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Updated: 1 hour 23 min ago

Soaring Temperatures Next Challenge for Mosul Displaced: IOM

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 10:35
Language English

Iraq - It was hard enough coping with flight from conflict-hit areas during the winter months. Now, for the hundreds of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Mosul, summer heat is the new challenge. Having survived ISIL, most families are now bracing themselves to battle their second most dangerous enemy – the sizzling sun and the sweltering temperatures that come with it.

With temperatures nearing 37° Celsius and rising, the coming months will be trying, according to the UN Migration Agency (IOM) communications officer Hala Jaber, reporting from the Qayara emergency site south of the embattled zone.

IOM’s emergency site at the former Qayara airstrip hosts over 52,000 displaced Iraqis or 8,746 families. The scorching heat is already having an impact on both health and living conditions for individuals living at the site.

From June onwards, temperatures in Iraq’s Ninewa governorate will hit, and on some days, surpass the 50° mark. The PVC tents that provided residents with much warmth during the cold winter months will be hard to tolerate in summer, as temperatures inside register at least 10° higher than outside.

“We are now sleeping outdoors to keep cool,” said Abu Omar, a displaced individual at the site. “It is literally impossible to bear the heat inside the tent.”

With the Qayara site at full capacity, IOM teams are in the process of ensuring that all IDP families are equipped with the basic materials that will help alleviate some of the summer’s discomfort.

Winter kits that have been modified for hotter days are being prepared for distribution to an estimated 7,790 families, in both Qayara and the neighboring Haj Ali camp.

The supplementary mini kits will include 40-litre capacity cool boxes, battery-rechargeable fans that can continue to run an extra four hours when power is down, plastic sheets to replace the thick winter carpets and summer bed linens.

Another 5,400 or so summer kits have already been distributed to IDP families from West Mosul, who have arrived in the emergency sites since the end of March 2017.

IOM’s primary health centres in both Qayara and Haj Ali, home to 34,000 people, each serve an average of 1,800 patients per week with medication. Displaced people with scabies, mostly from neighbouring camps, have also been seeking treatment in IOM’s medical centre in Qayara, prompting the primary health care to set specific morning hours, exclusive to these cases.

In Qayara, an unfamiliar stillness has replaced the usually active emergency site during the heat of the day. Fewer children now play along the pathways between the rows of tents and the hustle and bustle, normally created by the crowds of men and women going about their daily chores, has drastically decreased.

Winter colds and flus have now been replaced by diarrhea and dehydration, with an increase in cases among children, and IOM’s medical team has had to order different medications to tackle the summer ailments.

“Children may become dehydrated as they play outdoors or forget to drink enough water,” explained IOM’s Dr. Ahmad al Shafei. “Sanitation issues also contribute to diarrhea amongst children.”

Thaer, 37, has just returned to Qayara with his youngest boy, a six-month-old infant, who spent two days in a hospital run by Médecins sans Frontières. The baby was treated for acute dehydration. Thaer and his children, as many IDPs are now doing, sleep outside their tent to escape the suffocating heat inside.

“During the day, the tents are very hot and at night unbearable with all of us inside. So, I and my older children are sleeping outside the tent to escape the heat,” he said.


“We are keeping the children indoors as much as we can during daytime to prevent them from playing in the sun and getting dehydrated,” he said. “But you cannot coop children indoors for too long either,” Thaer explained.

For some of the IDP entrepreneurs in Qayara, the simmering weather means good business. Various small kiosks order truckloads of ice slabs to be delivered to the site and sold in pieces to children as ice-lollies, or in larger chunks to households seeking to chill drinking water and store food in the cooler boxes.

But this is only a partial solution to one of several problems being faced by camp residents at Qayara. Many IDPs are complaining about lack of electricity and shortage of water to run cooling systems.

The use of air coolers is problematic even when there is electricity. They require between 100 and 160 litres of water per day to operate. Currently, the recommended amount of water for each person per day is 15 litres of water for drinking, cooking and hygiene. IOM is developing an 11KVA grid in both Qayara and Haj Ali that will provide four AMPS of power to each tent.

IOM’s DTM has identified 61,724 families (370,344 individuals) currently displaced because of the on-going Mosul operations, since the military operations began in October 2016. Government and UN organizations estimate that tens of thousands are expected to flee once the battle for the old city in West Mosul commences.

With only 33 per cent of the required USD 28.83 million needed by IOM for the Mosul response, the funding gap is having a significant impact on IOM’s ability to effectively provide for the scale of needs created by the Mosul crisis.

“Hundreds of thousands of displaced Iraqis from Mosul have escaped the conflict but now need humanitarian assistance to survive. Forced to flee their homes and exposed to the elements, they are especially vulnerable to the hot summer weather,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss.

“IOM staff are providing emergency assistance at full capacity, but additional funding is required to cover the massive scope of the Mosul crisis needs: shelter, medical services, household items, and more, without which displaced Iraqis will continue to be at risk,” he added.

Across Iraq, more than 3 million people remain displaced. The latest DTM Emergency Tracking figures on displacement across Iraq are available at:

For further information, please contact IOM Iraq:

Hala Jaber, Tel: +964 751 740 1654, Email: or

Sandra Black, Tel: +964 751 234 2550, Email: 

Posted: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 16:05Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastIraqDefault: Multimedia: 

Hundreds of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Mosul are bracing themselves for the sizzling sun and the sweltering temperatures that come with summer. Photo: IOM

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UN Migration Agency Holds Workshops on Management of Epidemic-prone Diseases in Guinea

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 10:35
Language English

Guinea -  As part of its support to the Government of Guinea to strengthen public health measures at Conakry International Airport, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) last week (10/05) organised validation workshops on Standardized Operational Procedures (SOPs) to manage cases of Epidemic-Prone Diseases developed last January.

This activity was organized thanks to the technical and financial support of USD 1.7 million from October 2016 to September 2017 from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“The CDC mission in Guinea is very pleased to support IOM's initiative under the leadership of the National Agency for Health Security (ANSS – Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire) and the Guinean Civil Aviation Authority,” said CDC-Guinea Country Director Dr. Lise Martel. “This is a major step forward by the Government of Guinea in implementing measures to rapidly identify cases of epidemic diseases and to respond effectively at the airport.  It is these kinds of initiatives that save lives.”

Between 2014 and 2015, Guinea faced an unprecedented outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). The need for a health screening system to monitor internal or cross-border movements of infected travelers led Guinean authorities to seek an adapted system at Conakry International Airport. The measure drew from the 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR), which require Member States to acquire the minimal core capacities necessary for the surveillance of and response to Epidemic-Prone Diseases (EPDs) at points of entry.

One of the key recommendations of the Collaborative Agreement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA) is to ensure that the established plan and procedures are not only limited to Ebola, but consider also other public health threats in general.

During the workshop, members of different airport service units reviewed and validated a total of four standard operating procedures, including: (1) identification of a sick traveller; (2) notification of a sick traveller in the airport; (3) notification of a sick traveller on board an aircraft; and (4) management and transfer of a sick passenger notified by the sanitary control services.

“The involvement and collaboration of all the different services of the airport is impressive,” said IOM Guinea Chief of Mission, Fatou Diallo Ndiaye. “This is a guarantee of the effective implementation of the procedures in the daily operations at the Conakry International Airport.”

In the coming months, IOM will organize trainings on the various procedures which will be followed by simulation exercises with the participation of all the different airport services.

IOM supported the establishment of more than 25 health screening points to assist over 3 million travellers during the EVD outbreak, and trained over 700 health screening agents. The agency also directed the task of rehabilitating 13 border posts at ground crossing-points.
Since the end of the epidemic, IOM has been working to support ANSS in the development of a sustainable border health screening system and the implementation of health control procedures. Additionally, IOM has organized simulation exercises to strengthen the implementation of health control procedures in more than 15 land points of entry, with technical support from the CDC.

For further information, please contact at IOM Guinea, Alexandre Robert, Tel: +224 624 24 47 90, Email:, or Lucas Chandellier, Tel: +224 628 33 86 53, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 16:04Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastGuineaDefault: 
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UN Secretary-General Appoints IOM’s Ovais Sarmad Deputy Executive Secretary of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 10:35
Language English

Switzerland - United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Ovais Sarmad of India as Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, at the Assistant Secretary-General level.  

The appointment has been made after consultation with the Conference of Parties through its Bureau.  Mr. Sarmad will succeed Richard Kinley of Canada, to whom the Secretary-General and the Executive Secretary are grateful for his dedicated service to United Nations climate change efforts over the past 20 years.

Mr. Sarmad, who currently serves as Chief of Staff to the Director-General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), brings to the position nearly 27 years of experience with IOM, where he worked in several policy and management areas to strengthen its operational effectiveness in close consultation with IOM Member States. He was instrumental in the establishment of the organization’s Ethics and Conduct Office and was a key team member negotiating the agreement which brought IOM into the United Nations system.

Following an early career in financial management, both in public and private sectors in the United Kingdom, Mr. Sarmad joined IOM in 1990, in Geneva, where he served notably as Chief of Budget, Director of Resource Management, Director of the Global Administrative Centre and Chief of Mission to the Philippines.

Born in 1960, Mr. Sarmad holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce from Osmania University in Hyderabad, India, and professional certification in management accountancy from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants in London.

For further information, please contact Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: 41 79 103 87 20, Email:  

Posted: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 16:03Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Chief of Staff, Ovais Sarmad has been appointed as the next Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

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IOM Hosts Seminar on Migration and Sustainable Development in Chile

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 10:35
Language English

Chile - Earlier this month, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) organised an expert seminar on migration and sustainable development, in Santiago, Chile.

The seminar brought together experts from academia, diplomats and representatives from the public and private sectors to share experiences and identify best practices for managing migration in Chile.

The seminar covered a range of topics ranging from links between migration and sustainable development to the social, economic and business contributions of migrants to the country. Notable speakers included Rubén Beltrán, Ambassador of Mexico; Jaime Esponda, an IOM Expert in International Law; Hermann von Mühlenbrock, President of SOFOFA (one of Chile’s largest business associations) and Luis Riveros, ex-Chancellor of the University of Chile.

The seminar also featured the signing of a cooperation agreement between IOM and the University of Chile’s Faculty of Economy and Business.  

The number of international migrants in Chile has risen from around 83,000 migrants in 1982 to over 477,500 in 2016.

Currently the percentage of migrants in Chile is around 2.7 per cent, according to Chile’s national statistics agency.  Although these numbers are quite low compared to the average percentage of resident migrants in developed countries (11.3 per cent, according to the UN DESA Population Division figures for 2015), this does represent a significant increase in the migrant population in Chile.

Most migrants in Chile are from neighbouring countries – Peru (31.7 per cent), Argentina (16.3 per cent) and Bolivia (8.8 per cent). The proportion of Colombian migrants in Chile has nearly tripled over the last ten years, rising from 2.4 per cent to 6.1 per cent in 2014.

“Chile’s history has been shaped by migrant families who have contributed enormously to the country,” affirmed Freddy Coronado, Dean of the Faculty of Economy and Business at the University of Chile, in his welcoming speech. “In the last decade, migration has increased in a very significant way. So, the question now is how we prepare as a country, as cities and as regions to welcome these migrants in the best possible way.” 

Gastón González, Chief of Capacity-Building in the Department for Foreign Affairs and Migration in the Ministry of the Interior, added: “Chile has received immigrants since Pre-Hispanic times. Currently, for every migrant who arrives in Chile, there are two Chileans living outside the country. That makes Chile more of a sending than a receiving country. The Chilean state is anticipating and preparing for the challenges that migration brings, through laws against discrimination, a new migration law and new facilities for migrants to obtain visas if they decide to remain in Chile.”

IOM Chile Chief of Mission, Norberto Girón, described the seminar as “relevant and timely.”

Girón added: “Migration is a transcendental theme which affects us at both a global and national level.  It is extremely important that we discuss the positive contribution of migration to sustainable development, inclusive growth and progress towards Agenda 2030.”

The private sector, he added, can play a key role in ensuring that these development goals are met, which is why, “Establishing a dialogue with the private sector on migration and development is fundamental.  This is the reason we are emphasising the topic of ‘Migration and Business’ in the seminar today, which also represents a new area of IOM Chile’s work,” he concluded.

The seminar was organised by IOM together with the University of Chile’s Faculty of Economy and Business’s Sustainability Observatory.  It was sponsored by the Embassy of Mexico in Chile, SOFOFA, ASEXMA, ASOEX, SONAMI, DHL, Coca Cola, Santiago Convention Bureau and Pulso media partners.

To view videos of the seminar in Spanish:

Panel de Bienvenida, Seminario Migración y Desarrollo Sostenible, Oportunidades para Chile:

Primer Panel: "Migración, un Factor Positivo para el Desarrollo Sostenible"

Segundo Panel y Clausura: "El Aporte de la Migración al Entorno Económico, Empresarial y Social":

For further information, please contact Sebastián Mathews, IOM Chile, Tel: +56 02 963 3710.  Email:

Posted: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 16:02Image: Region-Country: AmericaChileDefault: Multimedia: 

The UN Migration Agency (IOM) organized a seminar for experts to share experiences and identify best practices for managing migration in Chile. Photo: IOM

Panel de Bienvenida, Seminario Migración y Desarrollo Sostenible, Oportunidades para Chile

Primer Panel: "Migración, un Factor Positivo para el Desarrollo Sostenible"  

Segundo Panel y Clausura: "El Aporte de la Migración al Entorno Económico, Empresarial y Social"

Categories: PBN

Uganda Hosts Pan African Forum on Migration

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 04:55
Language English

Uganda - Uganda is this week (15-17 May) hosting the third Pan African Forum on Migration (PAFoM III), with delegates from the continent and from across the world expected in the capital, Kampala.

This morning (15/05), Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is expected to open the three-day meeting, being held under the theme: Towards an African Common Position on the Global Compact on Migration.  

The PAFoM is an initiative of the African Union, in collaboration with Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the UN Migration Agency (IOM) as the Technical Secretariat. It brings together about 250 experts and officials from governments, eight RECs, private sector, civil society organizations, UN Agencies and development partners.

The Forum’s overall objective is to contribute to Africa’s inputs to the Global Compact on Migration (GCM), which is set to be adopted in 2018.

Delegates will share information on the current African and global migration situation, and suggest durable and actionable solutions to enduring and emerging challenges. They will put particular focus on migration within Africa and from Africa to other regions – notably to Europe and the Middle East.

At the end of the three days, delegates will produce a Draft Outcome Document towards an African Common Position on Migration; this will include policy recommendations to be considered and possibly adopted by the 28th Ordinary Session of the African Union in January 2018. The AU’s adopted document will constitute Africa’s inputs to the negotiations on the Global Compact on Migration.

In a statement in Kampala last week, Uganda’s Minister of State for Internal Affairs, Mario Obiga Kania, said: “This Forum is co-organized by the African Union, government of Uganda, IGAD and IOM in collaboration with the UNECA with co-sponsorship from ECOWAS, SADC and partners. We request you, the media and the general public to join us to welcome and host these important dignitaries in Uganda, The Pearl of Africa.”

IOM Director William Lacy Swing said: “We are at a critical juncture in history, with more people on the move than we have ever witnessed in 70 years. As the world grapples with this unprecedented migration, it is important that Africa speaks with a strong, well-considered and consistent voice. The Pan African Forum on Migration will be an important milestone in the evolution of Africa’s common position that will feed into the Global Compact.”

Among the side activities at the Forum was a workshop held yesterday (14/05) on the plight of migrants caught up in conflict or natural disasters. The workshop, organized by the Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC) Initiative, focused on how countries and development and humanitarian actors can best respond “to the needs of migrants during a crisis”.

A key issue discussed during the workshop was the importance of governments keeping records of migrants – both their own nationals abroad and foreigners on their territories. With such data, governments would sensitize migrants’ awareness of local hazards, facilitate their access to assistance, and support evacuation and emergency repatriation.

The Forum participants are also being invited to Feel How Gender Shapes Migration, an interactive exhibition by IOM’s Gender Coordination Unit. With Africa’s Agenda 2063 and SDG 5 aiming to achieve full gender-equality, IOM works to mainstream gender in efforts towards achieving safe, humane and orderly migration for all – hence the exhibition.

Based on real-life scenarios of IOM audio and visual imagery, participants are invited to enter different moments of a migrant’s journey. From camp settings, situations of forced displacement, trafficking, and environmental migration, the exhibition invites participants to feel how gender influences a migrant’s path by interacting with objects, questions and problematic dilemmas.

For further information please contact Richard Mulindwa Kavuma, IOM Uganda. Tel: +256 312 263 210, Email:

Posted: Monday, May 15, 2017 - 10:45Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastUgandaDefault: Multimedia: 

One of the images from the photo exhibition being held at this week’s Pan African Forum on Migration in Kampala, Uganda.  Photo: UN Migration Agency/Amanda Nero  

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UN Migration Agency: Military Attack on Yemen’s Al Hudaydah Port, City Will Endanger Lives, Humanitarian Response

Fri, 05/12/2017 - 11:42

Yemen - Two years of conflict has made Yemen the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world. An imminent attack on Al Hudaydah port and city will likely lead to further loss of life, displacement and suffering for the Yemeni people. The UN Migration Agency (IOM) and humanitarian partners in Yemen are increasingly worried about the level of assistance and protection needed in such an increasingly catastrophic humanitarian crisis.

The UN Humanitarian Country Team has called for financial support to help the estimated 18.8 million people in need, including conflict-affected Yemenis and migrants. More than half of them require immediate humanitarian assistance to save their lives, with women and girls being especially vulnerable. Up to nine million people are facing extreme food insecurity. The country is on the brink of famine with more than eight million facing acute shortages of clean water and sanitation. With the collapse of the healthcare system and more than half of health facilities not functioning, 8.8 million people are in acute need of access to healthcare. During the recent High-Level Pledging Event on Yemen, governments pledged USD 1.1 billion to support the humanitarian response out of the over USD two billion requested for 2017.

The worsening of the humanitarian situation countrywide, coupled with the unending ground fighting and air strikes, are causing major issues in reaching the most vulnerable people among the more than two million displaced population and their host communities. Access issues exacerbate problems in a country where salaries have not been paid for more than eight months, imports are restricted and infrastructure has totally collapsed.

“A minimum of 400,000 people will flee the city eastwards, once Al Hudaydah is under attack,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s Director of Operations and Emergencies. “This is in addition to the already desperate situation of more than two million displaced people and their conflict-affected host communities. Even without this attack on Al Hudaydah, all emergency response in Yemen is facing huge difficulties of access, financial support and immense needs,” he said.

Sana’a Governorate, where the capital city is located, already hosts 270,000 displaced people. Families and communities there have limited access to water, food, core relief items and healthcare. Shelter, in this rainy season particularly, is also becoming an issue. A new cholera outbreak has been registered in the city, as well as countrywide. An additional influx of thousands of displaced people from Al Hudaydah will further worsen the situation, putting additional burdens on the unfunded and under-resourced humanitarian response. This will also further complicate IOM’s evacuation of vulnerable migrants through Al Hudaydah Port. 

“Humanitarian action alone can never bring the peace all people in Yemen deserve. The UN Migration Agency advocates for dialogue and peace talks, rather than the use of military force, which puts the lives of Yemenis and humanitarians in extreme danger. More than ten first responders have been killed while helping the injured,” said IOM’s Abdiker.

“If all parties to the conflict do not come around the negotiation table to prevent further military escalation and end violence, humanitarian workers will not be able to continue to respond to increased needs, while helping those already greatly affected by the conflict. An attack on Al Hudaydah city will put all humanitarian organizations in a situation of prioritization in a country where every single person should be a priority,” he added.

IOM is prepared to respond to the possible influx of the displaced population from Al Hudaydah eastwards. However, with the scarce resources that it has received so far to help the already existing two million displaced people and hundreds of thousands of stranded migrants, IOM is concerned that no contingency plan will ever be able to fully respond to the scale of needs induced by escalated and even continued fighting. Financial support and increased humanitarian access are urgently needed.

For further information, please contact Laurent de Boeck, Tel: +967 736 777 915, Email:   

Language English Posted: Friday, May 12, 2017 - 17:35Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastYemenThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

A young boy displaced by the conflict in Yemen. He is one of two million displaced Yemenis. Photo: IOM 2017

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Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 53,386 in 2017; Deaths: 1,309

Fri, 05/12/2017 - 11:35

Switzerland - IOM, the UN Migration Agency reports that 53,386 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 10 May, with nearly 85 percent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with last year’s 187,970 arrivals across the region through 10 May 2016.

IOM Rome said, through 10 May, nearly 8,000 migrants or refugees have arrived in Italy, or nearly 1,000 men, women and children per day, a pace considerably ahead of both May 2015 and 2016. (See chart below).

One remarkable development is the increasing presence of Bangladeshi and Moroccan migrants, who combined make up over 7,000 of some 30,000 arrivals to Italy from North Africa so far this year. Through 30 April last year less than 1,000 nationals from those two countries (see chart below) were recorded arriving by sea in Italy. Italian officials recorded only three Bangladeshis leaving Libya through the end of April last year.

“In recent years, an increasing number of Bangladeshi nationals have been rescued at sea in the Central Mediterranean and brought to safety in Italy,” said Federico Soda, Director of IOM’s Coordination Office for the Mediterranean in Rome. “This year, by the end of February, Bangladeshis registered as the fourth highest nationality at landing points in Italy. By the end of April they were the second nationality.” 

In 2016 a record high 8,131 Bangladeshi nationals were registered by the Italian authorities at the landing points in Italy. In 2017, already 4,645 Bangladeshi have been registered meaning that in the first 120 days of 2017 we have already reached almost 60 per cent of last year’s total.

Soda said that in recent weeks, IOM field staff in Sicily spoke with two groups of Bangladeshi migrants among those migrants disembarking at landing points in Sicily and Apulia.  They reported having to rely on “agents” in Bangladesh to organize entire journeys from Dhaka to Libya. One group told IOM that they left Bangladesh through an “agency” that promised them work visas at a cost of between USD 4,000 and USD 5,000. They added that they had been living in Libya for about a year and made their way across the Mediterranean because of this. 

This same group told IOM that to reach Libya they first travelled to Dubai, then Turkey, finally reaching Tripoli from Turkey by plane. At the airport, they met their “employer”, a Libyan national, who seized their documents and exploited them at their workplace until they finally managed to leave.

The second group reported that they had been living in Libya for four years. They reported a similar recruitment method in Bangladesh. “The above-mentioned instances and the increasing number of Bangladeshi nationals fleeing Libya, suggests that there is a well-organized, transnational illicit recruitment and exploitation system in place,” Soda said. He added that, considering that these journeys involve visas, long-haul travel and middle-men or agents in both Bangladesh and Libya, it may employ dozens of operators in order to handle what may be hundreds of new customers each month. Even before the instability, Libya was a popular destination for migrant workers from Bangladesh and it is therefore not surprising that it is still possible to recruit workers to go to Libya.

Soda said that, altogether, migrants pay between USD 8,000 to USD 9,000 just to get to Libya, adding that “the money involved in this type of illicit labour recruitment may be in the tens of millions of dollars for this corridor. This does not include the journey from Libya to Italy, for which costs an additional USD 700.

The migrants do not pay the price of the journey in full, Soda explained. Smugglers reportedly accept blank checks signed by the head of the family, who may mortgage family properties and other family-owned goods to cover journey expenses within a time set by the traffickers. “If they or their relatives have paid thousands of dollars for them to reach Libya with the promise of a job there, when the job doesn’t exist or if they don’t get paid, they are trapped. Stuck with the massive debt they cannot return to Bangladesh and they keep moving, looking for ways to make any kind of income. They are at very high risk,” continued Soda.

Similar practices have also been identified in other illicit labour recruitment schemes from South Asia to other parts of the world. As an alternative, smugglers also accept a ‘postponed’ method of payment for the journey, putting migrants in touch with Bangladeshi businesspersons in Italy, who then offer them work opportunities. Often those are underground, or “unreported” (to officials) sales jobs peddling cheap toys or roses on the streets or at seaside resorts. 

Meanwhile, IOM Athens reported on Thursday that total sea arrivals to Greece through 3 May stand at 5,601 – with just 46 new arrivals reported since IOM’s last report on Tuesday.

Worldwide, the IOM Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reports that there have been 1,897 fatalities through 10 May (see chart below) with the Mediterranean region accounting for the largest proportion of deaths – about two thirds of the global total.

During this past week Missing Migrants Project reported two more drownings in Mexico – including one on the Rio Bravo, bringing the year’s total along that deadly stretch to 33, nearly twice the number (17) who died along this river border crossing through this same period last year, and more than half the total for all of 2016, which was 65. 

MMP reported one dead and 10 missing in a sea accident in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of the Comoros Islands, of migrants attempting to reach Mayotte, a department of overseas France.

For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic:

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:

Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:

For further information please contact:

Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +4179103 8720, Email:
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Kelly Namia at IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email
Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré at IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, May 12, 2017 - 17:18Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 
Categories: PBN

Upward Trend Continues in Latest EU Relocation Figures from Greece; France Leads Intake

Fri, 05/12/2017 - 11:11

Belgium - The UN Migration Agency’s (IOM) office in Greece reports that, as of 30 April 2017, over 12,000 asylum seekers have been relocated from Greece to other European Union (EU) Member and Associated States.

The total through the end of April was 12,496 asylum seekers who have been relocated from Greece since the launch of the EU Relocation Scheme in October 2015, continuing a clear upward trend. 

This year through the end of April, IOM has assisted the relocation of 5,216 people – a 35 percent increase over the previous four months from September to December 2016, when 3,848 were relocated. The 5,216 relocated through April this year is six times more than in the same period last year (January to April 2016), when some 794 beneficiaries were relocated.

France tops the list of European countries having received most the asylum seekers from Greece with 3,080 people relocated there since the programme’s launch. Germany is second (2,423), followed by the Netherlands (1,211), Portugal (969) and Finland (780). These five countries alone have received almost 70 percent of the overall number of beneficiaries relocated from Greece under scheme. 

Data from the end of April 2017 shows that most of the beneficiaries were Syrians (10,296), followed by Iraqis (1,718) and Eritreans (134). Of the 12,496 people relocated, 5,525 were women and 6,971 were men. 

According to IOM Greece, actual pledges made by Member States of Relocation (MSRs) to receive asylum seekers from Greece under the programme have also been increasing since the start of 2017. Those increases are 20,917 pledges in April from 15,132 in January. 

Relocation requests made by the Greek Asylum Service to MSRs mirrored this trend, with a sharp increase from 15,004 requests in January to 20,837 in April 2017 (See Chart 1).

Daniel Esdras, Chief of IOM’s Mission in Greece, expressed satisfaction with the level of relocations being achieved today.  

“Coordination between all partners and Member States has been very good. I believe that by the end of the programme in October 2017, we will manage to reach approximately 25,000 relocations from Greece,” he said. 

Crucially, 252 unaccompanied and separated children have also been relocated through the programme from Greece. Finland has received most of them (108), followed by the Netherlands and Spain (26 each), Luxembourg (21) and Norway (20). Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Portugal have also taken a number of unaccompanied and separated children.

The data was presented yesterday (11 May) by IOM Greece – which is implementing the relocation scheme from Greece – at a joint press conference in Athens with the Ministry of Migration Policy and the Greek Asylum Service.

“We should not underestimate the figures achieved and the operational part of the programme. 12,500 relocations means better lives for 12,500 refugees. 12,500 relocations means 12 less accommodation sites in Greece,” said Ioannis Mouzalas, Greek Minister for Migration Policy, at the press event. 

The EU Relocation programme is an essential part of the EU’s response to the migrant and refugee situation in the Mediterranean. This is being implemented by the UN Migration Agency (IOM) in close cooperation with Greek authorities and other agencies, and with the continuing support from the European Commission, EU Member and Associated States, the UN Refugee agency (UNHCR), European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and other partners.

To help the beneficiaries with initial reception and integration in their new communities, IOM runs pre-departure orientation sessions, which provide useful information on their rights and responsibilities, as well as on initial post-arrival reception and early integration assistance.

Ilham, a teacher from Syria, told IOM about her dreams for a new life with her family in Germany.

“I dream about living with my family in a proper house, all by ourselves. Certainly, I will need to get a job, as I am very energetic. My daughter needs to get back to school and continue with her education. And of course, I dream of a beautiful life for my boy. He needs to sleep in peace, he has never slept in a calm environment in his short life. I dream of the day that I will be able to buy new clothes for all of us; there is so much I want to do,” she said.  

Vulnerable beneficiaries, including unaccompanied children, pregnant women, new-born babies and asylum seekers with medical needs, are given additional support and care through specialized services, including best interest assessments for minors and follow-up assistance for persons with medical conditions. IOM also provides medical escorts, as well as escorts for unaccompanied minors or large groups, to assist them during their travel.

Interpreters and cultural mediators are in close contact with beneficiaries throughout the relocation process, to ensure that they understand the procedures and can communicate any concerns or questions in a language they understand. IOM staff are also present at airports to provide assistance during boarding and departure as well as reception assistance at transit airports and final destinations.


For updated statistics on EU relocations, please visit:

More information on IOM and the EU Relocation Programme can be found at:

Portraits of EU Relocation: and

For further information, please contact the IOM Regional Office in Brussels: Jo De Backer, Tel: +32 2 287 71 15, Email:; or Ryan Schroeder, Tel: +32 2 287 71 16, Email:; Besim Ajeti at IOM Athens, Tel: +30 210 9919040 Ext. 121, Email:; or Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Rome, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, May 12, 2017 - 17:03Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaGreeceThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Abdel and his family from Syria are among the 3,084 asylum seekers who have relocated from Greece to France.  Photo: IOM 2017

Sawsan and her children started their difficult journey in Deir Ez-Zor in Syria. They relocated from Greece to Croatia under the EU Relocation Scheme.  Photo: IOM 2017

IOM pre-departure orientation session for asylum seekers who are among 419 beneficiaries relocated from Greece to Norway since October 2015.  Photo: IOM 2017

Ilham, a Syrian teacher, and her family relocated from Greece to Germany in April 2017. Photo:  IOM 2017

Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Responds to Continuing Needs in Iraq’s Anbar Governorate

Fri, 05/12/2017 - 11:03

Iraq - The UN Migration Agency (IOM) is expanding its programmes in Iraq’s Anbar Governorate, which has been greatly affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis. The programmes include support for small businesses, job creation and light infrastructure, medical assistance, and community policing.

Due to the current crisis, more than 188,000 individuals remain displaced within Anbar Governorate. But, according to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), more than 814,000 displaced Iraqis from Anbar have returned.

The cities of Ramadi and Falluja in Anbar Governorate, retaken in 2016 by Iraqi forces, both suffered severe infrastructure damage. The needs identified during development of the community action plan for Falluja – a process initiated by IOM in cooperation with governorate authorities – include employment and the rehabilitation of essential services including the water system, health centres and schools.

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss recently visited Falluja. While there, he discussed the needs and challenges of the displaced and returnee population with governorate representatives. He also reviewed IOM projects, especially those focused on local economic revitalization.

“As head of the crisis cell I realize that circumstances are difficult and needs are extensive, especially in Ameriyat Al Falluja, and the situation is challenging to mitigate,” said Mustafa Al Ersan, Deputy Governor of Anbar. “IOM supported us when we faced large-scale displacement and has played an active role in assisting internally displaced persons. Current infrastructure rehabilitation efforts with the support of IOM are very important. Without their contribution, the many needs of the displaced could not be met,” he added.

