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Updated: 2 hours 52 min ago

Urgent Support Required to Avert Worsening Situation in Chad’s Lac Province

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 05:27

N’Djamena – This week, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is appealing for USD 2 million to ensure continued access and delivery of lifesaving humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable people and their host communities through, among other things, emergency and preparedness support, and strengthening disaster risk reduction programming.  

Earlier this month local authorities alerted IOM to the flooding of entire quarters in the departments of Fouli and Kaya caused by the rise in water levels of Lake Chad. The two departments currently host thousands of persons displaced by conflict and climate change in Chad’s Lac Province.  

Chad’s Lac Province is reeling from the impact of a double security and environmental crisis which has forcibly displaced more than half of the Province’s population. The recent flooding of displacement sites and host communities in Lac Province risks worsening an already complex humanitarian situation, as some key areas where critical assistance is needed might become inaccessible.  

 That would leave thousands of people without access to key basic services.  

 “This sudden flooding, which is not isolated, is likely to force villagers to leave their homes and seek refuge in neighbouring villages where resources and amenities are already very limited,” explained Anne Schaefer, IOM Chad Chief of Mission. “As waters continue to rise, some areas where we intervene are at risk of becoming inaccessible, effectively cutting thousands of people from access to lifesaving assistance,” she added.   

 Since 2015, the Government of Chad and regional security forces have been combatting security threats from armed non-state actors around the Lake Chad Basin. The impact of the security situation has been amplified by an environmental crisis caused by the shrinking of Lake Chad.  

The fallout of this double crisis has been the mass displacement of more than 360, 000 people – a majority of the province’s population. Data from IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix shows that, since the beginning of the crisis, most displaced people fled from lakeside villages towards safer communities inland.   

Now this momentary respite and stability required for displaced persons and their host communities is being threatened by flooding caused in part by the rising waters of Lake Chad.   

“Our people are faced with multiple crises, but the rise in water levels which we have witnessed in recent days threatens more than 18,000 households, including displaced persons and host communities,” said Yacoub Mahamat, Prefect of the Department of Fouli in Chad’s Lac Province.  

The rise in water levels is also heightening the risks of water-borne diseases such as cholera and seasonal malaria which are endemic in the country.   

In the Lac Province, IOM is one of the leading humanitarian actors providing shelter (durable and semi-durable), food and non-food items, including dignity kits for women and insecticide-treated mosquito nets, to displaced persons and host communities affected by the double security and environmental crisis. IOM also leads on data collection in displacement sites to provide a better understanding of the vulnerabilities of displaced persons, which is vital to accurately target humanitarian assistance.  

IOM Lake Chad Emergency, Preparedness and Disaster Risk Reduction Appeal for Lac Province – USD 2 million – to work on the following areas:  

  • Emergency and Preparedness   
  • Site mapping in key displacement sites   
  • Shelter construction – including durable and semi-durable shelters  
  • Food and non-food items distribution  
  • Preposition of stocks   
  • Support in the development of a flood early warning system  
  • Contingency planning   
  • Disaster Risk Reduction  
  • Mapping of meteorologically exposed areas  
  • Support in drainage of areas and construction   
  • Support in community training on flood warning and small-scale mitigation works  
  • Research on the impact of climate change in Lake Chad  

For more information, please contact Daniele Febei, Head of Transition and Emergency Unit at IOM Chad. Email: dfebei@iom.int   

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - 14:01Image: Region-Country: ChadThemes: Internal DisplacementDefault: Multimedia: 

A view of the displacement site of Taal in the Lac Province. Photo : IOM/François-Xavier Ada

The lakeside community of Bol Nguini in Chad’s Lac Province which saw its population nearly double from the influx of displaced persons. Photo: IOM/François-Xavier Ada 

A view of the displacement site of Taal in the Lac Province. Photo: IOM/François-Xavier Ada

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Strengthens Gender-Based Violence Response in Cox’s Bazar amidst COVID-19

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 05:17

Cox’s Bazar – Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the risk of Gender-based Violence (GBV) for Rohingya and Bangladeshi women and girls already was alarmingly high in Cox´s Bazar, Bangladesh. Since the onset of COVID-19, evidence suggests there has been a surge in rates of intimate partner and domestic violence in both Rohingya and host communities.

Due to mobility restrictions and protection risks, women and girls have struggled to access lifesaving GBV and sexual and reproductive health services. Furthermore, the lack of socio-economic opportunities has strained those already at-risk, such as single female-headed households.

Despite these challenges, several innovative tools and strategic partnerships have enabled IOM to adapt its GBV programming to the unique and ever-evolving context of the pandemic.

Building on IOM’s Institutional Framework for Addressing GBV in Crises (GBViC) — rolled out in Cox’s Bazar in 2019 — and its accompanying Action Plan, IOM’s GBV team has managed to successfully ensure the continuity of face-to-face individual case management services. IOM has also maintained its operation of 10 Women and Girls Safe Spaces across nine camps and the emergency safe shelter for GBV survivors, in accordance with COVID-19 health guidelines.

As part of commitments set out in the GBViC Action Plan to equip frontline staff and volunteers with the appropriate knowledge and skills to support survivors of GBV, IOM conducted this month a four-day training on Clinical Management of Rape and Intimate Partner Violence for 50 health care providers. 

Another training on GBV core concepts, safe referrals, counter-trafficking, Psychological First Aid and Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse was organized from June to October for 345 clinical and non-clinical staff.

During the pandemic, the Women’s Participation Project –implemented in Cox's Bazar since 2018– has continued to provide a space for consultations with women and girls despite the camps’ numerous protection challenges. Through this project, the Women’s Committee has been empowered and supported women to participate in decision-making structures, ensuring their needs and capacities are met. The initiative is currently being replicated in four camps, with the goal of better understanding how women’s participation in governance camp structures could contribute to mitigating and reducing the risks of GBV.

IOM recently launched the “Self-Care and Coping Skills in Stressful Situations” booklet, developed for Rohingya and Bangladeshi communities, accompanied by audio recordings. The booklet covers topics, such as coping strategies for reducing stress, key information on protection and GBV services, self-care exercises and COVID-19 prevention measures.

Regular sessions on using the booklet are conducted in the Women and Girls Safe Spaces and at the community level. Meaningful engagement enables participants to voice their safety concerns and supports humanitarian actors in their risk-mitigation efforts. Through a participatory approach, women can define their own risks, capacities, and community outreach strategies.

Rehena is one of the twelve female community leaders who recently attended a training of trainers on the topic, and who is now sensitizing other women on healthy coping mechanisms. “I feel fortunate to have been selected for this training and consider it my duty to pass on this valuable information to other women so they can too be relieved of their daily stress,” Rehena said.

“While important efforts have been made to eliminate violence against women and girls, the implementation of GBV activities remains a significant challenge. It is critical that women and girls remain active participants in the process of identifying protection and GBV risks and solutions,” explained Chissey Mueller, IOM’s Protection Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar.

“During the pandemic, the rights and dignity of survivors continue to be at the heart of our response.”

As part of UN System’s 16 Days of Activism against GBV, celebrated from 25 November to 10 December under the theme “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!”, IOM is co-organizing several interagency events focused on GBV prevention and response in emergencies.

Together with its implementing partner PULSE, IOM is also organizing several field activities focused on GBV risk mitigation, prevention and response, as well as events celebrating women’s skills and accomplishments, all in line with COVID-19 prevention measures.

 Watch the video of IOM’s GBV response in Cox’s Bazar amidst COVID-19. 

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac, Tel: +880 1880 084 048, Email: mchiriac@iom.int, or Tarek Mahmud, Tel: + 880 1752 380 240, Email: tmahmud@iom.int, at IOM Bangladesh in Cox’s Bazar.  Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: COVID-19Gender and MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Sessions on how to use the newly launched booklet are regularly conducted at the community level and in the Women and Girls Safe Spaces. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah Al 

Sessions on how to use the newly launched booklet are regularly conducted at the community level and in the Women and Girls Safe Spaces. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah Al 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Gavi and IOM Join Forces to Improve Immunization Coverage for Migrants

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 04:45

Geneva – Today, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen their collaboration on vaccination efforts and related health services for migrants and forcibly displaced persons across the world, both regarding routine immunizations as well as in response to outbreaks. This milestone will be particularly critical in ensuring that migrants and other people on the move are considered and included, as the world continues its efforts to find a safe COVID-19 vaccine and is developing mechanisms, such as the COVAX Facility, to ensure a fair distribution so that as many lives as possible can be saved.

“Despite enormous progress over the past two decades ensuring children everywhere have access to lifesaving vaccines, 14 million children every year still miss out on basic vaccines,” said Gavi CEO Dr Seth Berkley. “We know a disproportionate amount of these unprotected children come from migrant, refugee and displaced populations, who are too often overlooked when it comes to basic health care. This obviously becomes all the more important as we plan to rollout COVID-19 vaccines worldwide; we cannot allow these populations to miss out on what could be one of our best routes out of this pandemic. That’s why we’re delighted to partner with IOM, to help provide a healthier future to some of the most vulnerable people on earth.”

“Vaccines are one of the most powerful tools we have to keep people on the move, the communities they leave behind and the communities they join as safe and healthy as possible,” stressed IOM Director General António Vitorino. “This reinforced partnership will be critical in helping IOM achieve just that and contribute tangibly to the realization of true universal health coverage.”

The agreement signed by the two organizations focuses on reaching missed communities in humanitarian and emergency settings with vaccination and support routine immunization through engagement in primary health care systems. The partnership also aims to boost advocacy for the prioritization of vulnerable populations, support operational and policy assistance and facilitate technical collaboration. Specifically, the memorandum of understanding seeks to facilitate collaboration on ensuring the inclusion of migrants, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees in governments’ COVID-19 responses, in particular vaccination efforts.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership that helps vaccinate half the world’s children against some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Since its inception in 2000, Gavi has helped to immunise a whole generation – over 822 million children – and prevented more than 14 million deaths, helping to halve child mortality in 73 developing countries. Gavi also plays a key role in improving global health security by supporting health systems as well as funding global stockpiles for Ebola, cholera, meningitis and yellow fever vaccines. Gavi has already been working with IOM in South Sudan since 2019 to ensure vaccinations reached hard-to-reach populations throughout the country.

For decades, hand in hand with its partners, IOM has been a key player in global efforts to ensure that migrants and other people on the move have proper access to vaccines across 80 countries. In 2019, more than 380,000 children under the age of five were vaccinated against polio and/or measles in emergency settings and, as part of IOM’s pre-migration health services, over 445,800 vaccination doses were administered to close to 181,350 migrants and refugees in the process of migration. In all of its migration health assessment centres, the Organization manages a robust vaccine distribution and storage system, with staff continuously trained and up-to-date with international standards.

“For the distribution of any potential COVID-19 vaccine to be as fair and equitable as possible, IOM will be contributing its health expertise, data and other technical capacities based on its vast experience working with migrants and forcibly displaced persons,” said Director General Vitorino. “It is critical for everyone’s well-being not to leave the most at-risk behind.”

For more information, please contact James Fulker at Gavi, jfulker@gavi.org or Yasmina Guerda at IOM, yguerda@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - 13:00Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

A child vaccinated with support of IOM. Archival photo from March 2019. Photo: IOM

Nyabel, six month old, is one of IOM’s vaccine beneficiaries in Bentiu, South Sudan, thanks to Gavi funds, 2020. Photo: IOM/ Liatile Putsoa

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

New Projects to Tackle Human Trafficking and Promote Ethical Recruitment in the Philippines

Mon, 11/23/2020 - 04:04

Manila – IOM Philippines recently launched two projects aimed at increasing access to ethical recruitment and reducing the prevalence of human trafficking among Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), through funding from the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS) and the US Department of State's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP).

Aligning Lenses Toward Ethical Recruitment (ALTER) aims to increase access to ethical recruitment channels for OFWs by supporting wider adoption of ethical recruitment principles in the Philippines, and creating an enabling environment for employers and recruiters to commit to and practice those principles.

Multiple complementary workstreams will bring together the Government of the Philippines, Philippine recruitment agencies (PRAs), the hospitality industry, and civil society organizations (CSOs) dedicated to migrant worker protection.

Led by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), ALTER will be implemented by a consortium that includes the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, Diginex, and the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance. The consortium will improve recruitment industry practices by supporting and incentivizing the effective, sustainable adoption of ethical recruitment in the Philippines, with particular emphasis on hospitality workers.

The Improving Migrant and Community Preparation and Awareness to Counter Trafficking (IMPACT) project takes a community-driven, grassroots approach towards prevention and mitigation of risks of Trafficking in Persons (TiP) and labour exploitation. The project focuses on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), recognizing that the region is a major sending location of OFWs with a higher prevalence of human trafficking.

IMPACT will build awareness of risks and drivers of human trafficking through community-driven initiatives and information campaigns on TiP issues, targeting at-risk communities across BARMM. It will also work on the localization of the existing pre-departure orientation (PDO) modules and materials for BARMM-origin prospective labour migrants, along with capacity building of the PDO service providers, so that the migrants have access to contextualized information and that enables better-informed, safer migration practices.

Both projects officially commenced in August 2020 with a series of government launches, with the first phases of IMPACT and ALTER focusing on the evidence building through desk research and baseline assessments, as well as development of various knowledge products.

The projects will run for an 18-month period until January 2022.

“ALTER is looking to sustainably reduce the prevalence of TIP among OFWs by empowering the Government of the Philippines and civil society to create an environment for more employers and private recruitment agencies (PRAs) to practice ethical recruitment and provide safer employment alternatives overseas,” said Kristin Dadey, Chief of Mission IOM Philippines.

She added, “IMPACT is really about a multifaceted approach to build awareness of trafficking among the most at-risk communities of BARMM. This will be achieved through capacity building and awareness raising in a localized context based on evidence and behavioral change.”

In particular, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing wide-scale job loss with little prospect of immediate employment opportunities, ALTER and IMPACT will play a critical role in the recovery effort by ensuring the redeployment of OFWs will be compliant with relevant regulations and consistent with international standards of ethical recruitment while also increasing resilience of vulnerable BARMM communities against risks and drivers of human trafficking, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

The projects will contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – particularly Goal 8: decent work and economic growth; and Goal 10: reduced inequalities.

For more information, please contact Natsuko Kobiyama Yoshino at IOM Philippines at Email: nkobiyama@iom.int.

Language English Posted: Monday, November 23, 2020 - 11:01Image: Region-Country: PhilippinesThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Press Release Type: Local
Categories: PBN

Returnees, Health Workers Join Hands to Improve Psychosocial Well-being in Nigeria

Fri, 11/20/2020 - 08:12

Benin City – COVID-19 continues to put a strain on public health systems, as well as on the livelihoods and purchasing power of people around the world. But as the pandemic shows no signs of abating, the impact on the mental health of the most vulnerable –including migrants returned to their communities– becomes more visible. As part of the response to address this challenge, from 16 to 19 November, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) hosted in Benin City, Edo State, a series of modules to train 20 returnees in a community-based approach to psychosocial reintegration. 

Under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, IOM conducted in May a COVID-19 assessment to measure the impact of the pandemic on returnees in various countries in West and Central Africa. Among 518 people surveyed, 63 per cent reported that their emotional wellbeing had deteriorated since the outbreak of COVID-19, including 90 per cent of respondents from Edo and Delta States. 

The impact of the pandemic adds a layer of vulnerability to returnees, some of whom had already started rebuilding their lives, and who were experiencing high levels of psychosocial distress or severe disorders, both pre-existing or due to potentially traumatic life events along their journey. 
Yet, many areas with high numbers of returnees may lack specialized mental health care and psychosocial services and have a limited number of professional staff such as psychiatrists and psychologists.

The training conducted in Benin City aims to build a mentorship network and create supportive relationships between two peers with similar experiences, such as a newly arrived returnee and a mentor from the same location or a group of peers within a community.
 
Returnees with experience in community engagement, or those with specific backgrounds such as social workers or teachers, have been selected as mentors. They can help new arrivals navigate the difficulties of the return and reduce the social barriers to reintegration by providing emotional support, helping solve practical problems and sharing information about services that provide mental health and psychosocial support in the country.
 
“This training will help me use my own story to be able to support Nigerians who have just returned because they need someone to confide in. As a mentor, I should be able to listen to them and advise them, and tell them that they should not give up on life,” said Kenan Osagie, a returnee and one of the female participants. 
 
The initiative followed a four-day training (10-13/11) for primary healthcare professionals on the management and treatment of mental disorders. The training was conducted in coordination with the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health.
 
This instruction was based on the Mental Health Gap Action Programme (MHGAP), a protocol developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as on additional IOM tools and international guidelines to identify and respond to mental disorders, which were adapted to the Nigerian context. The training sessions delved into migration and mental health with a focus on the return journey, as well as an overview of MHGAP’s principles of care, depression, suicide and self-harm, psychoses, epilepsy, alcohol, and substance abuse.
 
The event gathered 20  participants from primary healthcare centers from the localities in Edo State, the main place of origin of Nigerian returnees. 

“This marks a key step in strengthening the national mental health care system in Nigeria,” said the lead trainer, Dr. Funke Ogunderu, IOM Nigeria MHPSS Senior Project Assistant. “As a pilot project, this training will help reduce the gap for migrants and their communities gaining access to mental healthcare and psychosocial support,” she added. 
 
Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) is a fundamental part of sustainable reintegration. It aims at protecting and enhancing migrants’ psychosocial wellbeing, as well as at supporting people with pre-existing and emerging mental disorders.   
 
Strengthening the mental healthcare system and enhancing the skills of returnees to provide community-based psychosocial support signal IOM’s holistic approach to MHPSS in Nigeria. The mentoring project and training for primary healthcare workers are funded by the European Union under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.
 
For more information please contact Jorge Galindo at IOM Nigeria, Tel: +234 906 273 9168, Email: jgalindo@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, November 20, 2020 - 15:09Image: Region-Country: NigeriaThemes: COVID-19Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

Returnees during the mentoring activity in Benin City, Edo State, the main place of origin of Nigerians returning from Libya. Photo: IOM/Elijah Elaigwu 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

2020 Death Toll in West Africa Sea Route Tops 500 Amid Uptick in Departures

Fri, 11/20/2020 - 08:11

Dakar – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is extremely concerned about the increase in deaths recorded on the West Africa route to the Canary Islands.  

So far this year, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded more than 500 deaths, most of them during the months of October and November--—amid increased departures from the coasts of West African countries, including Senegal. The loss of life this year is already more than double compared to 2019, when IOM recorded 210 deaths. 
  
The recorded data, however, represent a minimum estimate. The Organization fears the actual total of lives lost is higher. 
  
“IOM faces numerous challenges in collecting data on the West Africa route, especially when we receive reports about boats disappearing without a trace,” says Frank Laczko, Director of IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC).  
  
The latest shipwreck was recorded this week (15/11), off the coast of Cabo Verde, where 66 migrants, including three children, arrived on a damaged boat. According to government sources and survivors, more than 130 people initially boarded the vessel before its engine exploded. Some 60 people are reported to have perished during this tragedy. Those onboard were, except for two migrants from The Gambia, all Senegalese. 
  
IOM works closely with local partners in the communities and verifies reports and data about such tragedies with survivors, family members and community members. IOM, as an Intergovernmental Organization, also coordinates its efforts and responses with Governments, and confirmed the account of the shipwreck involving about 200 people shared in its press release dated 29 October. Such data are pivotal in contributing to an informed migration-related policy and enable a more human-centred and needs-based approach to migration management. 
  
To date in 2020, over 18,000 migrants have arrived in the Canary Islands after long and dangerous journeys across the Atlantic. At least 12,000 of them arrived in the months of October and November. Most migrants are arriving from West African countries. COVID-19 impacts, including food insecurity, are among the factors believed to be driving these departures. 
 
While these figures depict a seven-fold increase compared to the 1,550 arrivals during the same period of 2019 (January-November), IOM believes that the situation remains manageable through solidarity and a human rights-centred policy and approach.  
 
IOM is saddened by the continuous loss of life at sea and expresses its condolences to the bereaved families of the those who perished during perilous migration journeys. Prosecuting smuggling groups and traffickers who prey on desperate people and put them on dangerous crossings in unseaworthy vessels, must be a priority together with awareness raising among communities of the risks of irregular migration.    

For more information, please contact
At IOM's Regional Office for West and Central Africa: Aïssatou Sy, Tel: +221 77 479 21 41. Email: aisy@iom.int
In Geneva: Safa Msehli, Tel: +41793045526. Email: smsehli@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, November 20, 2020 - 15:09Image: Region-Country: SenegalThemes: Counter-TraffickingHumanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Decongestion Efforts Begin in Displacement Camps in North-East Nigeria Amid Growing Humanitarian Needs

Fri, 11/20/2020 - 08:11

Maiduguri –  Unrelenting violence in north-east Nigeria has prompted new waves of displacement to congested camps in 2020. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has begun rolling out a new decongestion strategy in collaboration with humanitarian partners that aims to reduce overcrowding in over 55 per cent of the camps in Borno State – where four out of five internally displaced persons (IDPs) currently live in overcrowded sites.

Overcrowded conditions in camps with makeshift and temporary shelters built near each other make physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 impossible, in addition to increasing risks of fire outbreaks and reduced accessibility. 

“Displaced populations in the north-east are facing severe hardship due to increased insecurity, disrupted livelihoods and ongoing risks of transmission of COVID-19,” said Jeffrey Labovitz, IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies, during a visit to camps in Borno this week.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance has grown by 3.5 million – from 7.1 to 10.6 million – the largest number since the joint humanitarian response began five years ago. 

The number of IDPs in Nigeria’s worst-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe rose from 1.8 to 1.9 million in 2020, according to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix. The majority live in precarious, makeshift shelters which expose inhabitants to harsh weather conditions as well as gender-based violence and other security threats. 

Decongestion efforts in overcrowded sites are a temporary yet timely measure to better the living conditions of displaced families. 
In the town of Dikwa, IOM has relocated 899 individuals from a projected total of 1,235 to improved shelters at the recently established Umarti camp following the approval of local and State authorities.

The relocation efforts in Dikwa, where 17 camps host 60,848 individuals will provide better living conditions for the population and lessen protection, disaster and health risks while bringing them closer to key services and facilities such as health and food distribution.

The precarious security situation has also created obstacles for humanitarians providing assistance in remote locations. Since 2019, three out of nine IOM-managed humanitarian hubs – sites where humanitarians work and live – in Banki, Ngala and Monguno towns have been targeted during attacks by non-state armed groups. 
“Greater financial support is needed to strengthen the security measures for these hubs and ensure the safety of aid workers. Without these facilities, essential services in conflict-affected areas would come to a halt,” added Labovitz. 

The eleven-year conflict in the north-east has spread to areas surrounding Lake Chad, prompting one of the world’s most severe and complex humanitarian crises.
Less than two months before the end of the year, aid actors have received less than half the funding needed to assist the 7.8 million people targeted.

For more information please contact Jorge Galindo at IOM Nigeria, Tel: +234 906 273 9168, Email: jgalindo@iom.int, or Angela Wells at IOM’s Department of Operations and Emergencies, Tel: +41 7940 35365, Email: awells@iom.int  

 

Language English Posted: Friday, November 20, 2020 - 15:09Image: Region-Country: NigeriaThemes: Internal DisplacementRelocationDefault: Multimedia: 

Gubio camp hosts more than 30,000 internally displaced persons in north-east Nigeria, where humanitarian needs have significantly grown in 2020. Photo: Jorge Galindo/IOM

IOM’s Director of Operations and Emergencies, Jeffrey Labovitz, meets with community members in Dikwa IDP camp.  Photo: Kazi Made/IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Joint Statement on Data Protection and Privacy in the COVID-19 Response

Thu, 11/19/2020 - 15:34

Geneva– A Joint Statement on Data Protection and Privacy in the COVID-19 response was issued today after endorsement by the undersigned UN System Organizations. Developed by the UN Privacy Policy Group, an inter-agency group on data privacy and data protection, the statement supports the privacy protective use of data and technology by the UN in fighting the current pandemic.

The joint statement is based on the UN Personal Data Protection and Privacy Principles as well as the recommendations in the Secretary-General’s Data Strategy on data protection, privacy, and human rights.

“We can only defeat Covid-19 with trust, science and solidarity. With the Joint Statement, the UN reinforces its commitment to using data and new technologies in ways that respect the right to privacy and other human rights and promote sustainable economic and social development. As we continue our work to implement the Secretary-General’s Data Strategy, this statement clarifies how the UN Principles on Data Protection and Privacy can be applied in the context of Covid-19.” said Robert Kirkpatrick, Director of UN Global Pulse and a co-chair of the UN Privacy Policy Group.

“During public health emergencies, data collection, processing, and use must protect the rights of all people. WHO has issued guidance on the use of digital tools for contact tracing and ethical considerations to inform digital proximity tracking and continues to update its work on data governance and sharing. This Joint Statement should serve as a reference for data protection and privacy in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. WHO is proud to join with other UN System Organizations and looks forward to continue creating a data governance ecosystem that protects the rights to privacy” said Dr. Samira Asma, Assistant Director -General, Division of Data Analytics and Delivery, World Health Organization.

“This statement raises awareness regarding both the benefits and the challenges that data and technology practices may entail during an emergency response. It is meant as guidance to ensure that fundamental human rights and freedoms are preserved, both during and once this pandemic has passed.” noted Mr. Patrick Carey, Acting Assistant Secretary-General, Office of Information and Communications Technology and a co-chair of the UN Privacy Policy Group and the UN System’s Digital and Technology Network.

Language English Posted: Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 22:26Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Civilians Continue to Flee Insecurity in Cabo Delgado Mozambique

Tue, 11/17/2020 - 10:28

Pemba – Tens of thousands of people are continuing to flee insecurity in Cabo Delgado, northern Mozambique, challenging the ability of the government and its humanitarian partners to respond with adequate shelter, food and other assistance.

The International Organization for Migration’s latest Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) data released today shows more than 33,000 people have moved south in the last week, including many forced to flee the latest security incidents. There has been a four-fold increase of displaced people in the area to more than 355,000 from some 88,000 earlier this year. 

“Reports from northern Mozambique of violence against civilians are deeply disturbing,” said IOM Mozambique Chief of Mission, Laura Tomm-Bonde.

“IOM staff are assisting thousands of families, including many with young children, to survive their ordeal of displacement. In cooperation with the Government of Mozambique, IOM, as part of the UN, is providing immediate humanitarian assistance. But the resources available do not cover the extensive humanitarian needs of families who arrive with nothing following their displacement.” 

Security concerns have prevented the Organization from reaching several northern and coastal districts. Nonetheless, IOM’s over 100 staff remain committed to delivering assistance to those who have been displaced in the eight districts where IOM is able to work.

From 16 October to 11 November, over 14,400 internally displaced people arrived at Pemba’s Paquitequete beach by boat. Boat arrivals to the provincial capital peaked with 29 in a single day in late October. No new vessels have arrived since last Wednesday, an indication IOM staff say of less instability in areas close to the coast. 

“When the attack happened and our community in Macomia was set on fire, we were in our planting area,” said Salimo Nvita, whose family of seven adults and 11 children is receiving assistance from IOM. “We fled with only the clothes that we were wearing. We lost everything.” 

Shelter is one of the most pressing needs, especially with the imminent rainy season. Hundreds of displaced families continue to take shelter with host families in Pemba, which is currently hosting 100,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), many in precarious conditions. The resources of host communities are stretched, and host families do not have enough and adequate space for all arriving IDPs.

Other urgent needs include emergency health, protection and psychological support, access to sanitation and water and food. IOM has responded with distributions of non-food items, emergency shelter, mental health and psycho-social assistance, and is working with local authorities to prepare relocation sites and support temporary resettlement sites.

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 17, 2020 - 17:24Image: Region-Country: MozambiqueThemes: Internal DisplacementDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Mozambique staff in Montepuez, Mozambique, interview some of the 33,000 displaced people in the past week, who due to insecurity in northern districts of Cabo Delgado are moving to south to safety. Photo: IOM

IOM Mozambique staff in Montepuez, Mozambique, interview some of the 33,000 people displaced in the past week, who due to insecurity in northern districts of Cabo Delgado are moving to south to safety. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Launches a Guide on Counter-Trafficking Information Management in Humanitarian Settings 

Tue, 11/17/2020 - 08:40

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched the “Counter-Trafficking in Emergencies: Information Management Guide” to provide guidance on how to reinforce counter-trafficking-specific data collection and its analysis in humanitarian responses.

Collecting data on the extent to which humanitarian crisis settings exacerbate trafficking in persons (TiP) faces the dual challenge of managing information in complicated operating environments and quantifying a hidden crime that is often under-reported and blurred with other human rights violations.

“Evidence exists that these crises amplify existing trafficking trends and patterns or create conditions for new forms of exploitation,” said Monica Goracci, Director of IOM’s Department of Migration Management.
“The launch of this guide draws on IOM’s decades of experience in counter-trafficking and migrant protection efforts in these complex humanitarian situations, so we are all better placed to assist the most vulnerable populations.” 

The publication promotes an evidence-based decision-making approach that will support the development of new interventions where needed, or the adaption of existing measures to more systematically integrate counter-trafficking prevention and response in humanitarian settings.

This guide is the product of extensive engagement with external partners and stakeholders, particularly with members of the Inter-Agency Coordination Group Against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT) and of the Global Protection Cluster Anti-Trafficking Task Team (GPC ATTT).

The publication is currently available in English, while the French and Spanish versions will be available in early 2021. 

For more information, please contact Safa Msehli, at IOM Geneva: Tel: +41794035526, Email: smsehli@iom.int
 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 17, 2020 - 15:23Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandGlobalThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM and UNHCR Carry out Joint Visit to the Canary Islands Amid Increasing Arrivals

Mon, 11/16/2020 - 16:11

Madrid - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today began a joint visit to the Canary Islands amid an ongoing increase in migrant and refugee arrivals to the archipelago by sea. The objective of the mission is to gather information and assess the situation, as well as to discuss with relevant actors areas of collaboration, response and institutional support. 

Between 16 and 18 November, the IOM Chief of Mission, María Jesús Herrera, and the UNHCR Representative, Sophie Muller, plan on visiting different reception facilities while also meeting with authorities and civil society organizations.  

The agencies’ visit will focus on a wide range of common interests, such as reception, profiles and needs of those arriving, the identification of people with international or other protection needs, the need to fight smuggling and trafficking in persons as well as issues related to the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people regardless of their migratory status.  

This year, the number of sea arrivals to the Canary Islands has substantially increased compared to last year. Most are arriving from West African countries –many are fleeing persecution and violence in the Sahel region or the Ivory Coast, while others are leaving due to extreme poverty. Consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity and climate change are among other factors driving this movement.

To date, more than 16,000 people have arrived in the Canary Islands after long and dangerous journeys across the Atlantic, a seaborne route that has claimed the lives of hundreds of men, women and children this year. While these figures depict an increase, compared to arrivals during the same period of 2019, the situation remains manageable through solidarity and a human rights-centred policy.

COVID-19, however, imposes additional challenges given the profiles and vulnerability of some of those arriving, including women, unaccompanied children, victims of trafficking, or people in need of international protection.  

UNHCR and IOM believe that it is critical to provide adequate responses to current needs, counting on political will and a coordinated response between relevant entities and administrations.  

IOM and UNHCR reiterate their solidarity and full support from the complementarity of their work in order to help find swift and dignified solutions to the current challenges in the Canary archipelago.  

 

For additional information, please contact:   

IOM:   
 
Oussama Elbaroudi, Email: ouelbaroudi@iom.int, Tel:  +34 915 943 670
Ryan Schroeder, Email: rschroeder@iom.int, Tel: + 32 492 25 02 34  

UNHCR:

María Jesús Vega, Email: vegam@unhcr.org, Tel: + 34 670661263
Rosa Otero, Email: otero@unhcr.org, Tel: +34 673 469 103 

Language English Posted: Monday, November 16, 2020 - 16:09Image: Region-Country: SpainThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

iDiaspora: Accelerating Diaspora’s Global Engagement in the Post-Pandemic Era

Mon, 11/16/2020 - 13:14

Geneva – The iDiaspora Platform was officially launched on 8 October 2018 during the International Dialogue on Migration in Geneva. In the past two years, iDiaspora has successfully positioned itself as a digital platform where global diasporas exchange key information and good practices to mainstream migration through development.

Two years after its launch, iDiaspora is pleased to organise the iDiaspora – two years after: Accelerating diaspora’s global engagement in the post-pandemic era event. Deputy Director of the International Organization for Migration, Ambassador Laura Thompson, will be welcoming participants in order to: take stock of developments over the last two years with a special focus on COVID-19, present the new functionalities of the revamped iDiaspora platform, and showcase the collaboration potential between diasporas and key partners in the virtual space.

The iDiaspora team has collected feedback and inputs from the users and partners on how the platform can improve and respond to emerging needs of the communities it serves. While incremental changes and upgrades have been made continuously to the functionality and collaboration modalities of the platform, this year, the iDiaspora team has been able to incorporate a majority of the suggestions and inputs received in a new revamped version of the platform.

So far, iDiaspora brings 510 actors from 109 countries who have been able to share their best practices and stories on how to better integrate diaspora’s initiatives to enhance development in both their home and host communities.

The International Organization of Migration recognises the role of global migrant communities as key actors for development. Their knowledge and their ability to navigate different contexts highlight their ability to foster development initiatives that mainstream development at the global, national, and local levels. Diasporas are agents with the necessary social capital and relevant resources to develop transnational initiatives to support their own communities scattered globally. Indeed, diaspora leaders have the potential to maximize migration’s benefits by creating spaces of dialogue and exchange.

The iDiaspora platform has been at the forefront to witness the potential of diasporas to react to crisis and to provide protection to their communities in order to alleviate the impact of such emergencies. In an effort to contribute to the alleviation of the Covid-19 crisis, the International Organisation of Migration with the support of IDF, organised three global exchanges, one in English, one in French and one in Spanish to summon diasporas from around the world to share their best practices responding to the sanitary crisis and to enhance the cooperation between policymakers, practitioners and stakeholders involved in mainstreaming of migrant communities into the coronavirus crisis. During these insightful exchanges, the iDiaspora team was able to identify 50 different examples of the strategies developed by diaspora communities to respond to the Covid-19 crisis that will be soon published in a report.

The event will commemorate the two-year anniversary of the official launch of iDiaspora. The event will include a discussion of the progress of the initiative as well as the following steps and the presentation of the new upgraded version of the platform. Finally, the event will welcome three global diaspora leaders from the Global Diaspora Confederation, ADEPT, and Red Global MX Ireland to keep creating synergies with key actors creating opportunities and initiatives for their communities in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin-America.

Registration and agenda of the event here

For more information, please contact Larisa LARA at IOM HQ, email: lalara@iom.int

Language English Posted: Monday, November 16, 2020 - 20:09Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: Migration and DevelopmentDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Relief Efforts Stretched as Latest Tropical Storm Causes Extensive Flooding in Manila

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 10:48

Manila – An unprecedented five tropical storms have made landfall in the Philippines in a short period of three weeks, beginning 25 October with Typhoon Molave (local name: Quinta) and continuing this week with severe tropical storm Vamco (Ulysses). Moreover, Vamco is the 21st tropical cyclone to hit the Philippines this year, arriving just two weeks after Typhoon Goni. It is being recorded as the strongest typhoon of 2020, so far. 

After making landfall on Wednesday (11/11) night, Vamco caused extensive flooding in parts of Metro Manila, particularly Marikina City, where stranded and desperate motorists waited out the flooding as water levels rose to a stage three alarm (22m), surpassing levels from 2009’s Typhoon Ketsana (locally known as Ondoy). In some places, residents and pets had to be rescued from rooftops as flood waters rose.  

Government rescue operations utilized boats and, in some cases, makeshift floating devices to reach affected communities stranded in homes with floodwater reaching up to the second stories of homes in some low-lying areas.   

As of last night (12/11), many areas in Marikina City were flooded with many roads remaining still impassable. Vamco has caused continuous heavy rain as the storm made its way through the sprawling National Capital Region, which has a population of nearly 13 million. 

According to preliminary data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center, Vamco affected more than 5.6 million persons. Vamco has resulted in the deaths of at least 14 people across the affected regions, as of the morning of 13 November, according to the Department of Interior and Local Government. 
 
Meanwhile, IOM’s response to the devastation wreaked by the previous tropical storms continue with IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) rapid needs assessment continuing in affected areas in Catanduanes and Albay, despite many municipalities proving impassable due to landslides blocking access. 
 
Priority needs remain shelter, food, mental health and psychosocial support, and health assistance. 
 
Currently, 950 emergency shelter-grade tarps and ropes from USAID Philippines are being distributed to affected families in Tiwi, Albay, beginning prior to landfall of Typhoon Vamco. These tarps will be used to provide quick shelter repair for families affected by the successive barrage of typhoons. 
 
Another 750 tarps and ropes are bound to arrive in Camarines Sur and 1,600 in Catanduanes over the weekend. 
 
Solar lamps from USAID Philippines are also being distributed in Albay (125 lamps), Camarines Sur (125 lamps) and Catanduanes (250 lamps). 
 
IOM teams also reinforce government protocols on COVID-19 in the evacuation sites across Albay and Catanduanes, as they distribute personal protective equipment (PPE), modular tents and shelter-grade tarps from USAID Philippines and the Germany Embassy in Manila. 
 
“We had the strongest typhoon last week since Haiyan in 2013 and now the biggest floods in Manila since Ondoy in 2009 – all in a very short period of time,” said Kristin Dadey, IOM Philippines Chief of Mission, after visiting some of the worst affected parts of Manila.  
 
Dadey added, “The Philippines is one of the least contributors to the cause of climate change and yet is one of the most impacted by it.” According to the Climate Risk Index (CRI) 2020, the Philippines is ranked the second country most affected by weather-related loss events, with recurrent exposure to tropical cyclones causing the greatest losses.  
 
Studies show that annually about 20 tropical cyclones enter the Philippines, averaging nine each year making landfall. Climate change is leading to stronger, longer-lasting typhoons. Rising sea levels are also a grave concern, with water level rising at triple the global average.  
 
Consisting of more than 7,000 islands and with a population of over 100 million, it is projected that, within the next three decades, areas in the Philippines currently home to at least 8.6 million people will be likely directly impacted and submerged by sea-level rise and inundation. According to Climate Central, these areas include parts of Manila, Malabon, Bulacan, Pasay City, Iloilo cities, Cotabato, and many more.  
 
“Evidence in the Philippines suggests that recurrent climatic events like tropical storms are forcing people to migrate permanently from their residence,” said Dadey.   

To raise climate awareness and action, IOM Philippines this past August launched the Climate Change Adaptation and Community Resilience in the Philippines Project (CARP), funded by the IOM Development Fund. Partnering with national and local government—including the Climate Change Commission (CCC), academic and research institutes—and the private sector, the programme aims to enhance understanding of climate change and its impacts on human mobility among general public, media and local governments. 
 
For more information, please contact Kristin Dadey at IOM Philippines, Tel: +63 917 803 5009, Email: kdadey@iom.int , or Itayi Viriri, at the IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (Bangkok) at Tel: +66 65 939 0934, Email: iviriri@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Friday, November 13, 2020 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: PhilippinesThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Government rescue operations utilized boats to reach affected communities stranded in homes with floodwater reaching up to the second story of homes in low lying areas. Photo: IOM

Many areas in Marikina City, Metro Manila, remain flooded with roads still impassable as Typhoon Vamco poured continuous heavy rain while it made its way through the capital. Photo: IOM

Stranded motorists wait out the floods as water levels in Marikina City were raised up to the 3rd and highest alarm, rising up to 22m and surpassing levels from Typhoon Ketsana (locally Ondoy) in 2009. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Young innovators tackling migration challenges in Djibouti join Africa Innovation Week

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 06:10

Djibouti— Espace Créatif, a digital training centre that provides entrepreneurial skills to young people affected by migration, has been selected to represent Djibouti this week (9-13 November) at Africa Innovation Week 2020, an annual event with hundreds of participants. The all-Africa event brings innovators from 54 countries to pitch ideas and win the chance to represent the continent in the U.S. at the world’s largest start-up competition–and compete for USD 1 million in start-up funds. 

“We are so proud to be chosen to represent young people in Djibouti for Africa Innovation Week 2020. It is a pivotal moment and a key opportunity to grow our community, to nurture digital youth leadership in our country, particularly for young people who face specific challenges relating to migration,” said Byleh Daher, Manager of Espace Créatif. 

Espace Créatif was set up as digital fabrication space, commonly known as a ‘fab lab’ with a humanitarian focus. Opening in December this year in the University of Djibouti, the centre offers digital skills training and access to computer-assisted equipment for young people aged 14 to 26, specifically unaccompanied minors, migrant returnees and youth at risk of unsafe migration.  This year’s focus has been heavy on tackling challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

When the pandemic struck Djibouti and the centre closed its doors like all other public places, the team joined the COVID-19 response, putting 3D printing equipment to use to supply hundreds of plastic face shields to medical staff. At the height of the outbreak, there was a global shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and many fab labs reportedly stepped in to meet demand.  
"Our growing innovation community is delighted with this centre for reflection, for sharing tools and advanced machines to stimulate everyone's creativity. There is no doubt that this centre will trigger a change of attitude and practice in favour of the digital revolution in our country," said Dr Abdou Idriss Omar, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Djibouti. 

Dayer, the manager of the digital centre had been selected by the organizers to represent Djibouti alongside Raysso Ismael from Djibouti Business Solutions. Together they will represent innovation talent and promote initiatives led by young people affected by migration in Djibouti. They hope to be among the finalists selected to represent Africa nest May (2021) at the Start-up World Cup, a global competition held yearly in Silicon Valley. 

Espace Créatif provides courses ranging from 3-D printing, business development to ICT literacy for dozens of young people with different goals, varying needs and specific migration experiences. Partnerships with local organizations have enabled young people with limited exposure to digital technologies to access courses and equipment and increase their learning and job opportunities. “I fundamentally believe those who experience societal challenges are best suited to solve those problems. It is well known women and girls face gender inequalities, but they know well the gaps and how and where to build bridges. Start-up ecosystems benefit from the leadership of women and girls. This is what we are doing here, championing this leadership,” said Raysso Ismael of Djibouti Business Solutions.   

Espace Créatif was established as a joint initiative between the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Swiss non-governmental organization Terres des hommes and the University of Djibouti, funded by the IOM Development Fund. Africa Innovation Week was established in 2019 to showcase entrepreneurial talent, accelerate inclusive development and promote the continent’s talent at global conferences like the World Start-up Cup.

For more information, please contact Hannah Murphy, IOM Geneva. Tel: +447951538946. Email: hmurphy@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, November 13, 2020 - 13:59Image: Region-Country: DjiboutiThemes: COVID-19Migration and YouthDefault: Multimedia: 

Espace Creatif Project, Djibouti. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Fifteen Asylum Seekers Relocated from Italy to Spain

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 06:05

Rome/Madrid – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) this week (12/11) assisted 15 asylum seekers to relocate safely from Italy to Spain. The relocation – carried out by IOM in cooperation and with the support of the Italian Ministry of Interior, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), and the Spanish Government, and with coordination from the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission – was the first from Italy to Spain since the outbreak of the pandemic.   

“We are happy to continue to support voluntary relocation. This departure – which was carried out in such a difficult context – was another important and concrete demonstration of European Union (EU) solidarity and cooperation,” said Laurence Hart, Director of the IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean. 

The relocation operations, which are funded by the EU via the emergency assistance strand of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), was one of several movements carried out in the last two months. Since September, 184 asylum seekers have been relocated from Italy to other EU Member States since September 2020, including to France (59), Germany (109), Portugal (12) and Finland (4).   

The asylum seekers had been hosted in a single reception centre in the Italian region of Lazio, close to Rome. They departed from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport Thursday morning and arrived in Madrid. The group was then transferred to new accommodations in Madrid.  

Before departing, Geraddine, an asylum seeker from Cameroon, told IOM in Rome that he was looking forward to starting a new life in Spain. 
“I am grateful for the support I received while in Italy, and I hope I will be able to quickly learn Spanish so that I can support migrants who are going through the same path there,” he said before boarding the flight to Spain.  

IOM is responsible for ensuring that relocation beneficiaries travel in a safe or orderly manner. Prior to their departure, IOM provides those being relocated with information and awareness about what lies ahead for them in the country of relocation. Special attention is paid to asylum seekers’ health needs and conditions, as well as necessary precautions concerning COVID-19.  

The voluntary relocation programme aims to ensure the safe relocation of asylum seekers from Italy to the other EU Member States as a concrete demonstration of EU solidarity. 
IOM and its partners will continue to do their utmost to support the implementation of the programme and to ensure that the human rights and dignity of migrants are upheld throughout the process.

 

For more information, please contact Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 89 96, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, November 13, 2020 - 13:58Image: Region-Country: ItalySpainThemes: IOMRefugee and Asylum IssuesRelocationDefault: Multimedia: 

Asylum seekers at Fiumicino airport before relocation to Spain. Photo: Sirio Morrone/IOM 

Asylum seekers at Fiumicino airport before relocation to Spain. Photo: Simona Sperati/IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Devastating Shipwreck Off Libya Claims More than 70 Lives: IOM

Thu, 11/12/2020 - 14:26

Geneva- Staff from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that a devastating shipwreck has claimed the lives of at least 74 migrants today (12/11) off the coast of Khums, Libya, the latest in a series of tragedies involving at least eight other shipwrecks in the Central Mediterranean since 1 October. 

The boat was reported to be carrying over 120 people, among them women and children. Forty-seven survivors have been brought to shore by the coast guard and fishermen and 31 bodies have been retrieved while the search for victims continues. 

In the past two days at least 19 people, including two children, drowned after two boats capsized in the Central Mediterranean, while the vessel Open Arms – the only NGO ship currently operating on this route – rescued more than 200 people in three operations.  

“The mounting loss of life in the Mediterranean is a manifestation of the inability of States to take decisive action to redeploy much needed, dedicated Search and Rescue capacity in the deadliest sea-crossing in the world,” said Federico Soda, IOM Libya Chief of Mission. 

“We have long called for a change in the evidently unworkable approach to Libya and the Mediterranean, including ending returns to the country and establishing a clear disembarkation mechanism followed by solidarity from other states. Thousands of vulnerable people continue to pay the price for inaction both at sea and on land.” 

So far this year, at least 900 people have drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach European shores, some due to delays in rescue. More than 11,000 others have been returned to Libya, putting them at risk of facing human rights violations, detention, abuse, trafficking and exploitation, as documented by the United Nations.  

IOM has recorded a recent upsurge in departures from the country with some 1,900 being intercepted and returned and over 780 arrivals in Italy from Libya since the beginning of October alone.  

Worsening humanitarian conditions of migrants detained in overcrowded centres, widespread arbitrary arrests and imprisonment, and the extortion and abuse are alarming. In the absence of any safeguards for migrants returned to the country, the Libyan Search and Rescue zone must be redefined to allow for international actors to conduct life-saving operations. 

IOM maintains that Libya is not a safe port for return and reiterates its call on the international community and the European Union to take urgent and concrete action to end the cycle of return and exploitation.  

Continuous restrictions on the work of NGOs conducting crucial rescue operations work must be lifted immediately and their crucial interventions recognized in line with the humanitarian imperative of saving lives. 

 

For more information please contact:   

Safa Msehli at IOM Geneva, +41 79 403 5526, smsehli@iom.int   

Ryan Schroeder at IOM Brussels,32 492 25 02 34,rschroeder@iom.int   

Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Rome, +39.347.089.89.96,fdigiacomo@iom.int   

 

 

Language English Posted: Thursday, November 12, 2020 - 14:24Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

The boat was reported to be carrying over 120 people, among them women and children. Forty-seven survivors have been brought to shore by the coast guard and fishermen. Photo: IOM / Hussein Ben Mosa

IOM staff assisting survivors from a shipwreck that claimed over 70 lives Photo: IOM / Hussein Ben Mosa

The boat was reported to be carrying over 120 people, among them women and children. Forty-seven survivors have been brought to shore by the coast guard and fishermen. Photo: IOM / Hussein Ben Mosa

The boat was reported to be carrying over 120 people, among them women and children. Forty-seven survivors have been brought to shore by the coast guard and fishermen. Photo: IOM / Hussein Ben Mosa

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Responds to Eta's Aftermath in Central America: 2.5 Million People Affected

Thu, 11/12/2020 - 08:53

San José (Costa Rica) – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has joined the efforts of the United Nations System and other humanitarian and governmental actors to respond to Hurricane Eta, an emergency impacting 2.5 million people across Central America as authorities monitor a new storm emerging in the Caribbean.

IOM personnel in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Belize have traveled to the most affected areas –since Eta made landfall on 3 November, to distribute thousands of emergency kits, including kitchen sets, mattresses, sheets and hygiene products. 

In Honduras, where 1.8 million people have been impacted by the Category 4 storm, IOM has already delivered more than 39,000 personal protection items in an effort to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, as well as hygiene kits, blankets, clothes and water bags.

In Nicaragua, IOM in coordination with local NGOs and civil society organizations present in affected areas will assist the delivery of food kits and hygiene items. In Mexico, IOM will distribute humanitarian aid to seven shelters in the south of the country while evaluating the extent to which shelters in Chiapas have been affected.

The deployment of Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) teams has also begun. DTM will collect critical information on the population displacements caused by Hurricane Eta, facilitating decision-making that can save lives in the coming weeks and aid the recovery of the affected areas. 

As the leader of the humanitarian cluster focused on shelter management (Camp Coordination and Camp Management), IOM coordinates UN efforts with the governments of Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua to ensure the provision of services and avoid overlap of efforts and reduce gaps in humanitarian care. According to OCHA, in the three countries of northern Central America, at least 358,000 people are temporarily housed in schools and other buildings. "The most immediate needs are food, protection and shelter for the affected people, as well as other basic items that help guarantee their dignity," said Jorge Peraza, IOM Chief of Mission in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

"Hurricane Eta has exacerbated social and economic conditions that were already present in some sectors of the countries of northern Central America, adding to the vulnerabilities the people there already face." 
IOM’s Regional Director for Central America, North America, and the Caribbean is particularly worried about the destruction of crops and the impact on local economies in some parts of Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala.
"The damage there can worsen the conditions of economic instability and food insecurity that have forced thousands of Central Americans to migrate in search of better living conditions," said Michele Klein-Solomon. "What Hurricane Eta has left behind is not only a huge humanitarian calamity that requires immediate attention, but also the seed of future migration crises that we must try to prevent," explained Klein-Solomon.

The US National Hurricane Center warns that a tropical wave slowly moving westward through the Caribbean has an 80 per cent chance of becoming another major storm in the next 48 hours, possibly impacting the same areas as Hurricane Eta.

 

For further information, please contact Jorge Gallo at IOM’s Regional Office for Central America, North America, and the Caribbean, Email: jgallo@iom.int, Tel: +506 72036536

 

Language English Posted: Thursday, November 12, 2020 - 15:49Image: Region-Country: BelizeCosta RicaEl SalvadorGuatemalaHondurasMexicoNicaraguaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternal DisplacementDefault: Multimedia: 

In San Pedro Carchá, in the Guatemalan department of Alta Verapaz, the community doubled as first responders. Photo: Emiliano Tux

In Honduras, IOM has delivered 39,000 personal protection items such as masks and gel for COVID-19 prevention, 6,500 articles of clothing, 2,100 hygiene kits, 1,000 blankets, and 5,000 water bags. Photo: IOM/Ismael Cruceta

The Cahabon River, as it passes through San Pedro Carchá in Guatemala, overflowed, driving dozens of families from their homes. It is feared that the total number of people affected by Hurricane Eta in Central America is around 2.5 million. Photo: Emiliano Tux 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

First Multi-Stakeholder Consultation on Regional Reviews of Global Compact for Safe, Regular, and Orderly Migration

Tue, 11/10/2020 - 12:41

Geneva – The first informal multi-stakeholder consultation was held Monday (9/11) in preparation for the regional review of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM), which will take place on 12-13 November.

The consultation focused on the progress made in the implementation of the GCM within the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) region and was structured around two roundtables: i) Progress and challenges in the implementation of the GCM in the UNECE region; and ii) Best practices for stakeholder engagement in the GCM implementation.

“This event builds on the Compact’s explicit recognition that non-governmental partners are vital contributors to a collective commitment to achieving well-managed migration founded on cooperation and full respect for human rights,” said Michele LeVoy, Director of the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) and rapporteur for the event.  “This consultation is an opportunity for civil society and other stakeholders to share realities on the ground, but also their concerns for the wellbeing of migrants in the region and how these can be effectively addressed,” she concluded.

The UNECE region covers over 50 countries, located in Europe, North America, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Western Asia. Its geographic, cultural and economic breadth makes migration contexts and dynamics across the region extremely diverse. To give voice to this, over one hundred groups and individuals from across the region, including trade unions, civil society organizations, local authorities, youth organizations and National Human Rights Institutes, private sector, the Red Cross and others participated in the virtual consultation.

The different speakers expressed their concerns on various topics including the impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic on migrants and their communities, migrant workers’ rights; children on the move with a particular focus on family reunification; access to services; alternatives to immigration detention; and border management and forced returns. Several recommendations were made during the consultation which will feed into the formal deliberations later in the week.

“Active and sustained stakeholder engagement is vital to the health and longevity of the Global Compact,” said Jonathan Prentice, the head of secretariat for the United Nations Network on Migration. “These meetings are not a static process; they must be part of a dynamic engagement with all partners and at all levels to further the implementation of the Compact,” he added.

See the agenda of the event and list of speakers here. All reports from stakeholders are accessible here.

For more information, please contact at the UN Network on Migration secretariat Monami Maulik, Tel.: +41 79 363 1498. Email: mmaulik@iom.int+41 ; or Florence Kim, Tel.: +41 79 748 0395. Email: fkim@iom.int 

 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 13:45Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Global Compact on MigrationDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Aids COVID-impacted communities on Haiti-Dominican Border and Worldwide

Tue, 11/10/2020 - 09:53

Pedernales – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is distributing more than 12,000 food kits to migrant and Dominican families in several provinces affected by the economic consequences of border closures due to COVID-19, part of a worldwide IOM effort to aid communities stranded or impoverished in border zones due to sharp declines in commerce and other cross-border activities.

Besides the vigorous work ongoing on the frontier between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, IOM is implementing similar programs across Latin America. In Argentina, over the past two months, IOM has delivered 42 tons of food items to community kitchens in the locality of San Martin which daily assists 1,210 people in vulnerable conditions, both migrants and Argentine nationals. Food kits also have been distributed with the Argentine Red Cross to 1,200 refugees and migrants living in the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires, and three other provinces. Funding was provided by the European Union.

IOM Argentina also prepared 27,600 meals at a Caritas-managed centre in the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires, while food items were provided as well for 2,800 migrants assisted by four parish kitchens.

In Peru, nearly 4,000 food kits have been delivered since June this year to vulnerable refugees and migrants and host communities in Lima, the country’s capital, as well as in the border cities of Tumbes (on the frontier with Ecuador) and Tacna (Chile). In just the past week, IOM delivered 587 basic food baskets with its partner Adra, in coordination with the National Institute of Civil Defense, benefitting 2,300 persons in Tumbes.

Border restrictions have been in place here since March to control COVID-19’s spread between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The closure of the four official border crossings along the Haitian-Dominican frontier over these past seven months has affected the nearby populations. According to information from the Ministry of Economic, Planning, and Development of the Dominican Republic (MEPYD), around 90 per cent of formal trade with Haiti flows through these customs posts, which average 227,000 entries each year.

During September and October, some 20,000 people benefited from the first 4,000 food kits delivered in the border provinces.

Conditions in the Dominican city of Pedernales illuminate the COVID-related setbacks now impacting millions of people in the Americas, many of them migrants. "The COVID emergency has really affected our community because both transportation and food production has decreased,” explained Rafael Pérez Jean, an evangelical pastor and director of The Casa de Luz Foundation in Pedernales. “The way we live in the border area also has changed. As the border is practically closed, products are not allowed to transit through the frontier as before, nor are visas available." 

The Casa de Luz Foundation is one of the civil organizations collaborating with IOM to distribute food in the five border provinces of the Dominican Republic: Pedernales, Independencia, Elías Piña, Dajabón, and Montecristi. 

Pastor Pérez Jean has served as a bridge between IOM and the communities that benefited from these food kits. He recalled moments of uncertainty experienced in his town during the pandemic, explaining "People do not have access to food in sufficient quantities, and thanks to the aid that IOM has been providing these days, many people have received food at home. That helps them to have a livelihood." 

Cristian Nuevo Poché agreed that COVID-19 changed lives in Elías Piña province, where he has been a community leader and schoolteacher for over 20 years. He explained that the pandemic exacerbated an already difficult economic situation in his area.  "Many of these families depended on the informal market trade. Now the market activities are almost nil, so many have had to migrate to work for private households in Santo Domingo," Mr. Nuevo Poché said. "Food rations helped alleviate prevailing needs in the Pinzón community."

Miguel Román, coordinator of IOM in the border region, explained that in November 8,000 kits will be distributed nationwide, of which 3,500 are already being delivered in the border provinces of Pedernales, Barahona, Bahoruco, Independencia (Jimaní), Elías Piña, Dajabón and Montecristi.  

Another 5,500 kits will be distributed in Santiago, María Trinidad Sánchez, Santo Domingo Province, National District, San Pedro and La Altagracia. 
Mr. Román emphasized that the kits being distributed are headed to those considered among the most vulnerable in the population, such as Haitian and Venezuelan migrants, as well as Dominican families with limited economic resources. The new distributions will include hand soap donated by the Colgate-Palmolive corporation to UNDP in the Dominican Republic, masks made by an IOM-supported migrant venture, and information about preventing COVID-19. 

This distribution is carried out in two ways: through the IOM border teams and with partners and allied NGOs: ASCALA, FUNCAR / Centro Puente, FEI, MUDHA, CEDESO, Casa Del Caribe, CODHA, Venezuelan Diaspora, and La Merced Foundation. Likewise, the Venezuelan Association in Santiago (AVES), the Venezuelan Emigrants Foundation (FEV), FUNCOVERD, Duendes, and Ángeles Vinotinto, the Venezuelan Association in San Cristóbal and the Churún Merú Association in Bávaro. 

Assistance to the families most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the Dominican Republic is possible thanks to the contributions of the European Union and the US State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. 

In Argentina, partners included the Human Rights Secretary´s Office of Argentina and provincial Human Rights Offices, as well as the Argentine Red Cross. Besides EU aid, funding was also provided by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration of the U.S. State Department (PRM). 

In Egypt, IOM has distributed thousands of food and non-food items and financial assistance to 2,675 persons in Alexandria, Cairo, Hurghada and Al-Fayoum. IOM estimates that there are 600,000 vulnerable migrants in Egypt who encounter a wide range of challenges, including inadequate access to food, health, and education services in addition to limited access to socio-economic opportunities.

For more information please contact Zinnia Martínez at IOM Dominican Republic, Tel:   +1 809 688 81 74. Email: zmartinez@iom.int

 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 00:56Image: Region-Country: Dominican RepublicHaitiThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

Hand soap and COVID-19 prevention information have been distributed along with food kits in the border provinces of the Dominican Republic. Photo: IOM/Lenny Mendez 

Delivery of humanitarian assistance to vulnerable migrant women in the province of Dajabón, Dominican Republic. Photo: IOM/Ildefonso Cruz 

Farm worker receiving a food kit from IOM on Elias Piña province, Dominican Republic. Photo: IOM/Edwin Medina

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Latest Tropical Storm Heads for Philippines as Relief Efforts Continue; USD 45 Million Appeal Launched

Tue, 11/10/2020 - 08:11

Manila – As tropical depression Ulysses developed into a tropical storm by Monday evening (09/11), the International Organization for Migration (IOM)–with government and other partners—continued to provide urgent humanitarian aid across the region.  

The storm is headed towards the Bicol region, which is still reeling from the devastation wrought by Super Typhoon Goni and Typhoon Molave in recent weeks
On Monday (09/11), the United Nations and humanitarian partners in the Philippines launched an appeal for USD 45.5 million to bring life-saving assistance and protection to hundreds of thousands of people affected by the recent typhoons. Launching the appeal, Gustavo Gonzalez, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines, said the humanitarian community is ready to translate “solidarity into concrete support” through a coordinated response, combining emergency relief and early recovery, with support from donors.

According to Philippines state weather bureau PAGASA, Ulysses is projected to make landfall over the Bicol region and Quezon province by Wednesday (11/11). The 21st tropical storm in the Philippines this year, Ulysses comes as much of southern Luzon is recovering from two other storms—Super Typhoon Goni (Rolly) and Typhoon Molave (Quinta)–which left dozens dead and caused extensive destruction across the region. Typhoon Goni struck as the Philippines faced multifaceted challenges, affecting a total of 1.9 million individuals, over 950,000 just within the Bicol region. Currently, some 128,200 individuals remain displaced with 72,500 staying in 744 evacuation sites. 

The Philippines has one of the highest levels of COVID-19 transmission in the Asia Pacific region. More than 398,000 cases have been confirmed, of which 29,018 are active. As of 10 November, some 7,674 have died, according to the Department of Health (DOH). Although relatively less affected, Albay reports 990 confirmed and 75 active cases, while Catanduanes has 133 confirmed and 9 active cases.
IOM continues to conduct rapid needs assessments in the most affected provinces of Catanduanes, Albay, and Camarines Sur, Bicol Region, with the support of USAID funding. In addition, assistance from the German Embassy in Manila arrived in Virac, Catanduanes, via the Philippine Coast Guard vessel Gabriela Silang on 7 November. 

A total of 244,200 assorted personal protective equipment (PPE) and 500 modular tents have been delivered to help enforce proper COVID-19 protocols in evacuation sites. 
“We only see them on television. Now we have ours,” said Jean Triumfante of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) of Virac in Catanduanes, referring to the modular tents that were handed over and distributed at evacuation centres in the municipality. 

USAID Philippines handed over 300 shelter-grade tarps to the Department of Social Welfare and Development Region V to be distributed to most affected displaced communities in the provinces of Albay and Catanduanes.

“We really need to support these communities in rebuilding their homes, building back better, and also getting some livelihood support to them. Cash assistance would be important and, of course, all other kinds of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene support . Psychosocial assistance is going to be very much needed as well. We stand with the government and support you fully,” said Kristin Dadey, IOM Philippines Chief of Mission.

“Our house is gone, but we’re all alive, so I’m still thankful,” said Maria, a resident of Baras, Catanduanes, who lost her home to landslides brought about by heavy rains from Goni. She and her family are currently staying in a day care centre near their now-levelled house. The modular tents will help families like Maria’s to socially distance themselves while living in displacement sites.
“This was the first time we experienced a storm this strong. We evacuated and stayed with a neighbour a day before the storm, but, when we returned, our house and everything else was gone,” said Grace, a beneficiary in Barangay Sugod, Tiwi, Albay. She and other families have set up their temporary shelters with the tarps they have received.

Psychosocial First Aid sessions are also being conducted by IOM doctors during their assessments in the most affected areas. Priority needs for the province of Catanduanes are shelter (tarps, Shelter Repair Kits (SRK), typhoon-proof core permanent shelters), food, non-food items (clothes, kitchen utensils), hygiene kits, generator sets, cash for work, alternative livelihoods (other than farming), medicines, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, and school supplies.

On Sunday (08/11), UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines, Gustavo Gonzalez, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson, Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Moragas Sánchez, and IOM Philippines Chief of Mission Kristin Dadey, together with Albay Province Governor Al Francis Bichara, visited ground zero in the municipality of Tiwi where nearly 100 per cent of homes were damaged or destroyed by Goni. 

“Seeing the devastating effects of the Typhoon, we express our deep concern for the thousands of families affected by this disaster,” said UN Resident Coordinator Gonzalez.

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

 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: PhilippinesThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesIOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Scenes from ground zero in Tiwi, Albay, where nearly 100 per cent of homes have been damaged or destroyed by the onslaught of Super Typhoon Goni. Photo: IOM 

IOM Philippines Chief of Mission Kristin Dadey visits ground zero in the municipality of Tiwi, Albay province where nearly 100 per cent of homes have been damaged or destroyed by the onslaught of Super Typhoon Goni.

Pre-emptive evacuations made by the government spared the town with zero casualties, but much work remains to be done for affected communities. Photo: IOM

Nearly 100 per cent of homes and livelihoods have been destroyed in the municipality of Tiwi, Albay Province in the Bicol Region. Support is most needed in rebuilding better homes and providing livelihood assistance to affected communities. Photo: IOM

Shelter grade tarps from USAID Philippines have been distributed to residents at ground zero Tiwi, Albay, as temporary shelter solutions while the province begins to recover from the devastating effects of Super Typhoon Goni. Photo: IOM

(From left) UN Philippines Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzales, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson, Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Moragas Sánchez, and IOM Philippines Chief of Mission Kristin Dadey joined Governor Al Francis Bichara of Albay Province to visit ground zero in the municipality of Tiwi where nearly 100 per cent of homes have been damaged or destroyed by the onslaught of Super Typhoon Goni. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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