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Updated: 36 min 24 sec ago

IOM Appeals for USD 36.4 Million as Cyclone Idai Response Expands

Tue, 03/26/2019 - 12:04

Maputo — The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is appealing for USD 36.4 million for the next six months, to respond to the humanitarian needs of an estimated 1.85 million people affected by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique.  

“For IOM and the broader international community, this is a massive humanitarian emergency,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino. “The cyclone’s impact caused loss of life and left extensive destruction in its path.” 

The full impact on Mozambique — where the death toll stands at 446, with over 109,000 displaced — is expected to increase, because of widespread destruction to farmland and fisheries. This is expected to create food insecurity for the affected population over the coming months. 

“Given its devastating impact, Cyclone Idai could rank as the worst disaster to hit the region in decades,” Vitorino added. 

The Category four tropical cyclone made landfall on 14 March and caused widespread destruction in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique. 

Last Friday (22 March) an IOM Level 3 Emergency was declared for Mozambique and USD 500,000 in emergency relief funds were released by the Organization. IOM’s current appeal is part of a broader Humanitarian Response Plan for Mozambique from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which was revised to include a USD 282 million appeal for flood response following Cyclone Idai.    

Surge teams have been deployed to the affected areas from around the world. There are 13 rapid response officers on the ground in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and 27 more incoming for the three affected countries. These rapid responders will focus on emergency and cluster coordination; assessments; IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM); and more strengthening of government led efforts; among other key technical areas. 

IOM has raised the alert about emerging health issues amongst the affected population, two weeks after the Category four tropical cyclone made landfall. 

“During crises like Cyclone Idai, many people flee their homes, exacerbating the health risks,” said Katharina Schnoering, Chief of Mission for IOM Mozambique, the worst-affected country.  

“It is very important to ensure that people receiving treatment can continue to receive support, particularly those displaced and unable to access their homes and normal health services.” 

IOM will target 100,000 people in need of health support during this emergency phase. Health referrals, transfer and assisted hospital discharge for cyclone affected populations is essential. The aim of the assisted emergency health referrals is to reduce morbidity and mortality among cyclone affected population by increasing access to medical care for the most vulnerable including the critically injured, children, elderly, women (pregnant and lactating), people with disabilities, HIV and TB patients and other vulnerable persons. 

As the response grows, aid continued to arrive in Beira, with 20 tonnes unloaded by the United Kingdom Air Force this morning and more arriving tomorrow. This included solar lanterns, water purifiers and shelter kits, forklift trucks and other equipment to help quickly unload aid from planes and cut the time it takes to get relief items to those in need. In addition to a flight containing more than 7,500 shelter kits and 100 family tents which arrived in the country last week. IOM is assisting in the secure warehousing of all such aid materials as well as its distribution to the areas of top concern. 

The European Commission is also responding to the through the Union’s Civil Protection Mechanism. Offers of aid from Germany, Denmark, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, France, Luxembourg and Portugal have been accepted by Mozambique. 

The UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) allocated $20 million on Wednesday (20 March) to ensure aid reaches those most affected. 

IOM’s Appeal is available here.  

For more information please contact: 

Katharina Schnoering at IOM Mozambique, Tel: +258 86 351 1806, Email:  

Leonard Doyle, IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 79 285 7123, Email:  

Joel Millman (currently in Beira, Mozambique), Tel: +41 79 103 8720. Email: 


Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 26, 2019 - 16:53Image: Region-Country: MozambiqueThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Humanitarian partners respond to the shelter needs of Mozambican communities affected by Cyclone Idai. Photo: BBC

Humanitarian partners respond to the shelter needs of Mozambican communities affected by Cyclone Idai. Photo: IOM

Humanitarian partners respond to the shelter needs of Mozambican communities affected by Cyclone Idai.  Photo: IOM

Humanitarian partners respond to the shelter needs of Mozambican communities affected by Cyclone Idai.  Photo:  IOM

Humanitarian partners respond to the shelter needs of Mozambican communities affected by Cyclone Idai.  PHoto:  IOM

Humanitarian partners respond to the shelter needs of Mozambican communities affected by Cyclone Idai.  Photo:  IOM

Humanitarian partners respond to the shelter needs of Mozambican communities affected by Cyclone Idai.  Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Oil Search Foundation, Papua New Guinea Government Partner to Aid Remote Earthquake-Affected Communities

Tue, 03/26/2019 - 09:17

Port Moresby – IOM, in partnership with the Oil Search Foundation, and supported by the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Emergency Controller’s Office, has delivered 360 shelter tool kits to families displaced by the major earthquake that hit the country’s Highlands in February 2018.   

A group of 36 villagers, including seven women, from Yalanda, Endela, Kekero and Isup/Uzup also received Build Back Safer training to help their communities use the kits to build more resilient shelters using traditional and locally sourced building materials. Staff from the Oil Search Foundation and the Community Development Initiatives also took part in the training.  

The kits, which include hand saws, claw hammers, tire wire, pad bolts, axes and nails will ensure that at least 1,800 vulnerable people in four remote communities (Yalanda, Endela, Isup/Uzup and Kekero) only accessible on foot or by helicopter have the necessary tools and skills to rebuild their homes. 

The distribution was implemented with support from the Government of New Zealand and in close cooperation with the Southern Highlands Provincial Administration. 

The M7.5 earthquake destroyed hundreds of homes and displaced thousands in provinces across Papua New Guinea’s Highlands in February 2018.  

When the disaster struck, the Oil Search Foundation provided warehouses and used its transport assets, including helicopters, to ferry in UN and other aid workers, together with emergency relief, to affected communities. 

IOM, which co-leads the shelter and non-food items cluster of aid agencies in Papua New Guinea, is working with government, UN and private sector partners to promote shelter recovery in communities across the earthquake-affected region.  

For more information please contact IOM Port Moresby. Lance Bonneau, Tel. +675 3213655, Email: or Peter Murorera, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 26, 2019 - 16:15Image: Region-Country: Papua New GuineaThemes: Migrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

A PNG Emergency Controller’s helicopter lowers shelter tool kits into a Highland community. Photo: IOM/Peter Murorera

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Joint Initiative: More Support for Stranded Migrants in The Horn of Africa

Tue, 03/26/2019 - 09:14

Addis Ababa — The EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration is celebrating its second anniversary in the Horn of Africa (HoA). 

Two years might not seem a long time, but look at what was accomplished in just one year: 

In 2018 alone, more than 2,500 Ethiopian migrants were assisted to return home from various countries. Reintegration assistance was provided for more than 2,300 returnees, while 1,672 returnees received psychosocial support at the migrants’ transit centre in Addis Ababa.  

More than 2,000 returning migrants were provided with post arrival medical assistance and others received educational support. But the programme is not just about numbers. There are also the personal stories, told by those whose lives have been touched by the initiative, commonly known as the “Joint Initiative”. 

Take Tigist, for example. Financial reasons forced this young Ethiopian woman to heed her friends’ advice and migrate to Sudan, where she was promptly hired as a house maid. Unfortunately, things started to change. Her employer would not pay her the promised wage. Eventually, Tigist – now mother to a baby boy in need of medical attention – decided to return home, becoming one of a large number of migrants who needed assistance to head back to their countries of origin. 

The Joint Initiative covers and has been set up in close cooperation with 26 African countries in the Sahel and Lake Chad, the Horn of Africa, and North Africa regions. Its inauguration followed the launch of the EU Emergency Fund for Africa at the Valletta Summit on Migration in November 2015.  

In the HoA, the Joint Initiative assists migrants in four priority countries: Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia; Ethiopia is the country with the largest movements in the HoA. 

The programme offers tailor-made reintegration assistance for returning migrants seeking to restart their lives in their home countries. This includes medical assistance, psychosocial support, links to employment opportunities, and training in entrepreneurship. Another service offered is family tracing and reunification for migrant children, in close collaboration with the Ministry for Women, Children and Youth Affairs.  

In Ethiopia last year, entrepreneurship training was conducted for close to 700 returnees, of whom many established small businesses, such as cafeterias, retail shops, carpentry workshops, even cattle fattening and dairy enterprises. So far this year, more than 140 returnees received economic reintegration assistance to open small businesses in Oromia and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Regional (SNNPR) States – two regions prone to irregular migration. 

Among them is Tigist, who opened a retail shop to support her family after returning to Ethiopia. In addition, her son is receiving medical treatment through the programme, as he had to undergo heart surgery. “Of all the support I have received, the medical support for my son made the most impact in my life,” Tigist says. 

Working through state and non-state actors, the Joint Initiative complements the efforts of the Government of Ethiopia in the reception and reintegration of thousands of vulnerable migrants stranded in different countries. 

According to IOM’s Senior Regional Programme Coordinator Julia Hartlieb: “The programme advocates for safe migration while offering return assistance to those who might need it. It does not seek to influence migrants on their decision on whether or not to emigrate.” 

For more information please contact Helina Mengistu at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251 910 22 04 14, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 26, 2019 - 16:09Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Migrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

Celebration cake in Nairobi

Celebrating with migrants at the IOM-run migration response centre in Obock, Djibouti

Celebrating at IOM regional office, Nairobi

Celebrating at IOM regional office, Nairobi

Celebrating with migrants at the IOM-run migration response centre in Obock, Djibouti

Celebrating with migrants at the IOM-run migration response centre in Obock, Djibouti

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Director General Participates in High-level Conference on South-South Cooperation

Tue, 03/26/2019 - 09:09

Buenos Aires – IOM Director General António Vitorino participated in the Second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40), held 40 years after the adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (BAPA). 

The conference, which took place last week (20-22/03) was framed in an international context determined by the agreements embodied in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes migration as an integral part of actions to reduce inequalities and eradicate poverty. It also aimed to examine trends in multilateral cooperation, with a view to promoting these modalities and identifying new opportunities, based on the exchange of experiences and knowledge of South-South cooperation mechanisms. 

During the conference – attended by more than 1,500 participants – 193 United Nations Member States and international organizations were present, among them the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, who emphasized that “the BAPA transformed the dynamics of international cooperation and highlighted the value of a different form of cooperation, based on the exchange of knowledge and appropriate technologies among nations that face similar development challenges.” Moreover, he added that this cooperation can allow developing countries to “learn from each other and grow rapidly.” 

IOM participated in two parallel events and the main plenary of the conference, during which Director General Vitorino mentioned the importance of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, which recognizes that it is fundamental to intensify regional cooperation as proposed at the BAPA+40 Conference. 

DG Vitorino opened the side event South-South cooperation as a tool for migration governance in Latin America and the Caribbean, during which cooperation on migration in regional consultation and integration processes was discussed. Emphasis was placed on how existing mechanisms facilitate cooperation at the regional level in relation to a wide range of migration topics, such as regulatory harmonization, institutional modernization and the implementation of measures and programs aimed at diverse groups of migrant population. 

DG Vitorino also used his platform to mention that “international migration represents a phenomenon with significant implications for all countries, given its relevance in many areas of public policy, which is why governments must cooperate in a significant way on different aspects of migration, both bilaterally and at the regional level, and this should be expanded in the context of South-South Cooperation.” 

On Thursday (21/03) DG Vitorino attended discussions at a BAPA+40 side event, hosted by the Government of Ecuador and supported by both IOM and UNCHR, on South-South Cooperation in Response to the Human Mobility of Venezuelan citizens in the South American region. The side event focused on priorities established by governments in building a regional response to address the needs of Venezuelan refugees and migrants while highlighting the importance of South-South cooperation, considering most Venezuelan migrants who leave the country are hosted elsewhere in the region. The Quito Process and the operationalization of the Quito Plan of Action are considered good examples for articulating effective coordination and action at the regional level. 

During the side events in which IOM participated, other panellists included Santiago Chávez Pareja, Vice-Minister of Human Mobility of the Government of Ecuador; Luis María Sobrón, Director General of Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship, Government of Argentina; Eduardo Stein, UNHCR and IOM Joint Special Representative for Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants in the Region; Juan Carlos Murillo, UNHCR Regional Representative for the South of Latin America; and Lelio Mármora, Director of the Institute of Migration and Asylum Policies, University of Tres de Febrero. 

DG Vitorino commended the countries for their response and reiterated IOM’s commitment to continue supporting their efforts. He also noted the importance of receiving financial assistance from the international community, especially from the donor community, through the Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RRMRP), whose objective is to address the protection, assistance and integration needs of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in the affected states of Latin America and the Caribbean, by complementing and strengthening national and regional responses from governments, in accordance with the principles described in the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. 

For several decades, the Argentine Republic has upheld a strong South-South Cooperation policy through the Argentine Fund for South-South and Triangular Cooperation (FO.AR). There are numerous actions that the Government of Argentina has carried out in this regard, with a special emphasis on areas such as human rights and justice, agro-industry, and health. Within this framework, IOM has supported the transportation of Argentine experts to Latin American, Caribbean, European, Asian and African countries; the reception of foreign professionals in Argentina; and the assistance for the organization of international seminars. 

BAPA+40 concluded with the adoption of a formal declaration by the member states, reaffirming their commitment to better and more solid South-South Cooperation. 

The latest figures on the situation in Venezuela can be found here

Visit the Official website of the Second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation: 

For more information, please contact IOM Argentina: 

Carolina Celi, Email:, Tel: +54 11 15 3232 1384 

Débora Taicz, Email:, Tel: + 54 11 4815 1035 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 26, 2019 - 16:05Image: Region-Country: ArgentinaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Director General, António Vitorino, is interviewed by UNIC at the UN stand during the Conference. IOM/Stefania Felino

IOM Director General, António Vitorino during last day plenary speech. IOM/Stefania Felino

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Perfect Storm of Vulnerability Risks Leads People into Human Trafficking, New Study Finds

Tue, 03/26/2019 - 09:04

London – Vulnerability to human trafficking and modern slavery is influenced by overlapping and interconnected risk factors which cut across individual, household, family, community and structural dynamics, according to a new study.   

The two-year study by the University of Bedfordshire and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) examined the dynamics and vulnerabilities to human trafficking as experienced by citizens of Albania, Viet Nam and Nigeria, and the support needs of people who survived trafficking and are now in the United Kingdom. 

Twenty-five per cent of the 6,993 people who were identified by the UK’s National Referral Mechanism (NRM) in 2018 as potential victims of human trafficking were from Albania (947 people), Viet Nam (702 people) and Nigeria (208 people).  

“Limited financial, educational, employment and healthcare services within communities create a mismatch between aspirations and realistic opportunities to improve standards of living in their countries,” said Patrick Burland, an IOM Senior Project Officer in London.  “This leads people to make desperate decisions, often driving them into the hands of human traffickers.” 

The study, Between Two Fires – which is being presented in UK Parliament today (26 March) – highlights the personal testimonies of trafficked persons to understand vulnerability to trafficking, and the routes and journeys from Albania, Viet Nam and Nigeria. The report also captures their reflections on the kind of support that is needed for a trafficked person’s effective recovery.  

One Vietnamese male told a researcher about his journey: “I’ve been beaten up so many times, I'm so scared, plus they don’t feed me properly. They gave me scarcest food and drink, [only enough] for me to survive.” 

According to the study, vulnerability can be gender-specific when harmful social norms and practices exist and intersect with human trafficking. One trafficked woman from Albania described her vulnerabilities before she was trafficked: “My family abandoned me because I was pregnant. For six months I lived with my boyfriend, the father of my child… He left without telling me and I did not know where he was. After I gave birth to my son, I did not have anywhere to stay and to live. I did not have any income.”  

Journeys often begin with rational decision-making based on limited or unreliable information about costs, length, dangers, legal requirements, alternatives, or situation en route and at destination. Once journeys begin, they can become progressively precarious with individuals finding themselves in new, rapidly changing vulnerable situations. 

Dr. Patricia Hynes from the University of Bedfordshire, Principal Investigator for the study, explained that the title of the report, Between Two Fires, came from a direct quote from a young Albanian woman describing how she had actively resisted the situation of vulnerability she found herself in but then ended up in a much more difficult and exploitative situation. 

“In the accounts we heard this was consistently the case, with people trying to resolve their own circumstances but then encountering structural and exploitative circumstances either en-route or in destination countries,” said Dr. Hynes. “It is important we understand these complex back stories and use this understanding to provide longer-term support to those requiring protection in the UK.” 

To address these wide-ranging vulnerabilities and prevent human trafficking, the report recommends enhancing protection activities associated with the home, family and intra-familial environments, along with interventions that challenge traditional attitudes about gender and violence against women and girls. It also recommends developing interventions to address stigmas in household and community settings, and the provision of support at key stages along journeys to the UK, especially on the route from Viet Nam.  

For survivors supported in the UK, the report recommends enhanced mental health and legal support; strengthening of detection and screening processes in the UK’s criminal justice system; and reviewing policy issues impacting the long-term provision of support affecting recovery and protection. 

For further information, or to receive University of Bedfordshire press releases on a regular basis, please contact:, Tel: +44 1582 489399 

For more information, please contact Abby Dwommoh at IOM UK, Tel: +44 (0)7873301193, Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 26, 2019 - 16:03Image: Region-Country: United KingdomThemes: Human SmugglingDefault: Multimedia: 

Two-year IOM, University of Bedfordshire study examined the vulnerabilities to human trafficking for Albanians, Vietnamese and Nigerians. Photo: IOM/Malavolta

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Climate Change and Migration Project Launched to Protect, Empower Pacific Communities

Tue, 03/26/2019 - 09:03

Suva – IOM and key partners launched a three-year regional project in Suva, Fiji today (26/03) to help Pacific Island governments to address multi-faceted challenges associated with climate change and disaster-related migration, displacement and planned relocation in the region. 

The project – Enhancing Protection and Empowerment of Migrants and Communities Affected by Climate Change and Disasters in the Pacific Region – has received seed funding from the UN Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS) and will target Fiji, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Republic of the Marshall Islands and Vanuatu. 

Fiji Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Civil Service and Communications Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, speaking at the launch, welcomed the project.  “We have a global phenomenon called climate change that is affecting people in a very tangible, direct and practical manner, and we have to be able to deal with this issue head on,” he said. 

The main objectives of the project are to support a regional human security-based response to climate change and disaster-related migration, displacement and planned relocation, ensure that migrants and communities benefit from safe labour migration where appropriate, and contribute to the evidence-base of good practices in these areas. 

UN Resident Coordinator a.i. Donglin Li, also spoke at the launch. “This project will apply a human security framework to address the associated challenges of climate change and migration, looking at strengthening protection and empowerment of vulnerable communities by placing them at the center,” he noted. 

Other speakers from Pacific Island governments shared insights into key trends and issues relating to migration, displacement and planned relocations resulting from climate change and climate changerelated disasters. Participants also discussed how regional cooperation and coordination can address gaps in current policy and operational responses to climate change and associated human migration. 

IOM’s project partners include the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), along with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD). 

The project launch event was attended by Pacific Island governments, regional organizations, civil society, UN agencies, donors and media. 

For more information please contact Lee Yacoumis at IOM Fiji, Tel: +679 331 0730, Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 26, 2019 - 15:59Image: Region-Country: FijiThemes: Migration and Climate ChangeDefault: Multimedia: 

Delegates at the launch of the UNTFHS-funded migration and climate change project at the Holiday Inn, Suva, Fiji. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Europe Migration Data Portal Will Challenge Fake News With Facts

Sat, 03/23/2019 - 12:03

Geneva – A focus on improved data will enable IOM to combat fake news and hate speech with solid facts and evidence, a UN meeting in Geneva heard today (22/3).

A dedicated Europe section on the IOM Global Migration Data Analysis Centre website has just been launched, and it was presented today at a side event at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Regional Forum on Sustainable Development.

Regional Director Argentina Szabados stressed the importance of the portal, noting that “in times of fake news, a rise of populism, spread of negative stereotypes and violent hate crime, there is greater need than ever for genuine facts and reliable figures to give a true picture of what migration is and how it shapes our world.”

An audience of politicians, diplomats and UN officials attending the UNECE Regional Forum on Sustainable Development heard that the portal highlights past and recent trends on migration in Europe, existing data sources, and strengths and weaknesses of those data.

GMDAC Director Frank Laczko underscored the importance of the Portal, saying “at a time when migration is high on the European agenda, it is essential that everyone has access to the reliable facts and information about migration, and that we better understand the strengths and weaknesses of data on migration in Europe”

Part of IOM’s Global Migration Data Portal, launched in 2017, the new Europe section is designed to help policy makers, national statistics officers, journalists and the general public understand migration data. By making the evidence about migration issues accessible in one place and easy to understand, it contributes to a more informed public debate.

There are 78 million international migrants in Europe, more than one third of the global total. “Who are they? What age are they? What gender? What routes are they taking? Why are they on the move?” asked Ms Szabados. “The more we know about migration the more we can assist our member states, and help make migration voluntary, safe and rewarding for all implicated.”

The new Europe section was authored by the Knowledge Centre on Migration and Demography, a European Commission initiative to provide scientific evidence for EU policymaking in migration and demography related fields. 

“Migration is a cross-cutting issue, relevant to all of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” concluded Ms Szabados. “In fact, eleven of the Goals contain targets and indicators that are relevant to migration or mobility. Our principle to ‘leave no one behind’ most definitely includes migrants, and we need impeccable data to be able to serve their needs and the needs of our member states.”

The Europe Migration Page on IOM’s Global Migration Portal can be found here

For more information please contact Stylia Kampani at +49 160 1791536. Email 

Language English Posted: Saturday, March 23, 2019 - 11:55Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: OthersDefault: Multimedia: 

New European migration section on IOM’s Global Migration Portal Data under the microscope at the UN Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva. Image: IOM’s Global Migration Portal Data

New European migration section on IOM’s Global Migration Portal Data under the microscope at the UN Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Responds to Devastating Cyclone Idai with Shelter Materials and More

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 11:14

Geneva — The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has responded to the deadly Cyclone Idai, which has taken over 500 lives across Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi. 

“A week after the cyclone we’re starting to grasp the scope and complexity of the challenges facing the governments and peoples of these three nations,” said Mohammed Abdiker, Director of IOM’s Department of Operations and Emergencies.

He added: “Moving forward we will continue to work with our UN and governmental partners to address the immediate and life-saving needs of the most affected communities, particularly relating to the provision of badly needed shelter assistance and Non-Food Items.”

IOM and its international partners are working on the details of a broad appeal that will be issued in coming days to assist those affected by the emergency across the three nations.

Conditions are challenging everywhere, after the cyclone made landfall on March 15; thousands are stranded in tropical zones without bridges or accessible roads.

Mozambique’s official death toll from Cyclone Idai’s landfall has reportedly risen to at least 242 persons, but that number is expected to increase in the days ahead. The government expects the toll of fatalities to surpass one thousand, with 142 confirmed injured, and an untold number still missing.

Mozambique’s government estimates that some 400,000 are internally displaced at this time and has declared a state of emergency. Shelter materials from the U.K.’s Department for International Development (DFID), including 7,550 shelter kits and 100 family tents sufficient for 38,000 people, arrived in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, Tuesday. More emergency aid is due to arrive from Switzerland and Italy. 

“The situation is very bad. The damage is quite serious,” said IOM Mozambique Chief of Mission Katharina Schnoering. “There are many communications issues.” Difficulty restoring power to the large city of Beira and problems with road access, where the rising Buzi River has washed out sections of highway, also complicate aid delivery. 

In Zimbabwe, the cyclone reached the districts of Chimanimani, Chipinge, Masvingo and Mashonaland East, affecting over 50,000 people. More than 120 bodies had been washed into neighbouring Mozambique, where residents buried them. At least four bridges have been washed away.

Total fatalities known to IOM are 259, with hundreds more injured. Some 217 are missing. Authorities confirmed that 16 000 households have been displaced (Chimanimani 8000, Chipinge 3000, Buhera 1000 and Mutare 4000).

Among national and international partners responding to the crisis, the Government of Zimbabwe through the Department of Civil Protection (CPD) requested IOM be the lead agency on shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI) cluster.

“We are swiftly responding to areas of Manicaland, Mashonaland East and Masvingo which are in desperate need of relief. Our UN migration partner IOM is coordinating the shelter and NFI emergence assistance response and they are already in Manicaland for rapid emergence needs assessment,” said Nathan Nkomo the Director for the Department of Civil Protection.

The District Administrator for Chipinge, Wilson Mashava, appealed for more humanitarian support to reach out to more displaced households in desperate need of assistance.

IOM Zimbabwe has dispatched 1,000 tarpaulins and 200 Non-Food Item kits as part of its initial response. Joint rapid needs’ assessments with partnering UN and government agencies began on Monday (18 March), covering the Chimanimani, Chipinge, Mutare, Nyanga and Buhera districts. 

“I could see my loved ones dying, there are children here who are now orphans and have nowhere to stay. The house where I lived was destroyed, I am devastated,” said Jane, a resident of Chimanimani, who is expecting a child in April. “These tarpaulins will protect me and my family from the rains, thank you! I hope you have enough for everyone around here, our challenges are the same.”

In Malawi, IOM is aware of 56 confirmed deaths, 577 injuries. Countrywide, the Government of Malawi estimates some 920,000 displaced persons.

“The greatest need we have seen on the ground is for shelter for 23,000 people, we’ve also noted an urgent need for food, for 5,905 households in one district of the Phalombe region,” said Mpilo Nkomo, Head of Office for IOM Malawi. “The challenge here is the persistent rainfall, since the beginning of March. A number of families have been displaced. Many are seeking shelters in schools.” 

Mr. Nkomo thanked IOM Geneva for the release of USD 75,000 in emergency funds. The three IOM units in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe with the support of Regional Office Pretoria Emergency Unit and DOE Geneva HQ jointly working on a sub-regional appeal for more aid from the international humanitarian community.

For more information please contact Joel Millman, IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 79 103 8720. Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 22, 2019 - 18:08Image: Region-Country: MalawiMozambiqueZimbabweThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM distributing tarpaulins and NFI kits in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

It’s Time to Think Universal!

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 06:00

Geneva IOM´s Tuberculosis (TB) control successes surpass target and benefits communities in origin and destination. The sustained high treatment success rate is largely attributed to early detection, active case finding, directly-observed treatment (DOT) and targeted patient-centered, migration-sensitive care.

In today’s increasingly mobile and interconnected world, with about 258 million international and 760 million internal migrants[1], migration must be recognized as a social determinant of health, impacting upon every individual’s vulnerability and well-being. Migration also profoundly affects the lives of families back home, as well as people in communities of origin, transit and destination world-wide.

Despite well-established diagnosis and treatment regimens, TB remains a public health burden in many parts of the world and a leading infectious killer, with an estimated 10 million new cases and approximately 1.3 million deaths in 2017[2], disproportionately affecting poor and marginalized populations, such as migrants. TB prevention and control efforts often do not address the specific vulnerabilities of migrants, which leads to delayed diagnosis and/or discontinued treatment.

The way in which many migrants travel, live and work, can carry risks for their physical and mental well-being.   Many work in dangerous, difficult and demeaning jobs, and live in isolation and sub-standard housing. Others may be detained in over-crowded detention facilities or live in camps as refugees or internally displaced persons. Migrants are thus among the vulnerable groups that face a particularly high level of TB risk factors.

In addition, migrants face barriers to accessing health services due to language and cultural difference, and administrative hurdles. Migrants are often excluded from social protection in health and are invisible to Universal Health Coverage (UHC) programmes. As a result, many migrants pay out-of-pocket to get the health services they need, which may result in catastrophic health expenditure, delayed and substandard care.

It’s time for inclusion of migrants!  Worldwide, in 2018, IOM conducted more than 376,800 pre-departure health assessments for migrants and refugees and detected 584 active cases of TB, which translates to a TB detection rate of 155 per 100,000 health assessments. Active TB cases were either confirmed by sputum culture or diagnosed based on clinical and radiological findings. IOM works in collaboration with National TB Programs and is committed to accelerate the end of TB through the strengthening of migrant-sensitive health systems, able to assess and focus on the specific vulnerabilities and conditions of the migrant population. (see video with story from Jordan)   

It's Time to set ambitious goals for treatment success, which is possible based on the success story from IOM’s Migration Health Assessment Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, where DOT clinics surpassed targets with comprehensive care, by including active reach-out to patients and nutritional support, ensuring that neither patients nor their households suffer catastrophic costs due to TB, a key element in achieving the target 3.8 of the Sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Successful treatment of TB hinges on DOT and patient-centered, migration-sensitive care, where an individual’s specific health needs, migration related vulnerabilities and desired health outcomes are taken into consideration. Treatment of persons testing positive is a core part of IOM’s health assessments for migrants, including refugees prior to resettlement. From 2010 to 2016, IOM’s Migration Health Assessment Centre in Kenya diagnosed 426 cases of active TB, treating 363 of them at IOM Kenya’s TB DOT clinics, while the others were referred for treatment. IOM Kenya’s TB DOT clinics sustained high treatment success rates over this period, ranging from 90% to 100%.

It’s time to be accountable to the TB commitments. IOM’s experience has shown that failing to address the health of migrants has severe consequences for the well-being of millions of migrants and communities of origin, transit and destination. Migrants urgently need to be included at global, national and local prevention and control strategies to end the TB epidemic, in line with the objectives of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Resolution 70.15 of the World Health Assembly on Promoting the health of refugees and migrants (2017).

Moreover, the End TB Strategy, the Moscow Declaration and the UN High Level Meeting Declaration “United to End Tuberculosis” afford a tremendous opportunity to ensure and commit at the highest level to not leave migrants behind and promote cross-border collaboration amongst countries towards reducing TB and HIV burden. Jacqueline Weekers, Director of IOM’s Migration Health Division said: “Ending TB means addressing the intrinsic linkages between population mobility and tuberculosis as well as acknowledging that UHC is only real if high risks groups are accounted for”.

For more information please contact IOM HQ

Carlos Van der Laat, Tel +14227179459, Email:

[1] Global Migration Indicators 2018, IOM 2018

[2] WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Report 2018

Language English Posted: Friday, March 22, 2019 - 12:57Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

24 March is World TB Day. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Earthworm Foundation to Study Journeys of Migrant Workers in Malaysia’s Palm Oil Industry

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 05:57

Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia produces 39 per cent of the world’s palm oil and 44 per cent of world exports, according to the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, an industry body.  The sector now occupies over 70 per cent of the country’s agricultural land and employs almost half a million workers, of whom around 80 per cent are migrants, mainly from Indonesia, Nepal and Bangladesh.

But despite their contribution to one of Malaysia’s most important sectors, migrant workers in the country may be at risk of human rights abuses and exploitation due to poor international recruitment practices. Debt bondage, retention of passports and a lack of grievance mechanisms are some of the ways that unscrupulous recruiters, agents and middlemen can seek to profit from vulnerable migrant workers.

Companies that buy palm oil from Malaysian suppliers are often unaware of hiring practices throughout the supply chain. But recognizing that most Malaysian companies depend largely on intermediaries to engage foreign workers, the Malaysian Government has now initiated a review of current legislation to move towards more safe, orderly and regular migration into the country.

In line with these efforts and to better understand the risks, raise awareness and design solutions for the industry, recruiters and workers, IOM and the Earthworm Foundation will launch a one-year joint labour supply chain mapping project in April 2019. This will include consultations with various stakeholders, assessments with employers and recruiters, and interviews with migrant workers.

The project will involve collaboration with selected Earthworm Foundation member companies and related suppliers. It will examine deception in recruitment, recruitment fees and related costs to map out the recruitment process from the target countries of origin to Malaysia.

The findings will help companies to implement ethical recruitment practices and due diligence among business partners in operations and supply chains. The results are expected to add value to all stakeholders in the palm oil industry, support constructive policy dialogue, and feed into the development of practical tools and resources that can be used by businesses.

IOM is partnering with Earthworm Foundation through its Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking (CREST) initiative, working directly with the private sector and the recruitment industry on addressing the vulnerabilities of migrant workers and eliminate slavery and trafficking from business operations and supply chains. CREST is supported by the Regional Development Cooperation Section of the Embassy of Sweden in Thailand and the IOM Development Fund.


For more information please contact:
Nguyen Thi Minh Hien at IOM Ho Chi Minh City, Email:, Tel: +84 964 753 936 or go to the CREST website at

Mark Sanderson, Earthworm Foundation, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 11 1220

Language English Posted: Friday, March 22, 2019 - 12:57Image: Region-Country: MalaysiaThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Some 80 percent of Malaysia’s nearly half a million oil palm workers are migrants, mainly from Indonesia, Bangladesh and Nepal. Photo: Earthworm Foundation

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Disaster Preparedness in Nepal: A Walk in the Park?

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 05:56

Kathmandu – In mountainous Nepal, where a fast-expanding population is making towns in the valleys ever more crowded, finding a flat open space to provide a refuge for the population in the event of a disaster like the 2015 earthquake is not always easy.

Nepal’s disaster risk reduction planners recognized the need to identify and protect accessible open spaces to save lives in the country’s 2018 National Policy for Disaster Risk Reduction. Their solution? To create and protect more urban parks that double as open spaces and that Nepalis and visitors can enjoy the year round.

“Open spaces are essential for saving lives through coordinated humanitarian response in an event of a disaster. But they are also essential for leisure activities and cultural events. By protecting and beautifying the Shahid Smriti Park, we are raising awareness about the use of open spaces, but also contributing to people’s mental and physical health in Baglung municipality,” says the municipality’s Senior Planning and Administrative Officer, Yukta Syubedi.

Baglung, situated in mountainous Western Nepal, 275 km west of Kathmandu, has a population of about 58,000 and is highly vulnerable to hazards like earthquakes and landslides. Since 2016 the municipality has been working with IOM to identify, map and protect five open spaces that could be used for humanitarian purposes in an event of a disaster.

The spaces include Dhaulagiri Multiple Campus, Bal Uddhan, Bal Mandir Bangechaur and Shahid Smriti Park and Birendra Aishwarya Park. They cover an area of 90,000 square meters and can accommodate up to nearly 15,000 people in nearly 52,000 useable square meters. The municipality has banned all construction on the sites without special approval. It is also collaborating with a private sector partner – Prabhu Bank – to develop a master plan to preserve and protect picturesque Shahid Smriti Park.

But protecting open spaces in Nepal remains a challenge. Some of 83 spaces identified inside the Kathmandu Valley by IOM after the 2015 earthquake under the supervision of the Ministry of Home Affairs and protected through a gazette notification by the government, are already seeing encroachment.

The key to protecting them is close collaboration between local government, communities, the private sector and humanitarian actors, according to IOM Nepal Chief of Mission Paul Norton. “We all need to work hand in hand to be fully prepared for future disasters,” he said.

IOM Nepal has been working with the Government of Nepal on disaster preparedness since 2011. With financial support from USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), it has helped five local governments in Baglung, Pokhara Metropolitan City, Resunga, Putali Bazar and Tansen to identify 40 open spaces to be used for humanitarian purposes.  In total, 123 open spaces have been identified in Kathmandu Valley and Western Region municipalities, which can accommodate some 1.21 million people in the event of a disaster.

For more information please contact Paul Norton at IOM Nepal, Email:, Tel: +977 1 4426250 (Ext. 194).

Language English Posted: Friday, March 22, 2019 - 12:55Image: Region-Country: NepalThemes: Disaster Risk ReductionDefault: Multimedia: 

Shahid Smitri Park will provide enjoyment for Baglung residents year-round, while serving as an essential open space following natural disasters. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, LaLiga Partnership Highlights International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 05:54

Cairo – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) signed a partnership with LaLiga, the Spanish top tier football league, under the auspices of the Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sports Thursday, on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. 

“Racial discrimination is an unfortunate existing situation – still vivid, even increasing – in several continents. Xenophobia affects societies and human beings all over the world,” explained Laurent De Boeck, IOM Egypt’s Chief of Mission. “Migrants are the primary victims of such abuse, and IOM strongly believes that discrimination is a direct attack against basic integrity and fair treatment of human beings.”

The signing ceremony in Cairo, was attended by the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr. Amr El Hadad, De Boeck and LaLiga’s Official Delegate in Egypt, Juan Fuentes Fernandez.

The unprecedented partnership will pave the way for future collaborations between the two institutions joining efforts to combat racial discrimination and other issues related to migration where football can help raise awareness.

"There is no doubt that football is a tool that can help us to achieve our goals, since it is a leading sport to which everyone pays attention," said De Boeck.

Fuentes Fernandez said: "Professional football is a sport which involves a significant number of players moving between countries, and all players who come from outside Spain are migrants. That is why partnering with IOM is important and necessary to raise awareness on migration, discrimination in societies." 

While football and sports in general are an excellent vector to gather people in an atmosphere of games, it is vulnerable to abuse, especially for the exploitation of young players. Traffickers and smugglers pose as fictitious or illegitimate agents from European teams, offering dreams to hopeful youth wishing for a career in football.  

Worldwide, IOM works daily on combating trafficking in persons, along with governmental officials, launching awareness-raising campaigns to the migrants and their host communities.  

IOM also provides direct support to abused youth. Such was the case, De Boeck said, of ‘Gerard’, a young man who was trafficked from Guinea to France. With his parents ill and unable to work, ‘Gerard’ planned to become the next breadwinner in the family. He paid an agent almost USD 5,000 as advance for the plane tickets and the expenses to migrate to France. The agent disappeared and left him in the suburbs of Paris, without documents and money, facing humiliation and failure.

IOM later helped ‘Gerard’ return home, where he found a job which allowed him to support his family.  

Through this agreement LaLiga and IOM will contribute to Egypt’s Sustainable Development Strategy: Vision 2030, by supporting the social justice pillar. The partnership will also be in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, namely Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities, Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals.

For more information, please contact Omar Awwad at IOM Egypt, Tel: +2 02 2736 5140/1 and Mobile +20 103 2049144, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 22, 2019 - 12:52Image: Region-Country: EgyptThemes: Counter-TraffickingDiversity and IntegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Laurent De Boeck, IOM Chief of Mission in Egypt speaks at the launch of partnership with LaLiga. Photo: IOM

Laurent De Boeck, IOM Chief of Mission in Egypt (r) and Juan Fuentes Fernandez, LaLiga’s Official Delegate in Egypt. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Private Sector Joins IOM to Enhance Skills of Gambian Returnees

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 05:48

Banjul – Abba Wollow left The Gambia in 2016 with hopes of reaching Europe. “I left The Gambia because the small garage I was working on was not enough to support my family,” he explained. “I left to find something better for them.”

Instead his journey ended in Libya, where he stayed for two years, in and out of prison. “When I came back, I was still finding ways to support my family,” he said of the struggles he faced after voluntarily returning home in February 2018.

In June 2018, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) signed an agreement with the National Youth Service Scheme (NYSS), under the Ministry of Youth and Sports, to provide Technical and Vocational Educational Training (TVET) to 200 Gambian returned migrants. Through this agreement, NYSS taps into the expertise of four private sector enterprises and two government training centres to deliver training in various skill areas to returnees like Abba.

“I am thankful for the opportunity to undergo a three-month training in mechanics,” said Abba, who is now one of 101 young Gambians to complete the programme. On Tuesday 19 March 2019, the trainees formally graduated from their three-month training in construction, carpentry, electronics, mechanics, plumbing, tailoring, welding and many other sectors. Each of them will receive a start-up kit consisting of the basic materials and tools necessary to set-up and operate a workshop in their chosen sector.

The graduation, the second one in four months, marks IOM’s commitment to the sustainable reintegration of more than 3,600 Gambians who voluntarily returned from Libya and Niger since 2017.

“We recognized the massive potential and willingness of returnees to ‘make it in The Gambia’, needing just a final push to gain meaningful, employable skills,” said Fumiko Nagano, IOM Chief of Mission in the Gambia. “This would not be possible without our partners in the private sector, who have lent their expertise to equipping returnees with the tools they need to succeed.”

“We, as the private sector, are able to provide returnees with skills or facilitate their job placement. This will give them a livelihood they can depend on,” said Jean Abel Thomas of the Fajara Skills Development Centre. “We teach our trainees that, if you have the skills, you can turn them into something profitable,” she added, highlighting the growing role of the private sector in assisting vulnerable migrants.

Last November, 13 Gambians formed the first cohort of trainees to graduate from a poultry farming and business start-up programme. “I have been able to sell nearly all my chickens. My customer base has increased significantly,” said Lamin, one of the graduates, three months into his poultry business. Like Lamin, others in the cohort hope to see their farms grow bigger to create employment opportunities in their communities.

“The start-up kits you receive will go a long way towards facilitating your reintegration, with the hope that you will be self-employed or even job creators in The Gambia,” echoed Stephane Meert, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation, in his remarks to the TVET graduates.

The Technical and Vocational Education and Training programme is implemented in the framework of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration. Since January 2017, IOM has assisted in the voluntary return of over 3,600 Gambians stranded in Libya and Niger. As of March 2019, almost two-thirds of them have received reintegration support. Ensuring the sustainability of reintegration of returned migrants requires a strong collaborative approach with partners from the government, civil society and the private sector.

For more information please contact Miko Alazas at IOM The Gambia; Tel: +220 330 3168, Email: or visit

Language English Posted: Friday, March 22, 2019 - 12:48Image: Region-Country: GambiaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationCapacity BuildingPrivate Sector PartnershipsDefault: Multimedia: 

A Gambian welding graduate with his start-up kit. Photo: IOM/2019 Mariam Njai

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

“It’s Time” to Protect Migrants from TB – New IOM Study Shows Migrants Left Behind

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 05:47

Tbilisi – A pioneering study into tuberculosis and migration shows an urgent need for migrant-focused healthcare to protect extremely vulnerable groups from contracting the killer disease.

The study was carried out by IOM in the South Caucasus countries of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, and reinforced what the Organization has seen on the global stage.

“Migrants often have limited access to health services due to mobility, inadequate information on health-related issues and discrimination,” said Dr. Jaime Calderon, Senior Migration Health Adviser in IOM’s Vienna Regional office, in a statement for World TB Day.

“The South Caucasus is an excellent place to study TB among migrants as people are on the move within the three countries, to and from Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Turkey, Kazakhstan and farther afield,” he added. “This is the first study of its kind and it has given us solid evidence that migrants are being left behind when it comes to protecting them – and the communities they live in – from deadly diseases.”

Although there have been substantial decreases in case notifications over the past decade, TB remains a significant public health issue in the South Caucasus. In 2017, Armenia had 812 cases (27.1 per 100,000 people), Azerbaijan had 7,129 (67 per 100,000) and Georgia had 2,927 notified cases (69 per 100,000). The rates in most EU countries is under 10 per 100,000.

IOM’s study, which was carried out with full participation of the three national governments, consisted of surveys, qualitative and quantitative research, rapid assessment, sampling, data collection, screening, interviews, laboratory testing, and data analysis.

It also looked at migration and HIV, as the two diseases are often found together, and take a high toll on migrants.

“We found that among migrants in the three countries there was a lack of knowledge about specific risks, signs and symptoms of HIV and TB,” said Dr Calderon. “In addition, there was wide agreement that migrants would not seek HIV or TB testing unless required for the purposes of travel, work, on the recommendation of a health-care provider or if they get very sick. This is a loud warning bell for all concerned – Governments, UN agencies, health-related NGOs and the general public.”

The migration process can expose migrants, particularly those in situations of vulnerability, to health risks associated with perilous journeys, including exposure to infectious and communicable diseases, severe psycho-social stressors, violence and abuses.

Ending tuberculosis (TB), HIV and viral hepatitis by 2030 is part of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on health and well-being. A number of socioeconomic and environmental determinants affect ongoing epidemics in European and central Asian countries.

Within the UN Issue-based Coalition on Health and Well-being in Europe and Central Asia, WHO/Europe, together with sister UN agencies, has developed a UN common position paper on ending TB, HIV and viral hepatitis in Europe and central Asia through intersectoral collaboration.

Despite the substantial health improvements that have been reached in the WHO European Region, not all are benefiting, in particular, the marginalized and vulnerable parts of society including victims of human trafficking, migrants and refugees.

Despite the fastest decline in TB incidence in the world, by an average of 5.3 per cent a year since 2006, this region bears the highest proportion of multi drug-resistant TB globally, with only about half of these patients successfully treated.

The full report can be downloaded here.

For more information please contact Sanja Celebic-Lukovac at IOM Georgia, Tel: +96262003227, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 22, 2019 - 12:47Image: Region-Country: GeorgiaThemes: Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

A pioneering study into tuberculosis and migration was carried out by IOM in the South Caucasus countries of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

New Report Outlines Displacement, Human Mobility Figures in Lake Chad Basin

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 05:46

Dakar – Since 2014, the Lake Chad Basin crisis has affected some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people in Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad. The violence started in Nigeria in 2009 and escalated in North-eastern Nigeria and the region in 2014-2015.

The crisis, caused by non-state armed groups, the onset of violent communal clashes and climate change, has led to the forced displacement of nearly 4.5 million people, including internally displaced persons, returnees and refugees.

Five years after its first displacement tracking exercise in West Africa, IOM recently released its 2019 report on regional displacement and human mobility in the Lake Chad Basin. The report provides humanitarian and development actors with data on the profiles and locations of the population affected by the protracted crisis to help them ensure a more targeted humanitarian response.

The 2019 report reveals that around 4.2 million displaced individuals were identified by IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) in Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon. An additional 250,000 people are displaced in Niger’s Diffa region and were tracked by the government of Niger.

A 77 per cent increase (800,000 individuals) in the number of returnees compared to 2016 also noted. This illustrates the growing trend towards return movements in the Lake Chad Basin and calls for more attention to the situation of returnee populations in the regions and communities of origin.

“Ten years after the start of the violence in the region, a notable increase in return movements was identified, presenting a major challenge for humanitarian and development actors,” DTM Global support staff member Kristof Orlans stated. “The shift to a phase of high return calls for effective strategies to promote self-reliance and support livelihood opportunities to ensure the sustainability of return movements to locations of origin.”

The 2019 report also reveals that 81 per cent of the displaced population resides in Nigeria. Additionally, people displaced within their own country make up 56 per cent of the total displaced population, returnees account for 40 per cent and out-of-camp refugees (in Cameroon and Niger) represent 4 per cent of individuals displaced by the crisis. The main driver of forced displacement in the region is conflict, which has displaced 94 per cent of the total displacement affected population.

Download report here.

For more information, please contact Kristof Orlans at IOM’s Regional Office for West and Central Africa, Email:, or Ariel Litke, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 22, 2019 - 12:44Image: Region-Country: CameroonChadNigeriaSenegalThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

IDPs watch an IOM-sponsored football match between IDP camps in Maiduguri, Nigeria. IOM/Muse Mohammed.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 11,292 in 2019; Deaths Reach 289

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 05:44

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 11,292 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 20 March, a 13 per cent decrease from the 13,043 arriving during the same period last year. Deaths on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through just over 11 weeks of the year are at 289 individuals – or less than 60 per cent of the total (499 deaths) recorded on the Mediterranean during the same period in 2018 (see chart below).

IOM Italy

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo on Thursday reported a total of 398 migrants have arrived by sea to Italy in 2019, according to official Ministry of Interior figures while 930 migrants have been returned to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard. So far in March just 136 migrants or refugees have arrived in Italy, after just 60 in the month of February. These are some of the lowest monthly totals in six years. By comparison, in 2018 IOM Italy reported 1,049 arrivals in March, 10,853 in March 2017 and 9,676 in March 2016.

IOM Spain

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported that through 20 March, 5,537 men, women and children have arrived as irregular migrants since the start of this year – an average of about 70 per day. Through this period, irregular migrant arrivals by sea to Spain are 49 per cent of all Mediterranean arrivals of this type; moreover, that total through just over 11 weeks of 2019 is almost 900 more arrivals than Spain saw through the end of April 2018, a four-month period during which IOM reported 4,627 irregular migrant arrivals to Spain by sea, or just under 40 per day.

IOM Greece

IOM Greece reported on Thursday (21/03) that since Tuesday (19/03), the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) knows of at least four incidents requiring search and rescue operation off the islands of Samos and Lesvos. The HCG rescued a total of 244 migrants and transferred them to the respective ports.

Those arrivals join some 475 men, women and children IOM recorded in the three days between 18-20 March arriving at the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Chios and Oinouses, which brought to 5,089 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year (see chart below). Irregular arrivals to Greece through 79 days this year are running at a rate of almost 65 arrivals per day, compared with 50 per day through this time in 2018. (see chart)

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 (MMP). Since the beginning of 2014, the Project has recorded the deaths of 31,427 people, including 533 in 2019, 289 on the Mediterranean (see chart below).

Due to the challenges of collecting information about these people and the contexts of their deaths, the true number of fatalities during migration is likely much higher. Therefore, MMP records should only be viewed as indicative, rather than representative across time or geography. 

At least 48 women, men and children drowned in the Western Mediterranean between Morocco and Spain in the past week. On 14 March, a rubber dinghy with 67 passengers sank off the coast of Nador, Morocco. By the time authorities arrived, 44 of those passengers had been lost at sea, including a young girl around 14 years old. Twenty-two people were rescued by the Royal Moroccan Navy, which also recovered the body of one woman.

Four days later (18 March), another boat – this time with 55 passengers – capsized off the coast of Nador.  The bodies of three people who had died during the journey were on board, when a Moroccan Navy vessel arrived. A total of 52 people survived that incident and were brought back to Morocco. Passengers on both boats are reported to all be from Sub-Saharan Africa. 

The number now of recorded deaths on the Western Mediterranean route in 2019 (121) is just one higher than that recorded (120) during the same period last year.  This makes for a worrying trend, as 2018 saw by far the highest annual total of recorded deaths (811) in the Western Mediterranean since MMP began recording such statistics in 2014.        

Also, on the Western Mediterranean, a boat with 20 people, reported to be from southern Morocco, capsized off the coast of Mesti in Sidi Ifni, Morocco, on 17 March. There was only one survivor from this incident. Authorities are continuing to search for 19 others who remain missing. The destination of this voyage is believed to have been the Canary Islands, approximately 330 kilometres from the African coast.

On Tuesday, 19 March, another boat sank off the coast of Libya, between Sabratah and Surman. Not much is known about this incident thus far, although 15 people are known to have survived, while six others remain missing at sea. The body of an infant was recovered by Libyan authorities on that boat. The whereabouts of the baby’s family are unknown.

Elsewhere in the world, MMP recorded on Monday, 18 March, the death of an El Salvadoran man, killed while traveling by train near Gómez Palacio, in the state of Durango, Mexico. He was carrying identification indicating he was from the city of Usulután, in south-eastern El Salvador. He was 34 years old.

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, March 22, 2019 - 12:44Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Humanitarian Border Management Between Burundi, Tanzania Bolstered by Technology

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 05:43

Bujumbura – This week (20-21/03) the International Organization for Migration (IOM) donated information technology equipment to the Government of Burundi to improve humanitarian border management (HBM) involving significant migratory flows between Burundi and Tanzania. IOM also rehabilitated electrical systems at Mugina and Gisuru border posts, in Makamba and Ruyigi provinces respectively,

The donated equipment includes two complete solar power systems, computers, printers, uninterruptible power supplies to provide battery backup in case of power failure, and a one-year license for antivirus software. The donation is part of a project jointly implemented by IOM, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to promote concrete cross-border, human rights-based, and multi-agency approaches to peacebuilding in border areas between Burundi and Tanzania. It is supported by the UN Peacebuilding Fund.

The donation of this equipment follows technical field assessments conducted in January this year by IOM’s Immigration and Border Management team, along with experts from the General Commissariat of Migration in Burundi, at the targeted entry points. The assessments included an appraisal of existing infrastructures and equipment to ascertain needs, an evaluation of existing national procedures and cooperation mechanisms related to HBM, and identification of training needs, concerns and challenges faced by police and border officers.

Launched in January 2018, this border management project will help mitigate displacement-related instability for both Burundi and Tanzania. One of IOM’s responsibilities is to enhance HBM between Burundi and Tanzania by strengthening the two governments’ capacity in managing and monitoring migration flows at the points of entry.

Activities carried out in both countries include joint trainings and coordination meetings for immigration and border police officers, as well as the development of Standard Operational Procedures for HBM. These initiatives are expected to strengthen international collaboration and coordination for improved crisis management between the two immigration services at the border.

Thanks to the new information technology equipment and uninterrupted supply of electricity, it is expected that officials manning these points of entry will provide improved services to migrants and have increased capacity to manage population flows at the border, even in situations of mass displacement.

Two handover ceremonies were attended by the relevant government officials from Makamba and Ruyigi and a representative from IOM.

“This donation will help improve the working conditions for our colleagues while at the same time benefit the central administration because reports will be sent in real time,” said Romualde Bahomvya, Deputy Migration Police Commissioner.

He added: “The other advantage is that the registration of passengers on the two borders will now be faster. The registration of passengers will lead to the conservation of data that guarantees security and traceability of what we do, even for future use.”

IOM’s Sébastien Reclaru said: “We are glad that the equipment donated, and the rehabilitated electric system will benefit the communities around the borders as well as users of the supported border posts.”

Prior to the donation, IOM Burundi trained 66 officials from the department of immigration, border police, local authorities, civil protection as well as health and customs from both Burundi and Tanzania, on HBM best practices. The training was designed to improve their preparedness, effectiveness and protection of vulnerable migrants in the context of a humanitarian crisis. 

In Burundi, IOM is partnering with the government to carry out capacity-building activities related to migration management and strives to improve collaboration and coordination with neighbouring countries.

For more information please contact Sébastien Reclaru at IOM Burundi, Tel: +257 75400662, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 22, 2019 - 12:33Image: Region-Country: BurundiThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM hands over IT equipment to the governor of Makamba province, Burundi at Mugina border post. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Launches Campaign against Xenophobia in Ecuador

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 08:34

Quito – The United Nations System in Ecuador last week (14-03) launched Abrazos que Unen, an awareness campaign that seeks to generate empathy towards refugees and migrants in the country.  

Abrazos que Unen is the result of regional efforts developed to generate empathy and demystify xenophobic discourses. In other Latin America countries, similar campaigns such as Somos Panas, Mi Causa es tu Causa, and Somos lo Mismo in Colombia, Peru and Panama were launched respectively.  

Through the hashtag and website of the campaign, the UN System will share positive life stories about the social integration of refugees and migrants in Ecuador. The stories will show how local people support refugees and migrants while describing how they contribute positively to their host communities. 

After the arrival of hundreds of thousands of people from different nationalities to the country, the resurgence of discriminatory discourses that strengthen negative stereotypes was identified. During 2018, more than 954,000 Venezuelan people entered Ecuador, from that population 20 per cent remained in the country.   

In December 2018, some data provided by IOM´s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) in Ecuador revealed that from 2,657 Venezuelan who participated in this study, 46 per cent had suffered discrimination, and 15 per cent experienced some kind of physical or verbal violence during their migratory process.  

Abrazos que Unen seeks to appeal to the solidarity and hospitality that characterize the Ecuadorian population. During the past 30 years, more than 68,000 people were recognized as refugees in the country, the highest number in Latin America. 

Another objective of this campaign is to show refugees and migrants as self-sufficient and independent, and to highlight the positive impact of the integration of two or more cultures. When refugees and migrants are integrated into the country, both can benefit from the creation of new bonds that contribute to the growth of society. 

The UN hopes that Abrazos Que Unen can serve as a base for the development of activities in favour of integration and peaceful coexistence among refugees, migrants and their host communities. 

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For more information please contact at IOM, Carolina Celi, Tel: + 593 993586981, Email: or  

William Spindler, ACNUR, Tel: +507 69290257 Tel: +41 79 2173011, Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - 14:24Image: Region-Country: EcuadorThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Study Highlights Need for Free Movement of Labour in East Africa

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 08:31

Dodoma – A new study has urged member countries of the East African Community (EAC) to adopt labour migration policies based on international best practices, improve data management and boost the operationalization of One Stop Border Posts. The comparative study assesses migration patterns and policy issues in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and the United Republic of Tanzania – four of the six EAC countries.  

In 2010, the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated that there were about 19.3 million migrants in Africa, of which 8.4 million were classified as migrant workers. In 2015, the estimated population of the EAC, which also includes South Sudan and Uganda, was over 145.5 million people, with a gross domestic product of about USD 147.5 billion. As the region intensifies efforts to achieve its integration milestones, specifically within the context of the EAC Common Market Protocol, cross-border labour movements have made labour migration a pertinent issue for the partner states.  

The East African Common Market Protocol provides for the movement of persons, travel documents and the free movement of workers in particular. It focuses on three migration issues: national policy frameworks, data management and migrant worker practices.  

“We appreciate the commitment and cooperation from the United Republic of Tanzania in conducting this study and are confident that the presentation of the results will assist the Government of Tanzania and the other three EAC Member States in improving their management of migration flows, in p   articular those related to labour,” said IOM Tanzania Chief of Mission Dr. Qasim Sufi.  

“As people throughout the world are becoming more and more mobile, labour migration is undoubtedly a key issue for all governments and populations,” said Tatiana Hadjiemmanuel, Senior Regional Thematic Specialist on Labour Migration and Human Development at the IOM Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa. “We are very satisfied to see good willingness from EAC countries to work together in improving the protection of migrant workers.”  

Twenty different institutions in the United Republic of Tanzania and Zanzibar, including the President’s Office, the Ministries of Trade and Industry, Ministries of Labour, Immigration Departments, Trade Union Congress of Tanzania and Association of Tanzanian Employers participated in the launch event that took place in the capital city of Dodoma.  

The comparative study was commissioned within the framework of a regional project Supporting Labour Mobility in the East African Community: Operationalizing the Common Market Protocol Provisions on Free Movement of Persons and Labour, funded by the IOM Development Fund.  

Three similar events will be held in Bujumbura, Burundi on 20 March; Kigali, Rwanda on 21 March; and Nairobi, Kenya on 4 April 2019.  

For more information please contact David Hofmeijer at IOM Dar es Salaam, Tel: +255 699 674 975, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - 14:14Image: Region-Country: United Republic of TanzaniaThemes: Migration and EnvironmentDefault: Multimedia: 

Panel discussion during the launch of the EAC comparative on free movement of labour. Dodoma, United Republic of Tanzania. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Partners Discuss Climate Change and Migration at UN Environment Assembly 

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 08:26

Nairobi – Climatic factors are a major driver of migration, with the World Bank estimating that some 143 million people could be internally displaced in only three regions (Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America) by 2050, as result of climate change.  

On Friday (15/03) experts and activists gathered during the fourth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) to discuss the complex nexus between climate change and migration.  

“For centuries, millions of people across the globe have migrated due to climate change and environmental drivers, but the difference now is that man-made climate change is increasing the severity, frequency and geographical range of environmental disasters,” said Jeffrey Labovitz, the IOM Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa.  

He added: “This means that vulnerable communities are at even greater risk than ever, and we have seen global evidence of that already. Through the Global Compact for Migration, Member States have recognized this existential global threat, and outlined comprehensive measures to protect migrants by minimizing climate change and environmental drivers, build resilience and also facilitate safe and orderly migration as an adaptation strategy.”  

He was speaking at a side event on environment and migration aimed at bringing to light various dimensions and solutions to environmental migration in the context of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM).   

The event brought together policy makers, agencies, governments and others for a discussion on shared concerns, priorities and concrete next steps.  

“The need for stakeholders, including governments and development partners to collaborate to develop comprehensive strategies to better manage environmental migration, to address its challenges and to take advantage of the opportunities it presents, has never been more urgent,” Labovitz added.  

The event was organized by IOM, the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and the United Nations Environment Programme.  

The event is happening three months after leaders from 164 countries met in Marrakech, Morocco, to adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. Popularly known as the Global Compact for Migration (GCM), it was endorsed on 19 December with 152 member states voting in favour of the resolution. The GCM identifies climate change as a driver of migration.  

Moreover, the GCM articulates a comprehensive understanding of the challenges associated with the environment-migration nexus and formulates a range of potential responses to support states and migrants.   

At the event, Habibo Muse, a Somali national who migrated to Kenya in part due to the effects of drought in her country, shared her experience on how she and others incurred huge economic losses and endured severe hardships.  

“It is incumbent upon us to develop policies and measures that will cushion people against climate-related disasters while at the same time conserving the environment,” Labovitz said.   

For more information please contact Lisa Lim Ah Ken, IOM Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa, Email:, Tel: +254 741 540 079   

For media inquiries please contact Kenneth Odiwuor, IOM Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa, Email:, Tel: +254 722 560 363  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - 14:04Image: Region-Country: KenyaThemes: Migration and Climate ChangeDefault: Multimedia: 

Experts gather at a side event in Nairobi to discuss the relationship between climate change and migration jointly organized by IOM, the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco and other partners. Photo: IOM/Kennedy Njagi 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN