limits in public transport capacity likely, switching to private car use would be disastrous for our health and the environment,” Patterson said.”Encouraging more people to walk and cycle will help limit the longer-term consequences of the pandemic,” Patterson wrote. (IANS)

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Workplace Stress Can Increase Likelihood of Death: Study

The study, which was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology tells that workload can increase the risk of death

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A recent study shows that demanding jobs can lead to depression and death. Pixabay

Researchers have revealed that stress, lack of autonomy and ability at the workplace or due to the demanding jobs can lead to depression and death.

The study, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, found that our mental health and mortality have a strong correlation with the amount of autonomy we have at our job, our workload and job demands, and our cognitive ability to deal with those demands.

“When job demands are greater than the control afforded by the job or an individual’s ability to deal with those demands, there is a deterioration of their mental health and, accordingly, an increased likelihood of death,” said study lead author Erik Gonzalez-Mule from Indiana University in the US.

For the findings, the researchers used data from 3,148 Wisconsin residents who participated in the nationally representative, longitudinal Midlife in the US survey. Of those in their sample, 211 participants died during the 20-year study.

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Time pressure or workload affect mental and physical health and, ultimately, death. Pixabay

They examined how job control — or the amount of autonomy employees have at work — and cognitive ability — or people’s ability to learn and solve problems — influence how work stressors such as time pressure or workload affect mental and physical health and, ultimately, death.

“We found that work stressors are more likely to cause depression and death as a result of jobs in which workers have little control or for people with lower cognitive ability,” Gonzalez-Mule said.

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On the other hand, the research team also found that job demands resulted in better physical health and lower likelihood of death when paired with more control of work responsibilities.

“COVID-19 might be causing more mental health issues, so it’s particularly important that work not exacerbate those problems,” Gonzalez-Mule said.

“This includes managing and perhaps reducing employee demands, being aware of employees’ cognitive capability to handle demands and providing employees with autonomy are even more important than before the pandemic began,” he noted. (IANS)

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Afghan Refugees in Pakistan Terribly Neglected In COVID lockdown

COVID Lockdown leaves Afghan Refugees in Pakistan neglected and in despair

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Afghan Refugees in Pakistan Suffer under Coronavirus Lockdown as kids are seem playing outside a refugee camp. VOA
By Ayesha Tanzeem

Nearly 2.5 million Afghans live in Pakistan as either registered or undocumented refugees. Their lives have been upended by the coronavirus lockdown, but they seem to be getting little attention. Even though this might not hold much relevance in international news amid the COVID crisis, the lives of the refugees are in a terrible state.

This Afghan refugee settlement in Islamabad doesn’t have electricity or other basic facilities.

Most people here depend on day work for their living.  As the novel coronavirus spread and the country went into a partial lockdown, their livelihoods were nearly destroyed.

“These people hardly made $3-4 per day. Some of them picked up paper from the streets or trash for recycling, some worked as motorcycle mechanics. All of them are now sitting at home,” said Abdul Hameed, Afghan Refugee Representative.

An estimated 800 families, or around 5,000 individuals, live in this settlement. Many of them work at the nearby vegetable market.

“Ever since the coronavirus has spread, the authorities don’t allow us to gather inside the market. We wait along the roadside all day long, but no one gives us work,” said Abdul Khaliq, a day worker.

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Afghan refugees’s lives have been upended by the coronavirus lockdown. Pixabay

On Tuesday, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees announced a cash assistance program for some of them. A two-month delay in making the aid available was blamed on a lack of resources.

“We realized that we would need money that we did not have. We had to go very quickly to donors to explain the level of intervention that we wanted to do. We needed to get confident that the donors were going to support that,” said Iain Hall, Deputy Representative of UNHCR Pakistan.

The U.N. agency acknowledges that the money, while helpful, is not enough to help everyone in need. In addition, half of the nearly three million Afghans living in Pakistan don’t have official refugee status and do not fall under the agency’s mandate.

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Meanwhile, in this Islamabad settlement, people have no option but to wait. (VOA)