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Updated: 2 hours 6 min ago

Booklets for Rohingya Parents and Children Raise Awareness of Protection Risks

Tue, 11/10/2020 - 07:02

Cox’s Bazar – Since August 2017, nearly a million Rohingya refugees have been hosted in the world’s largest refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, where protection issues remain a significant challenge. Fearing for their children’s safety, many Rohingya parents are apprehensive about leaving their children home alone while working or collecting relief items. 
Recognizing the issue, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Cox’s Bazar has published two booklets with the purpose of helping children and parents engage in challenging conversations on the topic of child protection. 
One booklet is called “Heart-to-Heart with My Child.” Published for Rohingya adults and children, it conveys key child protection messages in accessible terms in both Rohingya and in English. The messages are illustrated with embroideries made by Rohingya female artists, engaged with IOM’s Rohingya Cultural Memory Centre (RCMC). 
During focus group discussions and one-on-one interviews with IOM’s protection team, refugees often share stories of harassment and physical abuse. The team encountered several protection risks in the camps, which the staff has been gradually mitigating. 
“Going through so much hardship in life, leaving one’s own home and loved ones behind, and carrying terrifying memories, is already enough of a burden for these children and parents,” explained IOM Bangladesh’s Child Protection Officer Bernadett Fekete. “We hope these booklets will help alleviate some of the pressure and encourage constructive discussions at the family and community levels.”  
Rohingya parents want to ensure their children’s safety, but admit that discussing the topic with their children is not a simple task. During their own childhoods—when child protection risks were considered a taboo topic—this information was not easily accessible. To this day, many parents believe that marrying their children at a young age ensures children’s safety. 
“During our discussions with Rohingya mothers, some are reluctant to talk about child protection issues, but others are beginning to open up. For these women, this is a safe place where they can talk about their problems and get the mental and emotional support they need,” explained Child Protection caseworker Shahnaz Akter. 
The second booklet, “Be Safe, Be Happy”, is a coloring book for smaller children, given out with crayons. The images and narrative focus on the positive relationship between parents and children, highlighting the fact that family should be a child’s safest and most important environment. 
Due to uncertainty, lack of security, education and livelihood, many families are under extreme pressure. This pressure can often be exacerbated by protection issues connected to family tensions, domestic violence, or even child abuse, with ripple effects on the community.  
“Since I started coming to the Women and Girls Safe Space, I have learned about ways of dealing with my children when I am stressed or worried,” said a Rohingya mother who participated in one of the sessions. “I cannot read, but I can understand the messages conveyed through the images. I hope I can attend other sessions to learn more about the topic,” she added. 

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac, Email:, or Tarek Mahmud. Tel: + 880 1752 380240, Email:, at IOM Bangladesh in Cox’s Bazar. 


Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 13:59Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: ChildrenRohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

The booklet “Heart-to-Heart with My Child” tackles topics like childhood, adulthood and parenting. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah Al 

The booklet “Heart-to-Heart with My Child” tackles topics like childhood, adulthood and parenting. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah Al 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Urgent Assistance Needed for an Estimated 11,500 Persons Newly Displaced by Chad Floods

Tue, 11/10/2020 - 04:55

N’Djamena – An estimated 11,500 people have been forced to leave their homes since late October as a result of flash floods in N’Djamena, Chad’s capital city. The floods, which caused catastrophic damage, are the result of rising water levels which led to the overflow of the Chari River and an embankment break in N’Djamena’s 9th district.

IOM, in coordination with Chadian authorities and the humanitarian community, is providing leading support to site management and site development including shelters, water supply, solar lights and non-food items. The organization is also collecting data through the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) to evaluate the needs of the displaced persons. These floods add a layer of vulnerability to a population that had already been impacted by severe floods last August.  More than 100 households were supported then by IOM. Today, more funding is urgently needed as water levels continue to rise. 

“It is now urgent that we scale up efforts to quickly provide suitable shelter and emergency response support to the disaster victims as there is concern for COVID spread in tight living spaces as well as risk of water-borne diseases that are endemic in the region,” said Anne Schaefer, IOM Chad Chief of Mission. 

In the displacement site, IOM built temporary shelters and organized sensitization sessions on fire safety and protection from related hazards. IOM says much more needs to be done to support the people most in need, including with food, sanitation and education in times of crisis. 

The Chari and the Logone rivers, which flow through the Central African Republic, Cameroon and Chad, are among Lake Chad’s main sources of water. But there is an irregular flow, with low flow between February and July, and exceptionally high flow between August and November, particularly when fed by rain waters during the rainy summer months. 

Embankments and dikes were built around the river to avert potential catastrophes, but when the rains are heavy the river overflows into surrounding areas, causing considerable human and material damage.
“A comprehensive response is needed to profile the people most affected and vulnerable to flooding, and to strengthen emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction and management in flood-prone areas including support to Government authorities in planning, early warning and rapid response to floods and other catastrophes,” says IOM’s Schaefer.

The extreme rainy season of 2020, which continues in the south of the country, is leading to an increase in water levels. Upstream, risk also is rising in the Lac Province, where more than 393,000 people are currently displaced as a direct consequence of climate change and insecurity from actions of Boko Haram and other non-state armed group actions. 

For more information, please contact François-Xavier Ada-Affana at IOM’s Regional Office for West and Central Africa, Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: ChadThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternal DisplacementDefault: Multimedia: 

A makeshift displacement site in the 9th district of N'Djamena. Photo: IOM/Daniele Febei

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Coronavirus Could Push More People to Move out of Necessity as Hunger Surges among Migrant and Displaced Communities Says New UN Report

Mon, 11/09/2020 - 18:00

Geneva/Rome – A new report has found global hunger and population displacement  – both already at record levels when COVID-19 struck – could surge as people on the move and those reliant on a dwindling flow of remittances desperately seek work to support their families. 

The report – the first of its kind – was released today by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), and shows how the pandemic has driven up food insecurity and increased vulnerability among migrants, families reliant on remittances and communities forced from their homes by conflict, violence and disasters. 

The two UN agencies warn the social and economic toll of the pandemic could be devastating and call on the world to prevent it by stepping up support in response to immediate and rising humanitarian needs, addressing the socioeconomic impacts of the crisis and ensuring that the most vulnerable are not forgotten. 

"The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on health and human mobility threatens to roll back global commitments, including within the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, and hinder ongoing efforts to support those in need of assistance. It is our collective responsibility to safeguard the rights of people on the move and ensure their protection from further harm,” said IOM’s Director-General, António Vitorino.   

“The socio-economic impact of the pandemic is more devastating than the disease itself. Many people in low- and middle-income countries, who a few months ago were poor but just about getting by, now find their livelihoods have been destroyed. Remittances sent from workers abroad to their families at home have also dried up, causing immense hardship. As a result, hunger rates are sky-rocketing around the world,” said WFP Executive Director, David Beasley. 

The impact the pandemic has had on the ways people move is unprecedented. Measures and restrictions put in place in over 220 countries, territories or areas to contain the spread of the disease have limited human mobility, opportunities to work and earn an income, straining the ability of migrants and displaced people to afford food and other basic needs.  

Food insecurity and displacement are closely intertwined. Hunger – especially when combined with conflict – is a critical push factor driving people to move. Nine out of ten of the world’s worst food crises are in countries with the largest number of internally displaced persons. Meanwhile, the majority of displaced people are located in countries affected by acute food insecurity and malnutrition.  

The world’s 164 million migrant workers, especially those working in the informal sector, are some of the worst hit by the pandemic. They often work on temporary or seasonal bases for low wages without access to social protection systems. During economic crises, these populations are often the first to lose their jobs. At the same time, disruptions to seasonal agricultural work could have ramifications on the production, processing and distribution of food, which could affect food availability and affordability at local and regional levels. 

Without sustained income, the report warns that many migrants will not only be pushed to return home but will also cause at least a temporary drop in remittances which provide an essential lifeline for around 800 million – or one in nine – people in the world.  

The pandemic has made livelihood opportunities for migrants increasingly scarce, and the World Bank expects a 14 percent drop in remittances to low- and middle-income countries by 2021. The consequences for food security could be devastating. WFP projects that by end of 2021 at least 33 million additional people could be driven into hunger due to the expected drop in remittances alone.    

The two agencies call on the international community to ensure that every effort is made to limit the immediate impact on the most vulnerable, while ensuring longer term investments that ensure a pathway to recovery. 

The International Organization for Migration is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. It does so by providing services and advice to governments and migrants and other mobile populations. IOM promotes international cooperation on migration issues to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration challenges and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, be they refugees, displaced persons or other uprooted people as well as their host communities.. 

The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change. 

Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media and @unmigration  

For more information, please contact: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 00:50Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: COVID-19Global Compact on MigrationInternal DisplacementMigrants in Vulnerable SituationsMigration and DevelopmentUNDefault: Multimedia: 

Internally displaced persons arrive to a camp in Doloow, Somalia, where droughts in recent years have led to increased displacement and food shortages.  Photo: IOM/Muse Mohammed 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Growing Humanitarian Needs Among Migrants Rescued off Mauritanian Coast

Fri, 11/06/2020 - 06:45

Nouakchott, Mauritania – Around 400 migrants have been intercepted or rescued off the coast of Mauritania since mid-October. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has recorded an increase in attempted crossings on the West Africa route and is appealing for more support to ensure rapid and adequate assistance to migrants.

IOM, in coordination with the Government of Mauritania, the French Red Cross and the Mauritanian Red Crescent, has been providing migrants, among them survivors of several shipwrecks, with urgent medical assistance, food assistance and core relief items including blankets, clothes and hygiene products. It is unclear how many lives were lost after a series of tragic shipwrecks in the West Africa route. 

The migrants were on board seven boats, some of which capsized, others were intercepted, off the coast of Nouadhibou, northern Mauritania, after departing from other West African coastal countries.
Migrants onboard were mainly from Senegal, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Mauritanian and the Gambia. Among them, there were four unaccompanied children. 

Many of the migrants showed symptoms of acute dehydration, infected wounds, and other serious illnesses, after having spent between four days and two weeks at sea. Those most affected were referred to hospitals in Nouakchott and Nouadhibou. IOM continues to monitor the serious cases, some in intensive care. 

This assistance was provided in line with new health protocols and sanitary measures imposed by COVID-19. "Joint efforts with the Government of Mauritania and partners have enabled efficient referral of cases to the nearest health care centres and hospitals, but our overall capacity to respond to these growing needs remains limited, " says Laura Lungarotti, IOM Chief of Mission in Mauritania.

Due to increased attempted crossings and incidents on this route, and lack of resources to ensure a comprehensive and timely response, authorities and humanitarian actors are developing standard operating procedures to guarantee a more coordinated and human rights-based response to these emergencies.  

An estimated 200 boats have arrived in the Canaries since the end of September, carrying at least 5,000 migrants, a tenfold increase compared to the same period of last year. Between 1 and 12 October, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project recorded over 414 disappearances on the West Africa route to the Canary Islands. 

Despite this increase compared to last year, arrivals remain far less than those recorded in 2006 and 2007 (which saw the arrival of 32,000 migrants to the Canaries).
For more information, please contact Nicholas Hochart at IOM Mauritania, Email:


Language English Posted: Friday, November 6, 2020 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: MauritaniaThemes: COVID-19Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM and its partner, the French Red Cross, at the port of Nouadhibou providing migrants with urgent medical aid.  Photo: IOM / Fatime Djamila Harine. 

IOM and its partner, the French Red Cross, at the port of Nouadhibou providing migrants with urgent medical aid.  Photo: IOM / Fatime Djamila Harine. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

COVID-19 Restrictions Impacting Trafficking Referrals in the UK

Fri, 11/06/2020 - 06:42

London – There have been fewer potential cases of modern slavery identified since the UK began responding to COVID-19, and providing support survivors need has become more challenging, an Anti-Slavery Week panel discussion hosted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) was told. In 2019, 10,627 potential victims of trafficking (VoTs) were identified in the UK and referred for support, a 52 per cent increase over 2018.

The decision to close non-essential businesses and other lockdown measures appears to have had an immediate and measurable impact on reporting. Between April and June, 23 per cent fewer potential VoTs were referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) than the first quarter of 2020, five per cent fewer than the same period last year.

A closer look at recent referrals since the COVID-19 response also shows changes in the types of exploitation being reported. “The number of referrals of potential victims of labour exploitation had fallen dramatically, a trend that can be regarded as a consequence of the types of workplaces which potential victims of labour exploitation might work in –like restaurants, nail-bars, construction sites and carwashes, that were shut due to the national restrictions,” said IOM UK Senior Project Officer Patrick Burland. 

“Meanwhile, the proportion of referrals to the UK National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for criminal exploitation has increased significantly, with 70 per cent of children and 45 per cent of adults referred from April to June 2020, being reported as a potential victim of criminal exploitation.” 

During a panel discussion hosted by IOM UK last week to mark this year’s Anti-Slavery Day, practitioners warned that there is likely a substantial gap between the true scale of the crime of human trafficking and modern slavery and the numbers of potential victims currently being referred to the NRM. While migrants constitute the majority of referrals, the number of British nationals referred to the NRM has increased to 44 per cent of all cases.  

This data shows that anyone can become a victim of modern slavery, and that raising awareness among the general public on how to spot signs of exploitation and abuse is crucial.  

In addition to IOM’s Burland, the panelists included Alex Balch (Professor of Politics at the University of Liverpool), Tatiana Gren-Jardan (Head of Modern Slavery Unit, Justice & Care), Pam Bowen CBE (Senior Legal Adviser, Crown Prosecution Service), and Rebecca Helme (Modern Slavery Response Team Manager, Hestia).  

“It is more important than ever that stakeholders working to fight modern slavery across the UK share information and practices on how they are adapting to this constantly changing scenario, to be able to shape future responses and improve the ability to continue the work in support of survivors, despite the COVID-19 restrictions that are likely to be in place for some time,” said IOM UK Chief of Mission Dipti Pardeshi. 

The effects of COVID-19 have been particularly acute for the mental health of survivors.   

“As we all know being forced to stay pretty much indoors at home at all times has been a struggle,” said Hestia’s Helme. “But, for survivors of modern slavery, this experience has been a reminder of past trauma.” 

Overall, the impact of COVID-19 has meant increased inequalities for survivors of trafficking and inaccessibility to support and assistance. Service providers have also responded creatively to ensure more regular contact with survivors by relying on technology.  

Finally, to help survivors rebuild their lives, IOM UK has just launched a skills development programme for people who are trafficking survivors, and this will be initially delivered online.  

The programme has been adapted to practically address the current needs and challenges due to COVID-19. Such support is particularly important as the current circumstances may mean survivors are more vulnerable to re-trafficking. 

For more information please contact Abir Soleiman at IOM UK, Tel: +44 (0)7470195306, Email: 


Language English Posted: Friday, November 6, 2020 - 13:59Image: Region-Country: United KingdomThemes: COVID-19Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

The closure of non-essential businesses and other lockdown measures appears to have had an immediate and measurable impact on reporting; 23 per cent fewer potential victims of trafficking were referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) than the first quarter of 2020, five per cent fewer than the same period last year. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Partnerships Prove Vital in Getting Stranded Migrants Home in Central Asia

Fri, 11/06/2020 - 06:05

Tashkent – Uzbekistan, a landlocked Central Asian country, has been a global crossroads since ancient times. It continues to be, often along routes forged by silk and spice merchants plying their trade via camel caravan. 

Today, it has emerged as one of the world’s most active transit points for migrants stranded by the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, IOM and its many partners helped over 3,000 people – mainly Tajik nationals – to move through Uzbekistan from neighbouring Kazakhstan as well as from the Russian Federation and points even farther afield. 

In recent days, IOM staff at the Zhybek-Zholy border crossing between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan addressed a sudden demand from the Uzbek government for negative COVID-19 tests for a group of 102 stranded migrants. 

“Many of these people had been travelling for days with little food, no clean clothes, and certainly no resources to pay for COVID-19 tests,” explained IOM’s head of office in Tashkent, Sanjar Toshbaev. “They had lost their jobs and were on their way home to an uncertain future.” Temperatures along the border remain quite hot during the day but very cold at night-time, noted Toshbaev.

“The last thing these migrants needed was to have their arduous journeys made even longer by a requirement that had not been communicated to us,” added Toshbaev. “In fact, neither the staff on the Kazakh side of the border nor consular representatives from Tajikistan had been informed of the rapidly-introduced new situation.”

IOM’s team in Tashkent started making urgent phone calls, beginning with trying to raise funds for the COVID-19 tests, and to find some way of getting them carried out on the border. At the same time, IOM staff in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan contacted responsible officials in both countries and eventually helped find a solution. “We managed to work out a ‘non-contact corridor’ for the group and, a day or so later than expected, the migrants crossed into Tajikistan after the four-hour transit through Uzbekistan,” said Toshbaev. 

“We all breathed a huge sigh of relief – in Kazakhstan, in Uzbekistan and in Tajikistan – as the situation had been getting quite tense. It just shows the value of partnerships and good relations with our host governments. It is something we are always grateful for. Investing in partnerships pays a huge dividend in mini-crises like these.”

He continued: “It’s sometimes tempting to think of these busloads of migrants as just numbers passing by behind darkened windows. But we have to remember that they have lost their jobs, homes and sense of purpose. They face greater risks of being abused, exploited and trafficked due to their increased vulnerability. In the long-term, migrants are also among the most vulnerable to job cuts, limited access to social and medical services and stigmatization both in the countries of destination and origin. We are committed to continue facilitating the voluntary return of those in need and helping them escape from the socio-economic and legal limbo they ended up in due to the pandemic.”

Assistance to the migrants on the border and throughout their journey to Tajikistan was made possible by the joint efforts of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Embassies and Migration Service departments in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan and was supported by the IOM COVID-19 Task Force and a regional IOM initiative funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

For more information, please contact Sanjar Toshbaev at IOM Uzbekistan, Email:, Tel: +998 90998 3326  

Language English Posted: Friday, November 6, 2020 - 13:50Image: Region-Country: UzbekistanThemes: COVID-19Migrants in Vulnerable SituationsDefault: Multimedia: 

The group of stranded migrants at the Zhybek-Zholy border crossing between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Photo: IOM

The group of stranded migrants at the Zhybek-Zholy border crossing between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Photo: IOM 

Looking into Uzbekistan from Kazakhstan where migrants were stranded due to new COVID-19 restrictions. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Welcomes the Launch of Labour Reforms in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Thu, 11/05/2020 - 17:59

Riyadh- The International Organization for Migration (IOM), welcomes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Labour Reform which aims at granting foreign workers more freedom in job mobility and lessening restrictions on exit and re-entry into the Kingdom. These reforms will directly reduce the vulnerability of foreign workers to exploitation and abuse as well as enhance their living and working conditions in Saudi Arabia.  

IOM considers that these reforms could have a tangible impact on the prevention of exploitation and abuse of vulnerable foreign workers in Saudi Arabia.    

“The labour reforms announced in Saudi Arabia are a step in the right direction for the Gulf region that could positively affect millions of foreign workers,” said IOM Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa, Carmela Godeau   

The reforms are a positive signal of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to improving its labour rights regime. Other recent steps include the implementation of the Wages Protection System that ensures equal pay for equal work among men and women, a portal for the digital documentation and authentication of work contracts to ensure transparency, and the launch of the “Wedy” Program for settling labour disputes.   

This reform is in line with fair and ethical recruitment and safeguards that ensure decent work, contributing to Objectives 5 and 6 of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. Once implemented, it holds potential to ultimately maximize the socioeconomic contributions of migrants in both their countries of origin and destination, by strengthening labour migration and fair and ethical recruitment processes and promoting greater opportunities for decent work and respect for international human rights and labour law.  

”This initiative is particularly welcomed at the time of the unfolding global pandemic, which once again acutely demonstrated the challenging situation faced by people on the move. This important step towards enhancing migration governance in Saudi Arabia is a demonstration that labour migration does not stop and improvements can be made during lockdowns and amidst uncertainty, said Monica Goracci, Director of the Department for Migration Management in IOM Geneva.   

The Labour Reform Initiative was launched by the Government of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development on Wednesday 4 November and will enter into force on 14 March 2021. The initiative will be applied to all foreign workers in the private sector in the kingdom.  

For more information please contact: Ghazi Mabrouk at the IOM Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, Email:, Tel: +201011478084 

Language English Posted: Thursday, November 5, 2020 - 17:57Image: Region-Country: Saudi ArabiaThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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

Thu, 11/05/2020 - 16:36

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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

Thu, 11/05/2020 - 06:07

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Local
Categories: PBN

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

Tue, 11/03/2020 - 15:34

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Launches Continental Strategy for Africa 2020-2024

Tue, 11/03/2020 - 14:02

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Mon, 11/02/2020 - 13:56

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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

Fri, 10/30/2020 - 12:42

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Local
Categories: PBN

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

Fri, 10/30/2020 - 12:24

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: IOM

Photo: IOM

Photo: IOM

Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Local
Categories: PBN

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

Fri, 10/30/2020 - 11:13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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

Fri, 10/30/2020 - 04:59

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Deadliest Shipwreck of the Year Claims at Least 140 Lives

Thu, 10/29/2020 - 10:29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Archive photo of the Senegalese coast. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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

Wed, 10/28/2020 - 05:08

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

50 representatives attended the two-day event.

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

Participants discussing emerging issues of migration in groups.

Participants received the certificate upon completion of the training.

Press Release Type: Local
Categories: PBN

UN Findings on Malnutrition in Yemen Raise Concerns Over Displaced Children

Tue, 10/27/2020 - 14:23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

New Central American Campaigns Combat Misinformation about Migration

Tue, 10/27/2020 - 07:25

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

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

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

Two new IOM campaigns are attempting to do just that. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN