Expatica news

Help wanted for victims of xenophobic attacks in South Africa

28 May 2008

GENEVA – The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) appealed for USD 350,000 Tuesday to help thousands of migrants trying to flee South Africa as a result of xenophobic attacks.

The organisation said in a statement issued in Geneva it was assessing the numbers and needs of people who needed help to return home.

"IOM has been contacted directly by hundreds of people urgently requesting such assistance," said Liselott Verduijn of IOM in Pretoria.

The money would provide non-food assistance for several thousand people who have fled the violence that has left at least 56 people dead and hundreds injured. It would also help provide return and reintegration support for around 500 people.

Xenophobic attacks on migrants from other parts of Africa, which began in Johannesburg’s Alexandra township two weeks ago, have, according to government figures, now left 35,000 displaced people taking refuge in 48 sites across the country.

The South African authorities reported that more than 20,000 Mozambicans had fled home in buses chartered by their governments. The Red Cross claims 25,000 Zimbabweans had returned to their country.

The IOM said many thousands were in need of urgent humanitarian help and were living without food, shelter or money.

[dpa / Expatica]