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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
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  • 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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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Deaths in Africa has been increasing. Awareness should be created in the African people so that they know what are the after effects of trusting a smuggler.

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Cigars, Pipes Tied To Same Risks As Cigarettes

Traditionally, doctors have asked just whether people smoked cigarettes, but they should instead be questioning patients more broadly about tobacco use

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E-cigarettes
E-cigarettes is considered to be safer than tobacco cigarettes. Pixabay
  • Cigarettes are not the only tobacco products which can cause death
  • Other tobacco products like cigars and pipes are just harmful
  • All these tobacco products can cause cancer

Cigarettes are not the only type of tobacco products that can lead to premature death or fatalities from smoking-related cancers, a U.S. study confirms.

While people who exclusively smoke cigarettes have twice the risk of premature death from all causes compared to people who avoid tobacco altogether, exclusive cigar smokers have a 20 percent higher risk of early death, researchers report in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Cigarettes are not the only harmful tobacco products available in the market. Pixabay
Cigarettes are not the only harmful tobacco products available in the market. Pixabay

When it comes to fatalities from specific cancers that have been tied to tobacco use, cigarette smokers have four times the risk of people who never used tobacco, but cigar smokers are 61 percent more likely to die of these cancers and pipe users have 58 percent higher odds.

“We knew exclusive users of cigars and pipes were at greater risk of disease than people who do not use tobacco,” said lead study author Carol Christensen of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products. “However, this study provides information that reflects today’s patterns of tobacco use.”

Also Read: Banning E-Cigarettes Deprives Indian Smokers of a Less Harmful Alternative: Experts

These data “underscore the importance of complete quitting,” Christensen said by email.

For the study, researchers examined nationally representative survey data, collected starting in 1985, from 357,420 participants who were followed through 2011.

Overall, 203,071 people, or about 57 percent, never used tobacco at all. Another 57,251 participants were current daily cigarette smokers, while 9,414 said they had a less frequent habit and 77,773 were former cigarette smokers.

In addition, 531 people were current daily cigar smokers, while 608 individuals used cigars less frequently and 2,398 had quit.

For pipes, 1,099 participants had a current daily habit, while 78 people used pipes less often and 5,237 had quit.

Pipes, hookahs and all other tobacco products are just as harmful as a cigarette. post-gazette.com
Pipes, hookahs and all other tobacco products are just as harmful as a cigarette. post-gazette.com

During the study period, 51,150 people died of all causes.

With a daily cigarette, cigar or pipe habit, people had an elevated risk of death from tobacco-related cancers including malignancies of the bladder, oesophagus, larynx, lung, mouth and throat, and pancreas.

Nondaily users

Even with a nondaily cigarette habit, people were more than six times more likely to die of lung cancer than individuals who never used tobacco. They also had more than seven times the risk of dying from a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, more than four times the odds of death from oral cancers, and 43 percent higher odds of death from a circulatory system disorder.

Current cigar smokers had more than three times the odds of dying of lung cancer, and for current pipe smokers, the risk was 51 percent higher, compared with never-smokers.

The results were limited, however, by the relatively small numbers of cigar and pipe smokers in the sample, the authors noted.

Cigarettes, hookah, pipes, cigars all are equally harmful.
Cigarettes, hookah, pipes, cigars all are equally harmful.

Another limitation was that survey questions about tobacco use changed over time and didn’t determine how often nondaily smokers might have used cigarettes, cigars or pipes.

Even so, the results suggest that doctors may need to broaden how they discuss smoking with patients to make sure people understand they’re at risk even when they don’t have a daily habit, said Dr. Michael Ong of the University of California-Los Angeles and VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.

Also Read:  Beware! Vapor smoke from E-cigarettes are just as harmful, says a new research

“Patients often do not associate the occasional use of cigar or pipes with health risks, but this study shows that current, particularly daily, cigar use is associated with increased overall risk of death,” Ong, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

Doctors also need to broaden their message about smoking and cigarettes to include other tobacco products that are becoming more popular, said Judith Prochaska, a researcher at Stanford University in California who wasn’t involved in the study.

e-cigarettes
Smoking e-cigarettes are not a healthier alternative to smoking. cigarettes Pixabay

Traditionally, doctors have asked just whether people smoked cigarettes, but they should instead be questioning patients more broadly about tobacco use, Prochaska said by email.

“The tobacco landscape has been changing dramatically,” Prochaska added. “While cigarettes remain the primary tobacco product used, cigars, smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes, hookah, and even pipe tobacco have seen gains in use, while cigarette use in the U.S. has been declining.” VOA