"We hope to rebuild this city and better assist the returnees,” said Essa Al Esawi, Mayor of Falluja. “IOM has supported the city with many projects, especially infrastructure rehabilitation.”

Local authorities and IOM staff discussed the expansion of IOM’s Community Revitalization Programme in Anbar to provide more than 250 individuals with livelihood support. Over 200 individuals in selected communities of Falluja are receiving business support packages to start or re-open businesses, along with business development service courses.

While in Falluja, an IOM delegation visited the Women’s Empowerment Centre, which the Agency is helping to rehabilitate and equip. Additional light infrastructure projects in process in Falluja include the rehabilitation of a water drainage station, a water network and a health-care centre.

“It is vital that displaced Iraqis, returnees and host communities are encouraged and assisted in the path to stabilization and recovery,” said IOM’s Weiss. “IOM is resolved to address these requirements, through small business support, job creation, and the re-establishment of essential public services and infrastructure.”

The action plan also identified the need to support community policing in response to security concerns. The IOM Community Policing Programme aims to facilitate dialogue between civil society and police, to contribute to security through establishment of Community Policing Forums. In Anbar Governorate, a total of five forums have been created in Falluja and Ramadi with IOM’s assistance.

In coordination with Anbar Department of Health (DoH), IOM has increased its health support to members of both the displaced and host communities, providing nearly 100,000 primary medical consultations since September 2015 and providing Anbar DoH facilities with medication and equipment.

IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) actively monitors displacement across Iraq, including in more than 130 locations in Anbar. The latest DTM Emergency Tracking figures on displacement across Iraq are available at:

For further information, please contact IOM Iraq. Sandra Black, Tel. +964 751 234 2550, Email: or Hala Jaber, Tel. +964 751 740 1654, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, May 12, 2017 - 16:56Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastIraqThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Iraq CoM and staff meet with Falluja and Anbar authorities in Falluja, to discuss challenges of displaced and returnee population and IOM assistance projects. Photo: IOM

IOM Iraq staff and Falluja and Anbar authorities visit the water drainage station in Falluja, damaged in the conflict, for which IOM will support rehabilitation through a Community Assistance Project. Photo: IOM 

Categories: PBN

Visa-Free EU Travel for Ukrainians Supported, Welcomed by IOM

Fri, 05/12/2017 - 10:55

Ukraine - The Council of the European Union yesterday (11/05) approved visa-free travel for Ukrainians. It is expected that the visa-free scheme between the EU and Ukraine will enter into force in early June.

Ukrainians holding a biometric passport will be able to enter most EU countries without a visa for 90 days in any 180-day period, for tourism, to visit relatives or friends, or for business purposes. Visa-free travel for Ukrainians applies to all EU countries, except Ireland and the United Kingdom. Travel to non-EU countries – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – will also be possible without a visa.

“This is a major achievement for Ukraine whose citizens have long been waiting for this opportunity,” noted IOM Ukraine Chief of Mission, Manfred Profazi.

“Now we are standing by to help Ukraine get the best from visa liberalization that will primarily encourage regular, temporary and circular migration, strengthen people-to-people contacts, including with diaspora communities in the EU, enhance business opportunities and cultural exchanges, and enable Ukrainians to get to know the EU better,” he added.

IOM has been supporting Ukraine since the start of the EU-Ukraine dialogue in 2008. IOM assistance provided to Ukraine in the implementation of its Visa Liberalization Action Plan (VLAP) included analysis and recommendations for upgrading the migration-related legislation, procedures and institutional base.

IOM provided training for officials dealing with document security and identity management. The UN Migration Agency has also helped Ukrainian law enforcement agencies and social institutions in countering trafficking in human beings. Representatives of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies were trained by IOM on identification, documentation and prosecution of hate crimes which was one of the VLAP requirements.

According to the State Migration Service of Ukraine, as of April 2017, some 3 million Ukrainians possess biometric passports, a prerequisite for visa-free travel to the EU.

A poll by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology shows that almost one in ten adult Ukrainians have visited the EU over the last two years, mainly for vacation (29 percent), business (28 percent) or work (18 percent). When visa-free travel is granted, Ukrainians polled by the National Academy of Sciences said they will use it mainly for tourism (27 percent), searching for employment opportunities (20 percent), and visiting family or friends (13 percent). 

At the same time, the research shows that 43 percent of Ukrainians will not be able to use visa-free travel, mainly due to lack of funds.

For further information, please contact Varvara Zhluktenko at IOM Ukraine. Tel. +38 044 568 50 15, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, May 12, 2017 - 16:51Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaUkraineThemes: Immigration and IntegrationIntegrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Launches AVRR Information Portal in Germany

Fri, 05/12/2017 - 10:51

Germany - IOM Germany has developed an online portal for migrants considering returning voluntarily to their countries. The digital platform, ‘Returning from Germany’, will serve as a one-stop-shop for all necessary information on Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR).

With information on available voluntary return programmes, addresses of nearby return-counselling centres and data on the housing situation in cities of return, ‘Returning from Germany’ offers comprehensive assistance for migrants who are interested in voluntary return.

The portal will also serve as a tool for AVRR counsellors, who must consider an increasing number of programmes and support options when providing advice to individual migrants. The online platform was created in cooperation with the German Ministry of Interior and the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) and entered the testing phase on 11 May.

With just a few clicks, migrants can learn about their options to receive individual AVRR counselling or learn what kind of support is available for them after return. The information is available in German and English – useful languages like Arabic or Serbo-Croatian will follow. The portal highlights the manifold support options for AVRR from Germany, including programmes restricted to specific federal states or municipalities. This will allow migrants to make an informed decision and access support mechanisms that are in place.

Dr. Thomas de Maizière, Federal Minister of the Interior, said: “The new online portal ‘Returning from Germany’ is an important part in the development of a nationwide return counselling structure in Germany.”

Dr. Ole Schröder, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, explained: “With ‘Returning from Germany,’ we successfully created an easy-to-use source of information for all users, voluntary returnees as well as counsellors. Practical information including financial support, data about job markets, housing situation and medical care in the countries of origin are now readily available in a comprehensive form. The simple and information-based design can be accessed via smartphones without losing too much data volume.”

Dr. Uta Dauke, Vice President of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), praised the added value of the portal: “Only someone who knows all the options can use them. ‘Returning from Germany’ offers easy access to information and contact details of counselling centres. Already available counselling services can be linked more efficiently.”

Monica Goracci, IOM Germany Chief of Mission added: “This portal will contribute to informed decision-making and create more transparency for migrants planning to return. Previously, migrants who researched information about support for voluntary return were confronted with a wealth of information provided by different stakeholders. The portal offers clear and easily accessible information in the language of those who are interested in returning to their countries of origin. In addition, the portal will simplify the search for the nearest counselling centre which offers individual counselling that is tailored to each person’s needs.” 

The portal can be accessed via

For further information, please contact Sabine Lehmann, IOM Germany, Tel: +30.27877817, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, May 12, 2017 - 16:45Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaGermanyThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Representatives of the German Ministry of the Interior, the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees and IOM launching the testing phase of the online portal “Returning from Germany”. Photo: IOM

Categories: PBN

Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights Programme Launched in Southern Africa

Fri, 05/12/2017 - 10:40

South Africa - In an effort to improve sexual and reproductive health and HIV (SRH-HIV) related outcomes amongst migrants, including migrant adolescents, young people and sex workers, the Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) – HIV Knows No Borders programme was launched earlier this week (8 May) in Mbabane, Swaziland.

The launch of the programme, which is scheduled to continue into the year 2020 in six countries within the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region was attended by Ministers of Health, members of Parliament, local chiefs, adolescents and young people.

The initiative, which is supported by USD 11 million in funding from The Kingdom of the Netherlands, will also serve non-migrant adolescents, young people, sex workers and others living in migration-affected communities.

The SRHR project already has been launched in Zambia, and Swaziland with South Africa, Lesotho, Mozambique and Malawi set to follow.

“We are seeing 70 new positive cases of HIV amongst young women and adolescents every week within this region,” said Regional Migration Health Co-ordinator Dr. Erick Ventura.

In speaking of the prevalence of HIV within the region, Dr. Ventura said that although HIV may “not be a new issue, it continues to be a relevant issue.”

The SADC region is home to the largest HIV positive population in the world, with an estimated 14.7 million people living with HIV, which represents 59 percent of the total population of people living with HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa and 42 percent of the total number worldwide.

This new programme implements a holistic, multi-stakeholder approach that addresses problems that cause the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Also targeted are high unwanted teenage pregnancies and maternal mortality in Southern Africa.

"We need to intensify services for SRH-HIV for the adolescent age group," said Mduduzi Dlamini, from Swaziland's Ministry of Health.

Swaziland has come a long way in attempting to curtail the scourge of HIV and the AIDS epidemic in the country, at one time the highest prevalence rates in the world.

In 2001, the Kingdom of Swaziland established The National Emergency Response Council on HIV and AIDS (NERCHA) to coordinate and facilitate the National Multi-sectoral HIV/AIDS response and oversee the implementation of the national strategic plans and frameworks.

In a similar fashion, the SRHR project is not just being implemented at a policy level, but is also reaching out to local chiefs, traditional leaders, parents and young people living in the Hhohho Region. Young people are encouraged to get tested, seek treatment and access medical assistance for pregnancy.

For further information, please contact Lerato Tsebe, IOM Pretoria, Tel: +27123 422 789, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, May 12, 2017 - 16:37Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastSouth AfricaThemes: Capacity BuildingMigration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

Young people from Swaziland’s Hhohho Region performing a traditional Swazi dance for delegates and participants at the launch of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) – HIV Knows No Borders programme in the capital Mbabane, on 8 May. Video: IOM/Lerato Tsebe 2017

Young people from Swaziland’s Hhohho Region performing a traditional Swazi dance for delegates and participants at the launch of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) – HIV Knows No Borders programme in the capital Mbabane, on 8 May. They are from the community where the SRHR programme will be rolled out. Video: IOM/Lerato Tsebe 2017

Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency, Netherlands Promote Human Rights, Community Policing in Indonesia’s Papua, Maluku Islands

Fri, 05/12/2017 - 10:37
Language English

Indonesia - Conflict prevention and grassroots access to justice are crucial for the protection of human rights, according to Netherlands’ Human Rights Ambassador, Kees van Baar, who this week visited the community policing projects in Papua and Maluku of the UN Migration Agency (IOM)’s mission in Indonesia.

"It is great to see the villages being empowered, learning about their rights, developing the tools to prevent and resolve conflicts and to find solutions by themselves, as well as their fruitful cooperation with the local police," said van Baar.

“Human rights belong to everybody; justice is justice for all. The Netherlands considers this a major priority globally. Open and constructive communication between police and the community is one strategy to ensure the protection of these rights,” he added.

IOM Indonesia and the Indonesian National Police (INP) have collaborated on human rights training and community policing around the country for the past 14 years, supporting the INP’s transition from a militarized force into a civil security organization.

With funding from the Dutch Embassy, IOM has trained over 5,800 front-line officers in Papua, Papua Barat and Maluku provinces in human rights protection and community communication techniques since 2013.

Community Policing Forums (CPFs) have been established in 28 villages in 12 districts, providing a platform for a variety of community stakeholders, NGOs, government and police to discuss potential and current security and social issues.

“This programme is just as much about the community as it is about the police; one of the most important objectives is to make sure the voices of people in the community are heard,” said IOM Indonesia Deputy Chief of Mission, George Gigauri. “With this collaboration, conflict can be prevented and social development plans can be created, paving the way forward for a harmonious society.”

Ambassador van Baar discussed the human rights situation in Papua, West Papua and Maluku with security and government officials, civil society organizations and village CPFs. Communal violence, access to justice, domestic violence, conflict prevention, and freedom of expression and of religion were among the topics raised. He also noted the use of community policing strategies to anticipate and defuse situations that might lead to potential human rights issues.

“Before (this programme), our community was uncomfortable communicating with the police, but now we can approach them without fear. We now have a way to make our community safer,” a woman CPF member told the delegation in Amahusu village in Maluku. At the request of the CPF, police have been disseminating information in the village about domestic violence and mechanisms in order to address it.

For further information, please contact Paul Dillon at IOM Indonesia, Tel: +62 811 944 4612, Email:

Posted: Friday, May 12, 2017 - 16:23Image: Region-Country: AsiaIndonesiaThemes: Capacity BuildingMigrants RightsDefault: 
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Approach 50,000 in 2017; Deaths: 1,309

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 10:38
Language English

Switzerland - IOM, the UN Migration Agency reports that 49,310 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 7 May, with the vast majority arriving in Italy and the rest in Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 187,569 arrivals through 7 May 2016.

Mediterranean Developments

IOM Rome reported over the weekend and into Monday that IOM field staffers at Italian landing points calculated a total of 6,612 rescued survivors from more than a dozen locations since last Friday.  Over 190 migrants lost their life in two shipwrecks.

Operations still underway are expected to bring all survivors to safety at the Italian harbours of Lampedusa, Reggio Calabria, Pozzallo, Augusta, Catania, Palermo and Vibo Valentia.

Rome spokesperson Flavio Di Giacomo said that, according to eye witness testimony from migrants who arrived Sunday in Pozzallo, a dinghy carrying about 130 migrants capsized during the sea crossing:  50 migrants survived while at least 80 people went missing.

“Favourable weather between Friday and Sunday brought thousands of migrants attempting a sea crossing to escape the violence and abuse in Libya,” Di Giacomo said. “Our field colleagues providing direct assistance at the harbours reported that many migrants bore signs of torture.”

IOM field staff in Libya identified another shipwreck a few miles off the Libyan coast at Az Zawiyah. As reported by one of the seven survivors rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard and local fishermen in the area, at least 113 people – including several dozen women and nine children – remain missing at sea and are feared drowned. Given the number of passengers on board, migrants were probably traveling on an unseaworthy rubber dinghy that capsized near the coast.

As of 7 May 2017, 41,196 migrants arrived in Italy by sea, while the tally of victims has spiked beyond 1,200 in the Central Mediterranean route.

Nigeria, as was the case last year, represents the largest single nationality of migrants arriving in Italy, followed by Bangladesh, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and Gambia (see chart below). 

IOM Libya reported this week that since last Friday morning (5 May), 685 migrants have been rescued at sea off Libya, with more than 110 presumed missing.

On Friday, 5 May, 371 migrants were rescued off the western coastal city of Zuwarah by local fishermen. The first rescue operation was of 137 migrants, 107 men, 28 women (of which nine were pregnant) and two infants (three and eight months old), of several African nationalities.

Their migrant boat was reportedly intercepted by an armed group at sea, where the boat’s engine was taken and migrants robbed of their cellphones. Left adrift, the boat was eventually rescued by local fishermen.

A second operation saved 110 migrants: 102 Bangladeshi, six Nigerian men and two women. The last rescue operation on Friday was of 124 migrants (89 men, 31 women, four children). One of the women reportedly had an old gunshot wound in her leg. The migrants will be transferred to detention centres, including Shuhada al Nasr.

On Saturday, 6 May, 168 migrants (161 men, 5 women and 2 children) of African nationalities were rescued off the capital Tripoli by the Libyan Coast Guard. Once received at the disembarkation point at the main port, IOM staff and implementing partner, STACO doctors assisted the migrants in need of health support. The migrants were transferred to Abu Salim detention centre where they received winter blankets and hygiene kits from IOM in the afternoon.

On Sunday, two rescue missions by local fishermen occurred off Zuwara, one of 126 migrants (125 men and 1 woman) and one of 13 migrants.

Also on Sunday, another rescue mission off Az Zawiyah by the Libyan Coast Guard and local fishermen ended more tragically as only 7 migrants (6 men and 1 woman) survived. According to the testimony from one of the survivors, the boat carried around 120 migrants (including around 30 women and 9 children), which means that at least 113 migrants are still missing. Some of the rescued migrants were reportedly in need of health assistance.

“Many migrants need support after having lost loved ones at sea,” IOM Libya Public Information Officer Christine Petré said. “Having not only risked their lives but perhaps spent all their money and belongings on the chance of reaching a better life and then being rescued only to be transferred to a detention centre must be a horrible and emotionally challenging experience.”

On Monday, 8 May, IOM also received information regarding 11 bodies retrieved west of Az Zawiyah, 10 African women and one baby girl. The bodies could belong to those 110 believed to be missing from the boat off Az Zawiyah on 7 May.

So far in 2017, 4,841 migrants have been rescued off the Libyan coast and 218 bodies have been retrieved.

For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic:

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:

Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:

For further information please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41.79.103 8720, Email:
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
IOM Greece: Kelly Namia Tel: +30 210 99.12.174, Email:
Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
IOM Libya: Othman Belbeisi, Tel +216 29 600389, Email: or Christine Petré, Tel: (Direct):  +216 29 240 448, Email:

For information or interview requests in French:
Florence Kim, OIM Genève, Tel: +41 79 103 03 42, Email:
Flavio Di Giacomo, OIM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, May 9, 2017 - 16:16Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandDefault: 
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Supports Yemen’s Struggling Health Care System

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 10:38
Language English

Yemen - On 4 May 2017, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) donated over three tons of medicine and medical supplies to the Al-Jumhori Hospital in Sana’a, Yemen. The medicines and medical supplies are mainly for treating acute diarrheal disease.

The donation was part of IOM’s urgent response – that is, implementation within 24 hours – to the formal request from the hospital for support in managing the growing number of patients arriving at the hospital with acute watery diarrhoea, or AWD. 

Yemen’s healthcare system is on the brink of collapse. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), only 45 per cent of health facilities in Yemen are fully functional and accessible, 38 per cent are partially functional and 17 per cent are non-functional, and at least 274 of those facilities have been damaged or destroyed during the current conflict.

The latest WHO update from 21 March 2017 stated that, since the October 2016 start of the emergency, a cumulative total of 23,506 suspected cases of cholera have been recorded. Authorities have said that this number includes 108 associated confirmed deaths across the country. Of these reported cases, Vibrio Cholera 01 has been laboratory-confirmed in 198 stool samples collected from 15 governorates. 

While cases are now on the decline, some new cases continue to surface due to poor access to health-care services and limited ability of health workers to investigate conditions everywhere due to the country’s difficult security situation.

“Since 28 April 2017, more than 100 patients have arrived with suspected cholera and four cases were laboratory-confirmed,” explained Dr. Nasr Al-Qadasi, General Director of Al-Jumhori Hospital.

Throughout 2016 and 2017, in response to the outbreak, IOM provided public hospitals with water tanks, solar panels, rechargeable batteries, electricity networks, medical supplies and other equipment, as well as daily water trucks providing clean water.

Moreover, IOM continues with medical screening for AWD among migrants in all governorates where IOM clinics are operating. IOM has established Diarrhea Treatment Units (DTUs) in the three IOM locations. From 16 October 2016 to 29 April 2017, some 36,693 migrants were screened. Among them 1,933 suspected cases and nine confirmed cholera cases were detected either in Aden or Hodeidah.

The donation of the medicine and medical supplies to Al-Jumhori Hospital was funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).

For further information, please contact Saba Malme at IOM Yemen, Tel: + 967 736 800 329, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, May 9, 2017 - 16:15Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastYemenDefault: 
Categories: PBN

IOM Responds as Cholera Outbreak Spreads in South Sudan

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 10:38
Language English

South Sudan - An IOM Rapid Response Team was deployed to Jonglei, South Sudan, late last month (25 April) in response to a cholera outbreak affecting more than 230 people in Ayod County. The IOM team is supporting local health partners to rapidly scale up the emergency and contain the outbreak in a hard-to-reach and often insecure area of the country.

Relief agencies are responding to cholera outbreaks across the country, with nine counties currently reporting active transmission, including three in Jonglei alone. Since the cholera outbreak was declared in June 2016, over 7,200 cases have been reported, including 229 deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the South Sudan Ministry of Health.

IOM’s response began after 140 suspected cases of cholera were reported in Ayod during the first weeks of April, putting the population of approximately 175,000 people at risk. Access to Ayod is difficult during the rainy season, and its proximity to the Nile River increases its vulnerability to outbreaks of water-borne diseases such as cholera.

IOM, the United Nations Migration Agency, is working alongside the County Health Department and the Christian Mission for Development (CMD) in the town of Jiech to facilitate surveillance, manage cases and improve community outreach efforts to stem the outbreak.

Most suspected cholera cases come from communities living in cattle camps along the river. IOM established oral rehydration points in three hotspot areas to increase access to treatment. 

Due to the ongoing crisis in Jonglei, health facilities in Ayod are not functioning and face a lack of health workers and medical supplies. Once on the ground, IOM found that clinics had to be quickly improved to ensure suitable space for patient admissions and consultations.

To ensure access to supplies required for a cholera response, the WHO provided response kits, medication and equipment for oral rehydration points and cholera treatment units.

The IOM team also delivered essential medications to treat other common illnesses during the mission.

To date, IOM and its partners have reported treating at least 40 people suffering from cholera symptoms. The team plans to hand over operations to the Christian Mission for Development in the coming days but will continue providing additional supplies for the on-going response.

Elsewhere, an IOM water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) team is responding to suspected cases of cholera in Kopoeta, Eastern Equatoria, through hygiene promotion activities aimed at mitigating the spread of the disease. The team deployed on 4 May and immediately began recruiting hygiene promoters from the local community to ensure a quick and effective response after several suspected cases were reported in the area.

Since the cholera outbreak began in 2016, IOM has responded in remote locations and displacement sites throughout South Sudan to manage cases and mitigate the further spread of the disease. Daily, teams continually conduct health and hygiene promotion activities to ensure vulnerable populations have access to basic information to keep their families healthy despite displacement and difficult living conditions.

For further information, please contact Ashley McLaughlin at IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211 912 379 793. Email:

Posted: Tuesday, May 9, 2017 - 16:14Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastSouth SudanDefault: 
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Assists 165 Migrants Home to Guinea Conakry

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 10:37
Language English

Guinea - On 4 May, the United Nations Migration Agency (IOM) assisted 165 stranded migrants – 152 men and 13 women – to return home from Libya to Guinea (Conakry). The group included five unaccompanied children, one infant and one medical case.

The migrants were among the many Guineans currently living irregularly in Libya, often under harsh conditions, and who sought IOM’s assistance to voluntarily return to Guinea. 

Of the passengers, 147 were detained at Trig al Seka detention centre, while 10 were at Abu Salim detention centre and the remaining eight were previously living in urban areas.

The charter flight departed Tripoli’s Mitiga airport and arrived in Guinea Conakry that same evening. Funds for the charter flight were provided by the Netherlands.

IOM conducted pre-departure interviews, medical check-ups and facilitated exit visas for all passengers. Prior to departure, the migrants also received additional assistance in the form of dignity kits, comprising clothes and shoes.

Among the passengers was Mariam*, a 19-year-old woman, who explained that she had left Guinea, where she worked as a seamstress, almost a year ago. She arrived in Libya after a two-month journey through Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Niger, travelling with two friends, one of whom died in Libya. She does not know what happened to the other friend.

Mariam was abused by her employers in Libya. Following two failed attempts to reach Italy via the Mediterranean route, she decided to go back to Guinea to resume her career as a seamstress.

Another of the passengers was 20-year-old Amara* who was shot by smugglers off the Zuwara coast and suffered a leg injury.

Thirty-year-old Bamba* paid 3,000 euros to pass through the desert. On the way, he was kidnapped twice and was close to death at one point. Now he was looking forward to a new start in Guinea Conakry.

So far in 2017, IOM Libya has helped 3,089 stranded migrants return to their countries of origin. Of these, 601 were eligible for reintegration assistance.

Last Thursday’s flight was the third chartered this year by the UN Migration Agency to take migrants home to Guinea from Libya; the first two carried 133 people. IOM also is helping Guinean migrants stranded in Niger, Morocco and Egypt.

The IOM Guinea team, the Guinean National Service of Humanitarian Affairs (SENAH), as well as officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, were present at the airport to provide support and assistance to the returning Guineans.

IOM staff interviewed the migrants as they arrived in Conakry to learn how they could help them with reintegration and work opportunities at home.

Returning migrants residing in Conakry returned directly to their homes, while those originating from different regions were accommodated for one night at the Matam Transit Centre, before heading to their final destinations with IOM support.

Eight of the most vulnerable migrants were also entitled to further reintegration support once back in Guinea Conakry. This assistance will provide the returnees with an opportunity to start afresh once home by, for example, opening a small business or continuing with their education.

*Migrants’ names have been altered to protect their privacy.

For further information, please contact IOM Libya. Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600 389, Email: or Ashraf Hassan, Tel: +216 29 794 707, Email: or Lucas Chandellier at IOM Guinea, Tel: +224 628 33 86 53, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, May 9, 2017 - 16:13Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastGuineaDefault: 
Categories: PBN

IOM to Train Immigration and Border Officials from Five African Countries

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 10:37
Language English

United Republic of Tanzania - The IOM African Capacity Building Centre (ACBC) yesterday (8 May) launched a new capacity-building project for immigration and border officials from five African countries.

The training, which will take place in Moshi, United Republic of Tanzania, will see the UN Migration Agency (IOM) provide instruction on a rotating basis to 100 border and immigration officials from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Republic of Guinea (Conakry), Federal Republic of Nigeria, Republic of Sierra Leone and the United Republic of Tanzania.

This will be carried out under the auspices of a project entitled, Enhancing Migration Management in African States through Capacity Building on Integrated Border Management and Countering Irregular Migration, which is funded by the Ministry of Security and Justice of the Netherlands.

The total budget for the project is Euro 274,098. This week’s launch event was attended by government, donor and IOM officials at the Tanzania Regional Immigration Training Academy (TRITA) in Moshi.

The project is supervised by the Repatriation and Departure Services (RDS) of the Ministry of Security and Justice of the Netherlands and targets middle management officials from border agencies. The officials will be trained in immigration and migration-related topics with a particular emphasis on migration management. Techniques in screening travellers and investigation of reported cases of human trafficking will be two areas of concern, all within the framework of an integrated border-management approach at national, regional and international levels.

Speaking at the launch, Ambassador Celestine Mushy, Tanzania’s Director of Multilateral Cooperation and East African Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, commended RDS and IOM for their timely intervention. “African migrants have perished while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe,” he told the audience, “And I call upon the international community to treat migrants with humanity.”

Jan Willem Konig, the Senior Advisor of the RDS said: “It is the joint responsibility of the international community to address challenges related to irregular migration and human trafficking that is causing the suffering and death of tens of thousands of migrants.”

IOM Tanzania Chief of Mission, Dr. Qasim Sufi thanked the donor, the Government of the Netherlands through the RDS, for the financial support to the project and committed IOM’s continued support to use capacity-building to equip officials with the knowledge and skills to meet the complex migration challenges and appealed to the participants to make good use of their newly acquired expertise for the benefit of migrants.

For further information, please contact: Charles Mkude, IOM Tanzania, Tel: +255 7843 9 6426,  Email: or Marcellino Ramkishun, Tel: +255 6891 9 1483, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, May 9, 2017 - 16:12Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastUnited Republic of TanzaniaDefault: 
Categories: PBN

Experts Discuss Challenges and Opportunities of Labour Migration in Colombia

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 10:36
Language English

Colombia - IOM Colombia and the Colombian National Training Service (SENA) last week (4-5 May) held an event which brought together international and national experts, business leaders, public servants; and youth apprentices as well as SENA instructors to discuss labour migration.

The event was part of national efforts to strengthen public policy on labour migration through awareness raising and sharing of experiences, good practices and lessons learned at national and international level.

​The event was attended by the UN Migration Agency (IOM)’s labour migration specialists Ricardo Cordero and Anna Platonova, as well as experts from International Labour Organization (ILO), Ibero-American Social Security Organization (OISS) and Colombian institutions including the Ministries of Foreign Affairs; Labour, Commerce, Industry and Tourism; Migracion Colombia (National Migration Authority), and the SENA’s Public Employment Agency, among others.

Participants discussed human rights of labour migrants, labour migration within Colombia, and migration of skilled migrants. In addition, themes surrounding Colombia’s economic situation with regards to the peace accords, the role of the private sector, including its engagement in the International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS) and mechanisms to prevent human trafficking, as well as achievements and challengers on labour migration at a regional level, were also discussed.

With regards to the opportunities of international labour migration in the private sector, Platonova stated that “a challenge to the private sector globally is the shortage of highly qualified individuals.” As a result, she added, “It is vitally important that those who decide to migrate have the professional backgrounds necessary to fill the relevant positions in foreign countries.”

In the case of Colombia, for decades there has been a trend of migration to regional countries and to the United States, Canada and Spain, due primarily to the armed conflict.  This has presented an almost permanent labour flow in the region for these countries. 

Speaking about labour opportunities abroad for Colombians, Alejandro Guidi, IOM Colombia Chief of Mission said, “It is important to be as informed as possible about a particular opportunity, be aware of the full contractual obligations that the company is offering, visit the country’s consulate or Embassy and find out if the company that is offering the position really exists, and seek help if you do not know the language.”

Guidi added, “Globalization, demographic changes, conflict, income inequalities, and climate change each increasingly drive more workers and their families across borders in search of better jobs and security.” 

As part of the Colombian Government’s efforts to develop strategies related to cross-border labour mobility and to increase a national and international information exchange, IOM Colombia has been working hand in hand with SENA since 2015 to expand employment opportunities especially for the country’s vulnerable populations to positively impact productivity, social development, and peace building.

According to Jaime Vence, National SENA Employment Coordinator, from 2006 to this year, SENA preselected and placed approximately 3,800 people to work in gainful employment in Spain, Portugal, Canada and Panama.

Traditionally, Colombia is a country of more emigration (out-flow) with 4.7 million emigrants, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Globally, there are 244 million migrants, of which 150.3 million are labour migrants, according to ILO. 

SENA is the Government Agency under the Colombian Ministry of Labour that provides vocational and technical training programs to millions of Colombians to further the economic and social development of the country.

For further information, please contact Karen Mora at IOM Colombia, Tel. + (57) 1 639 7777, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, May 9, 2017 - 16:11Image: Region-Country: AmericaColombiaDefault: 
Categories: PBN

New website FromSkills2Work Promotes Labour Participation

Mon, 05/08/2017 - 11:19

Netherlands - IOM the Netherlands is launching a European digital platform to improve labour market access of residence permit holders:

The early validation of formal and informal competences is crucial for the successful labour participation of beneficiaries of international protection. The website offers information on services, organizations, projects and initiatives that support the identification of skills, knowledge and competencies of beneficiaries of international protection with a focus on nine EU member states: Belgium, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The platform also shows employment success stories from migrants and their employers in each participating member state.

The platform is part of IOM’s EC funded Skills2Work initiative, which focuses on skills recognition with a European reach. Project partners in the Netherlands are the African Young Professional Network, COA (Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers), Radboud University in Nijmegen and the Foundation for Refugee Students UAF.

Take a look at the Skills2Work platform here. For more information on the Skills2Work project and to sign up to newsletters click here.

Language English Posted: Monday, May 8, 2017 - 17:09Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaNetherlandsThemes: Migration and DevelopmentDefault: Multimedia: 
Categories: PBN