• English
  • Deutsch
Subscribe to PBN News Germany feed
Updated: 2 hours 4 min ago

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 13,043 in 2018; Deaths Reach 497

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 10:58

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 13,043 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through the first 80 days of 2018, with about 47 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece (30%) Spain (22%) and Cyprus (less than 1%).

This compares with 25,505 at this point in 2017.

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo said Thursday Italy has received no new arrivals of irregular migrants from North Africa since the weekend. Total arrivals for the year to date remain at 6,161, which is 70 per cent below last year’s total – 20,685 men, women and children – at this time and 58 per cent below the total for arrivals (14,792) in 2016 (see chart below).

OM Libya’s Christine Petré on Thursday reported that this week (20 March), IOM assisted 152 migrants to return home to Niger on one chartered flight.  Among the passengers were six medical cases. IOM Libya has assisted 10,790 since the scale-up phase started on 28 November 2017 and 4,551 migrants have received Voluntary Humanitarian Return assistance since the beginning of the year.

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported Monday that total arrivals by sea in 2018 have reached 2,887 men, women and children who have been rescued in Western Mediterranean waters through 22 March. That compares with 2,426 through all of March 2017.

Dodevska noted that migrants to Spain this year are overwhelming adult males, mainly from Sub-Saharan Africa, with only 8 per cent female adult and 4 per cent minors (see chart).


Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 782 migrant fatalities in 2018, compared with 1,200 at this time last year. In the Mediterranean alone, 497 migrants are estimated to have died this year, down from 635 at this date in 2017 (see chart below).

Most recently, the remains of a migrant were recovered on 18 March from a beach in Rota, Spain. In the past month, three bodies which are not associated with any known incident have been found in this area (one on 25 February, one on 8 March, and one last Sunday, 18 March). These deaths add to the growing list of people who have died trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach Spain this year.

Additionally, the MMP team learned of one death on the US-Mexico border from early March: the remains of a young man were found on 7 March on the Río Bravo in Hidalgo County, Texas.

MMP data are compiled by IOM staff but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on missing migrants are collected, click here.
For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:

For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel:  +40212115657, Email:
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail:
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email:
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 23, 2018 - 17:53Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Five-year Extension of US Resettlement Agreement: IOM

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 10:58

Geneva/Washington – On 14 March, IOM, the UN Migration Agency and the United States Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) signed an agreement in Geneva, Switzerland, on the admission of refugees and other designated migrants during the period 2018 to 2023.

“IOM is pleased to announce that its 26-year-old resettlement agreement with the US Government has been extended for another five years,” said William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General, on signing the Memorandum of Understanding with PRM at the Organization’s headquarters. “This agreement affirms IOM’s strong programme management role in this key refugee resettlement response,” said Director General Swing.

IOM has a long history of support to the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) and works throughout the world with PRM and its principal refugee processing partners such as the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Refugee Processing Center (RPC), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and a variety of non-governmental agencies offering refugee assistance or resettlement services.

Globally, IOM partners with USRAP in four core areas of work: case processing, migration health assessment and travel health assistance, pre-departure orientation, and transportation and movement operations. From the initial selection of refugees to their arrival in the United States, this support helps ensure that refugees are empowered, well informed and properly prepared for resettlement.

For more information, please contact Michel Tonneau at IOM Washington, Tel: +1 202 804 4306, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 23, 2018 - 17:51Image: Region-Country: United States of AmericaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Director General William Lacy Swing (right) signs the extension of the US resettlement agreement. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Children, Youth Learn about Safe Migration with IOM’s Pedagogical Suitcase

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 10:57

San José – Teachers and community leaders from Central America and Mexico will be able to teach safe and regular migration to children and young people, thanks to the Pedagogical Suitcase on Migration, an online repository developed by the UN Migration Agency (IOM) which brings together more than 100 resources, methodologies, and educational activities.

"Between 2015 and 2016, 100,000 Central American and Mexican migrant children and young people were intercepted by immigration authorities at the border between Mexico and the United States. According to a UNICEF study, 62 per cent of victims of trafficking related to irregular migration in Central America, the Caribbean, and Mexico are children and adolescents. The Pedagogical Suitcase on Migration will be an important tool for addressing these issues in a serious and informed manner in classrooms and communal areas where expulsion rates are high," explained Alexandra Bonnie, IOM’s Mesoamerica Program Coordinator.

The search for economic opportunities, the need for family reunification and the fight against discrimination and violence are the primary drivers of migration in the region. In the case of children and adolescents, one-third of them migrate for economic reasons and others for family reunification, taking risks that often endanger their lives. In this context, the Pedagogical Suitcase is a useful, updated and diverse tool that allows for a clear message about prevention and regular migration options.

As a pilot experience, IOM will support teachers from 15 schools from Mexico to Panama, so they can sustainably replicate the Pedagogical Suitcase methodology and take advantage of its contents.

Training has also begun in Mexico and Nicaragua. In the latter country, 30 teachers and government institution officials from the 13 municipalities of Chinandega were trained on Communication for Development (C4D) tools to implement campaigns to raise awareness and prevent irregular migration and human trafficking.

Teachers and community leaders can access the Pedagogical Migration Suitcase through the Internet. The repository provides contents regarding four thematic areas: prevention and risks; regular and safe migration; human trafficking; inclusion and rootedness. Each of these areas includes resources such as storybooks, informative flyers, comics, short videos, documentaries and radio spots, among others. Also, it offers a section with instructions for the development of activities such as film forums, workshops, and festivals.

Other UN agencies such as UNHCR and ILO have contributed with resources, as well as civil society organizations, to improve it continually.

The Pedagogical Migration Suitcase is part of the communication component of the Mesoamerica Program, which seeks to contribute to the development and implementation of strategies for regular, orderly and safe migration, ensuring adequate protection for migrants.

For more information please contact Patricia Ugalde at IOM Costa Rica, Tel: +506 2212-5300, Email: or

Language English Posted: Friday, March 23, 2018 - 17:49Image: Region-Country: Costa RicaThemes: Capacity BuildingIOMDefault: Multimedia: 

The Pedagogical Suitcase on Migration includes resources such as storybooks, informative flyers, comics, short videos, documentaries and radio spots, among others. Also, it offers a section with instructions for the development of activities such as film forums, workshops, and festivals. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Tackling Human Trafficking in Belarus

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 10:57

Minsk - Belarus has been hit hard by human trafficking, with 5,500 known cases since 2002, mostly sexual and labour exploitation. The country is taking a dynamic approach to countering the phenomenon by prioritising protection, prevention and prosecution. In the same period, there have been 600 trafficking-related convictions.

These figures were discussed during two events in the capital Minsk this week. On Tuesday and Wednesday (20-21/03), a follow-up event for young people who had participated in a summer camp under the auspices of the UN Migration Agency’s IOM X campaign was held. IOM X is a campaign to encourage safe migration and public action to stop exploitation and human trafficking.

Participants reported on their ideas for anti-trafficking and related projects, were introduced to the project development concept, and will present their ideas to potential donors soon.

“We shared our ideas and got down to development of new projects," said Stephaniya Zmitrakovich, one of the participants. "I’m so excited about it. Of course, I was happy to meet again all the participants and organizers, share positive emotions and get inspiration for future achievements. I’m convinced that all together we’ll make the world better,” said Zmitrakovich.

On Wednesday (21/03), IOM ran a workshop for journalists to sharpen their skills in reporting on human trafficking and ensuring the dignified treatment of trafficking survivors. Similar events will be held across Belarus in the coming months.

“Irregular migration, including counter-trafficking, is top agenda item for many countries," said Zeynal Hajiyev, IOM Minsk Chief of Mission. "We have been cooperating with Belarus authorities in counter-trafficking for more than 15 years and we’ve always appreciated the efforts which Belarus makes both at the international and national levels. Belarus was one of the first countries that initiated national consultations on Global Compact on Migration, which includes combatting human trafficking among its priorities,” added Hajiyev.

The events were organized in conjunction with the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Belarus with the financial support of USAID, the Kingdom of Norway, and the British Embassy in Belarus.

For more information, please contact Olga Borzenkova, Tel: +375 29 648 48 27, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 23, 2018 - 17:47Image: Region-Country: BelarusThemes: Capacity BuildingCounter-TraffickingHuman SmugglingDefault: Multimedia: 

“Think. Act. Share.” Participants at the IOMX youth camp follow-up event in Belarus this week. Photo: IOM

IOM Belarus brought leading journalists together for a workshop on how to report on human trafficking in the capital Minsk this week. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Migrants Lead Fight Against TB

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 08:22

Geneva –Tuberculosis, or TB, continues to be the leading cause of death from a single infectious agent worldwide, according to the Global TB Report 2017. Every day, there are 28,000 new TB cases and 4,500 related deaths.

On 24 March, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and other partners will honor the many ‘Leaders for a TB-free world’ for World Tuberculosis Day.

It is estimated that public health systems miss approximately 40 per cent of the new TB cases. Social determinants of health such as poor nutrition status, poor living and working conditions, low education and awareness and low access to health care contribute to the potential of contracting TB. Therefore, missed cases often occur in the populations most vulnerable to TB: migrants, internally displaced persons (IDPs), refugees and other crisis-affected communities.

IOM advocates for the inclusion of migrant populations as the fastest way to achieve the TB targets of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Global Plan to End TB 2016 – 2020. IOM’s TB programmes are implemented among migrants, crisis-affected populations and their host communities around the world. These programmes include TB prevention, early diagnosis, treatment, health service availability and sensitization against stigma and discrimination.

Governments are preparing for the high-level meeting on TB at the 2018 UN General Assembly. Joining the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Stop TB Partnership on this World TB Day, IOM recognizes the crucial role that migrants play in leading the TB response by assisting other migrant populations, refugees, IDPs and their own communities.   

“This year we honor the migrant leaders for a TB-free world. Migrants can play an important role working within camps, cities or rural areas, local communities and many other places dedicating their lives to work against TB,” said IOM Director General Ambassador William Lacy Swing. “As IOM’s campaign on this World TB Day shows, migrants serve as medical doctors, nurses and community health workers to provide treatment, information and support in their communities, and are vital to achieving a migrant-centered TB and health response.  

Many migrants are leaders in creating a future TB-free world. Abdel Karim conducts door to door awareness raising on TB in Azraq refugee camp in Jordan. He studied nursing in Syria before the conflict erupted. For the past three years, he has aided and provided information about TB to his community.

Bhumika Bhattarai is also leading the fight against TB. Coming from Nepal’s eastern region, she decided to join IOM’s TB response in Damak. Since 2015, she has been involved in TB case management, providing counseling and working with Directly Observed Treatment services (DOTS). “Being a nurse, HIV and TB counselor, I am fully focused on patient treatment and care, providing health education, treatment observation, contract tracing, recording and reporting. As TB is a treatable and curable disease I believe that I can make life better for people affected by TB and achieve good outcomes,” she said.

Read more about migrant TB leaders here.

Jacqueline Weekers, IOM Director of Migration Health stressed IOM’s commitment to fight TB. “Following the mandate given by the Moscow Declaration to End TB, IOM reaffirms its commitment to work in partnership with WHO to end the TB epidemic by 2030, specially by actively engaging people and communities affected by and at risk of TB. Many leaders are wanted from all disciplines, sectors and expertise. Today we thank and honor those migrant leaders who are making a TB-free world possible in an interconnected context with unprecedented migration and human mobility.” (Learn more)
There are many challenges, but together we can achieve a TB-free world. We can make history. End TB.

For more information please contact IOM HQ:
Alice Wimmer, Tel: +41227179251, Email:
Jorge Galindo, Tel: +41227179205, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 23, 2018 - 15:15Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Receives Emergency Funding to Provide Assistance to Migrants, Refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 10:24
Language English

Sarajevo – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, through its Migration Emergency Funding Mechanism, is supporting the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina to address urgent accommodation and humanitarian needs resulting from an increased number of migrants and asylum seekers.
Since the end of 2017, Bosnia and Herzegovina has seen a steady increase in the number of irregular migrants entering the country at its southeast border with Montenegro, as well as from different border-crossing points with Serbia. In 2017, a total of 755 persons were apprehended while trying to enter, cross or exit the country, compared to 240 in 2016. Data from the first months of 2018 confirm the trend, with over 520 persons detected by the border police in January and February. These are new routes that are emerging as migrants stranded in the region continue to try to reach the European Union. 
So far in 2018, the Service for Foreigners’ Affairs has registered a total of 520 irregular migrants and asylum seekers. The total accommodation capacity of approximately 94 places in the closed immigration centre and 154 places in the asylum centre has been quickly reached, leaving asylum seekers to find alternative housing on their own or sleep rough. Local NGOs, private individuals, and mosques accommodate many.
This population has become increasingly visible in certain areas, including in the centre of Sarajevo, in Ilidža, just outside of Sarajevo, and to a lesser extent in border areas such as Velika Kaduša on the border with Croatia, Višegrad on the border with Serbia, and Trebinje on the border with Montenegro.
According to a statement by the Director of the Service for Foreigners’ Affairs over 1,000 people are expected to arrive in the coming 15 days. While the government is in the process of finding a longer-term solution for receiving migrants and asylum seekers, IOM’s emergency assistance addresses the acute accommodation needs by expanding the Asylum Centre capacities by 60 beds and up to an additional 40 beds in the Immigration Centre.

While the vast majority of registered migrants are adult men, there are also women and families with small children and babies among them. An increase in family arrivals has occurred with improved weather conditions. One local organization is currently hosting 54 people, among them young children and three pregnant women.

For more information please contact IOM Bosnia and Herzegovina:

Peter Van der Auweraert, Tel: +41798336424

Edita Selimbegović, Tel: +387 33 293 713, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 16:09Image: Region-Country: Bosnia and HerzegovinaDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 12,983 in 2018; Deaths Reach 495

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 09:30

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 12,983 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through the first 11 weeks of 2018, with about 47 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece (30%) Spain (22%) and Cyprus (less than 1%). This compares with 21,058 at this point in 2017.

IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia reported Monday that on Saturday a boat capsized off the island of Agathonisi from which three people were rescued while 16 bodies were retrieved by the Hellenic Coast Guard. Authorities believe at least three people remain missing. Of the 16 bodies, nine were children.
Three survivors (two women and one man) managed to reach the shore. According to the Hellenic Coast Guard eight victims were from Afghanistan, six from Iraq and two have not been unidentified. Of the children, five were from Afghanistan and four were from Iraq.
IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reported that this is the first incident recorded on the eastern Mediterranean route since 25 December 2017 – a stretch of 85 days without a fatality on this route, which in 2015 saw 850 fatalities for the year.
This is not the longest gap between fatalities, MMP’s Julia Black explained. Between the dates of 24 April and 27 July last year – some 101 days – IOM recorded no fatalities along this route. These long periods between fatalities mean that the period between 20 March 2017 through 20 March 2018 has resulted in a remarkably death-free route in the waters separating Greece from Turkey.
During the last 365 days, 79 men, women and children have died on the Eastern Mediterranean route, or less than a third the total, 285, of those lost on the Western Mediterranean route between North Africa and Spain, which had slightly fewer arrivals during that time, but was much more lethal.
By comparison, during the past 365 days, a total of 2,700 migrants have been lost on the busy Central Mediterranean route between North Africa and Italy – the route with the most arrivals. Nonetheless, MMP reports that deaths on the Eastern Mediterranean route occur at an estimated rate of one death for every 623 arrivals. That compares with one death for every 45 arrivals on the Central Mediterranean route and one for every 92 arrivals on the Western Mediterranean route.
Over the four days (14-17 March), the Hellenic Coast Guard reported three additional incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the island of Kos and Lesvos. The Coast Guard rescued 140 migrants and transferred them to those islands. Those rescued, plus another 240 migrants arriving in Rhodes and Samos bring the total number of sea arrivals to Greek territory through 13 March to 3,948 (see chart below) – an average for the year of just over 50 persons per day. Almost 70 per day have arrived in the month of March.

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo said Monday that the ship Proactiva (operated by NGO Open Arms), arrived in Pozzallo on Saturday with 216 migrants on board. Since then the vessel has been sequestered in Sicily, on prosecutors' orders.
Di Giacomo explained that the NGO has reported that a Libyan Coast Guard vessel threatened to shoot its rescue dinghies if they didn't offload the migrants rescued in international waters. The NGO refused to comply with that order. According to media reports the ship has apparently been seized because the crew members are accused of criminal association in illegal immigration. "I guess they've instituted the crime of solidarity," a lawyer representing the ship's commander said.
Statistics from Italy’s Ministry of Interior indicate that migrant flows from North Africa as winter ends this year continue to lag well behind levels recorded in each of the previous two years. So far this month fewer than 1,000 men, women and children have landed as irregular sea migrants, or less than a third of 2017’s arrivals and less than one-fifth of 2016’s.
(see chart below).

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported Monday that total arrivals by sea in 2018 have reached 2,827 men, women and children who have been rescued in Western Mediterranean waters through 18 March. That compares with 2,426 through all of March 2017. IOM has recorded 118 drowning deaths on this route in 2018, a rate of just over 10 per week. During all of last year, IOM reported 223 deaths of irregular migrants on the Western Mediterranean, or just over four per week.

IOM Libya’s Maysa Khalil on Monday reported that the rescues/interceptions by the Libyan Coast Guard since the beginning of 2017 now stand at 24,189, with 3,399 in the first 11 weeks of 2018 (see chart below).

Additionally, IOM Libya indicated that survivors of these operations came from 40 individual nations, with the largest number coming from Nigeria –2,566 of whose citizens have been registered as rescued from Libyan waters. 
Another 1,845 rescued were from Mali. Other countries of origin include: Central African Republic (1,595 migrants), Morocco (1,150), Senegal (1,064), Sudan (1,008), Eritrea (949), Cote d’Ivoire (860), Guinea Conakry (855), The Gambia (826), Bangladesh (695), Cameroon (564), Ghana (529), Somalia (441), Syria (256), Sierra Leone (227), Pakistan (177), Niger (141), Tunisia (81), Chad (48), Togo (30), Nepal (11), and Yemen (3) (see chart below).

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reported Monday that deaths on the three Mediterranean routes – 495 as of March 18 – remain down about 9 per cent below their total at this same time in 2017, when 544 migrants had been counted as drowned or missing in the waters between Africa, the Middle East and Italy. 
The 495 deaths on the three Mediterranean routes include, this week, 12 migrants who died in the Alborán Sea between Morocco and Spain, as reported by Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras. The Moroccan Navy also rescued 22 people in the same operation on 12 March while recovering those 12 bodies from a sinking boat. MMP also reported that on 28 February, the Algerian Coast Guard recovered the remains of man five nautical miles northeast of Plage de Bouzedjar. This was the eighth body recovered in this area in February alone.
Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 779 migrant fatalities in 2018, compared with 1,100 through 18 March last year (see chart below).
Besides these latest Mediterranean drownings, MMP reported that two migrants died and seven were injured in a car accident in Greece’s northern city of Xanthi on 17 March. MMP also reported that in Southeast Asia, one man was killed by a landmine blast on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border on 15 March, while his wife and four children were injured.
On 19 March, the bodies of two Vietnamese migrants were recovered from a beach in Taiwan’s eastern coast, while five survivors were rescued by Taiwan’s Coast Guard. One of them reportedly died when receiving medical treatment.
The MMP team also recorded one death between West Africa and Spain: on 16 March, the remains of a migrant were found near Playa de la Madera, in Lanzarote, Canary Islands.

MMP data are compiled by IOM staff but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on missing migrants are collected, click here.
For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:

For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel:  +40212115657, Email:
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail:
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email:
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 16:12Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Japan Supports UN Migration Agency Assistance to Returnees, Displaced in DRC

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 09:30

Kasai – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has received USD 900,000 of funding from the Government of Japan to assist 200,000 returnees, displaced people and members of host communities affected by the crisis in Kasai, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Since conflict erupted in August 2016 in the Kasai central province, a complex humanitarian crisis has emerged and rapidly spread throughout the region. As a consequence of the conflict, the Greater Kasai region now hosts an estimated 1.4 million of the country’s 4.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). Some individuals also fled from the violence to neighbouring Angola.

With a gradual stabilization of the security situation, people started to return home in 2017, particularly in Central Kasai – nearly 700,000 people have returned to date. However, security incidents and inter-community tensions persist, causing new displacements.

Poor sanitation, a lack of access to basic health services and poor hygiene conditions have led to outbreaks of cholera and made children more vulnerable to malnourishment. Global Acute Malnutrition rates in children under five years old have reached 14 per cent, well above the ten per cent emergency threshold. Some 300,000 children are malnourished and at risk of dying.

IOM has partnered with the humanitarian community to conduct data tracking activities and multi-sectoral assessments in the Greater Kasai region, to provide humanitarian partners with reliable information and data for planning and implementing necessary assistance.

Based on the identified needs, the new Japan-funded project will be implemented at a key border community in Kamako, where more than 200 people cross the border every day on the way back from Angola. IOM’s interventions will focus on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH); the provision of primary healthcare and non-food items; and community sensitization and protection, with a particular focus on gender-based violence.

Moreover, IOM will also introduce a Japanese water purification technology in partnership with Nippon Poly-Glu Co., seeking social business opportunities to strengthen community resilience and durable solutions in the crisis affected areas.

“With this innovative, cost effective and environmentally friendly technology from Poly-Glu, IOM will treat a large amount of turbid riverine water in a short time and provide an adequate amount of safe water daily to serve 10,000 people in Kamonia [territory],” said IOM DRC Migration Health Programme Coordinator Aki Yoshino.

“This funding contribution from Japan will help IOM to scale up its humanitarian operation in Kasai, and provide direct assistance to the most vulnerable populations along the border space,” said IOM DRC Chief of Mission Jean-Philippe Chauzy.

The humanitarian situation in the DRC has deteriorated dramatically over the past year. In December 2017, IOM launched an appeal for USD 75 million to urgently meet the growing needs of displaced people and the communities hosting them across the country.

The IOM Humanitarian Appeal for the Democratic Republic of the Congo is available online at

For more information, please contact Aki Yoshino, Tel: +243810325533, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 16:10Image: Region-Country: JapanThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Internally displaced Congolese live in extremely harsh conditions in the Magloire collective centre, Tanganyika. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Viet Nam, British Embassy Host Sustainable Sourcing, Ethical Labour Practices Workshop

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 09:29

Ho Chi Minh City – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the British Embassy in Viet Nam, with support from the Swedish Embassy, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), and the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (DOLISA), are hosting a workshop on sustainable sourcing and ethical labour practices for private sector partners in Ho Chi Minh City today (20/3) .

Modern-day slavery remains a major global challenge, with an estimated 40.3 million victims in 2016. Approximately 25 million of those were victims of forced labour, with the highest prevalence in the Asia-Pacific region. Over half of the victims were found working for private sector companies across almost all sectors.

“When acting responsibly, business is a strong partner to end and remedy situations of modern slavery, but more importantly prevent it in the first place,” said David Knight, IOM Chief of Mission for Viet Nam and Regional Coordinator for Viet Nam, Cambodia and Lao PDR. “IOM is part of a growing alliance of like-minded actors seeking to promote the understanding that doing good for workers and their families is also good for business.”

Consumer demand in Asia for responsibly sourced products has been growing rapidly in recent years, and many companies have robust internal policies in place that address labour and human rights risks within their own operations and supply chains.

“The UK 2015 Modern Slavery Act gives law enforcement the tools to fight modern slavery, ensure suitably severe punishments for those responsible, and enhance support and protection for victims,” said British Ambassador to Viet Nam Giles Lever. “The reporting requirements under the Act, as well as similar laws in France, the Netherlands and California, mean that companies need to show the goods and services they produce are free from any connection with modern slavery and human trafficking. Preventing abusive recruitment and labour practices is no longer an optional corporate social responsibility action. It is increasingly an essential requirement for all global brands.”

Bringing together representatives from over 40 companies including Coats, ECCO, IKEA, Adecco, Hogan Lovells and Decathlon, as well as local businesses, the Ho Chi Minh workshop examined legal frameworks and practical solutions to promote responsible business principles and ethical labour practices. These can not only contribute to the prevention and elimination of modern slavery in supply chains, but can also provide a pathway to sustainable business development in Viet Nam.

During his keynote speech Ian Pascoe, Managing Partner at Grant Thornton, pointed to the positive business impact for companies in Viet Nam of ensuring they conform to internationally recognised standards on labour and ethical business practices: “These investments pay back substantially and are critical in today’s modern trading environment, which is highly interconnected and where consumers are increasingly informed through social media,” he noted.

“Migrants moving to urban centres within Viet Nam or across borders for work are opportunity seekers with specific vulnerabilities and need special attention and action from the business community,” added Knight. “As labour mobility around the world continues to grow, IOM wants companies to make a greater effort to ensure ethical recruitment and equal treatment of migrant workers.”

IOM’s 2017-2022 regional CREST programme – Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking – is funded by the Regional Development Cooperation Section at the Embassy of Sweden in Thailand. It facilitates multi-stakeholder consultations to promote good corporate practice and public-private partnerships. It also partners with international companies to enhance supply chain transparency and build the capacities of all actors across the supply chain to adhere to international social and labour standards in the context of labour mobility.

Read more about CREST here:
For more information please contact Maximilian Pottler at IOM Viet Nam, Tel: +84 283 822 2057, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 16:08Image: Region-Country: Viet NamThemes: Capacity BuildingLabour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Participants at the workshop in Vietnam. © IOM

The role of the private sector is central in stamping out modern-day slavery, particularly in Asia and the Pacific. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Over 800 People Participate in IOM-Organized Crisis Simulation in Niger

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 09:29

Agadez – On March 15, more than 800 people from local communities, authorities, civil society and security forces participated in a crisis simulation exercise in Agadez, organized by IOM, the UN Migration Agency.

Using a real-life scenario, the simulation exercise tested local and regional authorities’ abilities to respond to a mass migration movement into Niger precipitated by a crisis at the border. Based on the results of the exercise, a regional crisis contingency plan will be drafted in conjunction with authorities in Agadez.

Agadez is located in northern Niger, a region regularly affected by migration flows both in and out of the country. Over the last few decades, the movement of goods and persons has increased considerably in Niger, requiring improved structures for immigration and border management (IBM) to more effectively manage cross-border movements. As a result, the state has been confronted with the challenge of better facilitating these legitimate movements while maintaining secure borders.

IOM’s IBM unit has been active in Niger since 2015 and is implementing projects aiming to reinforce border management in the country and the Sahel region. Since then, more than 15,000 people have been reached through awareness-raising activities aimed at improving the dialogue between communities and authorities.

Through the creation of prevention committees along Niger’s borders, and the inclusion of local populations in simulation exercises and awareness campaigns, IOM includes border communities as full actors in border management.

Within this context, the simulation exercise sought to enhance community involvement in crisis management. Communities from the surrounding area played the roles of both displaced populations and welcoming community. The exercise incorporated a strong community engagement component to foster communication between local communities and authorities. As communities are the first to directly encounter signs of a crisis, communication with local authorities is crucial both in ensuring a quick and effective crisis response, as well as in preventing future crises.

At the end of the exercise, IOM distributed over 400 hygiene kits to participating community members, and will deliver six tents to be used in crisis management to the Agadez Governorate.

The simulation was part of the project Engaging Communities in Border Management in Niger – Phase II, funded by the US Department of State. This was the third exercise of its kind organized by IOM in Niger, which had held two exercises in the Zinder region in 2017. The simulation was planned in close partnership with the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Humanitarian Action and Natural Disaster Management and the Ministry of Health of Niger.

Throughout the second phase of the project, IOM will continue to support capacity-building and community engagement activities in Agadez and Tillaberi regions, building on the lessons learned through this simulation exercise. A fourth simulation exercise will take place in Tillaberi region in October 2018.

For more information, please contact Arthur Langouet at IOM Niger, Tel: +227 8006 6561, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 16:06Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Capacity BuildingOthersDefault: Multimedia: 

The fourth cross-border crisis simulation exercise took place on March 15 in Agadez. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection, Reintegration in Horn of Africa Launched in Somalia

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 09:28

Mogadishu - The Government of Somalia, the European Union (EU) and IOM, the UN Migration Agency last week (15/03) launched a project to help approximately 1,000 Somali migrants reintegrate, once they have returned home following being stranded in another country. The EU-funded "Reintegration Facility" project will also assist 1,000 Ethiopians to return from Somalia and reintegrate in their home country.

“Helping young Somalis to return home in safety after often horrific migration experiences and then to settle back and contribute to their communities… lies at the heart of this programme,” said Mariam Yassin, Special Envoy for Migrants’ and Children’s Rights.

During the launch, Dyane Epstein, IOM Somalia’s Chief of Mission, said that she was delighted to see that there were participants from so many important organizations present because, “for the programme to be truly effective in supporting returning migrants and their communities, it must be a ‘joint initiative’ between all stakeholders.” She continued by describing how the ‘Joint Initiative’ will be aiming to develop further this essential close co-operation to facilitate safe, humane and dignified Voluntary Return and Reintegration.

"It is our collective responsibility to help those who want to return, not only with assistance to travel home, but also with support to reintegrate them with their host communities," said Anders Djurfeldt from the EU Delegation.

The project will increase the capacities of partner countries and relevant stakeholders to develop or strengthen return and reintegration policies and processes; facilitate safe, humane and dignified assisted voluntary return processes among partner countries; and facilitate sustainable reintegration across three dimensions: successful economic reintegration and strengthened livelihoods, social reintegration and psycho-social reintegration. 

The programme is part of the larger EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration which facilitates orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration management through the development of rights-based and development-focused policies and processes on protection and sustainable reintegration. The EU-IOM Joint Initiative, backed by the EU Trust Fund, covers and has been set up in close cooperation with a total of 26 African countries.

For more information, please contact:

Dyane Epstein at IOM Somalia, Tel: +252 612 777 712, Email:

Julia Hartlieb at IOM Somalia, Tel: +254 731 988 846, Email:

Anders Gettou Djurfeldt, EU Delegate to Somalia, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 16:04Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Signs Cooperation Agreement with Kingdom of Bahrain

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 09:28

Manama – The 8th of March marks a milestone in the relations between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the UN Migration Agency (IOM), following the signing ceremony of a Cooperation Agreement that will pave the way for establishing official IOM presence in Bahrain.

Upon an invitation by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister of Bahrain, IOM’s Director General (DG), William Lacy Swing, visited Bahrain on 8 March to discuss strengthening Bahrain-IOM relations.

The signed Cooperation Agreement complements Bahrain’s 10 years of IOM observership and crowns the strong relationship between IOM and the kingdom, particularly through IOM technical cooperation with the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA). This significant development will be the cornerstone for advancing cooperation between Bahrain and IOM in the fields of Migration Management and Counter-Trafficking.

DG Swing conveyed to His Royal Highness IOM’s support of his leadership and vision in the reforms of the Bahrain labour market, which will certainly make a positive impact on Bahrain and the region. He further assured of IOM’s firm support in advancing the priorities of the Government of Bahrain through its global expertise in the vast field of migration.

For more information, please contact: Mohamed El Zarkani, IOM Kuwait, +965 25308169,

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 16:02Image: Region-Country: KuwaitThemes: IOMOthersDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Philippines, ECHO Support Metro Manila Resilience to Natural Disasters

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 09:28

Manila – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) have launched a project that aims to build up the resilience of vulnerable populations constantly threatened by natural disasters, particularly the threat of an anticipated major earthquake in Metro Manila in the Philippines.

The Mass Evacuations in Natural Disasters (MEND) project which focuses on Metro Manila’s most vulnerable urban poor communities, particularly informal settlements, kicked off with a five-day training (12-16/03) with 64 participants from local government units, relevant government agencies and NGOs.

MEND seeks to enhance the Metro Manila region’s capacity to prepare for the ‘Big One’ – the potentially massive earthquake anticipated along the region’s west valley fault, which traverses various parts of Metro Manila and the surrounding provinces. The fault moves roughly every 400 years according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, which means that the metropolis is due for a 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

“When I first heard of the ‘Big One’ I was nervous. Being part of the fault line, our area is exposed to a lot of risk,” a barangay councillor Alex Santos of Quezon City shared his anxiety on the potential earthquake. Quezon City is one of Manila’s most densely populated areas with around 2.9 million people.

Local community leaders like Santos are worried about their capacity to respond to such an event; a damaging earthquake of that magnitude will no doubt overwhelm the resources of local governments.

For the MEND project, IOM has combined urban displacement management through their Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) expertise, as well as an innovated mass evacuation in natural disasters approach. The project also focuses on supporting the development of contingency plans, identifying the most accessible areas for safe evacuation as well as providing training on information gathering and management. The project will also utilize the Organization's Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) information gathering and management tools.

Notably, this particular type of project is also a first for ECHO in the field of urban disaster preparedness.

Arlynn Aquino, ECHO programme officer, shared some optimism on the initiative: “ECHO has historically supported humanitarian emergencies. This is, therefore, one of the rare times we’ve invested in preparedness, and it is amazing to witness that this modest investment is creating a ripple effect for frontline responders.”

Aquino added, “We hope this will continue to raise awareness on the value of preparing for a disaster and it is our hope that local governments will use their positions of influence to bring the knowledge that they gained from the workshop and deliver it to their communities.”

Speaking at the conclusion of the training, IOM Philippines Chief of Mission Kristin Dadey noted: “The Philippines continues to be a shining example in the region. Their ability to prepare for major disasters is a model for others to follow, as is the Filipino’s resilience in dealing with disasters when they happen.”

The initial training sets the momentum for a field simulation exercise scheduled for April 2018. The simulation will involve urban poor communities in three target cities in Metro Manila.

For more information, please contact Kristin Dadey, IOM Philippines, Tel: +63 917 803 5009, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 16:00Image: Region-Country: PhilippinesThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

Some of the participants at the IOM-ECHO at the Mass Evacuations in Natural Disasters (MEND) project launch. © IOM

Some of the participants at the IOM-ECHO at the Mass Evacuations in Natural Disasters (MEND) project launch. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Announces Winners of South American Journalism Prize

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 09:28

Buenos Aires – Last Friday (16/03), the South America Regional Office for IOM, the UN Migration Agency, celebrated the work of journalists who have highlighted the social, economic and cultural contributions of migrants to their countries of origin and destination, at the South American Journalism Prize in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The awards themed Migration with a Human Rights-based Approach and Gender Perspective also recognized journalistic works which have contributed to raising awareness about migrants’ rights, including access to healthcare, employment and education and also helped to counter xenophobia, racism and discrimination against migrants and their families.

Ten works were selected among 167 applications from all over South America. The finalists were evaluated by five migration, journalism, human rights and gender experts: Claudia Palacios, Colombian journalist and director of the Casa Editorial El Tiempo television network; Lelio Mármora, director of the Migration and Asylum Policy Institute at the Tres de Febrero University; and Javier Palummo, Director of Research and Information Management of the MERCOSUR Institute of Public Policies in Human Rights. The jury also included Matteo Mandrile, IOM Regional Development Officer for South America and Mariana Beherán, IOM Argentina Research Coordinator.

Also in attendance were René Mauricio Valdés, UN Resident Coordinator in Argentina, representatives of the Government of Argentina and MERCOSUR, as well as Elba Rodriguez, winner of MasterChef Argentina in 2014, who shared her experiences as the daughter of Bolivian migrants in Argentina.

At the award ceremony, Diego Beltrand, IOM Regional Director for South America, highlighted the important role of the media as key partners in shaping the public opinion on migration. He also emphasized the need to talk about migrants’ rights, and called for the use of accurate migration terminology and an inclusive language to combat racism, xenophobia and discrimination.

One of the jurors, Palacios said that journalists have a great responsibility when covering migration issues. “Migration means growing and strengthening human capital, which brings benefits to the places of origin and destination, and the role of journalists in promoting this view is essential,” she stressed.

Following the announcement, the winners were invited to a training session in Buenos Aires on how to cover migration topics with a human rights-based and gender perspective.

The Prize contributes to the "I am a Migrant" and "TOGETHER" global campaigns, which seek to change the negative perceptions of migrants and help tackle xenophobia, racism and discrimination. It is part of a project launched in October 2017, funded by the IOM Development Fund (IDF), IOM Colombia and IOM Peru.

Watch the video of the Awards Ceremony:

See the full list of winners here:

For more information, please contact Juliana Quintero, IOM Regional Office in Buenos Aires, Tel: +(54) 11 5219 2033, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 15:58Image: Region-Country: ArgentinaThemes: OthersDefault: Multimedia: 

The South American Journalism Prize was awarded to 10 journalists. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN launches 2018 appeal for Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi host communities: Joint UNHCR/IOM Press Release

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 15:37

United Nations agencies and NGO partners today released the 2018 Joint Response Plan (JRP) for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis, a US$951 million appeal to meet the urgent needs of nearly 900,000 Rohingya refugees and more than 330,000 vulnerable Bangladeshis in the communities hosting them.

Over the months since the outset of the Rohingya influx, this has been the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis, with tens of thousands fleeing by land and sea from Myanmar daily at the peak of the emergency. Some 671,000 Rohingya refugees have arrived in Bangladesh since 25th August 2017. The Bangladesh Government and Bangladeshi people have responded with extraordinary generosity and hospitality.

Almost seven months on, refugees from Myanmar continue to arrive. And the situation in Cox’s Bazar remains fluid. The Kutupalong-Balukhali site, where some 600,000 refugees are now living, is today the largest and most densely populated refugee settlement in the world. Precarious conditions for the refugees and the ongoing emergency response are about to be further challenged by the approaching monsoon season and rains. More than 150,000 Rohingya refugees are in places at risk of landslides and floods, in what could become a disaster on top of the current emergency.

The 2018 appeal for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis – launched today in Geneva by UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, IOM Director General William Swing and UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Mia Seppo - aims to address these challenges, bringing together the critical efforts of more than 100 UN agencies and national and international NGOs. The international humanitarian response aims to ensure refugees and host communities receive the life-saving assistance, protection and support they desperately need, complementing the continuing efforts of the Bangladeshi authorities.

“We are talking about truly critical needs here both on the part of the Bangladeshi communities who have so generously opened their doors, and of a stateless and refugee population that even prior to this crisis was among the world’s most marginalised and at risk,” said High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “The solutions to this crisis lie inside Myanmar, and conditions must be established that will allow refugees to return home. But today we are appealing for help with the immediate needs, and these needs are vast.”

The appeal aims to meet the immediate humanitarian needs of refugees and host communities, and support environmentally sustainable solutions, confidence-building and resilience of affected populations until the end of 2018. It also includes contingency planning for 80,000 more Rohingya refugees in the coming months.

"The needs and vulnerabilities of the Rohingya refugee population in Bangladesh are immense,” said William Swing, IOM Director General. “Many Governments generously supported the last Rohingya crisis appeal. Given the large scale of the emergency and the amount of humanitarian services needed to ensure lives can be protected with dignity, continued and enhanced support is necessary."

The needs are urgent. The funding will help in meeting the life-saving and acute humanitarian needs both of refugees and of affected host communities. More than half the appeal (54 per cent) is to ensure food, water and sanitation, shelter and other basic aid. Food needs alone account for 25 per cent of the total.

Over 16 million litres of safe water are needed every day for the Rohingya refugee population. Some 12,200 metric tons of food are required every month. At least 180,000 refugee families need cooking fuel. Some 50,000 latrines need to be constructed and maintained, and at least 30 sewage management facilities are required.

Forty-three primary health centres and 144 health posts are needed. Another 5,000 classrooms for 614,000 children and youth must be made available for there to be proper access to education. Some 100 nutrition treatment centres and a range of protection programmes for the 144,000 single mothers and their families and the 22,000 children at risk are also an urgent priority. Around 400,000 children in refugee and host communities require trauma care and related support.

“Obviously there is great appreciation for the generosity with which the response has been funded. But let’s not forget one thing: the biggest donor to this crisis is Bangladesh,” said Mia Seppo, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh.

“In terms of being the first responders, in terms of providing land, in terms of keeping its borders open, in terms of providing asylum, in terms of building roads, extending electricity networks, providing food, seconding civil servants, providing police and army to keep order in the camp. The biggest donor to this crisis continues to be the people and the government of Bangladesh.”

The humanitarian response in Bangladesh faces immense challenges. Conditions are congested, and hundreds of incidents of gender-based violence are reported weekly. Public health concerns are acute, including measles, diphtheria and diarrhoea.

The Rohingya refugee situation in Cox’s Bazar is an acute humanitarian crisis that needs urgent funding to save lives and provide essential aid. So far, the emergency response from September 2017 to February 2018 has received 74 per cent of the funding needed (US$321 million of the US$434 million required).

Your support is urgently needed to assist children, women and men fleeing contact in Bangladesh. Please give now.

For more information, please contact:

For IOM:
In Geneva, Olivia Headon, or +41 79 403 53 65
In Geneva, Andrej Mahecic,; +41 79 642 97 09
In Cox's Bazaar, Caroline Gluck,, +880 1872 699 849
In Cox's Bazaar, Firas Al-Khateeb,,+880 1885 934 309

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 22:24Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Women and children wait for aid in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, where 1 million Rohingya refugees are now living. Photo: Olivia Headon/IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Ghana Assists 106 Ghanaians to Return Home

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 13:03

Accra – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in Ghana in partnership with the Government of Ghana and the Airport Authorities facilitated the arrival of 106 Ghanaians, including 9 women, 2 infants and one child, from Libya via charter at the Kotoka International Airport.

This is the third charter flight organized by IOM to support the dignified return of Ghanaians from Libya, since July 2017; bringing the total number of returns to 496 (457 men – 39 women).

All Ghanaians whose returns are facilitated by IOM have chosen to voluntarily come home. As a part of its Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme, from Libya and other transit areas, IOM conducts pre-departure interviews and medical examinations for all returnees and facilitates the acquisition of travel documents and issuance of exit visas through the Ghanaian Mission in Malta. Between 5-10 February 2018, IOM facilitated an official visit to Libya of a delegation of 5 government officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Ministry of Interior and the Ghana Immigration Service. The visit, which focused on increasing outreach to the Ghanaian community in Libya and providing enhanced consular services, supported the organization of the charter flight that arrived on Tuesday, 13 March.

“Contrary to the first two charter flights we have previously organized where almost all the returnees were coming from detention centres, two-third of the arrivals on this flight were living in the city. It is important to acknowledge the diverse composition of the Ghanaian population in Libya as well as their diverse needs before and after repatriation. IOM continues to assist detained migrants but we are at the same time increasing efforts to reach stranded migrants outside of detention,” explained Sylvia Lopez Ekra, IOM Ghana Chief of Mission.

Upon their arrival, all returnees were screened by Port Health, registered by Ghana Immigration Service and were provided cash support by IOM for immediate needs. IOM also provided migrants with food and water, as well as buses to local transport hubs. These migrants will have the opportunity to benefit from reintegration assistance which can consist of counselling, referrals to services including psychosocial and medical, and other support as needed.

“Considering the scale of returns, one of the key challenges we will be facing is to provide adequate reintegration support to returnees. It is important to remember that meaningful and sustainable reintegration is complex and requires time but, if done right, has the potential to complement local development in areas with a large number of returning migrants” added Ms. Lopez-Ekra. 

The new, integrated approach to reintegration assistance rolled out by IOM in the West and Central African Region combines support for returning migrants and their home communities. It aims to mitigate possible tensions at home for returnees by involving local communities in the reintegration process and raising awareness to address potential stigma of return. For this reason, projects can be participatory and community-based projects, as well as collective and individual initiatives.

IOM Ghana return and reintegration support of stranded Ghanaian migrants stranded in Libya is part of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative on Migrant Protection and Reintegration launched in December 2016, through the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF). Since June 2017, IOM Ghana has helped facilitate the return of 544 stranded Ghanaians migrants (502 men – 42 women), mainly from Libya and Niger. The main goal of IOM’s work in Africa under the Joint initiative is to strengthen mechanisms to protect and assist migrants along all migratory routes through advocacy and direct assistance.

As of 13 March 2018, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has assisted 10,171 migrants to return home safely from Libya with support from the European Union, African Union, and the Libyan Government since the scale up of Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) on 28 November 2017. Some 23,302 migrants have returned through IOM’s VHR programme since January 2017. 

Some 23,302 migrants have returned through IOM’s VHR programme since January 2017. You can read more here.

For further information, please contact Anita J. Wadud at IOM Ghana: Tel. +233 302 742 930 ext. 2400, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 20:01Image: Region-Country: GlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM staff providing cash and registration support to newly arrived Ghanaian returnees from Libya at the Kotoka International Airport.
Photo: IOM 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Appeals for USD 182 Million to Help 900,000 Rohingya Refugees, Local Community in Bangladesh

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 10:57

Cox’s Bazar – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is appealing for USD 182.1 million to assist 900,000 Rohingya refugees and local community members in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. IOM’s appeal is part of a broader USD 951 million UN Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis covering the same March – December 2018 period.

On 25 August 2017, a mass exodus of Rohingya refugees began from northern Rakhine State, Myanmar, to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Fleeing an upsurge of targeted violence, nearly one million Rohingya refugees are now sheltering in Cox’s Bazar, including thousands who arrived during previous influxes.

The local rural community, which has long been in need of support, has found itself in the middle of the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world. IOM is providing livelihood, environmental improvement and health support to both refugees and locals to mitigate the impact of soaring food prices and overloaded infrastructure.

“As the monsoon season approaches, we are at a vital point where we have to increase our support for people affected by the crisis – both Rohingya refugees and local Bangladeshis,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing, reflecting on monsoon preparedness efforts underway in Cox’s Bazar.

IOM has relocated 236 families living in areas at risk of landslide and floods to safer areas. A further 9,675 families have been trained by IOM in how to strengthen their shelters against wind and rain, and reduce the dangers associated with living on unstable, muddy hillsides.

IOM is also working to reduce the environmental impact  of  the  refugee by providing alternative sources of fuel. The refugees are currently dependent on wood for cooking, which has led to massive deforestation in the area.

“I look after 80 families, who settled down on top of this hill,” said Abu Ahammad, one of the block leaders in the refugee settlements. “It’s sandy here and people didn’t get much land, so they’ve built their houses over the whole hillside with only bamboo and tarpaulins. The sandy soil will collapse when it rains and people will die as the houses fall down on top of each other. There are also latrines over there, which will be destroyed,” he added.

As those fleeing Myanmar arrived with little or nothing, providing them with basic shelter has been vital. Over the past six months, IOM has distributed 120,000 kits, which now house some 600,000 people.

Most refugees who lived in Cox’s Bazar before August 2017 live in very poor conditions. Some 40,000 of these people have benefitted from IOM help to upgrade their shelters. Others who have arrived since the crisis in August are now also in urgent need of shelter upgrades, which IOM will continue to provide.

IOM is leading site management and site improvement work in Cox’s Bazar, while also directly managing some of the settlement sites as well. Since August 2017, it has built over seven kilometres of road, 220 bamboo bridges, seven kilometres of pedestrian pathways, five and a half kilometres of pedestrian steps with handrails and five kilometres of drainage. Improving infrastructure is particularly important for people with disabilities, elderly people and single female-headed households to assess services in the settlements.

Since August 2017, IOM has trucked 1,992 cubic metres of clean drinking water into the settlements. It has also constructed 1,949 latrines, 110 deep tube wells and 116 wash rooms, with 28 more under construction. It has also distributed 220,000 bars of soap and 30,070 hygiene kits. Crowding and poor sanitation is a major concern and through 2018 IOM will continue to improve access to safe drinking water and better sanitation.

IOM has also supported the expansion of primary, reproductive and secondary health care services, as well as public health and outreach campaigns, for both Rohingya refugees and local Bangladeshis, since before the crisis. Over the past six months IOM medical staff have conducted over 242,000 consultations. Over 12,000 antenatal care sessions and some 1,400 deliveries were supported in IOM health facilities.

Through its Mental Health and Psychosocial Services (MHPSS), including  individual  counseling,  in-patient  care and patient referrals, which are currently being expanded, IOM has reached over 5,000 people since August.

IOM’s Needs and Population Monitoring Survey tracks new refugee arrivals to settlements and host communities, the number of people in each settlement and their needs. This information is shared with the entire humanitarian community to inform the humanitarian response.

Since August 2017,  IOM  has  also identified  and  assisted 15,257  extremely  vulnerable individuals (EVIs) and 37 victims of human trafficking. It has provided psychological first aid to 4,332 individuals and referred 1,887 people to specialized health facilities.

In addition, dignity kits have been distributed to 7,315 households and 20,276 solar lanterns have been distributed to vulnerable women.

IOM’s protection team carries out daily protection programming, including community outreach to EVIs and case management for survivors of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and human trafficking. It provides counseling, legal information and conducts group psychosocial support services, in close coordination with IOM’s Mental Health and Psychosocial Unit.

As the lead agency of the Communication with Communities (CwC) Working Group, IOM continues to advocate for the full integration of accountability to affected populations in all sectors of the response.

IOM also hosts the Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) Secretariat, which coordinates the humanitarian response in Cox’s Bazar. Funding to continue and enhance the ISCG as the coordination structure for the emergency response is also included in IOM’s appeal.

Read the appeal summary : ¨
For more information, please contact:
IOM HQ: Olivia Headon, Tel: +41794035365, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 18:01Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

A women queues for aid in Cox’s Bazar, which is now hosting close to one million Rohingya refugees. Photo: Olivia Headon/IOM 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Improves Living Conditions for Internally Displaced Families in DR Congo’s Tanganyika Province

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 10:57

Kalemie – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in the south-eastern Congolese city of Kalemie, continues the urgent relocation of internally displaced families from congested and unhealthy urban collective centres to a displacement site recently established in nearby Kalunga. The majority of the collective centres are former schools.

More than 200 families were transferred by IOM from the EP La Gloire school to Kalunga on Wednesday (14/03), bringing the total number of families helped to relocate to 1,930.

“We hope to conclude the relocation of the last 240 remaining families sheltering at the school in the coming days,” said Amalia Torres, Head of IOM’s Sub-office in Kalemie. “The rains are worsening already poor living conditions at the school and the families are desperate to move to the Kalunga displacement site, where they will find decent living conditions,” said Torres.   

Some 11,800 displaced families are still living in extremely dangerous conditions in six collective centres in Kalemie – the EP La Gloire school being one of them.

“Many families are using simple mosquito nets as shelter. The complete absence of space between those squalid and flimsy dwellings exposes them to fire, diseases, insecurity and many other protection risks,” added Torres.

IOM aims to relocate to Kalunga and other pre-identified sites, a total of 6,000 displaced families from four schools in Kalemie with funding from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund – Rapid Response (CERF-RR). 

Prior to the transfer of displaced families, IOM carries out site planning activities such as plot demarcation, construction of transit hangars and defines sanitary corridors to ensure the basic Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) standards are met in the extensions of the site.

The Kalunga site currently hosts some 3,500 internally displaced families. IOM and partners provide them with shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. Displaced children also have access to educational facilities and families have resumed agricultural activities to help them complement their food and nutritional needs.                

IOM in Kalemie has also supported the safe and voluntary return of 390 people to Kasanga-Mtoa and Lukuangulo, located some 10 kilometers from Kalemie.

On the basis of the results of IOM’s return intention survey in the targeted sites, families that are not able to go back to their areas of origin due to the persistent insecurity, are transferred to displacement sites. There they receive an IOM emergency shelter kit and technical support to build their own shelter. For the most vulnerable, IOM and the site committee have mobilized and trained a group of young internally displaced people to build the shelters if they cannot do it on their own.

On 13 March, Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and OCHA Emergency Relief Coordinator, and Sigrid Kaag, Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, visited the displacement sites in Kalunga and nearby Katanika, where they met the site committees and internally displaced people. 

The delegation, which also included Kim Bolduc, Humanitarian Coordinator in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Julien Harneis, Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator, also met with Richard Ngoy Kitangala, Governor of the Province, Virginie Nkulu Nemba, Provincial Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, and other humanitarian actors in the Province. Jean-Philippe Chauzy, IOM DRC Chief of Mission accompanied the delegation. In the Kalunga site, IOM presented the delegation with ongoing relocation and emergency shelter activities that aim to improve the living conditions of families displaced in school premises in Kalemie through their transfer to transit sites.

Some 630,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in Tanganyika province, bringing the total number of displaced to 4.5 million with some 13.1 million in urgent need of humanitarian assistance this year.

“IOM hopes that the 13 April 2018 pledging conference in Geneva co-hosted by the European Commission, the UN and the Dutch Government will help us address the huge humanitarian challenges in the DRC,” says IOM’s Chauzy. “The world simply cannot sit back and ignore the immense suffering of the Congolese people.”   

In December 2017, IOM launched an appeal for USD 75 million to urgently meet the growing needs of displaced people and the communities hosting them across the country. So far it has received USD 4.7 million as part of its appeal.   

You can read IOM’s full appeal here

For more information, please contact:
Olivia Headon in IOM HQ, Tel: +41794035365, Email:
Jean-Philippe Chauzy in IOM Kinshasa, Tel: +243 827 339 827, Email:   

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 17:39Image: Region-Country: Democratic Republic of the CongoThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Displaced Congolese in the Kalunga site, Tanganyika province. © IOM

Internally displaced Congolese live in extremely harsh conditions in the Magloire collective centre, Tanganyika. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 12,318 in 2018; Deaths Reach 463

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 10:56

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 11,636 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through the first 73 days of 2018, with about 48 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece (29%), Spain (22%) and Cyprus (less than 1%). This compares with 20,306 at this point in 2017.

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo said Thursday the 5,945 men, women and children arriving as irregular migrants to Italy this year represents a decline of more than 62 per cent over last year’s irregular sea arrivals through this date.

Di Giacomo added that IOM Rome has learned of rescue operations occurring Thursday adding the NGO Open Arms rescued 218 migrants, while IOM also learned another 270 migrants were rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard.

IOM Libya's Christine Petré reported that late Wednesday night at around 23:00 local time, 122 migrants (97 men, 24 women, one child) were returned to Libyan shore by the Libyan Coast Guard after having boarded unseaworthy dinghies in their attempt to reach Europe. The migrants left from the Abu Sitta disembarkation point in Tripoli, where these migrants received water, food, primary health check-ups and protection screenings by IOM staff. Five of the women also received pregnancy care. Migrants were transferred to Tajoura detention centre.

On Thursday, she reported, 96 migrants (53 men, 40 women, three children) received emergency assistance from IOM after they were returned to Libyan shores by the Libyan Coast Guard. IOM staff provided hygiene kits, blankets, health and protection screenings. Three migrants with petrol burns were treated and family phone calls were provided. Migrants were transferred to Tajoura detention centre. IOM at this time is trying to learn if these rescued migrants were among the same ones IOM Rome reported on Friday morning, or from a separate attempt made to reach Europe.

No emergency cases were identified and no bodies were retrieved in either of the rescues reproted this week by IOM Libya.

So far this year, 3,279 migrants have been returned to Libyan shore by the Libyan Coast Guard, a 56 percent increase compared to the same period in 2017.

Through 15 March Italy arrivals are averaging just over 80 persons per day, well below the levels of the two previous years (see chart below). In both 2016 and 2017 March arrivals were low through the middle of the month, and then rose quickly as the weather warmed.

Di Giacomo also reported statistics from Italy’s Ministry of Interior concerning the leading nationalities among irregular migrants so far in 2018 (see chart below).

Eritrea was the leading sender through February, as was the case in January, followed by Tunisia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Libya and the Côte d’Ivoire. Given the small number of arrivals in February (1,058 migrants in 28 days – or less than 40 per day) the number of newcomers arriving in February from each of these nations was small: 124 from Nigeria, 31 from Côte d’Ivoire, 30 from Libya and 13 from Pakistan.
Nonetheless, the statistics demonstrate growing activity from Africa’s northern coast: a total of 1,583 arrivals have left for Italy this year from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya – or roughly one-third of all arrivals through the first two months of 2018.
IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia that over the three days (11-13 March) the Hellenic Coast Guard reported two incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the island of Chios. The Coast Guard rescued 58 migrants and transferred them to that island.  Those rescued, plus another 130 migrants arriving in Kos, Rhodes, Megisti and Lesvos bring the total number of sea arrivals to Greek territory through 13 March to 3,562 (see chart below) – an average for the year of just under 50 persons per day.

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported that total arrivals by sea in 2018 have reached 2,764 men, women and children who have been rescued in Western Mediterranean waters through 14 March.

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reported Thursday that deaths on the three Mediterranean routes – 463 as of March 14 – were down some 14 per cent below their total at this same time in 2017, when 536 migrants had been counted as drowned or missing in the waters between North Africa and Italy.

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 740 migrant fatalities in 2018, compared with 1,046 through 14 March last year (see chart below).

Most recently, three people lost their lives in Mexico during their journey to the US border: on 12 March, the remains of a 22-year-old migrant from El Salvador were found near Federal Highway 200 in Tapachula, Chiapas, while on 13 March a young Honduran migrant was hit by a train in San Mateo Ixtacalco, Cuautitlán. On the US-Mexico border, a 20-year-old Mexican man drowned in the Río Bravo, near Reynosa Díaz, Tamaulipas.

The Missing Migrants Project also recorded one death on 12 March at the Greece-Turkey border, as the remains of one migrant were retrieved by Greek authorities in the Evros River, which flows along the country’s north-eastern border with Turkey.

On the same day, a 22-year-old Eritrean man died in Italy after being rescued from an overcrowded boat off the coast of Libya. He disembarked in Pozzallo, Sicily on 12 March from Proactiva Open Arms’ rescue ship and was immediately taken to the hospital. He died 12 hours later.

MMP data are compiled by IOM staff but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on missing migrants are collected, click here.

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:

For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel:  +40212115657, Email:
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail:
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email:
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 17:30Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

US, UN Back Efforts to Assess Impact of Papua New Guinea Earthquake, Deliver Aid to Survivors

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 10:56

Port Moresby – Almost three weeks after the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that struck Papua New Guinea’s remote provinces of Hela and Southern Highlands, IOM teams are working with the government and partners to assess the full impact of the disaster and deliver essential lifesaving aid to survivors, even as landslides and aftershocks continue to affect the region.

The government estimates that over 544,000 people across five provinces were affected by the quake, which left at least 145 people dead. Over 270,000 are in need of immediate aid, including food, water, medicines, tarpaulins, tents and blankets.

The government and its aid agency and private sector partners have targeted seven of the worst-hit Local Level Governments (LLGs) in Hela and Southern Highlands provinces. It has also set up two forward operating bases and two emergency operations centres close to the quake’s epicentre.

But while main roads have largely been cleared, aid workers warn that damage estimates may continue to rise as many affected communities remain cut off by landslides and are only accessible by air.

“Many among the affected populations live in remote communities that are a challenge to access at the best of times.  In the face of a natural disaster of this magnitude, they have become even more isolated.  Air support to reach these people is critical,” said IOM Papua New Guinea Chief of Mission Lance Bonneau.

IOM, which is leading the Shelter, Non-Food Item (NFI), and Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) clusters in the emergency response, has deployed displacement tracking teams, assisted by oil and gas company ExxonMobil and other local partners on the ground, to assess the impact, needs, and assistance gaps for people affected by the quake.

The mapping generated by the displacement tracking matrix (DTM) will contribute to the PNG National Disaster Center’s coordination of the multi-partner relief effort to ensure that the right assistance gets to the populations who need it most.  

IOM, which this week received USD 100,000 from USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance, has already delivered basic shelter and non-food relief items to over 400 displaced families. The US funding will allow it to provide basic shelter, water and sanitation to another 800 of the hardest hit families and will also support training for local authorities and NGOs managing Care Centre shelters for quake survivors.

Another USD 100,000 channeled to IOM last week by UNOCHA – the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – will be used to provide more lifesaving aid, including shelter materials and water containers, to another 2,500 families.

“We welcome the support provided thus far, but the needs remain significant.  The full impact of the earthquake is still coming to light, as landslides continue to affect unstable areas. Traditional water and food sources have been compromised and entire populations have been traumatized by the scale of this disaster. We need to continue to address the immediate needs of those most affected, but we also need to think about longer term recovery and reestablishment of community infrastructure.  Shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene are critical needs now and will continue to be into the foreseeable future,” said Bonneau.

For further information, please contact IOM Port Moresby. Wonesai Sithole, Tel: +675 4 3213655 Email:  or Lance Bonneau, Tel: +675 321 36 55, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 17:32Image: Region-Country: Papua New GuineaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Families in Hulia-Beleria displaced by the February 26, 2018, earthquake which struck Hela province, Papua New Guinea. Photo: David Helo / United Church in Hela

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN