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Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, IOM Launch Research on Social Impacts of Logging on Women and Girls in Solomon Islands

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/17/2019 - 11:09

Honiara – Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs [MWYCFA] Minister Freda Belinda Adeline Tuki today launched a research report: “Community Health and Mobility in the Pacific: Solomon Islands Case study.”  

The research, commissioned by MWYCFA and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), examines how logging operations and related mobility dynamics, combined with pre-existing localized factors, creates particular risks for women and girls in relation to human trafficking, sexual exploitation and forced marriage.

These dynamics, combined with limited industry accountability and few formal protective policies, as well as restricted access to service provision and protective services in parts of the Solomon Islands, leads to an environment where the drivers of vulnerability can go unchecked.

“This report and its recommendations will be used to inform policies and programmes that will be implemented to improve the situation for women and children in this country, particularly those impacted negatively by logging operations. MWYCFA will work with all stakeholders, communities, chiefs, representatives of organizations supporting women and girls, and the whole Government of Solomon Islands, to respond to the findings of this report,” said Ms Tuki.

One finding of the report, which was funded as part of a USD 300,000 regional project supported by the IOM Development Fund, is that community members are still reluctant to report forms of gender-based violence such as forced marriage and human trafficking to the police. “A key area for partnership can be working together to address potential barriers to reporting these crimes,” the Minister added.

IOM is also implementing a related project to increase community awareness of human trafficking and gender-based violence in Solomon Islands through a EUR 600,000 project:“Protecting the Rights of Women and Children, Particularly Girls, in Migration-Affected Communities.” The project, which has a particular focus on communities affected by logging and extractive industries, is supported by the European Union and co-funded by the IOM Development Fund.

For more information please contact Angelica Neville at IOM Honiara. Email:, Telephone: +677 22536.

Language English Posted: Friday, May 17, 2019 - 16:07Image: Region-Country: Solomon IslandsThemes: Migration and YouthDefault: Multimedia: 

Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs Minister Freda Belinda Adeline Tuki. Photo: IOM

IOM project manager summarizes the findings of the research. Photo: IOM

IOM and the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs launch the research report “Community Health and Mobility in the Pacific: Solomon Islands Case Study" in Honiara. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Indonesian Vice-President Mark 40-Year Collaboration

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:50

The International Organization for Migration marked its 40-year-long collaboration with the Government of Indonesia during a meeting Thursday with Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla. 

“It was a sincere pleasure to be able to extend my personal appreciation to Vice President Kalla for the partnership that has been forged since we were first invited to work in Indonesia in 1979 in response to the Indo-Chinese refugee crisis,” IOM Director General António Vitorino said.    

“We look forward to strengthening this enduring relationship in the years to come.”   

During the meeting at IOM’s Geneva headquarters, the Vice-President expressed his gratitude for IOM’s extensive emergency and reconstruction work in the wake of the 2004 Asian Tsunami and its support to ethnic Rohingya refugees arriving by boat in the sprawling archipelagic nation of 260 million people.   

“Indonesia remains one of our largest missions with more than 300 staff working closely with our government partners to assist migrants around the country. We are also collaborating on a wide range of other issues including combating the scourge of human trafficking and supporting the government’s response to natural disasters,” DG Vitorino added.   

For further information, please contact Paul Dillon, IOM Geneva. Tel.:  +41 22 717 94 31, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, May 17, 2019 - 16:49Image: Region-Country: IndonesiaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Director General António Vitorino (right) welcomes Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla and Puan Maharani, the Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister, to IOM’s Geneva headquarters on Thurday. IOM, then known as the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration, began operations in Indonesia in mid-1979.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Skyscraper-depth Well Brings Clean Water to Rohingya Refugees

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:49

Cox’s Bazar – Under clear 36-degree Celsius skies, an exhausted Rafiq leans against his house, surrounded by his five children. Glancing upwards, he ponders another sweltering walk down a steep dirt path to haul clean water for his family. A pump just nearby provides water whose drinkability he views as “unreliable” and requires an arduous hillside trek. Sterilizing water by boiling also is difficult because firewood is hard to come by. 

Despite high wet-season rainfalls and abundant pump stations, getting clean water in Cox’s Bazar is a challenge for many Rohingya refugees. Nearly a million are crammed into the world’s most densely-packed settlement just miles from Bangladesh’s border with Myanmar. In theory, well water is abundant near the surface, but human contaminants can make it undrinkable. In fact, water to be carried to settlements. The duty of collecting and carrying generally falls to women. 

“It isn’t clear how the large influx of people has affected the ground water,” says Alessandro Petrone – Programme Manager at IOM’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) team made up of engineers tasked with providing safe water to Rohingya refugees. Conventional lever pumps can only operate up to seven meters depth and digging deeper is only viable if it yields large volumes of water. 

IOM and partner Japan International Development Agency (JICA) confronted this challenge by digging one of the area’s deepest underground shafts. At over three football fields in depth, the recently completed well will spew clean water from safer depths. The well was a heavy engineering project requiring a massive 20-tonne drill shipped from abroad. It is located in Camp 12, which is just miles from the Myanmar border. 

The drilling pushed under an initial 100 meters or so of potentially contaminated water, and then into a web of aquifers – subterranean pools trapped for thousands of years untouched by surface contaminants.  

Because aquifers are sandwiched between impermeable rock, some are highly pressurised and others pressure-neutral. The WASH team used sensors to analyse pressure at different aquifers to determine locations where water could be forced into the well pipe. They then installed ‘screens’, or holes at the defined locations to allow free flow. Now complete, the well pipe taps more than a dozen aquifer hits on its nearly half-mile journey. 

But bringing water up to the surface requires tremendous energy – an expensive proposition in an area as isolated as Kutupalong. IOM installed 187 solar panels, generating 61kW to fully capitalise on the tremendous green energy potential and fuel a powerful pump to suck water to the surface. 

Solar energy also powers an automated chlorination plant to ensure shelf life. Six 95,000-litre storage tanks allow for gravity-fed distribution to inhabitants. When it comes online in late May, about 30,000 people will benefit from the 500 cubic meters of clean water pumped from deep in the earth’s crust. 

“One small hand pump can deliver water for 250 people, so this is like having 120 pumps. It is also a centralised system that offers complete reliability in chlorination. You don’t need to station people at each pump to provide chlorine,” said Petrone. Technicians regularly test water quality to ensure residual chlorine measures 0.2-0.5 mg per litre. 

Petrone has overseen projects in Latin America, Lebanon and Somalia, but says that the well tapping Tipam Sandstone Aquifer is his biggest yet. “This is the largest in terms of litres per hour, length of pipes, solar power installed, number of panels, and water storage. The size of the hole is huge – it’s the size of a skyscraper when you think about it. And with the solar panels – there’s no electricity bill!” 

After the project comes online in a few weeks, IOM will work with Dhaka University to chart the area’s geology with a view to better support managing the Tipam Sandstone Aquifer. An open source, online map has already been produced to help with future research, monitoring and rationalization of the available resources to the Rohingya but also to the host communities of the area. 

For Rafiq, the timing of the new well couldn’t be better. “Monsoon season has nearly arrived and it’s almost impossible to get up the muddy slope with water when it’s wet,” he says. 

For more information please contact George McLeod at IOM Cox’s Bazar, Tel: +880 18 7071 8078, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, May 17, 2019 - 16:47Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Rohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Rohingya refugees at a shallow well in Cox’s Bazar.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Impact of Cyclone Kenneth Continues to Affect Northern Mozambique: IOM

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:47

Ibo Island, Cabo Delgado — Three weeks after Cyclone Kenneth made landfall in northern Mozambique, over 300,000 people continue to need humanitarian assistance in the coastal provinces of Cabo Delgado and Nampula. An estimated 45,000 houses have been damaged, many totally destroyed and more than 1,400 houses remain flooded, according to the Government of Mozambique. 

