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Updated: 2 hours 45 min ago

Dozens Feared Dead as Vessel Carrying Civilians Fleeing Insecurity in Cabo Delgado Sinks

Thu, 11/05/2020 - 16:36

Maputo - At least 38 people, including many children are feared dead after one of the hundreds of overcrowded vessels carrying civilians fleeing insecurity in Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique, sank last week.

Details of the tragedy, which reportedly happened on 29 October, only surfaced after survivors began arriving in the provincial capital Pemba, and informed volunteer aid workers about their ordeal. At least 70 people were believed to be aboard the vessel.

Survivor Uyeca Mpate said she, her husband of four months and many other residents of Palma escaped to try and build a new life in Pemba.
“When the boat sank, I was able to hold on to a Jerry can (water container) that I had and made it to the nearest island,” told IOM today. 

“Other people held on to cushions from the boat, and some held a cord, but the others drowned. My husband also drowned. The greatest number of deaths were children. Only two children survived.”

In the last three weeks, 274 boats from Cabo Delgado in the northeast of the country carrying over 13,000 people, including nearly 5,900 children, have arrived in Paquetequete, Pemba. 

“IOM expresses its sincerest condolences to the families of the persons who have lost their lives in this tragedy,” said Laura Tomm-Bonde, IOM Chief of Mission in Mozambique. 
“We stand ready to support the efforts of the Government of Mozambique to assist survivors, internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Cabo Delgado, and the communities that host them.” 

IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) staff are at the disembarkation point on the beach in Paquetequete tracking arrivals on a daily basis, and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) staff are providing psychosocial first aid to the community and IDPs. 

Over the past three years, insecurity in Cabo Delgado Province has led to the internal displacement of more than 300,000 people. 

IOM Mozambique has a long-term presence in Cabo Delgado. Programming includes Shelter/ (Non-food Items (NFIs), Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM), Protection, DTM, MHPSS as well as a significant Peacebuilding and Community Resilience Programme. 


For more information, please contact: Sascha Nlabu, IOM Mozambique Head of Programs and Operations; email: or Sandra Black, Media and Communications Officer; Tel: +258 84 494 4359, email: 


Language English Posted: Thursday, November 5, 2020 - 23:25Image: Region-Country: MozambiqueThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsMigrants in Vulnerable SituationsDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM‘s DTM teams help local authorities in Paquiteneque, Pemba, register some of the estimated 13,000 internally displaced persons who have fled insecurity in Cabo Delgado on 26 Oct, three days before a boat reportedly sank claiming at least 32 lives. Photo: IOM/Matteo Theubet

Dozens of people disembark from vessels in Paquiteneque, Pemba, after fleeing unrest in Cabo Delgado recently. Photo: IOM

Uyeca Mpate survived the Oct 29 tragedy that claimed the life of her husband of four months. She managed to swim to safety by holding on to a Jerry can but, tragically, many children were among the victims. Photo: IOM/Sandra Black

IOM‘s DTM teams help local authorities in Paquiteneque, Pemba, register some of the estimated 13,000 internally displaced persons who have fled insecurity in Cabo Delgado on 26 Oct, three days before a boat reportedly sank claiming at least 32 lives. Photo: IOM/Matteo Theubet

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

COVID-19: IOM Holds UK-funded Cross-border Meetings and Assessments

Thu, 11/05/2020 - 06:07

Kampala – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has  concluded a series of stakeholder and cross-border meetings aimed at boosting the cross-border response to COVID-19 among lLocal Governments from Uganda and neighbouring countries. Specifically, the meetings aimed at strengthening the capacity of the COVID-19 response teams in border areas, and boosting cross-border surveillance of the pandemic.

Funded by the British Government’s Department for International Development (DFID), the meetings were organized under a joint project implemented by the World Health Organization and IOM in Uganda in partnership with the Ministry of Health.

The meetings attracted at least 147 health, security, immigration, civil society and local government officials  from Uganda and Kenya (meeting held in Tororo for the Busia and Malaba border posts); South Sudan (at Elegu); Democratic Republic of the Congo (at Mpondwe); and the United Republic of Tanzania (at Mutukula). Ugandan COVID-19  stakeholders in the respective border districts first met to review activities in-country, before meeting with colleagues from across the respective borders a week later.

Included in the programme were  rigorous reviews of ongoing cross-border COVID-19 response activities such as data collection, testing, screening, isolation, referrals and reporting and highlighting critical gaps.

Among the challenges highlighted by the participants were the lack of harmonized policies and procedures relating to COVID-19 in neighbouring countries, which makes cross-border cooperation difficult. For instance, while Uganda charges truckers for COVID-19 testing, Kenya does not charge, while Tanzania does not emphasize testing or wearing of masks. Participants at Mpondwe also urged greater harmonization of policy among neighbouring states. In all the border meetings, East African governments were urged to agree how to deal with COVID-19, with participants noting that despite the disease, life, commerce and travel continue across both the formal and ungazetted border crossing points. 

At Mutukula, at the border with Tanzania, and during the Busia/Malaba meeting, participants highlighted the challenge of a lack of a designated/isolation area where people can wait for their results. Instead, the travellers are left to find their own accommodation. This, argued a Ugandan participant from the eastern district of Tororo, means  that potentially infectious travellers  awaiting their results freely mix with the border communities.

Another recurring challenge was the shortage of vehicles and/or fuel for transporting samples, contact-tracing, or evacuating positive cases to hospitals or to their residences for home-based care.

“You call the hospital for an ambulance to evacuate positive cases to hospital and someone tells you, ‘The driver in coming,’” said a participant from Busia. “You call the next morning and he says ‘Oh, now the ambulance is coming.’ You find that the ambulance is coming for 72 hours. Meanwhile, you are trying to keep the COVID-positive people in that little space.”

Other challenges highlighted at the various meetings included an acute shortage of testing kits; the breakdown of testing machines, which means samples have to be transported for long distances and getting test results take up to seven days; stockouts of personal protective equipment (leaving health workers vulnerable); the porous borders that many people continue to use; lack of facilitation of security officers patrolling the borders, and high fees for COVID- 19 tests.

Among the recommendations, participants urged the Ugandan Ministry of Health to develop Port Health into fully fledged unit with specialized staff, which would help enhance its performance.

Governments and development partners were also urged to budget for basic allowances for additional security forces – including army officers – deployed along the porous borders, who may not be receiving allowances unlike other colleagues including screeners and healthworkers.

Another call was for COVID testing fees to be dropped. Participants in various sites argued that the USD 65 charged by Uganda was too high for most travellers. Aware of the challenge of funding for tests, participants in Mpondwe called for a memorandum of understanding between Uganda and the Democratic Republc of the Congo for joint resource mobilization.

Participants also called for regular cross-border meetings for COVID-19 response teams from neighbouring countries to share views, experiences and innovative solutions.

To reduce congestion especially at Malaba and Busia, participants suggested that testing and sample collection should be removed from the border posts. This would require participants to arrive at points of entry with test results – just like what is expected at airports.

For further information, please contact IOM Uganda’s Migration Health Coordinator, Victoria Kajja, Email:, Tel: +256 312 263 210.

Media enquiries can be directed to IOM Uganda’s Public Information Officer, Richard M Kavuma, Email:, Tel: +256 772 709 917. 

Language English Posted: Thursday, November 5, 2020 - 13:00Image: Region-Country: UgandaThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

Busia Uganda Resident District Commissioner Capt. Chris Mike Okirya addresses the cross-border meeting in tororo. Photo: IOM

Busia County Kenya Deputy Secretary, Eve Ikwii speaks in Tororo Uganda. Photo: IOM

Busia County Kenya Deputy Secretary, Eve Ikwii speaks in Tororo Uganda. Photo: IOM

IOM Uganda Migration Health Coordinator, Victoria Kajja, welcomes particiapants for the busiamalaba meeting. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Local
Categories: PBN

Emergency Responders Heading for Typhoon Goni’s Ground Zero as New Storm Emerges

Tue, 11/03/2020 - 15:34

Bicol – Teams from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are assessing the conditions facing hundreds of thousands of people displaced by Typhoon Goni and preparing to deliver urgently needed supplies to survivors in remote islands hardest hit by the most powerful storm of 2020, as local residents prepare for a new storm later this week.

“The typhoon caused massive damage, powerlines are down, and the roofs have been blown off government evacuation centres,” said Conrad Navidad, head of IOM Philippines’ Emergency Preparedness and Response Unit.

“We’re hoping our staff will be able to travel to islands that were Ground Zero tomorrow to deliver supplies, including personal protection equipment (PPEs), and continue their assessments of the needs of the many people who have been displaced.”

Goni slammed into Luzon Island on Sunday packing sustained winds of 225km/h. Philippine government partners reported today that more than one-third of the 712,197 people affected live in Bicol Region, and further 95,484 are in Calabarzon. 

IOM is working to mobilize local-hired assessors to support the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on data collection for the Displacement Track Matrix to provide valuable information about the specific needs of displaced populations and facilitate better targeted assistance by government, UN and other partners.

Overshadowing the response is the presence of COVID-19. UNOCHA reports that there are some 425 active COVID-19 cases in Bicol Region. “In the current emergency it is extremely difficult for people who have been forced from their homes, who have seen their lives and businesses ruined, to follow the well-established and understood physical distancing and hygiene measures that are required,” said Navidad.

IOM is prioritizing the delivery of PPEs, including 200,000 face masks, 20,000 bottles of sanitizer, 2,000 face shields, 300 shelter grade tarpaulins and 500 modular tents to DSWD and the Philippine Coast Guard. 

Officials are also tracking the progress of a new storm over the Pacific Ocean, Atsani, which is expected to reach the Philippines this week.

For more information please contact Kristin Dadey at IOM Philippines, at Tel: +63 917 803 5009, Email: or Itayi Viriri, at IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (Bangkok) at Tel: +66 65 939 0934, Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - 22:08Image: Region-Country: PhilippinesThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM teams are on ground conducting together with the Department of Social Welfare and Development a rapid assessment of the most urgent needs of displaced individuals in the areass affected areas by Typhoon Goni. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Launches Continental Strategy for Africa 2020-2024

Tue, 11/03/2020 - 14:02

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched its Continental Strategy for Africa 2020-2024 in a virtual event live-streamed and attended by representatives from the African Union Commission (AUC), the regional economic communities (RECs), and other key partners.

Intra-African migration remains a dominant trend in contemporary African migration. The Strategy frames the Organization’s new orientation with Africa at policy and strategic levels. It is consistent with the goals and objectives of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) to which almost all African countries adhere, as well as the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, the IOM strategic vision, and IOM Migration Governance Framework (MIGoF).

Participating partners shared brief statements about the trends and priorities in their respective regions as highlighted in the strategy, provided recommendations on ways forward and reiterated their commitment to working closely with IOM in the implementation of this strategy. This collaboration is particularly crucial as it comes amidst COVID-19, which has imposed enormous constraints on human mobility.

The Strategy lays the foundations for renewed and strengthened cooperation with the AUC, AU RECs, and African Union Member States as well as the UN system, among other key stakeholders, for better governance of African migration to foster inclusive and sustainable development in Africa.
It also underlines the needs and priorities of African countries, corresponding to the AU Agenda 2063 and other relevant international and regional instruments. Over the coming five years, key areas of trends and drivers will include climate change and environmental degradation, demographic and urbanization trends, the increasing feminization of migration, growing internal migration, and continued humanitarian and development challenges. 

IOM’s partnerships with AUC, RECs and Member States will help strengthen the role of migration in the development of African countries, address its challenges, and promote the positive aspects of migration through effective governance frameworks. It will also strengthen migration governance and management through innovative and dynamic approaches connected to African realities and values systems. 
Concerted and coordinated actions are needed in a spirit of shared responsibility among States and other national and international stakeholders to maximize the gains of migration and address its challenges, including the negative impact of COVID-19 on migration and border management systems, and on the protection of migrants. 

For more information, please contact Aissata Kane at
The full recording of the launch event can be found on YouTube.   
The strategy can be downloaded here.


Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - 20:55Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: Global Compact on MigrationInternational and Regional CooperationDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Relief Efforts Stepped Up as Super Typhoon Rolly Devastates Philippines’ Bicol Region

Mon, 11/02/2020 - 13:56

Manila - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has dispatched teams to Luzon Island in the southern Philippines in response to Typhoon Rolly (known internationally as Goni), the most powerful storm of 2020, which smashed into Catanduanes in the Bicol Region on Sunday (01-11) with sustained wind speeds of 225km/h claiming at least 16 lives and causing widespread destruction. 

The region is still reeling from the effects of Typhoon Molave which struck last week, killing 22 people IOM Chief of Mission in the Philippines Kristin Dadey said today. The government pre-empted the typhoon with mass evacuations especially in the provinces of Albay and Camarines Sur. 

“Our teams in Albay are reporting scenes of terrible destruction,” Dadey said.  

“Power lines are down, houses destroyed and we’re hearing entire villages are under water. The government deserves a lot of credit for getting so many people to safety but we are preparing for more bad news as the emergency response continues.” 

As of Monday, 166,763 persons are in evacuation centers with 105,910 persons from the Bicol Region alone, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) data. 

“With COVID-19, the most vulnerable displaced populations have become even more vulnerable. IOM will continue to work with our Government partners to support their monumental recovery efforts to address the most urgent humanitarian needs,” Dadey said.  

Emphasizing the critical need for proper COVID-19 precautionary measures in evacuation sites, IOM will deliver assorted personal protective equipment (PPE) including 200,000 face masks, 20,000 bottles of sanitizer, 2,000 face shields, and 500 modular tents to the DSWD and the Philippine Coast Guard.  

The dead and missing were all in Bicol, including nine in hard-hit Albay province, according to the Office of Civil Defense. Over 300 houses were buried under volcanic rock and mud flows from the Bicol region's Mayon Volcano. Further, storm surges hit some coastal towns, while rivers overflowed and dykes were destroyed, submerging several villages. IOM has deployed teams to Bicol and Regional IV to assess the needs of displaced persons and further required support for government. 

The country is struck by up to 20 typhoons annually and, even as it deals with the aftermath of Rolly, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has issued alerts that tropical storm Atsani may make landfall later this week. The area struck by Rolly was also heavy damaged by a powerful typhoon in December 2019. 

PAGASA recorded Typhoon Rolly’s gusts of up to 310km/h, and sustained winds of 225km/h, the most powerful typhoon to hit the Philippines since Super Typhoon Lawin in 2015.  

An estimated P74.9 million (USD 1.5 million) worth of family food packs is needed to accommodate 177,619 vulnerable individuals affected.  

COVID 19 is making evacuation and recovery efforts incredibly complex. The Philippines has had more than 383,000 cases of the COVID-19, the second-most in South-East Asia behind Indonesia.  

To further support the Government, IOM working with DSWD has developed a training package on COVID-19 Operational Guidelines for Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) and Protection. These guidelines have already been cascaded to DSWD, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and Local Government Units along the storm’s path — particularly in Bicol.  

For more information please contact Kristin Dadey at IOM Philippines, Email: or Itayi Viriri, at IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (Bangkok) at Tel: +66 65 939 0934, Email:  

Language English Posted: Monday, November 2, 2020 - 13:46Image: Region-Country: PhilippinesThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Residents of Albay had only begun cleaning up from the destruction of last week’s Typhoon Molave when the most powerful typhoon of the year slammed into the southern Philippines on Sunday (01-11) packing sustained winds up to 225km/h. @IOM Photo

Residents try to salvage what they can as they start clearing out thick mud that accumulated inside their homes. Photo: IOM

IOM teams are on ground conducting together with the Department of Social Welfare and Development conducting a rapid assessment of the most urgent needs of displaced individuals in evacuation centers. Photo: IOM

Homes and streets in Batangas, Southern Luzon are covered in mud after flash floods swept the area due to Super Typhoon Goni. Photo: IOM

Residents try to salvage what they can as they start clearing out thick mud that accumulated inside their homes. Photo: IOM

Gusts up to 315km/h destroyed homes and stripped gardens and plantations in Albay, a province already reeling from the impact of a typhoon last week. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Lao Ministry of Public Security Complete Point of Entry (PoE) Assessment across Lao People’s Democratic Republic

Fri, 10/30/2020 - 12:42

Lao People’s Democratic Republic – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Ministry of Public Security (MoPS) completed the PoE Assessment at ten PoEs from 28 August to 21 October 2020.

Together with MoPS, IOM started the first PoE mapping assessment in Vientiane Capital on 28 August, before rolling out to six other provinces across the country. A total of ten frequently used PoEs were assessed to look at preparedness and response capacities for COVID-19, which included assessing existing capacities of infrastructure, processes, and personnel to respond to COVID-19 and future outbreaks. IOM, MoPS and frontline officials discussed on best practice and future plans under the project to better protect travelers, migrants, frontline officials, and ensure safe and effective migration and border management.

The team met with authorities at each PoE to better understand their needs and discuss how the project can best support in addressing challenges arising under the current and future pandemics. Some identified needs included: procuring Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and cleaning chemicals, upgrading isolation facilities/rooms, support with ensuring physical distancing can be maintained, formalizing and documenting new processes and developing Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials which are migrant responsive. The team handed over PPE supports and IEC materials to each PoE as an immediate support.

Based on the findings of this assessment, IOM will develop in consultation with MoPS the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for frontline border officials in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, IEC materials for incoming and outgoing passengers, and address PPE and infrastructure needs at PoEs. To enhance frontline officials’ capacities, the first training is to be held at the end of October in Vientiane Capital, with all trainings scheduled to be rolled out by the end of 2020.

IOM has been monitoring the large number of migrants returning across the region. The pandemic has significantly changed human mobility and trade patterns, as travel restrictions created new risks for migrants, many have become stranded or found themselves in irregular situations.

Under its Health, Border and Mobility Management Framework, IOM sets to improve the prevention, detection, and response to the spread of diseases at points of origin, transit, destination, and return.  

This activity is part of IOM’s project Support on responding to cross mobility challenges at points of entry in Lao People’s Democratic Republic, with joint funding from the Australian Government and the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund.

For more information please contact Karen HO at IOM Vientiane. Tel. + 856 (0)21 267 734. Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 30, 2020 - 19:27Image: Region-Country: Lao People’s Democratic RepublicThemes: COVID-19IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM and MOPS conducting assessment at the Boten International Checkpoint in September. IOM Lao PDR/2020

Meeting with Savannakhet PoE Authorities in October. IOM Lao PDR/2020

IOM and MOPS conducting assessment at Luang Prabang International Airport. IOM Lao PDR/2020

Lao migrants returning during the time of assessment at Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge II. IOM Lao PDR/2020

Press Release Type: Local
Categories: PBN

IOM ROK hosts ‘Advanced Training on Addressing Gender-based Violence (GBV) in Crises’

Fri, 10/30/2020 - 12:24

Seoul, Republic of Korea – The IOM Republic of Korea (ROK) Mission, with support from the Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), hosted the  ‘Advanced Training on Addressing Gender-based Violence (GBV) in Crises’ on 27 to 28 October 2020.

The training workshop was organized to address the gap between increasing involvement of ROK humanitarian actors in GBV intervention in the field and their capacity to plan and deliver quality GBV projects in line with international standards. The workshop particularly aimed to equip ROK humanitarian practitioners with readily applicable knowledge and skills for GBV intervention in humanitarian contexts, including coordination, referral systems, local partnership, specialized and non-specialized assistance and M&E. The training was attended by 19 practitioners from ROK NGOs engaged in GBV programming and overseas humanitarian assistance, and all completed the training.

Alexandra Valerio, Regional Protection and GBV Specialist, IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, and Megan Denise Smith, Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Officer, IOM Bangladesh in Cox´s Bazar, led the workshop based on IOM’s experience in GBV response. Due to cross-border travel restrictions posed by the ongoing COVID-19 situation, the workshop combined online video conferencing with the trainers and on-site group work among the trainees.

“Gender Based Violence (GBV) happens at all times and is exacerbated during emergency situations. Lack of adequate prevention and mitigation measures during the design, planning, implementation and monitoring stages of humanitarian projects can lead to creating or exacerbating risks of GBV and creating further harm to persons at risk of GBV or already experiencing GBV. I am glad to be working together with ROK humanitarian colleagues so that greater coordination and partnership could be achieved at the field and HQs levels”, said Alexandra Valerio.

The first day started by recapping core concepts of GBV, such as the definitions, forms, consequences, root causes and contributing factors. Response principles were highlighted again with the review of the Inter-Agency Minimum Standards for GBV in Emergencies Programming by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC). Following the refresher of the introductory GBV webinar, the workshop expanded to programmatic areas ranging from promoting women’s participation and Women and Girl’s Safe Spaces (WGSS) to more specialized assistance, such as psychosocial support, health care, and legal aid. Project examples and group exercises supplemented lectures throughout the workshop, providing ample opportunities to the participant to build up hands-on skills and knowledge.  On day two, participants were trained on proposal development and indicator setting for M&E. Some of the selected cases from the participants, such as success stories or mistakes from their own experience, were also shared to promote peer-to-peer learning.

Prior to the training, a preparatory webinar introducing the basic concepts and principles of GBV programming was hosted by IOM ROK on 24 September 2020, which was attended by approximately 93 ROK NGO practitioners and government officials. 

Since 2015, IOM ROK has taken an important role in providing a wide range of capacity-building support for ROK humanitarian actors with funding support from US Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA).

For more information please contact Eunice Jieun KIM, IOM Republic of Korea Mission, Tel.: +82 70 4820 0291, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 30, 2020 - 19:18Image: Region-Country: Republic of KoreaThemes: Migration and genderDefault: Multimedia: 

Photo: IOM

Photo: IOM

Photo: IOM

Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Local
Categories: PBN

IOM Maternal and Child Health Clinic for Internally Displaced Persons Opens in Somalia

Fri, 10/30/2020 - 11:13

Doolow - A new maternal and child health care clinic for internally displaced expectant and nursing mothers and children has been opened in Doolow, Somalia, by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in partnership with the Ministry of Health. 

The new health centre, funded by the Government of Japan, was set up to assist with free health care over 5,800 families living in Kabasa, one of the most impoverished communities of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country.  

The clinic, coordinated by IOM and implemented by the local partner Human Development Concern, will provide multiple services. This includes antenatal care, delivery and postnatal care, outpatient consultations, emergency services and immunization for childhood diseases, such as tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis and polio –a disease eradicated in many parts of the world but still a problem in Somalia–. Child nutrition and treating malnutrition services will also be offered. 

Prior to the opening of the clinic, many expectant mothers in Doolow had a higher risk of death because of antenatal and postnatal complications, and particularly during childbirths and stillbirths. This was due to a lack of access to maternity services caused in part by security-related restrictions of movement between IDP camps, which left many expectant mothers unable to reach the nearest maternity unit –located four kilometres away–, to which they often had to walk. As a result, many of them had to rely on unskilled traditional birth attendants.  

Hawa, a mother of five, is one of the women will who benefit from the new clinic: “Today, people in Kabasa are enthusiastic, and a sigh of relief is observed as services are available day and night and mothers will be attended to by skilled midwives.” she said. 

This health facility will be the first to provide delivery services in the Kabasa IDP site in over 10 years. It replaces an old health post that used to treat only emergency cases.  

“Now we have five permanent rooms, well ventilated with 24/7 running water and electricity to attend patients, qualified midwives and complete delivery equipment to increase the quality of services received by mothers and their new-borns,” said Fatuma Aden, IOM’s Health Officer in Doolow. 

IOM is supporting 39 other similar health facilities across Somalia. This support is crucial to the health and livelihoods of over 361,165 people. Access to health care across Somalia’s IDP population of 2.6 million is extremely limited due to years of conflict that have destroyed the already fragile health infrastructure of the country.  

Somalia has the fourth-largest population of IDPs in the world. Almost three decades of conflict, recurrent and more intense climate shocks such as droughts and floods, as well as the worst locust invasion in 25 years, have forced many individuals to flee their towns and settle in displacement sites in search of safety and better access to basic services. 

Moreover, the poor sanitation and hygiene conditions of the often overcrowded IDP sites and the impact that COVID-19 is having on livelihood opportunities is putting at risk the well-being of many displaced persons.  

“IOM is committed to strengthening and promoting better quality and inclusive health systems that benefit migrants and the communities in which they live. Migrants contribute actively to the development of society and ensuring their access to health services not only protects public health and human rights, but it also prevents long-term health and social costs, and contributes to social and economic development,” said Kerry Kyaa, IOM’s Health Programme Manager.   

IOM Somalia is supporting the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) to bring health care services closer to migrants, displaced families, and communities in hard-to-reach areas while improving their living conditions to minimize preventable diseases and death. Since the beginning of the year, IOM has provided 361,165 health consultations and reached 378,482 individuals with health education and promotion activities at IOM supported health clinics and through mobile health teams.  

Learn more about IOM’s health activities in Somalia funded by the Government of Japan on this video.  

This new health clinic and others funded by the Government of Japan have been critical in ensuring that IOM, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, can bring health services to everyone, everywhere in Somalia. IOM’s health programmes in Somalia are possible thanks to the generous funding from Japan, USAID, Germany, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the Somali Humanitarian Fund, KSRelief and the European Union. 


For more information, reach out to the IOM Somalia Programme Support Unit; Email:; Tel:+254 705 832 020 

Language English Posted: Friday, October 30, 2020 - 12:59Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

New Maternity Child Health Centre in Kabasa IDP Site, Somalia. Photo: IOM

New Maternity Child Health Centre in Kabasa IDP Site, Somalia Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Timely COVID-19 Testing of Mombasa Port Truckers Helps Reinvigorate Economies

Fri, 10/30/2020 - 04:59

Nairobi – Thousands of truck drivers across Kenya have been tested for COVID-19 by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) since July, as part of a broader effort to reinvigorate regional economies impacted by COVID-19.

Billions of dollars’ worth of goods begin the final leg of their in-land journey to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo aboard transport trucks originating at the sprawling port of Mombasa in southeast Kenya. The drivers were identified early on as a high-risk group for the spread and transmission of COVID-19. This, combined with border closures and other mobility restrictions, brought much of the trade in the region to a grinding halt. 

IOM sees the integration of COVID-19 testing and other health measures into border management systems as critical to reanimating national and local economies and blunting the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic.

In July 2020, IOM conducted 2,570 tests at the Malaba and Busia One Stop Border Points with Uganda in an effort to clear a line-up of trucks stretching up to 90 km back from the border. With the support of the Danish International Development Agency, IOM has, as of 23 October, tested over 14,200 drivers moving freight out of East Africa’s largest port, bound for nations across East and Central Africa and the Horn of Africa.

“While the pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to mobility and cross-border trade, we must ensure that there is a continuous flow of economic activities while putting first the safety of people involved in the process,” said IOM Kenya Chief of Mission Dimanche Sharon.

IOM deployed medical staff, lab technicians, data officers and a semi-automated Thermo Fisher testing system to the Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital, enabling the testing of up to 400 samples within a day, significantly reduced the turn-around time for test results to between 24 and 36 hours. This is an important consideration for drivers under pressure to deliver their goods as quickly as possible while negotiating a myriad of health-related border mobility restrictions enacted since March in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the region.

“Previously, I have had to wait up to two weeks for my turn to cross the Kenya-Uganda border,” said a Mombasa-based Kenyan truck driver named Rashid. “My certificate expired in the process, since the validity period is 14 days, and the experience was not pleasant as I had to be tested again spending more money and time at the border. I am hopeful that the testing for COVID-19 in Mombasa will help me obtain the clearance and transport the goods faster.” 

IOM Kenya has also conducted infection, prevention and control training for COVID-19 benefiting more than 200 frontline workers at various Points of Entry (PoEs) and provided personal protection equipment for 27 POEs, including Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

“With the support of our international partners, we will continue to fight against COVID-19 alongside the Government of Kenya until it’s fully eradicated,” said IOM’s Sharon.

For more information, please contact Muthoni Njenga at IOM Kenya, Email:, Tel: +254 720 958815 or Asif Chowdhury, Email:, Tel: +1 519 721 6755 




Language English Posted: Friday, October 30, 2020 - 13:00Image: Region-Country: KenyaThemes: COVID-19Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

A health worker collects a specimen from Robison Rashid, a Kenyan truck driver who delivers containers from the port of Mombasa around the region. Photo: IOM

Truck drivers waiting to be tested for COVID-19 at Miritini, Mombasa County, Kenya. Photo: IOM

Truck drivers at the Malaba-Uganda One Stop Border Point waiting to cross over from Kenya to Uganda and Uganda to Kenya. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Deadliest Shipwreck of the Year Claims at Least 140 Lives

Thu, 10/29/2020 - 10:29

Saint-Louis, Senegal – At least 140 people have drowned after a vessel carrying around 200 migrants sank off the Senegalese coast, the deadliest shipwreck recorded in 2020. 

According to media sources, the Senegalese and Spanish navies, and fishermen who were nearby, rescued 59 people and retrieved the remains of 20 others.  

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is deeply saddened by this recent tragedy, which follows four shipwrecks recorded in the Central Mediterranean last week and another in the UK Channel. 

“We call for unity between governments, partners and the international community to dismantle trafficking and smuggling networks that take advantage of desperate youth,” said Bakary Doumbia, IOM Senegal Chief of Mission.  

“It is also important that we advocate for enhanced legal channels to undermine the traffickers’ business model and prevent loss of life.” 

Local community members told IOM the vessel left Mbour, a coastal town in western Senegal on Saturday (24/10) bound for the Canary Islands. The boat caught fire a few hours after departure and capsized near Saint-Louis, on Senegal’s northwest coast. 

The Government of Senegal and IOM have arranged a mission to travel to Saint-Louis to assess the needs of survivors and provide immediate psychosocial assistance. 

The number of departures from West Africa to the Canary Islands has significantly increased in recent weeks. 

IOM Senegal has been monitoring departures from the coast with the assistance of members of the community since the beginning of September. In September alone, 14 boats carrying 663 migrants left Senegal for the Canary Islands. Of these departures, 26 per cent were reported to have experienced an incident or shipwreck. 

IOM estimates there have been roughly 11,000 arrivals to the Canary Islands this year compared to 2,557 arrivals during the same period last year. This is still far below peaks seen in 2006 when over 32,000 people arrived. 

With this tragic shipwreck, at least 414 people are known to have died along this route in 2020 according to IOM’s Missing Migrants Project, which recorded 210 fatalities there in all of 2019.   

For more information please contact Aïssatou Sy at IOM's Regional Office for West and Central Africa, Tel: +221 77 479 21 41, Email:  

Language English Posted: Thursday, October 29, 2020 - 17:07Image: Region-Country: SenegalThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia: 

Archive photo of the Senegalese coast. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Second Safe Migration Training Held to Further Strengthen Capacity and Knowledge of Skills Development Partners

Wed, 10/28/2020 - 05:08

Vientiane – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Lao Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MoLSW) organized the Second Safe Migration Training of Trainers (ToT) for Skills Development Partners (SDPs). The two-day training (15-16 October) was held under IOM’s regional programme – Poverty Reduction through Safe Migration, Skills Development and Enhanced Job Placement in Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Thailand (PROMISE).

The second such Safe Migration ToT aimed to improve knowledge of SDPs on safe and regular migration, increase their capacity to mainstream Safe Migration knowledge in institutional training schedule, and design their training courses in migrant-centered and gender-responsive manner.

The training was attended by 50 representatives, including: SDPs from provincial and central Technical and Vocation Education and Training (TVET) institutions, Initial Vocational and Education Training (IVET) institutions, Skills Development Centres, as well as Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), IOM, and key ministries of the Lao Government.

Opening the ceremony, Khornsy Mahavong, Deputy Director General of the Skills Development and Employment Department (SDED) at MoLSW, highlighted that “migration, as a matter of course, happens regardless of the types of intervention in place, which is why we should focus on promoting safe and regular migration in our work.” He then encouraged participants to continue delivering Safe Migration knowledge in their respective institutions.

IOM developed and distributed copies of ‘For Safe Migration – Trainer’s Guideline’ during the ToT, which includes ten modules of combined materials from IOM, MOLSW, and the Ministry of Public Security. During the case study sessions, participants discussed the emerging issues of migration and the importance of promoting safe and regular migration in the community, especially to young people. The Trainer’s Guideline can thus be an official reference for participants’ roll-out training in their institutions.

Together with SDED, IOM set up the first ToT on safe migration for 11 TVET and eight Skills Development Centres in July 2019. Thirty-three teachers from six provinces were trained, followed by roll-out trainings.

Upon the completion of the second training, all 34 TVET schools and six Skills Development Centres across Lao People’s Democratic Republic have received Safe Migration trainings from PROMISE. IOM and SDED will continue to provide necessary support to SDPs during the new school year.

PROMISE, now in its fourth year of implementation, is a cross-regional initiative that aims to promote poverty reduction through ethical recruitment and skills development, Safe Migration schemes, and enhanced return and reintegration mechanisms of migrants. The programme is generously supported by SDC.

For more information please contact Karen HO at IOM Vientiane. Tel. + 856 (0)21 267 734. Email:

Language English Posted: Wednesday, October 28, 2020 - 11:39Image: Region-Country: Lao People’s Democratic RepublicThemes: Migration and DevelopmentDefault: Multimedia: 

50 representatives attended the two-day event.

The ‘For Safe Migration – Trainers’ Guideline’ will be the reference material for upcoming roll-outs.

Participants discussing emerging issues of migration in groups.

Participants received the certificate upon completion of the training.

Press Release Type: Local
Categories: PBN

UN Findings on Malnutrition in Yemen Raise Concerns Over Displaced Children

Tue, 10/27/2020 - 14:23

Sana’a – The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Acute Malnutrition analysis released today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and other partners is extremely concerning. With limited access to food, humanitarian services and health care, displaced children in Yemen are at risk of the deadly impacts of severe food insecurity.  

Around 26 per cent of the more than 156,000 people newly displaced this year, in the areas where the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has access, cited food as their main need. This is the second most cited need after shelter and housing, which 65 per cent of people reported as their main need. In areas where there are higher levels of displacement, like Al Hudaydah, Taizz, Al Dhale’e and Marib, higher levels of food needs have also been reported.  

“Displaced Yemenis leave their homes with nothing and often find themselves seeking safety in locations where there are no job opportunities and barely enough services, including health care,” said Christa Rottensteiner, IOM Chief of Mission for Yemen.  

“This can leave vulnerable people without enough food to feed their families. Given that UN partners are reporting that acute malnutrition rates among children under five are the highest ever recorded in parts of Yemen, we are extremely worried about children in displaced families.”  

The situation in Marib is particularly concerning given that an escalation in hostilities has displaced over 90,000 people to the city and caused a drastic shortage of services. Displaced people in Marib report food to be one of their most urgent needs. Of the displacement sites assessed by IOM in October, some reported that food shortages were a major concern for approximately 50 per cent of their residents. 

In response to food insecurity, the emergency aid kits distributed under the Rapid Response Mechanism by IOM to newly displaced families include emergency food rations. IOM also carries out livelihood support activities for displaced communities to help them generate income. Most recently the Organization supported displaced women in making face masks which help their community combat the spread of COVID-19. 

IOM also operates a health centre in Al Jufainah Camp, Yemen’s largest displacement site, and multiple mobile health clinics. In addition to providing primary health care services to over 55 per cent of displaced people in Marib, IOM’s mobile health clinics provide community level access to malnutrition screening for children under the age of five and referral for treatment, in coordination with UNICEF. Given the high demand for such nutritional support, early intervention is vital to reducing avoidable morbidity and mortality among displaced children. 

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon, IOM Yemen, Tel: +251926379755, WhatsApp: +967730552233, Email:  




Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 27, 2020 - 14:17Image: Region-Country: YemenThemes: Internal DisplacementDefault: Multimedia: 

A displaced mother, originally from Al Hudaydah, holds her sick young child in an IOM-supported health centre. IOM File Photo

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

New Central American Campaigns Combat Misinformation about Migration

Tue, 10/27/2020 - 07:25

Kevin’s dreams of being discovered by international recruiters ready to open the door to football glory outside of his native Guatemala seemed to be coming true. But should he trust these men who are offering fame and fortune? 

In Costa Rica, Isabel, a Nicaraguan single mother wants to regularize her migration status but keeps being told that it is nearly impossible.  

Two very different real-life scenarios sharing a common challenge: the lack of clear, accessible information that allows them to make informed decisions. 

Two new IOM campaigns are attempting to do just that. 

Think Twice” was presented online in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador on 22 October, two days after the launch of the virtual launch of “Mistakes by word of mouth", a campaign in Costa Rica. 

In Costa Rica, IOM and the General Directorate of Migration (DGME) found the need to tackle community level word-of-mouth myths and prejudices about access to status regularization.  

“Many migrants are facing the consequences of decisions they made which were informed by misinformation spreading on social media,” said Leonard Doyle Head of IOM Communications.  

“To help people make informed and safe migration choices we use peer-to-peer communications to spread among people trusted by their communities.”  

More than simple awareness-raising campaigns, IOM continues to implement Communication for Development (C4D) efforts, using the methodology used by IOMX’s well-established and successful participatory methodology, and adapted to the new contexts created by COVID-19. 

“For us, it’s very important to work together with IOM,” said DGME Director General Raquel Vargas. “Thanks to these initiatives, we can reach more people and communities who really need this information” Watch Videos Here.  

In Northern Central America, IOM baseline assessments showed that the uncertainty related to the context of the pandemic increases the risk of young people to fall into fake offers and information, and trafficking in persons or migrant smuggling. 

 “Dialogues between Heart and Head” was created jointly by organizations and youth from the communities. It is a series of six animated videos featuring young characters facing difficult decisions based on information they have received from impostors, including visa and fake job offers, among others. 

The centerpiece of the Dialogues campaign, the original song Pensalo 2 Veces performed by Max Méndez of Frigüey (El Salvador), Polache (Honduras) and El Tambor de la Tribu (Guatemala), reinforces the key message: There are those who don’t mean well, be careful, they lie to you. / If you think something is not right, think twice 

As part of its commitment to a participative process developing the campaign, IOM performed 16 workshops with more than 120 local partners in the four countries to agree on the main goals of the campaigns. IOM also developed the materials through virtual camps and workshops with more than 200 participants, complementing these efforts with capacity-building courses directed at young people who joined the campaigns.  

“The fact that children, teenagers and youth are protagonists of these productions gave the IOM inputs to create communication campaigns that will really impact the target audience,” said 17-year-old Hermelinda Velazquez, who was part of the online event. 

These campaigns will be distributed digitally through the end of the year. Their impact will be measured and, if needed, adaptations made in a next phase. 

"Somos Colmena” by IOMX is being implemented within the framework of the Western Hemisphere Program. The project is generously funded by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.   

For more information, please contact Tatiana Chacón at the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean,  Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 27, 2020 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: NicaraguaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

“Mistakes by Word of Mouth” is the name of the campaign launched virtually in Costa Rica last October 20th. Photo: IOM

“Dialogues between Heart and Head” is a series of six animated videos for the “Think Twice” campaign.

The original song “Pensalo 2 veces” is performed by local artists to reinforce the key message.

Young people from the communities built the campaign and participated in the virtual launch 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

75 Years of the United Nations: Why Care?

Sat, 10/24/2020 - 16:57

By IOM Director General António Vitorino

The 75th anniversary of the United Nations takes place at a paradoxical moment.

The major issues on the international agenda – not least the COVID-19 pandemic -- demand responses that require stronger international cooperation. In such times, it is not unreasonable to ask whether the principal body created for just such challenges – the United Nations – is still up to the task.  

Answering that requires looking at how best to marshal often differing interests and pressures in search of compromise and a sense of the shared responsibility necessary to succeed: the world of today is infinitely more complex in so many ways compared to that of 1945.  

Op-eds from UN officials are not always the most exciting. This is, in part, because multilateralism is a process, not a revolution; an exercise in keeping partners in the tent, not excluding them.  The coming months, possibly years, will require strong partnership to ensure that the impacts of the pandemic, as well as other major challenges, such as climate change, conflict and displacement, are mitigated.

Too often, it is migrants, and others on the move, who experience those impacts most sharply. While migrants around the world epitomize the resilience, kinship and entrepreneurialism to thrive in the twenty-first century, they can often lack the social and financial safety nets that offer essential protection when calamity strikes. They are, too often, an afterthought for governments responding to crisis or, worse, scapegoats to blame for crisis.

We have seen progress. Over the last decade there has been a substantial change in the United Nations framework: migration was, for the first time, included as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (2030 Agenda) and, at the end of 2018, the General Assembly adopted the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

These two instruments confirm the undeniable relationship between human mobility and sustainable development. The Compact recognizes that only through cooperation between countries of origin, transit and destination, is it possible to protect the most vulnerable migrants, including unaccompanied minors, women and children, especially victims of sexual exploitation and violence. 

The Compact has been put to the test by the COVID-19 pandemic. The situation of many migrants has been exacerbated, whether left stranded by border closures, or suddenly finding themselves without jobs, housing or means of material support. But it has also demonstrated its value: recognition that excluding migrants from COVID-19 response – including access to health services -- will make whole societies vulnerable. 

Many states have responded positively, reducing incidence of detention, regularizing those without legal status, and extending visas to allow people to stay. But still more countries have forcibly returned migrants, endangering their lives, or excluded them from both economic and health-related responses. As the UN Secretary-General has said, “none of us is safe until all of us are safe”.

To leave no one behind – the core goal of the 2030 Agenda -- will require decisive intervention by both public authorities (at national and local level), civil society, and the private sector. An inclusive agenda of economic and social recovery will require leadership that counters attempts to exploit, harass and discriminate.

Economic and social recovery is intrinsically linked to global human mobility. Migration, and travel in general, must reconcile the need for cross-border movement with the public health concerns of communities of destination. This means that border control systems, transport and immigration rules will have to incorporate health requirements and establish the necessary infrastructure. Most importantly, it necessitates international cooperation, or risk a global travel system that excludes countries, and their people, from the benefits of mobility in order to create an illusion of safety. 

As the UN system embarks on its next 75 years, the world is in a deeply uncertain place. The pandemic has exposed the fragility and vulnerability of our societies. But as much as it dominates the daily agenda, we cannot ignore the longer shadows that have been cast over international cooperation which have weakened affection for multilateralism. 

The UN will be called upon to adapt, as it has over the past decades, to new realities and ensure the equity of the common solutions needed, whether global vaccination programs, or efforts to slow environmental degradation. But it will only be as effective as its Member States allow it to be. 

If the UN did not exist, it would have to be invented. No government can address these challenges alone. Luckily, as the UN already exists, we will have to reinvent it to meet tomorrow’s challenges, faithful to the UN Charter’s values, and in pursuit of a future of peace, security and prosperity for humanity.

Language English Posted: Saturday, October 24, 2020 - 22:52Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: Global Compact on MigrationInternational and Regional CooperationUNDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

ILO and IOM Sign Agreement to Strengthen Collaboration on Migration Governance

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 16:38

Geneva - The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) today signed an Agreement to create a framework for cooperation and collaboration to enhance the benefits of migration for all.  

The framework includes joint support for improved migration governance, capacity building and policy coherence at national, regional and global levels. Other areas of work may also be developed. 

The Agreement was signed by Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General, and António Vitorino, the IOM Director-General, on Friday at the ILO Headquarters in Geneva. 

Speaking after the signing ceremony, Ryder said, “this Agreement seals an important alliance between our two organizations. Together, we will be stronger and more effective in both fulfilling our individual mandates and in collaborating on areas that are crucial for reshaping the world of work so that it is more inclusive, equitable and sustainable.” 

“The COVID-19 pandemic is having a brutal impact on economies and societies. Vulnerable groups, particularly migrant workers and their families, are being disproportionately hit. There could be no better time to reinforce our partnership and combine our strengths, so that we can help countries and our constituents build back for a better future.” 

DG Vitorino said, “the agreement that we are signing today will help us further solidify our collaboration at the time when joint solutions are so much needed, with a pandemic that is hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. As we move towards post-pandemic recovery, we fully embrace the call to build a better world together, tapping into the added value of each partner. With ILO, we have much to co-create and we look forward to future cooperation within the broader UN family, with our partner governments, private sector and civil society.” 

The new ILO-IOM Agreement builds on the agencies’ comparative advantages, expertise, and respective constituencies. By encouraging joint initiatives, the Agreement aims to strengthen international migration governance and boost cooperation, capacity building and joint advocacy to promote migrants’ rights and decent work opportunities. 

By encouraging social dialogue, it will allow workers` and employers` organizations – who sit equally with governments in the ILO’s tripartite membership structure – to contribute to policy discussions.  

A workplan will be developed in the next six months to push forward the collaboration at global, regional and country levels and, more importantly, facilitate the implementation of the Agreement in the field, where both agencies are working directly with affected populations.  

It will seek to enhance the agencies joint contribution to their member states, UN country teams, and societies to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

The Agreement will also allow the ILO and IOM to strengthen support for their respective constituencies in implementing the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM), and contribute to other global and regional migration policy fora and debates.  


For more information:  

IOM: Safa Msehli, Spokesperson:, +41794035526  


Language English Posted: Friday, October 23, 2020 - 22:35Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: Migration GovernanceDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Two Mediterranean Shipwrecks Claim at Least 20 Lives

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 15:30

Geneva- The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is saddened to learn of two new shipwrecks in the Central Mediterranean this week that claimed the lives of at least 20 people, including two children.  

On Thursday afternoon, a boat capsized off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy. Fifteen survivors from Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria were rescued by fishermen and brought to shore. Among those missing and presumed dead are four Libyan nationals and one Moroccan.  

This is the second shipwreck this week following one on Monday off the coast of Libya that claimed at least 15 lives. 

The central Mediterranean continues to claim migrant lives at an alarming rate.  

“The continued loss of life in the central Mediterranean that we have been reporting for years is directly related to the lack of comprehensive sea-rescue operations,” said Federico Soda, IOM Libya Chief of Mission. 

“The absence of concrete action to address the gap in Search and Rescue (SaR) capacity in the world’s most dangerous sea crossing and ensure the timely disembarkation of those rescued at safe ports is unacceptable. More solidarity from all EU member states in with countries receiving rescued migrants is also necessary.”

At least 500 migrants have died so far this year in the Central Mediterranean. IOM fears however, that due to the lack of dedicated SaR and monitoring efforts, the number of fatalities is much higher, and that ‘invisible shipwreck’ continue to happen unseen by the international community.  

Over 430 Libyans attempted to cross to Italy this year, compared to some 240 during the same period of last year. The increase in the number of Libyan nationals attempting to make the journey is reflective of the very challenging conditions in the country due in part, to a deteriorating economic situation, severely affected by almost a decade of conflict and unrest. 

While departures from the conflict-affected North African country have increased this year compared to 2019, very little action has been taken to increase state life-saving assets. The situation is worsened by increasing restrictions on the work of NGO vessels, unacceptable and prolonged delays in disembarkation and state refusal to assist. 

IOM has consistently and repeatedly appealed for a change in the approach to the situation in Libya and the Central Mediterranean. This includes redeployment of SaR vessels, the establishment of a clear disembarkation mechanism followed by solidarity from States, and the lifting of all restrictions on the vital life-saving work of NGOs.  

For more information please contact at IOM Geneva: Safa Msehli, Tel: +41 79 403 55 26, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, October 23, 2020 - 21:28Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Counter-TraffickingMigrants RightsMigrants in Vulnerable SituationsDefault: Multimedia: 

Mediterranean Sea IOM: Mohammed Muse 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Immigration and Border Management Controls Enhanced in Ethiopia by German Government Funding

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 07:42

Addis Ababa –  Immigration and border management controls in Ethiopia are being improved to help secure the country’s borders and make migration safer for hundreds of thousands of migrants who pass through the country each year. The improvements come against the backdrop of COVID-19 which has put the spotlight on the need to improve border management. Tens of thousands of Ethiopian migrants have returned to the country from Djibouti, Somalia, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other nations since the outbreak of COVID-19 through the country’s porous borders, many travelling on foot. The interventions are being funded by the German government to the tune of EUR 1.98 million. As part of the agreement, IOM Ethiopia has developed a border management programme with the Government of Ethiopia’s Immigration, Nationality and Vital Events Agency. The programme will build the capacity of existing border crossings, support the establishment of new border crossings, and prioritize the protection of migrants.

Ordinarily, migrants have crossed through unofficial border crossing points (BCPs), in most cases without valid travel documents. Such movements make it difficult for service providers and protection actors to assist migrants in situations of vulnerability. Furthermore, migration through unofficial crossing points limits the Government of Ethiopia’s capacity to collect reliable data and develop evidence-based migration management policies. 

Through this programme, IOM will work closely with the Government of Ethiopia on improving migration management and governance, including countering human trafficking and smuggling of migrants. The project will also pave the way towards eventually equipping the newly established border control posts with IOM's Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS), a system to capture data appropriately as well as support the verification of fraudulent documents. 

Ethiopia has a 5,300km long border, one of the longest in the continent, which it shares with Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, South Sudan, and other states. However, few land BCPs in the country are equipped for the necessary screenings or to facilitate travel. Where they do exist, electricity and communication systems are largely absent or undependable. Border management and communication technologies are needed to realize the development potential of efficient movement of people, goods, and services across borders. 

Migrants using unofficial BCPs are at risk of falling into the hands of traffickers and smugglers because they have limited access to legal means of travel and, as a result, may lack access to protection services.
The funding will enable IOM to protect migrants by helping organize their movement and providing them with basic essentials such as food and water, medical referrals, and transportation, and improve migration data collection which will help deliver assistance to migrants and inform migration policies more effectively.

On 20 October, to mark the start of the new partnership, Germany’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Stephen Auer, and a delegation from the country’s Embassy visited IOM’s migrant transit centre in the capital, Addis Ababa, where 29,000 international migrants have been helped by IOM over the last three years, many of whom were supported to return home with dignity and provided with opportunities to reintegrate into their home communities. 
During the visit, the German delegation spoke with returnees to try and understand the complexities of migrant experiences as they journey across borders in search of better opportunities. Also discussed was how to improve Ethiopia’s land border management to ensure the safe and dignified movement of citizens, and support the sustainable return and reintegration of migrants, which form the basis for IOM and the German government cooperation in Ethiopia.  
“The intricacies of migration management are numerous and require multi-stakeholder efforts to address the protection needs of migrants.  Strengthening border management will go a long way in maintaining secure borders and protecting migrants from the perils they witness and have candidly shared with us today,” Ambassador Stephen Auer said.

IOM Ethiopia supports the sustainable reintegration of returning migrants by providing them with the assistance needed to start small businesses, continue their education, or find jobs in their area of expertise. Vulnerable returnees are also provided with medical support to ensure their wellbeing in the reintegration process. 

Maureen Achieng, IOM Ethiopia’s Chief of Mission and Representative to the African Union and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, for her part emphasized, “Given the strong commitment of the Government of Ethiopia to continental integration through the freer movement of persons and goods across borders, and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthening border governance with the aim of facilitating well-regulated movements while enhancing sustainable reintegration  of returning migrants has never been more urgent.” 

For more information, please contact Haimanot Abebe at IOM Ethiopia, Email:, Tel: +251 47 551 0899, ext. 1260

Language English Posted: Friday, October 23, 2020 - 12:59Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Counter-TraffickingIntegrated Border ManagementMigrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Ethiopia staff accompanying a senior official of Ethiopia's INVEA to assess a location where a new immigration BCP will potentially open at Gizen, Ethio-Sudan border, May 2020. Photo:  IOM/Hugo Genest

The Burbiey border crossing point in Gambela Region on the Baro River, at the border between South Sudan and Ethiopia. Photo:  IOM/Hugo Genest 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

COVID-19 Rapid Response, Mobile Clinics in Afghanistan Receive New Funding Support

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 05:51

Kabul - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is actively responding to COVID-19 across Afghanistan under the leadership of the Afghan Ministry of Public Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) with generous financial support totalling EUR 1.25 million from the German Government’s Federal Foreign Office.

Germany’s funding will ensure the deployment of six Rapid Response Teams each one composed of a doctor, nurse and lab technician to engage in active COVID-19 sample collection. Funding will also allow for the continuing deployment of four Mobile Health Teams with ambulances to continue provision of basic primary care inclusive of 20,000 health consultations. These teams will also provide health education sessions to 80,000 persons. IOM’s border level screening teams will continue border level surveillance at major Points of Entry with Iran and Pakistan. 

Up to 6,000 returning undocumented Afghan migrants from Iran will be provided with post arrival assistance at IOM transit facilities including cash-based assistance to enable them to return home. Finally, one nationwide round of the Displacement Tracking Matrix’s (DTM) Baseline Mobility Assessment in all 34 provinces will be completed during which Risk Communication and Community Engagement will be prioritized across 12,300 villages and DTM’s network of over 60,000 community influencers.   

As of 19 October, Afghanistan has officially confirmed 40,200 COVID-19 infections with 1,492 deaths, however given the limited availability of testing resources, the true rate of infection is believed to be many times higher with recent cross-country studies suggesting millions of infections. Given the scale of cross border returns with over 620,000 migrants returning in 2020 and the resumption of in-person classes at schools and universities with limited adherence to government restrictions due to prevailing economic conditions, Afghanistan is presently entering a second wave of infections after the initial peak in June 2020.

Since late March, IOM’s Migration Health Unit has significantly scaled up services under the Global Humanitarian Response Plan and IOM’s own Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) with support for Personal Protective Equipment provision to government responders; deployment of Rapid Response Teams to collect COVID-19 samples for testing; health education on COVID-19 to migrant populations, government officials, school children and partner organizations; training for frontline health workers on COVID-19 prevention; secondment of over 200 healthcare staff for border level surveillance and screening; provision of ambulances and equipment; rehabilitation of medical facilities; set up of handwashing stations in schools, and major border crossing points and Risk Communication and Community Engagement work through IOM’s social mobilizers and Displacement Tracking Matrix field teams. 

The experience of many Afghans has been daunting. Abdullah, 49, lives in the western Afghan city of Heart – the epicentre of the first outbreak in the country in February. He fell sick with COVID-19 in September, suffering from cough, fever, malaise and a severe headache. His condition worsened and he experienced difficulty breathing. 
Public health officials referred Abdullah to one of IOM’s Rapid Response Teams to gather another sample for testing. The IOM team visited him at home and collected samples from Abdullah and his family members. 

Abdullah stayed at home for a two-week period until a further test was completed and a negative result was received. “Without IOM’s critical support to underline the dangers of COVID-19, the outcome for my family could have been much worse.” 

“Although most people are now aware of the dangers represented by COVID-19, we continue to see limited adherence to recommended prevention protocols,” says IOM Afghanistan’s Migration Health lead, Dr Mohiuddin Khan. "The high rate of health worker infections in Afghanistan has resulted in a major decline in hospital visits and rates of testing, therefore it is now more important than ever to continue a robust COVID-19 response while ensuring continuing access to life-saving basic primary care for the most marginalized and vulnerable populations. IOM’s message is clear – this is not over and everyone needs to be an active agent in resolving the pandemic.” 

 For more information please contact Dr Mohiuddin Khan, Migration Health Officer, IOM Afghanistan, Tel.: +93794445810, Email:


Language English Posted: Friday, October 23, 2020 - 13:00Image: Region-Country: AfghanistanThemes: COVID-19Migrants RightsDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM is supporting COVID-19 awareness-raising for students in Herat province since the resumption of in-person classes. Photo: IOM 

Focus Group Discussion and COVID-19 awareness campaign in Qala e Wairan village of Khadir district. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Increased Support for Rohingya Response Needed to Ensure Long-Term Development and Sustainable Humanitarian Assistance

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 17:02

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) stands with its UN partners and the international community in calling for renewed support to more than one million Rohingya displaced across the region at a virtual donor conference

August 25th marked the third year since the most recent wave of refugees fled across the border from Myanmar to camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. This year’s COVID-19 pandemic has challenged humanitarian agencies to adapt their operations to prevent disease transmission and ensure assistance to meet urgent needs. 

“Donor support for these measures in Cox’s Bazar was swift and has contributed to the relatively mild impact of the pandemic in the camps,” said IOM’s Director General António Vitorino in his opening remarks of a panel discussion at today’s conference. 

“However, the compounded effect of limited access to the camps due to COVID-19 and the impact of the recent monsoon season has created urgent operational needs, namely shelter and camp maintenance, that will require additional support in the coming months.” 

The discussion, moderated by DG Vitorino, brought to light diverse perspectives of NGOs, IGOs and UN agencies with representatives and directors from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank, BRAC and the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network. 

Vitorino urged humanitarian actors to pursue interventions that go beyond immediate humanitarian assistance and support long-term development for not only the refugee population, but also the surrounding Bangladeshi host communities. 

“As the crisis has stabilized and transitioned from an emergency into a protracted scenario, coupled with the concerning exacerbation of inequalities, unrest, and social stigmatization due to COVID-19, the discussions on operationalizing the humanitarian-development nexus in Cox’s Bazar District and the region are becoming ever so important,” he said. 

He also emphasized the importance of a coordinated regional dimension to the response – particularly as more people embark on dangerous maritime journeys across the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea. 

“Saving lives must be the first priority. Countries in the region have demonstrated that health screening and quarantine arrangements can be appropriately implemented so that people can disembark and receive assistance in a safe, orderly and dignified manner,” he said.  

There are more than 860,000 Rohingya refugees registered in Bangladesh; 102,000 in Malaysia and 18,000 in India. An estimated 140,000 Rohingya are internally displaced in Rakhine State in Myanmar. 

The 2020 Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh is currently 49 per cent funded. Continued robust humanitarian and development funding is crucial to meet the needs of all. 

IOM continues to expand health services in the camps and to host community members who are disproportionately vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 in camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. The Organization also engages in disaster risk reduction initiatives and provides protection, mental health and psychosocial services, shelter, non-food items, water sanitation and hygiene support. 

Today’s donor conference was organized by the United States of America, the European Commission, the United Kingdom and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 


For more information, please contact Angela Wells, IOM Public Information Officer for the Department of Operations and Emergencies, +41 79 403 5365, 

Language English Posted: Thursday, October 22, 2020 - 22:08Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMigrants RightsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

Rohingya volunteers are supporting the construction of Isolation and Treatment Centers in Cox's Bazar's Rohingya settlements. Photo: Abdullah Al Mashrif / IOM 2020

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Escalating Conflict, Mass Displacement in the Central Sahel Require Concerted Action

Tue, 10/20/2020 - 09:46

Geneva – A dramatic surge in violence in the Central Sahel this year has led to a worrying increase in fatalities and displacement across Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) joins the international community and UN partners to call for concerted action to resolve the multi-layered crisis affecting more than 13 million people at today’s Ministerial Round Table for the Central Sahel

Conflict in the three countries has caused rates of internal displacement to increase more than twentyfold since 2018, uprooting over 1.5 million people – according to data from national authorities, IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix and partner agencies.

“Today, we continue to witness daunting mass displacement, rights violations, and limited access to basic services, particularly for the most vulnerable. Access restrictions and attacks against aid workers have also become a serious issue,” said IOM’s Director General António Vitorino in his speech at the Conference. 

“We must intensify our efforts to not only meet the most immediate needs but also address the root causes of this crisis. Military operations alone cannot be the solution.” 

In addition to calling on concerned actors to bring an end to the violence and seek sustainable solutions, IOM and partners also call on international donors to increase funding commitments needed to effectively respond to the estimated 13.4 million people in dire need of humanitarian assistance. 

IOM has scaled up its operations to provide life-saving assistance to the affected and displaced, while also working to mitigate the drivers of conflict through peacebuilding and conflict resolution activities and to enhance development efforts notably through livelihood and disaster risk reduction initiatives.  

This is in addition to the Organization’s COVID-19 regional response which seeks to curb disease transmission, limit the pandemic’s humanitarian and socioeconomic effects, and support affected communities in preparing for longer-term recovery. Activities for the latter focus on the strengthening of health systems, community and national-level training, awareness-raising campaigns, distributions of personal protective equipment and support for laboratories as well as health screenings at borders and other strategic locations. 

At present, IOM’s overall funding requirements for its response in the Central Sahel are only 34 per cent funded. The Organization requires USD 58 million to meet the needs of two million people targeted by the response. Similarly, the overall UN humanitarian response plans for assistance to the Central Sahel this year were only 39 per cent funded. 

“We now have an opportunity to shift the paradigm of our response towards more cohesive action among humanitarian, development, peacebuilding, and security actors and create a space where humanitarian and development actors can build joint approaches with the common goal of improving the lives of all those affected by the situation in the Central Sahel,” said DG Vitorino. 

Today’s Conference was convened by the Governments of Denmark, Germany, the European Union and the United Nations.  

IOM’s Global Crisis Response Platform provides an overview of IOM’s plans and funding requirements to respond to the evolving needs and aspirations of those impacted by, or at risk of, crisis and displacement in 2020 and beyond. The Platform is regularly updated as crises evolve, and new situations emerge.   

For more information please contact Angela Wells, IOM Public Information Officer for the Department of Operations and Emergencies, +41 79 403 5365, and IOM’s RO Dakar - DOE Team at

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 20, 2020 - 14:17Image: Region-Country: SenegalThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternal DisplacementDefault: Multimedia: 

Amarcia, one of the 1.5 million people internally displaced by conflict in the Central Sahel. Photo: IOM/Monica Chiriac

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN