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Nigeria, Togo, Mali, Ghana Migrants Rescued In Sahara Desert1 minute read

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The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says it rescued over 80 African migrants from the Sahara Desert after they were abandoned by their drivers.

According to the United Nations’ migration agency, the migrants were discovered ‘by chance’ on September 3rd, 2020. The agency said they had been robbed and left to die by the people they paid to smuggle them into Libya.

The migrants – said to be from Nigeria, Togo, Mali and Ghana – were left without food and water after drivers abandoned them near the Sahara crossroad town of Niger’s Dirkou.

Three days later, an IOM rescue team found the group, which included children, by chance on Sept. 3. Many were dehydrated, injured and in need of immediate medical assistance.

An IOM spokesperson, Paul Dillon, said it was not unusual for smugglers, who tend to take payment upfront from people desperate to reach Europe, to abandon their passengers if they fear they will be intercepted.

“Sometimes smugglers return without their passengers. It’s not a rare event,” he said.

“They know the consequences of leaving people stranded in the desert. It’s very troubling this disregard for human life.”

Since 2016, IOM has helped rescue over 20,000 migrants from the Sahara desert – one of the most perilous parts of the journey for West Africans risking their lives to seek jobs in Europe.

The rescue teams have helped 321 people so far this year, excluding the latest group.

But sometimes they just find remains.

“Past SAR operations have recovered bodies buried in the sand,” Dillon said, referring to joint operations with Niger authorities.

“It’s a vast space and there are many, many routes north and we don’t have resources for patrols,” he added.

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COVID-19: Ethiopia’s Private Schools Struggle To Pay Teachers’ Salary

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Private schools in Ethiopia can no longer pay the salaries of their teachers as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic bites harder.

The Private Schools Association (PSA) in the country says parents have stopped paying school fees due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Ethiopian Private Schools President, Abera Tassew, added that as a result, teachers are suffering and looking for other alternatives to make ends meet.

He said almost all schools will not be able to pay their teachers unless a solution is found for the next school year, adding that some schools have paid half of their salaries since July.

He said parents should compromise to pay school fees to stop the disbandment of teachers for the next generation.

“Every parent or guardian should work together to overcome this problem,” he said.

Abera added that the association is holding talks with the Ministry of Education and the National Bank to provide loan and to ensure that the problem does not worsen and that the fate of teachers and schools is not in jeopardy.

He further noted that the problem is time-consuming and teachers are in serious danger. Calling on all stakeholders to work together for a solution, he reminded the schools to at least pay the teachers’ salaries without interruption.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Will Not Be Available Until 2021 – Nigeria’s Health Minister

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The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has again cautioned Nigerians against non-adherence to COVID-19 recommended measures, as this could lead to spike as being experienced in some parts of the world.

According to the Honourable Minister, “It is important to remind ourselves that COVID-19 is real and spreading wildly in some parts of the world as we speak. Some countries are experiencing the so-called second wave, with all the complications that go along with this easily spreading disease; another country is to go under lockdown again. This is something Nigeria must endeavour to avoid.”

Dr. Ehanire gave this caution during the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Press Briefing in Abuja on Thursday, 17th September, 2020, where he appealed to Nigerians to comply with the recommended protocols for reducing the spread of the virus in the country as vaccine will not be available until next year.

“Compliance with all recommended measures, like wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding gatherings etc. will go a long way to help. Vaccines will not be available till next year at best, and no new reliable therapeutic has been confirmed, but we must restart businesses, including travel, to allow citizens to earn their livelihoods”, he said.

It is important to remind ourselves that COVID-19 is real and spreading wildly in some parts of the world as we speak.

The Minister reported that, as at 17th September 2020, the country has so far recorded a total of 56,604 COVID-19 positive cases out of a total of 482,321 samples tested, with 47,872 persons treated and discharged, while 1091 persons were sadly lost to the disease.

Speaking further, Dr. Ehanire appealed to people who tested positive to COVID-19 especially the elderly and those with underlying health conditions to immediately report to a treatment facility, as it has been observed that most fatalities are among those reporting late for treatment, when their clinical condition has worsened. He added that there are enough facilities across the country to cater for them. “There is no shortage of beds reported from any of the States”, he said.

The Honourable Minister also informed of Federal Government’s plan to distribute oxygen concentrators and ventilators to various health institutions across the country, to enable them provide oxygen therapy to persons presenting with respiratory distress, till they are referred to treatment centres; thus improving their chances of survival. He added that the Federal Government is working with State Government officials to sustain sample collections and response activities, with emphasis on surveillance and treatment, in order to drive containment.

Further, Dr. Ehanire reported that Nigeria on Thursday, 17th September, 2020 joined the rest of the world to commemorate the World “Patient Safety Day”, a day set aside by the World Health Assembly, to recognise and highlight the safety of patients under treatment, as a global health priority. The theme for this year, he said was, “Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety”, with the slogan of “Safe health workers, safe patients.”

The Minister pointed out that although we are confronted with the global pandemic, “The heroic role of frontline healthcare workers to keep the rest of us safe must be recognized. They work odd hours, endure stigma, risk infection and even their lives.”

While commending the efforts of the health care workers, Dr. Ehanire again appealed to the striking members of Joint Health Sector Union to put the plight, safety and well-being of their patients into consideration and to call off their industrial actions, while differences are being addressed by negotiation.

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Kenya’s Cargo Plane Crashes Into Fence At Mogadishu Airport

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A Kenya-flagged aircraft on Saturday crashlanded at the Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu, Somalia.

The twin-engine Fokker aircraft, which was carrying cargo to Somalia, slid off the runway and rammed into a concrete fence after landing at Mogadishu airport.

The turboprop plane was severely damaged in the impact. It is reported to have belonged to Kenya’s Silverstone Air.

“Kenyan registered plane 5YMHT, Fokker 50, slid off the runway at Mogadishu Aden Adde Airport this morning. No fatalities co-pilot slightly injured and captain was stuck in the cockpit for a while. Silverstone air services doing domestic flights within Somalia,” a Twitter user said on the microblogging platform.

It is not immediately clear what could have caused the incident.

The authorities have dispatched rescue crews to deal with the incident.

Conflicting reports say four to five people were evacuated from the plane. No casualties have been reported so far, although some crew members were injured.

The Aden Adde airport is home to foreign diplomatic missions and is a gateway for humanitarian shipments delivered to Somalia.

The East African nation is still reeling from three decades of hostilities and relies heavily on international aid.

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