“This was our house,” said Regina, gesturing towards a pile of rubble and a few walls partially standing. She sits on their one remaining chair, with the youngest of her five children in her lap, outside their temporary shelter made of metal roof panels.    

Regina is one of over 300 vulnerable families who have thus far received support from shelter teams, organized by IOM and Instituto Oikos, an NGO based on Ibo Island, to install tarps on their damaged homes and temporary shelters.   

“Really, I am not well. I have no hope to have a house tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. We did not have many belongings, but the things that I had of value – our home and beds were all destroyed in the cyclone,” she explained.   

Regina keeps her cooking utensils at a neighbour’s house, to ensure they are not stolen. Her temporary accommodation does not have a door.   

“No one can help the others, as we all lost our homes,” said her neighbour, Rute. “In the cyclone the wind was very strong. Everyone tried to save themselves. We fled with our children in our arms.  It was not a wind in which children could be left to walk alone.”   

Four shelter teams continue to move through the island, assisting in total more than 40 families per day; 1,000 families are slated to receive assistance. Click here for a visual story about tarp distribution in Ibo Island.  

“Destruction in the hardest hit areas is astounding; homes, schools, hospitals and community buildings are all damaged – leaving affected populations with few resources and in need of comprehensive humanitarian assistance,” said IOM Mozambique Chief of Mission Katharina Schnoering.  

“We are working closely together with the Government of Mozambique’s Disaster Management Agency (INGC), to urgently assist the largest number of families possible, especially those who have lost their homes and are without shelter. The scale of the crisis requires that all humanitarian partners come together to provide support,” she added.   

IOM is today conducting a distribution in cooperation with UNICEF, including tarps, water purification drops and soap for nearly 300 families in the heavily affected Macomia district area of Mucojo. Materials are being delivered by helicopter because roads to the area are washed out and littered with fallen trees.  

IOM is responding to urgent shelter needs following Cyclone Kenneth through the incoming management of Non-Food Item (NFI) kits, and delivering to humanitarian partners, who are carrying out distributions. Thus far IOM has delivered over 7,000 plastic sheets to partners for distribution in Cabo Delgado (Macomia, Ibo Islands, and Quissinga) and Nampula (Erati and Memba) in order to respond to urgent shelter needs.    

Information on affected and displaced populations is challenging to obtain in the areas affected by Cyclone Kenneth, particularly as many communities are cut off from access, and communications and electricity have not yet been restored.  

IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), implemented in coordination with the INGC is carrying out site assessments in seven temporary accommodation sites in Cabo Delgado province. A total of 2,383 individuals were reported across the seven assessed sites.   

At all of the sites, damaged or destroyed houses were the primary factor preventing return to areas of origin; the remaining reasons were accessibility, inadequate living conditions and repeated affected by extreme events (floods, strong winds and landslides). The primary need reported in all sites was food, and the most reported secondary need was shelter, including construction materials, shelter or non-food items.   

IOM has a long-term presence in northern Mozambique, in support of government and local communities. Cabo Delgado is a key province for IOM, being part of a corridor where many migrants from the Horn of Africa transit en route to reach South Africa. 

For more information please contact IOM Mozambique: Katharina Schnoering, Email: or Sandra Black, Tel: +258 852 162 278, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, May 17, 2019 - 16:45Image: Region-Country: MozambiqueThemes: Migrant AssistanceMigration and Climate ChangeDefault: Multimedia: 

Children on Ibo Island in northern Mozambique, stand next to their newly reconstructed house while a shelter team installs a tarp on the roof. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Over 2,000 Frontline Professionals Receive Migrant Health Training across Europe

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:45

Brussels – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has wrapped up a first-of-its-kind training initiative on migration and health across Europe for more than 2,000 health professionals, law enforcement officers and social workers who work directly with migrants and refugees.    

Higher migrant arrivals to Europe and the subsequent need to strengthen the awareness, knowledge and skills of health professionals who work with migrants and refugees provided the impetus for the initiative. In response, IOM, together with national partners and stakeholders, and with European Union (EU) support, conducted 69 trainings in 21 countries between December 2018 and April 2019.  

The trainings across Europe aimed to improve the responsiveness of health services to migrants’ needs and tackle multiple aspects of migration health including individual health, recognizing and dealing with vulnerabilities, providing mental health support and highlighting the importance of intercultural skills. They also provided a venue to share good practices and experiences working in different national migration health contexts, and to build stronger networks among representatives with diverse professional backgrounds. 

The workshop-format trainings were provided in countries that are part of the European Commission’s “Third Health Programme”:  Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, and Spain. Professionals from the Czech Republic, Iceland, Ireland, Lithuania, Moldova, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK also participated.   

After a training in Krakow, Poland, one health professional said that the workshop was particularly valuable for doctors and nurses working in primary care facilities and hospitals. “The understanding and knowledge about different cultures and improving the competence in this field will definitely help me in my job. I hope there will be similar courses in the future,” he said.  

“I am positively surprised. I came with the expectation to be bored and not interested. I am very pleased and have gained an excellent impression,” said a police officer who received training in Karlovac, Croatia.   

“Training for migration health is essential for frontline workers,” said Dr. Dominik Zenner, IOM Senior Regional Migration Health Advisor in Brussels. “This rewarding action provided an opportunity to train so many, but we need to expand further, including to undergraduate and graduate teaching institutions.” 

The training programme was carried out through project Provision of training for first-line health professionals and law enforcement officers working at local level with migrants and refugees (TRAIN4M&H) was funded and supported by the European Commission (DG SANTE). The TRAIN4M&H project is undertaken as part of the EU Action Plan on the Integration of Third Country Nationals, coordinated by GIZ International Services in collaboration with IOM, the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), École des hautes études en santé publique (EHESP), the Institute of Public Health of the University of Porto (ISPUP), the Dipartimento di Sanità Pubblica e Malattie Infettive – Università Sapienza Roma and the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER). 

For more information please contact Ryan Schroeder Tel: +32 2 287 7116, Email:, or the Migration Health Division at IOM Regional Office in Brussels, Tel: +32 2 287 72 11/12/13/14, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, May 17, 2019 - 16:42Image: Region-Country: BelgiumThemes: Migration and healthDefault: Multimedia: 

Participants from all over Europe receiving training in migrant health. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mexico Moves Towards Ethical Recruitment of Migrant Workers

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:42

Mexico City – Mexico’s Ministry of Labour and Social Security (STPS) has expressed its interest and commitment to align its operations with the International Organization for Migration’s International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS), to improve the recruitment system in Mexico.  

This follows officials from the Ministry meeting with IOM this week (16/05) to discuss ethical recruitment in the country. 

IRIS is a social compliance system designed to promote international ethical recruitment for companies, governments and workers. The goal of IRIS is to transform the international recruitment industry so that it is fair to workers, recruiters and employers. Through IRIS, the STPS and its agencies, as well as recruitment agencies in Mexico, may adhere to the “employer pays” principle to encourage an ethical process throughout the recruitment, for the benefit of migrant workers and all actors involved. 

Unethical recruitment is a global phenomenon found in all economic and occupational sectors, most commonly linked with the recruitment of lower skilled workers where the prevailing business model is based on a “worker pays” modality. 

The exploitation of migrant workers, in many cases, begins in the recruitment phase and before the migration cycle, by job recruiters or unscrupulous employment agencies that charge excessive fees, provide false and misleading information about the job offer and exploit potential migrant workers through false promises and coercion. This exploitation is often discovered during labour inspection or workplace assessments in the countries of employment, when the damage has already been done and requires remediation by employers or governments. 

In Mexico, individuals in search of work use the services of irregular and abusive labour intermediaries who charge large amounts of money to procure them a job. Due to all these unfair practices, workers frequently incur in debts to pay the agent. Irregular intermediaries are in contact with unethical employers, who do not provide workers with dignified working conditions. Thus, workers can potentially become victims of abuse, exploitation and trafficking. 

As stated by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, it is necessary to disseminate, strengthen and improve the legal and organizational requirements of the recruitment agencies to make their operations more transparent. This poses challenges both for those businesses that are willing to comply with the requirements, and for the institutions that decide to support them. 

"There is a latent need to establish a process like IRIS and start it as soon as possible in Mexico to improve the recruitment processes in the country, promote them among the employment agencies as well as to provide greater protection to Mexican migrant workers,” said the Lic. Donaciano Domínguez Espinosa, Sub-Coordinator General of the National Employment Service. 

"IOM is very interested in being able to support the Government of Mexico in this effort, based on the actions that the STPS-SNE has already taken to improve and strengthen good international hiring and employment practices," said Christopher Gascón, Chief of IOM Mission in Mexico 

The consequences of exploitation and abuse in the international recruitment system leave many victims in the region. For this reason, different countries of Central America and the Caribbean are also interested in the development of a project such as IRIS, which promotes ethical recruitment where all the actors involved benefit from it. 

For more information, please contact Margarita Maura at IOM Mexico, Email:, or Michela Macchiavello at the IOM Regional Office in San Jose, Email:   

Language English Posted: Friday, May 17, 2019 - 16:34Image: Region-Country: MexicoThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Pre-departure orientation session for migrant workers. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 18,364 in 2019; Deaths Reach 508

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:42

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 18,364 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 15 May, approximately a 30 per cent decrease from the 26,016 arriving during the same period last year. Arrivals to both Spain and Greece account for almost 87 per cent of all arrivals, with the balance arriving this year in Italy, Malta and Cyprus.  

Arrivals to Greece are the highest of any destination this year, yet lower in 2019 than those at this time last year by about 10 per cent. Arrivals to Spain are higher at this point in the year than they were a year ago, although Spain’s rate of arrival for this year has fallen considerably since the surge of January and early February, from just over 85 persons per day during the first two months of 2019 to under 40 per day in April and May. 

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through 135 days of 2019 are at 508 individuals – or almost four-fifths of the 638 deaths confirmed during the same period in 2018 (see chart below).

Mediterranean Developments

IOM Spain 

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported on Thursday (15/05) that sea arrivals in the Western Mediterranean are now at 7,317 men, women and children through 08 May. While that is almost 2,000 more arrivals to Spain through this same time last year, the IOM office notes arrivals in the month of May are at just 601 through mid-month, or just one sixth of the nearly 3,600 arriving during May 2018 (see chart below).  

IOM Greece 

IOM Greece’s Christine Nikolaidou noted on Thursday (16/05) that from Friday (10/05) to date, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) reported at least fifteen incidents requiring search and rescue operation off the islands of Chios, Lesvos, Samos, Alexandroupoli, Farmakonisi, Symi and Kos. The HCG rescued a total of 539 migrants and transferred them to those respective ports.  

Those arrivals were among some 782 IOM recorded as arrivals to those islands – as well as to Ikaria and several smaller islands – between 09 May and 15 May, and which bring to 8,621 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year (see chart below). 

Missing Migrants Project 

2019 is the sixth year of IOM’s efforts to systematically record deaths on migration routes worldwide through its Missing Migrants Project. Since the beginning of 2014, the project has recorded the deaths of 31,910 individuals, including 953 in 2019 (see chart below). 

Due to the challenges of collecting information about these people and the contexts of their deaths, the true number of lives lost during migration is likely much higher. Missing Migrants Project records should only be viewed as indicative of the risks associated with migration, rather than representative of the true number of deaths across time or geography.  

In the past week on the Mediterranean, there have been two shipwrecks. On Friday, 10 May, a boat carrying 75 people from Libya capsized off the coast of Kerkennah, Tunisia. Only 16 people survived. Three bodies were recovered from the shipwreck: one man from Bangladesh, and two unidentified persons presumed to be from sub-Saharan Africa. The survivors reported that 46 Bangladeshis remain lost at sea, as are eight Moroccans and two Egyptians.  

In the Eastern Mediterranean, a smaller boat sank off the coast of Chekka, Lebanon while attempting to reach Cyprus. The three survivors, all from Syria, report that five of their countrymen remain missing.  

In the Western Mediterranean, a body was found near the El Palmar and Mangueta beaches in Spain last Thursday, though this is believed to be the person reported missing by 24 Northern Africans who were intercepted in the same area on the previous day. 

Two other shipwrecks claimed the lives of migrants in other regions of the world since the last update. On Tuesday (7 May), on a beach in Tinajo, Lanzarote, in the Spanish Canary Islands, the remains of a Moroccan man were found. He is presumed to have been traveling with a group of around one dozen migrants from Western Africa. He has yet to be identified.  

In Southeast Asia, a boat carrying Indonesian migrants capsized off the coast of the Malaysian Batam Islands, leaving one dead and three missing at sea.  

Since the last Missing Migrants Project update on 10 May, another five individuals lost their lives pursuing new lives in the United States. Most of the deceased came from Honduras and Guatemala.  

On Tuesday, two children lost their lives due to sickness and lack of access to medicine during their journey. A two-year-old Guatemalan boy died of pneumonia in an American hospital; he had been placed in emergency care immediately after he arrived in El Paso with his family. On that same day, a 12-year-old boy from Honduras died of intestinal problems in a hospital in Tlaxcala, Mexico.  

During the past week two men died on their journeys north through Mexico, killed on the notorious freight trains used by migrants – nicknamed la Bestia or "the Beast."  

One unidentified migrant died after being decapitated by la Bestia in Ramos Arizpe in the Mexican state of Coahuila on Monday (13 May). A 43-year-old Guatemalan man was killed the previous Saturday on the train tracks near Achotal in the state of Veracruz. Two fellow-travellers were severely mutilated after being struck by the same train. Another Guatemalan man was violently killed in Chiapas, Mexico on Wednesday, 8 May. 

To date, at least 267 people have lost their lives in the Americas in 2019, compared with 184 recorded through this point in 2018.    

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff based at its Global Migration Data Analysis Centre but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on migrants’ deaths and disappearances are collected, click here. For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, click here. Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project.  

See contacts here

Language English Posted: Friday, May 17, 2019 - 16:23Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mitigating Displacement Due to Climate Change, Disasters a Risk Reduction Priority, IOM says

PBN News Germany - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 15:25

Geneva – Climate change and disasters are driving more people to move than ever before, whether due to sudden onset disasters like the unprecedented cyclones that devastated Southern Africa earlier this year, or destructive long-term weather patterns causing drought. 

Last year alone more than 17 million people were displaced following disasters – accounting for 61 per cent of all internal displacements globally, according to Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, one of the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) partners. 

The Sixth Session of the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (GP 2019) in Geneva this week provides an opportunity for dialogue and knowledge sharing on strategies for disaster risk reduction (DRR) and building resilience globally. Participants also renewed their commitment to the implementation of the Sendai DRR Framework (2015-2030). 

The event, organized by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and hosted by the Government of Switzerland, convened more than 4,000 government officials, DRR practitioners, academics and representatives of UN agencies, NGOs and community groups. 

Under the theme ʺResilience Dividend: Towards Sustainable and Inclusive Societiesʺ, IOM welcomes the attention given to disaster displacement at the GP 2019 through several dedicated working sessions and interventions, says Louis Hoffmann, IOM's Head of Transition and Recovery. 

 “We must all step up efforts to address disaster risk, including by preventing displacement, preparing and responding appropriately when it occurs, and by supporting sustainable solutions to displacement in the post-disaster phase,” Hoffmann told the GP 2019 on Thursday. 

He reaffirmed IOM’s commitment to enhance joint UN support for countries to meet their targets under the Sendai Framework and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  

“IOM remains committed to working with states and communities to strengthen resilience, while promoting the vital benefits and opportunities that mobility can bring, when safe and dignified, for those seeking a better life,” says Hoffmann. 

Since IOM launched its Strategic Workplan on DRR two years ago, the Organization has helped more than 70 countries prevent and mitigate the effects of disasters, training more than 6,400 government officials and providing direct assistance to 1.4 million people. 

In Bangladesh, Yemen, Rwanda, El Salvador, among other countries, IOM works to improve early warning systems, provide trainings on post-disaster recovery as well as support capacity building on climate change and migration. Following Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, IOM provided shelter to more than 85,000 survivors, and stands ready to help the government build back better in the recovery phase. 

As a member of the Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative (CADRI), IOM contributes its expertise to assessments in countries vulnerable to disaster displacement. It also advises states on how to maximize the positive contributions migrants make to promote resilience in their communities. 

The Organization supports other state-led initiatives, such as the Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC) Initiative and the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD), to further ensure the inclusion of displaced persons and migrants in DRR action. 

For additional information, please contact: Angela Wells, IOM Public Information Officer for the Department of Operations and Emergencies in Geneva, Tel: +41 7940 35365, Email: 

Language English Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2019 - 15:24Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Disaster Risk ReductionDefault: Multimedia: 

Women displaced from drought in Ethiopia receive emergency shelter from IOM. The Organization supports more than 70 countries to prevent and mitigate disaster displacement. Photo: Rikka Tupaz

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Growing Insecurity in Tripoli Endangers Displaced Civilians and Migrants as Armed Clashes Enter Second Month

PBN News Germany - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 10:38

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Tripoli and neighbouring areas. 

According to IOM Libya’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), there are now over 66,000 displaced individuals, approximately 13,310 families, from affected areas in Tripoli since the onset of the armed conflict on 4 April. The rapidly increasing displacement figures are worrying as fighting intensifies in the absence of a humanitarian ceasefire. DTM’s Emergency Event Tracking, activated on 05 April, is helping to identify instances of displacement, as well as consolidating and disseminating vital information IOM uses to plan the broader humanitarian community’s response. 

The situation is especially alarming for over 3,300 migrants, among them children and pregnant women. 

“While our teams on the ground continue to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to conflict-affected populations, we recognize that more needs to be done from all sides to ensure the safety of civilians,” said Othman Belbeisi, IOM Libya Chief of Mission. “We are worried about the dramatically deteriorating humanitarian situation in Tripoli and reiterate that there is an urgent need to end the detention of migrants in Libya and stop displacement.” 

On 10 May, a migrant boat departing Zwara, Libya capsized off the Tunisian coast, and 59 lives were lost. This brings the death toll in the Central Mediterranean Route to 316 so far this year, and 502 for all Mediterranean Sea routes. Since the beginning of the clashes, 871 migrants have been returned to Libya and placed in detention, bringing the total number of migrants repatriated to Libya to 2,813 this year. 

IOM is concerned about the return of migrants to an unsafe port and their placement in often overcrowded detention centres where conditions are not acceptable. While we provide health assistance, non-food items, emergency food assistance and Voluntary Humanitarian Return support to migrants wishing to return home, we reiterate that IOM cannot guarantee the protection of detained migrants and continues to call for an urgent end to detention.  

Despite security challenges, IOM emergency interventions continue, in 11 detention centres within and near Tripoli; in locations for internally displaced families, and across Libya. Since 4 April 1,402 migrants have returned to 19 countries of origin with support from IOM’s Voluntary Humanitarian Return programme.  

The joint Rapid Response Mechanism launched by IOM, UNFPA, WFP and UNICEF, has reached so far 18,210 individuals with much-needed core relief items. Moreover, 2,511 migrants and internally displaced persons have been provided with health assistance including 58 hospital referrals.  

IOM Tunisia reported that Friday’s tragedy began about 60 kilometers from Tunisian waters 7 May, when a vessel carrying 75 migrants, mainly Bangladeshi nationals, made an attempt to reach Europe. During the night of 9 May, Tunisian fishermen were able to rescue 16 people from the overcrowded craft. Tunisian naval units continue to seek information on the voyage; to date only three bodies have been rescued. One of those victims has been identified. 

Tunisian authorities took four survivors to Zarzis Hospital, where two remain in critical condition. Of the rescued, 14 are Bangladeshi (including two unaccompanied minors) one is Egyptian, one is Moroccan. Those not hospitalized have been hosted by the Tunisian Red Crescent. 

A second rescue took place on Saturday, 11 May. Tunisian fishermen rescued sixty-nine migrants, including Moroccans, Eritreans, Somalis, Bangladeshi and an Egyptian. Among them, were four women and at least 25 minors, including children aged three to seven years. 

Those 69 rescued migrants, since transferred to Sfax, are thought to have left Libya on 7 May, at the same time those on the shipwrecked boat departed.  

IOM teams mobilized to provide medical, psycho-social and food assistance to survivors. "It is essential to put in place efficient mechanisms to respond to humanitarian emergencies, not the least of which are attempts of irregular crossings on the Mediterranean," said Lorena Lando, Head of IOM mission to Tunisia. "We must act now and together," she added. 

From 9-12 May, the Tunisian coastguard and naval units conducted prevention operations that thwarted attempts at irregular crossings from Sfax, Sousse, Monastir, Bizerte and Tunis, with more than 100 migrants at the beginning of the season. 

The tragic death of 37 Bangladeshis in a boat sinking in the Mediterranean is the latest in a string of accidents involving migrant workers from the developing South Asian country. 

“It’s deplorable how migrants continue to die in the Mediterranean trying to make perilous journeys,” said IOM Bangladesh Chief of Mission Giorgi Gigauri. “Lack of knowledge on safe migration, violence in host countries and influence of middlemen are leading Bangladeshis to make risky migration choices. Stronger protections for migrants’ rights in both home and destination countries must be ensured.”  

Every year, thousands of Bangladeshis migrate in search of jobs and opportunities in the Middle East or Europe, making it one of the world’s top sources of migrant workers. Many cannot afford adequate airfare or visas and fall under the sway of migrant smugglers who arrange transport in exchange for bonded labour and other exploitative arrangements. Migrants on average end up paying USD 5,000-7,000 for their journeys.  As the recent disaster demonstrates, safety conditions on many of the smugglers’ crafts are substandard. 

The tragedy is rooted in poverty and limited economic opportunities at home, said Chissey Mueller, Programme Manager with IOM Cox’s Bazar’s Protection Unit. “When people don’t have the access or means for legal migration with visas, passports and plane fare – they often take risks,” she explained. 

Simply strengthening enforcement and border controls is not enough to stop the problem, said Mueller. “Continuous improvement of the underlying socioeconomic causes in Bangladesh as a whole, needs to be strengthened. Without that, as in many other countries, you will always have people from this country of 160 million willing to risk danger for opportunities abroad.” 

For more information, please contact: 

Safa Msehli, IOM Tripoli, Tel: +216 22 214 842, Email: 
George McLeod, IOM Bangladesh, Tel: + +880 18 7071 8078, Email: 
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Tel :  +216 28 78 78 05 (mobile) office: +216 71 860 312 EXT. 109  Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 - 16:35Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

The joint Rapid Response Mechanism launched by IOM, UNFPA, WFP and UNICEF, has reached so far 18,210 individuals with much-needed core relief items. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Health Services Expand in Bangladesh Refugee Camps, But Monsoon Rains Bring New Threats  

PBN News Germany - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 10:35

Cox’s Bazar – Dr. Samir Howlader remembers less than two years ago when most health services were delivered on foot or in rented ambulances to the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees streaming into Bangladesh from Myanmar. 

“There were effectively no facilities in August 2017 for the new arrivals,” he said, referring to the nearly one million Rohingyas who fled across the border to Cox’s Bazar. “Many of them had dysentery, diarrhea and respiratory tract infections. There were also burns, bullet wounds and other horrible injuries. It would have strained even an advanced health system.”   

The mobile medics also faced overwhelming logistical difficulties. There were five teams providing mobile services and five shuttling patients to facilities outside the camps. They had to carry their own medicines and often travelled on muddy trails in difficult conditions, according to Dr Howlader, an IOM National Health Programme Officer.  

Just eighteen months later, the situation on the ground has improved beyond recognition, according to IOM Emergency Health Coordinator Dr Francis Tabu.  Many of the bamboo clinics have been upgraded to pre-fabricated facilities and many more healthcare staff have been brought on board. 

IOM now has 45 doctors, 40 midwives, 31 nurses, as well as ambulance drivers and other ancillary staff working in both the camps and host communities. Over a million patients have received consultations at 11 IOM and nine IOM-supported government clinics since August 2017. Over 3,200 babies were successfully delivered in the first three months of this year. 

But with the monsoon expected to start within the next month, IOM doctors warn that healthcare in the camps is still inadequate to meet the needs of its residents. Every year the heavy rain and high winds bring waterborne diseases including acute diarrhea, upper and lower respiratory tract infections and tropical parasites. In 2018 many people were also injured by weather-related accidents and landslides.   

At a health workshop to take stock of achievements and plan for the challenges ahead last week in Cox’s Bazar, Dr Tabu told the IOM health team that better feedback from the refugees and local communities was essential if they were to “up their game and improve the quality of services.” “We need to encourage suggestions from patients and incentivize people to provide feedback to (IOM’s) Feedback and Information Centres,” he said. 

Click here for the latest Situation Report detailing IOM’s work in the Rohingya refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar. 

For more information please contact George McLeod at IOM Cox’s Bazar, Tel: +880 18 7071 8078, Email:   


Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 - 16:34Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

A Rohingya refugee and her baby are treated at IOM’s clinic in Leda, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: IOM/Muse Mohammed

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Joins Workshop Promoting Expertise in Search for Missing Migrants

PBN News Germany - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 10:34

Guatemala – The international workshop Clarifying the Fate and Whereabouts of Missing Migrants: Exchanging Information along Migratory Routes is taking place this week (15-16 May) in Antigua, Guatemala, organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team.  

“Much progress is needed to help families find out what has happened to their missing loved ones, and organizations must work together to do as much as possible to address this challenge,” said Frank Laczko, director of IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre, which runs the organization’s Missing Migrants Project. 

The workshop will bring together experts and representatives from governmental agencies and inter- and non-governmental organizations, as well as the families of missing migrants, from around the world. The aim of the event is to draw on current initiatives in Central America and other regions to develop common technical standards for collecting and exchanging data on missing migrants for humanitarian purposes. 

“Indeed, around the world, the families of tens of thousands of missing migrants are looking for answers,” noted Caroline Douilliez, Head of Project at ICRC. “Using the ICRC’s long-standing expertise in helping the missing and their loved ones, we want to strengthen collaboration among existing initiatives and improve international action on this tragic reality.”  

Learning when, where, how and how many migrants disappear can help illuminate what makes migration unsafe and who is most at risk. But this kind of information is currently scarce, a testament to how this issue and the people it most affects have been neglected. Coordinated data collection is key to tackling the complex challenge of searching for missing migrants along routes that often traverse not just countries but continents. 

The workshop is part of the ICRC’s Missing Persons Project, a four-year initiative to improve the worldwide response to people who have gone missing owing to armed conflict, internal violence, natural disasters and migration by creating a global community of practice and common technical standards. 

“Migration – and migrants going missing – is an everyday reality. We urgently need to create dynamic and efficient regional systems to search for the missing in a way that is both rapid and respectful of their dignity,” says Mercedes Doretti, coordinator of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team's Border Project, a network of governmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions that collects and exchanges data on the people who go missing along the Central America–Mexico–United States migrant corridor. 

For more information please contact: Julia Black, IOM Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC), Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: 


Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 - 16:32Image: Region-Country: GuatemalaThemes: Migration ResearchMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Japan-Funded Emergency Response in Niger

PBN News Germany - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 10:31

Tillabéry – The International Organization for Migration is launching an emergency response project in the Tillabéry region in Niger with funding from the Government of Japan. The effort is designed to last for nine months and aims to provide 1,000 emergency shelters and 1,000 Non-Food Item (NFI) kits to 14,500 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and other conflict-affected households along the Niger-Mali border. 

Funding for the project is USD 850,000. 

In coordination and cooperation with the Ministry of Humanitarian Action and Disaster Management, IOM also aims to improve the living conditions of the crisis-affected population through medical assistance.  

Since 2012, the Tillabéry region in Niger has been impacted by ongoing violence and insecurity in its neighbor, Mali. That has led to the displacement of some 49,000 people throughout Niger. 

To tackle the growing insecurity in the region, the Government of Niger declared in June 2018 a state of emergency in five departments of Tillabéry region; the inclusion of three other departments in December 2018 resulted in a total of eight departments operating under a state of emergency.  

The region’s state of emergency – coupled with ongoing military operations – increases local tensions. Last year, the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) recorded 97 security incidents in Tillabéry and the neighboring Tahoua region. Moreover, in the Tillabéry region from January to November 2018, a total of 377 protection incidents were reported, ranging from attacks to kidnappings. 

IOM has been present in Niger since 2006 and has been active in emergency responses since 2013, providing shelters and NFI kits. IOM Niger also facilitates, as co-lead together with the Ministry of Humanitarian Action and Disaster Management, the coordination of the Shelter and NFI Working Group.  

Most of the IDPs in the region are currently living in improvised shelters, close to villages or military barracks in the region. These are shelters improvised under very precarious conditions that lack basic items such as blankets, mosquito nets, mats or hygiene kits.  

IOM’s main activities in the region so far have focused on social cohesion and border management. Since 2016, IOM Niger also has been operating a sub-office in the Tillabéry region’s Baleyara district, as well as in Tillabéry City since 2018.  

Given the continued displacements in Tillabéry, international humanitarian aid is needed more than ever to address the ever-increasing needs of the vulnerable affected populations. 

“Empowering people to articulate and respond to their own needs and those of others is crucial,” said Peter Kioy, IOM’s Emergency Response Coordinator in Niger. “The proposed intervention has been developed such that, in addition to providing immediate assistance to the vulnerable affected population, to contribute to building beneficiaries’ resilience and reducing future risks,” Kioy added.  

The Protection Cluster estimates that in 2019, 195,000 persons will be in need of protection in both Tillabéry and Tahoua regions and that access to humanitarian assistance for the affected population will remain a challenge due to security risks and access, especially during the incoming rainy season. 

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac at IOM Niger, Tel: +227 8931 8764, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 - 16:28Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

10,000 Ghanaian Youth Learn about Pitfalls of Irregular Migration

PBN News Germany - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 10:27

Accra – Several years ago high school directors from Ghana’s Brong Ahafo and Ashanti regions began noticing that many of their students were dropping out before graduating. Their intent was to enter the job market, by risking the irregular journey across the Sahara and across the Mediterranean Sea in hopes of reaching Europe.  

Some were successful, but many were not – discovering that instead of lucrative employment, they faced terrible hardship, including death. 

Since May 2017, 1,003 Ghanaians have returned to their communities of origin with IOM support. About 35 per cent fall within the school age in the country (up to 26 years old). Among them, almost 60 per cent are from the Brong Ahafo, Ashanti and Greater Accra Regions, the highest regions of return in 2017 and 2018 according to a recent Assistance to Voluntary and Humanitarian Return report.  

Many return, eager to share their experience with their peers. These migrant voices can be a valuable teaching tool.  

Over the past two weeks some 10,000 high school students attended awareness-raising sessions on the dangers and alternatives to irregular migration organized on 29-30 April and 2-3 May 2019 by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the Bono and Ashanti regions.  

Ghanaian returnees were invited to share their journey to Libya with the students and described their migration experiences including inhumane treatment, the crossing of the desert, and the reality in the detention centres. 

“The journey through the Saharan Desert is dangerous. Your chances of survival are only 20 per cent. Do not make an attempt and regret later,” said Richard, a migrant returnee. 

Fruitful exchanges took place between students and Ghanaian returnees around their journey, and pictures and short videos were also displayed to illustrate the risky and dangerous migratory routes.  

Some students joined together voluntarily to form Migration Clubs that were established in six senior high schools. The goal of the clubs is to do peer-to-peer education on safe migration while also sensitizing the larger community using drama, poetry, quiz games and arts, among other means.  

“It is your role to tell others in your communities, houses or at any gatherings about the risks associated with irregular migration. People may not know, so you must inform them. Be the catalyst for community change,” declared Yeboah Collins, IOM Community Outreach Assistant. 

The awareness-raising activities were organized with the support of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) and implemented by IOM. So far, 79,000 individuals have been reached through radio programmes on the dangers and alternatives to irregular migration, 11,000 through awareness-raising sessions in schools and 8,000 through community-awareness activities. 

“This activity should be sustained, at least once a year targeting our final year students so that they will not fall prey into the hands of smugglers,” said Kyeremeh Thomas, Guidance Counselling Co-ordinator, Dormaa Senior High School. 

An impact assessment will be made to measure behavioural change and strengthen future awareness-raising campaigns in Ghana.  

For more information, please contact Collins Yeboah at IOM Ghana, Tel: +233208268289 Email: or visit the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa website

Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 - 16:24Image: Region-Country: GhanaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Awareness-raising session in a high school on the dangers and alternatives to irregular migration. Photo: IOM

Awareness-raising session in a high school on the dangers and alternatives to irregular migration. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Marks Two Decades in North Macedonia

PBN News Germany - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 10:24

Skopje – Streamlined migration management is key, IOM’s Regional Director stated at a highest-level event in the capital of the Republic of North Macedonia on Monday (13 May). 

Argentina Szabados made her remarks at a celebration to mark 20 years of the International Organization for Migration in the Republic of North Macedonia. The event was co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and attended by ministers, ambassadors, heads of UN agencies, diplomats, academia, donors and civil society representatives.  

“The Republic of North Macedonia is moving forward with the EU accession agenda, where streamlined migration management is an important condition within the justice, freedom and security sector,” she noted, adding that IOM’s close partnership with the Government over 20 years showed the commitment of the Republic of North Macedonia to being “a strong and important global player on migration management.” 

Szabados and Minister for Diaspora Edmond Ademi signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will establish a wide and effective cooperation with the country’s diaspora, firmly based on mutual interest and trust.  

“To be a migrant is not a crime,” declared Minister Ademi in his speech. “It is a call for greater commitment to human dignity.” 

He thanked IOM for its strong support during the creation of the first National Strategy for cooperation with the Diaspora. “IOM made a significant contribution by giving us expertise which significantly contributed to the quality of this document. We recognize in IOM a strong partner in the field of migration and the diaspora, and today, by signing this Memorandum of Understanding, we formalize it.” 

For IOM, Szabados said, “We applaud this policy approach of the Government which is in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals. It also conforms to the EU Development policy that stresses the importance of the nexus between migration and development to create conditions for migrants and diasporas to contribute to sustainable development.”  

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrej Zernovski reinforced the Government’s commitment to migration management based on human rights. “Human rights are central to us as a country, and we guarantee the protection of rights and freedoms for all, including migrants. We thank IOM and count on their inputs and support in the development of new strategic documents and action plans related to areas of migration aligned with EU Acquis.”  

For more information please contact Joe Lowry at the IOM Regional Office in Vienna, Tel: +43 660 3776404, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 - 16:18Image: Region-Country: North MacedoniaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Regional Director Argentina Szabados addresses an audience of ministers, UN officials, academia and IOM staff to commemorate the 20th anniversary of IOM in the Republic of North Macedonia. Photo: IOM

IOM Regional Director Argentina Szabados and Diaspora Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia Edmond Ademi sign an MoU at a function marking 20 years of IOM in the Republic of North Macedonia. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Nobel Peace Laureate Nadia Murad Addresses Paris Ceremony Launching New Humanitarian Admission Programme

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 12:48

Paris – 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nadia Murad, attended a ceremony today marking the signing of an agreement between the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and France to provide safe passage to the country for vulnerable groups from Iraq. Initiated by Murad and French President Emmanuel Macron in October 2018, the agreement will help to provide protection and admission to France for to up to 100 Yazidi women and their families as part of a Humanitarian Admission Programme. 

IOM teams in Iraq and France will support these families in their journey to France by providing health checks, pre-departure information, movement assistance, the provision of operational escorts and other forms of departure and arrival assistance.  Upon arrival in France, families will be referred to local NGOs providing social, medical and administrative support during the first year.    

The initiative is coordinated by the French Ministries of Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Interior, as well as Nadia’s Initiative, a foundation advocating for victims of sexual violence. It is funded by France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  

“This new initiative is the result of solidarity and the expression of an international responsibility-sharing mechanism for the protection of the most vulnerable,” said Sara Abbas, IOM France Head of Office.  

“The Humanitarian Admission Programme is based on a strong partnership between the French and Iraqi governments, international organizations and civil society organizations,” she continued.  

The overwhelming scale and complex nature of global displacement has drawn the international community’s focus to the need for safety and protection for forcibly displaced communities. 

Globally, Humanitarian Admission Programmes ensure safe, regular and sustainable migration. As a complementary pathway established by States, the programmes offer protection and solutions for particularly vulnerable groups. They are based on non-discriminatory and protection-sensitive approaches and complement already existing resettlement programmes.  

For more information, please contact IOM France, Sara Abbas at Tel: +33 (0)1 4044 0691, Email:   


Language English Posted: Friday, May 10, 2019 - 12:36Image: Region-Country: IraqThemes: migrants in vulnerable situationsDefault: Multimedia: 

2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nadia Murad, attended a ceremony today marking the signing of an agreement between the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and France to provide safe passage to the country for vulnerable groups from Iraq. Photo: IOM/2019

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Aid Workers Race to Prepare Bangladesh’s Rohingya Refugee Camps for Monsoon Wind, Rain

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 11:28

Cox’s Bazar – When Cyclone Fani – one of the most powerful Indian Ocean storms of the past decade – barrelled up the Bay of Bengal a week ago making landfall in northern India and western Bangladesh, it left 24 people dead, a trail of destruction and thousands displaced. Some 2.6 million people – a million in India and 1.6 million in Bangladesh – were evacuated from its path, potentially saving thousands of lives.   

Aid workers in Cox’s Bazar, the southern district of Bangladesh where nearly a million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar live in crowded makeshift camps constructed from bamboo and plastic sheet, breathed a sigh of relief. Fani passed north of the camps, dumping heavy rain and causing minor damage, but leaving the vulnerable refugees and local communities largely unscathed.     

But with further cyclones possible and the monsoon expected to bring the first heavy rains in June, IOM camp managers recognize the risks and the need to prepare for the worst. Preparations for Fani – which included the deployment of 200 IOM staff and 250 trained volunteers to help the refugees prepare for the storm, together with the distribution of over 90,000 “Tie Down Kits” consisting of ropes, wire and sandbags – were something of a “dress rehearsal” for future bad weather, according to IOM Bangladesh Deputy Chief of Mission Manuel Pereira.  

“Last year – 2018 – was the first full monsoon season following the influx of refugees in August 2017. We learned from that experience and refined our response plan accordingly. Since then we have tried to prepare the refugees by providing them with the essential information they need to survive.  Without (concrete) cyclone shelters, we can’t fully prepare people for a major cyclone, but we can prepare them for the monsoon,” he said.  

“Our plan includes emergency response teams on standby at key locations in the camp to respond to flooding, assess damage and distribute aid from emergency distribution points. But we all know this could only be the start of what could turn out to be a very difficult cyclone and monsoon season,” he added.  

Bangladesh lies in one of the world’s most cyclone-prone regions. Extreme weather systems often form in the Bay of Bengal and head north, making landfall in northern India or coastal Bangladesh. Past cyclones have been some of the strongest in history, notably the 2008 Cyclone Nargis, which hit neighbouring Myanmar and killed an estimated 100,000 people. Even in the absence of cyclones, monsoons in Cox’s Bazar bring some of the world’s heaviest rain and powerful, gusting winds.   

IOM and partner aid agencies in the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) met on Wednesday (8/5) to review overall disaster preparedness plans in the Cox’s Bazar camps. 

For more information please contact George McLeod at IOM Cox’s Bazar, Tel: +880 18 7071 8078, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, May 10, 2019 - 17:27Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Rohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Refugees plant vetiver grass on sandy slopes to prevent monsoon-related landslides. Photo: IOM

SMEP – a joint IOM, UNHCR and WFP engineering project – reinforces unstable hillsides in the camps ahead of the monsoon. Photo: IOM

Sandbags are used to reduce the risk of landslides caused by heavy monsoon rains. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Japan Donates USD 27 Million to Support IOM Operations in 2019

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 11:27

Tokyo – The Government of Japan has allocated USD 27 million to support IOM operations in 2019. IOM has already started using the funding to help vulnerable migrants, including displaced people, refugees, returnees and communities affected by conflict and crises around the world.  The donation will also help to build the capacity of governments in humanitarian border management to stabilize regions. 

Some 58 per cent of the contribution (USD 15.6 million) will be used to support IOM programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa, in countries including Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, the Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and Lesotho.  Over half of the new Japan-funded projects in the region will improve government capacity for integrated border management. 

In Asia, part of the funding will be used to support Rohingya refugees and host communities in Bangladesh in the areas of health, water, sanitation and hygiene. The money will also go towards humanitarian assistance for drought-affected Afghans and building Afghanistan’s capacity by helping skilled Afghan nationals to return home from Iran. 

Other Japanese funding will continue to support IOM activities in the Middle East. In Turkey, where millions have fled the ongoing Syrian civil war, projects will help refugees and host communities by strengthening social cohesion. 

Other projects will improve livelihoods and enhance social cohesion in conflict-affected communities in Iraq and provide health assistance for internally displaced persons in Yemen.  

For more information, please contact Yuko Goto at IOM Tokyo. Tel: + 81 3 3595 0108. Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, May 10, 2019 - 17:25Image: Region-Country: JapanThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Gambian government officials complete a border assessment exercise as part of a Japanese-funded border management project. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Debt Threatens Positive Migration Outcomes in Southeast Asia: IOM

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 11:24

Bangkok – Debt can prevent migrant workers in the Greater Mekong Sub-region from maximizing the benefits of their migration and leave them worse off economically and socially when they return home, according to a study by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).  

With one in six migrants in the sub-region struggling with debt when they return to their countries of origin, the report identifies indebtedness as a key factor in influencing migration outcomes and an important element in the decision-making process of migrants. 

The findings of the study, Debt and the Migration Experience: Insights from Southeast Asia, are based on qualitative interviews conducted throughout 2018 with current and returned migrants in Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand, as well as survey data collected by IOM and the International Labour Organization (ILO) between July-August 2016. 

Over 1,800 returned migrant workers were interviewed in Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam. 

The report suggests that debt is often a primary cause of migration. With households routinely taking on debt to cope with acute crises such as illness and failed crops, the growth and availability of formal loans offered by banks and microfinance institutions in rural areas is contributing to changing borrowing patterns and an increased burden of debt among low-income households. 

In some contexts, loans undertaken can be far greater than average income, and migration is increasingly seen as a coping strategy in response to debt stress. In Cambodia, for example, over 40 per cent of rural remittance-receiving households report repayment of debt as the main use of remittances. 

Migrants also take on debt to fund their journeys. The increasing cost of migration and recruitment in the region, often taken on by employees, causes prospective migrants to borrow heavily in order to cover the cost of recruitment. Full repayment of these loans can take anywhere from months to years. 

In addition, debt undertaken by migrants to gain legal status or extend their stay legally has been flagged as a particular area of concern. The study found that unpredictable legal costs in countries of destination make it difficult for migrants to anticipate them. This subsequently causes them to resort to loans and take on a higher burden of debt. 

A strong link between indebtedness and increased vulnerability to trafficking and related exploitation was also established. Migrants in debt are more likely to make potentially risky choices, often choosing to remain in jobs with poor working conditions. Wage deductions used by employers to cover recruitment costs can also inhibit workers from changing jobs or leaving. 

Debt was also found to contribute to negative economic, social and psychosocial outcomes when migrants returned home. Indebted migrants were more likely to encounter financial insecurity due to a lack of savings, struggling businesses and difficulties in finding decent work.  

In addition to reduced financial status, indebted returnees also reported social and psychological problems, including shame, embarrassment and discrimination in their communities, as well as harassment and violence from lenders. These pressures subsequently provided strong incentives for them and their families to migrate again.  

“Loans undertaken with fair and transparent conditions provide access to opportunities for work abroad. But those with poor terms are likely to heighten existing vulnerabilities and create new risks for migrant workers,” explained Nathalie Hanley, Head of IOM Thailand’s Migrant Assistance and Counter-Trafficking Unit. “The trends that we observed raise concerns that debt may create conditions where migration becomes more extractive than developmental under certain circumstances.” 

To alleviate the burden of debt on migrants, the study emphasized the need to lower migration costs by ensuring that recruitment costs are paid by employers. It also noted the need to encourage and simplify access to legal migration pathways that eliminate the need for brokers and middlemen. Expanded monitoring of labour rights violations in countries of destination is also recommended. 

Recommendations for countries of origin include strengthening social protection programmes to eliminate the use of loans for basic needs; improving oversight and regulation around credit provision; and ensuring grievance outlets and hotlines for aspiring, current and returned migrants. 

The study was conducted under IOM’s Asia Regional Migration Programme – a regional migration management project funded by the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). 

Debt and the Migration Experience: Insights from Southeast Asia can be downloaded as a pdf in English from: 

For further information, please contact please contact IOM Thailand, Nathalie Hanley at Tel: +66 2 343 9337, Email: or Reuben Lim, Tel: +66 2 343 9370, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, May 10, 2019 - 17:21Image: Region-Country: ThailandThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Runkun lives in a makeshift shelter with her daughter and grandchildren by an unused railway track in Poipet, Cambodia. They survive on remittances sent by her children, who work in Thailand. Photo: IOM 2017 / Muse Mohammed.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Helps Ethiopian Migrants Return Home from Sana’a, Yemen

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 11:18

Sana’a - Starting Monday (06/05), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) organized the voluntary return of 176 migrants from Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Unable to continue to support themselves or fund their travel home, the migrants were left stranded in a country experiencing a deadly conflict. 

Through three flights over three days, IOM supported 137 men, 11 women and 28 children in returning home. Some 20 people with medical needs were among the group, for whom IOM provides escorts to ensure their safe travel. A fourth flight with an additional 46 people will depart on Saturday (11/05), bringing the total number of people assisted in all four flights to 222. 

These are the first return movements to take place from Sana’a since mid-March 2019. In fact, IOM was only able to resume air movements from Yemen in November 2018; having had to suspend them just after the conflict broke out in 2015. During that time, IOM used boats to return vulnerable Ethiopian migrants to Ethiopia, via Djibouti. 

In Yemen, IOM provides the returning migrants with pre-departure assistance, including medical, mental health and psychosocial care. On arrival in Ethiopia, the returnees undergo health screenings and then are housed in IOM's transit centre in Addis Ababa. From there, IOM supports them in reaching their final destinations. For unaccompanied and separated migrant children, IOM provides family tracing assistance, helping them to reunite with their primary caregivers. 

Globally, IOM is committed to ensuring that returnees have opportunities to rebuild their lives at home. In Ethiopia, IOM supports the reintegration of vulnerable returnees through education, psychosocial support and small business grants.  

In 2018, IOM helped 1,040 migrants leave Yemen and return home. So far in 2019, the Organization has supported the voluntary return of 733 migrants. IOM also works with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to support the spontaneous return of refugees, helping 2,590 Somali refugees to return from Aden last year. 

Despite the ongoing conflict in Yemen, migrants seeking economic opportunities in Gulf countries continue to make the treacherous journey by land and sea to the Arabian Peninsula. All along the route, migrants face many challenges in accessing protection and assistance. IOM is committed to supporting Yemen and the region in managing migration in a sustainable and humane way.  

IOM’s voluntary humanitarian return programme from Yemen is funded by the Federal Republic of Germany, the Government of Canada, the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Government of Denmark and the Government of Kuwait. 

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon from IOM Yemen, Tel: +353833022648, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, May 10, 2019 - 17:16Image: Region-Country: YemenThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM has supported the voluntary humanitarian return of more than 700 migrants since the beginning of 2019. Photo: IOM/2019

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 17,000 in 2019; Deaths Reach 443

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 11:15

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 17,000 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 8 May, roughly a 30% decrease from the 24,492 arriving during the same period last year. Arrivals to both Spain and Greece account for almost 90% of all irregular Mediterranean arrivals thus far in 2019, with the balance arriving this year in Italy, Malta and Cyprus.  

Arrivals to Greece are the highest of any destination this year yet remain almost one-fifth lower in 2019 than the total from this same time last year. Arrivals to Spain in 2019 remain higher than those of this same period last year, although Spain’s totals have fallen considerably since 2019’s winter surge of January and early February.  

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through 128 days of 2019 are at 443 individuals – or almost three-fourths of the 620 deaths confirmed during the same period in 2018 (See chart below).

Mediterranean Developments

IOM Italy 

According to IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo, citing official Ministry of Interior figures, 873 migrants have arrived by sea to Italy in 2019.  That total, through four months, is less than the total recorded for almost any single month between January 2016 and (see chart below) and November 2018, as well as during all the months of 2014 and 2015. 

That arrival total compares with the 1,578 migrants returned to Libya through 8 May, according to IOM Libya. 

IOM Spain 

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported on Thursday (9/05) that sea arrivals in the Western Mediterranean are now at 7,202 men, women and children through 8 May. While that is almost 2,000 more arrivals to Spain through this same time last year, the IOM office notes that more than half of 2019’s arrivals landed in the year’s first 31 days, and more than two thirds within the year’s first 60 days (see chart below). Daily arrivals through the end of February averaged 85 men, women and children. During March, April and the first week of May, daily averages have dropped to just over 30 per day. 

IOM Greece

IOM Greece’s Christine Nikolaidou reported on Thursday (9/05) that from Friday (03/05) up to date, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) reported at least four incidents requiring search and rescue operation off the islands of Chios, Lesvos, Samos, Alexandroupoli and Kos. The HCG rescued a total of 163 migrants and transferred them to the respective ports. 

Those arrivals were among some 292 IOM recorded during those days, bringing to 7,839 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year (see chart below). 

* Unofficial data collected by IOM Greece and the Greek authorities of arrivals by sea. 


Missing Migrants Project

2019 is the sixth year of IOM’s efforts to systematically record deaths on migration routes worldwide through its Missing Migrants Project. Since the beginning of 2014, the project has recorded the deaths of 31,821 individuals, including 878 in 2019 (see chart below). 

Due to the challenges of collecting information about these people and the contexts of their deaths, the true number of lives lost during migration is likely much higher. Missing Migrants Project records should only be viewed as indicative of the risks associated with migration, rather than representative of the true number of deaths across time or geography.   

This past week was marked by several tragedies in the Eastern and Western Mediterranean, in which at least 33 people lost their lives. In the Aegean Sea, a shipwreck on 3 May cost the lives of 12 Afghans when the boat in which they were travelling capsized off the coast of island of Ciplak, in Turkey’s province of Balikesir. The remains of four women and five children were recovered from the water by the Turkish Coast Guard, while three people remain missing. Five survivors were rescued and brought back to mainland Turkey.  

In the Western Mediterranean, the Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras reported that several shipwrecks took place between 22 April and 8 May. Four people fell overboard and drowned on 22 April in the Gibraltar Strait, off the coast of Fnideq, as reported by the nine survivors rescued by the Moroccan Navy.  

During that same period, on 2 May, a pregnant woman drowned after the boat in which she was travelling with four others sank off the coast of Cap Espartel, Tangiers. On the same day, four people lost their lives in the Gibraltar Strait, while eight were rescued and brought back to Morocco.  

On 4 May, the body of a 21-year-old Senegalese woman was recovered one mile south of the Port of Algeciras, in the Spanish province of Cádiz. Her brother, who lives in Málaga, was able to identify her. On 8 May, a boat in which 26 people were trying to reach mainland Spain capsized near the beach of Conil de la Frontera, Cádiz. A woman tragically drowned before the Guardia Civil could reach the boat and rescue those on board, and survivors reported that a child went missing.  

Additionally, the NGO Alarm Phone reported that a boat sank on 1 May. The NGO received an alert in the early morning of 30 April, reporting that 12 people were missing after having left Morocco earlier that night. Alarm Phone informed authorities in Spain and Morocco and a search and rescue operation was launched. However, the boat was only found in the afternoon of 1 May. At that time, eight people had already fallen overboard and drowned. A woman died during the rescue operation, but her body could not be recovered. The NGO was able to speak with one of the three survivors on 2 May, who informed them that the people who drowned were from Senegal. 

In Morocco, the NGO Alarm Phone Sahara shared an update regarding the vehicle accident which took place on 27 April near Oujda. New information indicates that 21 people lost their lives in this tragic accident, including 14 nationals of Côte d’Ivoire, three Malians and two Senegalese. The remains of two people have not been identified. Several women are among the dead, as well as a father who is survived by his two children.  

On the US-Mexico border, the Missing Migrants Project team continued to investigate reports that several people from Ecuador went missing on the night of 13 April in the Río Bravo. The NGO 1800migrante has reported that three survivors have been located, in the custody of the US Border Patrol, while three bodies have been recovered from the Río Grande: the remains of Luis Oswaldo Quezada Aguilar were retrieved from the banks of the Río Bravo near Nuevo Laredo on 19 April, while the body of Héctor Leonardo González Godoy was found nearby on 24 April. On 5 May, US authorities recovered the remains of Myrian Alicia Paguay Mejía from the river near Nuevo Laredo.  

Another tragedy was reported in the Río Bravo on 1 May: a family of four drowned when trying to cross to the US. Only the body of the youngest child, just 10 months old, was found at the time. A few days later, the body of a seven-year-old child was recovered from the banks of the river. A father and a girl remain missing. The remains of two more people, not connected to this incident, were found in Tamaulipas and Coahuila on 6 and 8 May. These latest tragedies bring to 22 the number of lives lost recorded by the MMP team in the Río Bravo since the beginning of this year. Nineteen of these deaths took place since 1 April.  

On 4 May, a 30-year-old from Honduras – identified solely as “Dagoberto” – died trying to climb onto a freight train near Calzada Ignacio Zaragoza, in Colonia Tepeyac, Puebla, Mexico. His death was the 10th by train this year. 

In total, at least 262 people have lost their lives in the Americas in 2019, compared with 171 recorded through this point in 2018.  

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff based at its Global Migration Data Analysis Centre but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on migrants’ deaths and disappearances are collected, click here

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, click here. Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project.  

See contacts here


Language English Posted: Friday, May 10, 2019 - 16:36Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN