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Protecting people from conflict, cyclones and COVID-19 in Mozambique: a UN Resident Coordinator blog

Wed, 09/09/2020 - 07:08

The COVID-19 disease has added to longstanding challenges in Mozambique which have threatened the southern African country’s most vulnerable people. In this blog, the UN Resident Coordinator Myrta Kaulard, with IOM Chief of Mission, Laura Tomm-Bonde, and Samuel Chakwera, UNHCR Resident Representative, explain how the United Nations is supporting national efforts to protect the people of Mozambique from multiple threats

In the town of Montepuez, Cabo Delgado, in northern Mozambique, Zaina, a mother of four, is hosting her elderly mother, sister, and ten nieces and nephews, all of whom fled their villages due to the escalation of violence in the province. Now the relatives live together in Zaina's two-bedroom home and Zaina has welcomed them to stay while they are unable to return.

Normally, Zaina makes and sells popcorn and cakes to support her children. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, street sales are no longer allowed and she is currently seeking alternatives to provide for her household which has grown from five to 17 people. 

The UN Secretary-General, in the Policy Brief: COVID-19 and People on the Move, points out that COVID-19 hits the most vulnerable people the hardest, including refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons (IDPs). They are at increased risk, many having fled conflict and natural disasters, living in potentially crowded conditions in host communities or camps with limited resources to protect themselves, and often with a precarious livelihood.

COVID-19 compounding existing problems

These risks are also present in Mozambique. Just last year, Mozambique experienced two severe cyclones, Idai and Kenneth. As a result of the cyclones, over 100,000 people live now in resettlement sites, and hundreds of thousands more are still recovering. At the same time, drought has affected southern parts of the country while insecurity in the north has displaced over 250,000 people. The health and socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 are worsening these already complex dynamics.

Kiza Onesphor, a 49-year-old refugee and physician from Democratic Republic of the Congo, lives in Maratane Refugee Camp in the Province of Nampula. He was recruited as a Community Health Volunteer, along with other members from the refugee and local communities, to disseminate COVID-19 prevention measures. 

Kiza describes COVID-19 as a bomb for which no one was prepared. He believes the dangers of COVID-19 are not fully understood and aims to expand the understanding and self-protection capacities of around 9,500 refugees and asylum seekers living in Maratane. 

For Zaina, Kiza and their families, COVID-19 is a crisis on the top of other crises. Yet, they share the little they have, demonstrating the power of solidarity and how it is key to defeating COVID-19. Recognizing their contributions, the contributions of people on the move, is very important for COVID-19 response plans to include refugees, asylum seekers, IDPs and host communities.

Together with the Government and partners, the UN is working in full coordination with local and national authorities on harmonizing providing life-saving and life-sustaining assistance for all people living in Mozambique. 

Preventing the virus spreading in displacement camps

When providing humanitarian assistance, the priority is to save lives, ensuring that those who are most vulnerable are protected. To this end, the UN is supporting the national authorities-led health response to COVID-19 in scaling up Mozambique’s preparedness and response operations, especially by helping to prevent the spread of the virus in resettlement, transit and refugee camps; it is also supporting food assistance interventions.

The UN, humanitarian community, Mozambican institutions and partners are coming together and - along with host communities and local leaders – fostering a dialogue on how to strengthen communities’ support networks and resilience. 

Peacebuilding and health education programmes in northern Mozambique are working in communities with large numbers of displaced families, to educate on COVID-19 prevention and promote community dialogue to strengthen social cohesion and mitigate social tensions induced by displacement. The UN is also providing shelter support for displaced families in northern Mozambique, to reduce crowding in host communities, and enable improved adherence to physical distancing precautions. 

We need to prioritize the creation of income-generating opportunities with focus on a recovery process that builds back better. From supporting tailors and community members in resettlement sites and refugee camps to produce hand-made face masks and providing families in resettlement sites with training and equipment to rear chickens and boost their livelihoods, UN Mozambique recognizes and is responding to the need for people on the move and host communities to support themselves and their families during and after the pandemic. 

We need to truly engage communities and harness their power, particularly the power of youth, to successfully trace the path towards a resilient society that can overcome COVID-19, security challenges and support people on the move with lasting peace. It is only through trust building and cohesion that we will be able to continue protecting and empowering people on the move and host communities.

National institutions’ response to contain and prevent the COVID-19 outbreak was swift, focused, and effective in reducing the spread of the disease. Three months after identifying the first case, there are currently over 2,000 cases in Mozambique. This demonstrates the urgency of continued preventive measures against the coronavirus.

UN $103 million appeals

The UN and humanitarian community recently launched two appeals, the COVID-19 Flash Appeal and the Rapid Response Plan for Cabo Delgado, totaling approximately $103 million, to address the most critical needs of millions of people facing severe humanitarian conditions, who would be unable to withstand the health and socio-economic impact of the pandemic, including those who have been displaced by the increasing insecurity in northern Mozambique.

Through these plans, the United Nations and the humanitarian community will continue to support Mozambique with progress toward sustainable development through the COVID-19 response. The UN has joined efforts with the international community to support cohesion in policies and engagement and to complement resource mobilization to provide Mozambique with the vital support needed during the COVID-19 period.

We have done all we could with the resources we had. A lot has been done, but additional efforts and resources are urgently needed. This is a time for true solidarity; a time for partners worldwide to stand together with Mozambique and to help protect the lives of the most vulnerable, to protect the lives of the many Zainas, Kizas and their families across the country. 

The United Nations is committed to continue working together hand in hand with Mozambican institutions and civil society to act and advance the lives of people on the move and the most vulnerable in Mozambique during this crisis and beyond.

Language English Posted: Wednesday, September 9, 2020 - 13:04Image: Region-Country: MozambiqueThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Local
Categories: PBN

Largest Rohingya Group to Arrive in Indonesia Since 2015 Receives Support in North Aceh

Tue, 09/08/2020 - 10:16

North Aceh, Indonesia – After more than seven months stranded at sea under increasingly dire conditions, the largest group of Rohingya refugees to arrive in Indonesia since the Andaman Sea crisis in 2015, are receiving support from local authorities supported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), UNHCR and partners.  

The 296 Rohingya – primarily women and children—landed in northern Aceh early Monday morning (07-09) and are under the care of local authorities. IOM currently is supporting the Government to ensure that all arrivals receive rapid COVID-19 tests, as required by Indonesian authorities. IOM is accompanying that process and assisting in finding suitable and safe accommodations for all.  

This latest arrival follows the 24 June landing of 99 Rohingya, also in northern Aceh. Initial indications, to be confirmed with further interviews, are that Monday’s arrivals are part of that same group, originating from a single ‘mother’ ship that has been at sea for over half the year.  

Speaking to IOM staff, a spokesperson for the group said they had been at sea for over seven months and all reached the larger vessel via smaller boats before setting off for Malaysia.    

A 20-year-old single woman said she had left Balukhali refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, nearly eight months ago with the intention of reaching Malaysia. There she has relatives. She estimated that there were at least 500 people on the larger vessel. She estimated some 30 people, including a very small child, had died over the many months at sea, mainly from various illnesses.   

She added that twice during this period, two groups of people left the ship in small boats: one headed for Indonesia and the other for Malaysia. IOM believes these could be the two boats that landed on 8 June and 24 June, respectively in Langkawi, Malaysia and North Aceh. They were carrying 269 Rohingya to Malaysia and the 99 who landed in North Aceh.   

“I paid Taka 40,000 (approx. USD 2,380) to reach Malaysia where I was supposed to pay additional Ringgit 12,000 (approx. USD 2,880) upon arrival,” one survivor said. “When people died in the boat, I was so afraid and thought that I would also die in the boat. We are so happy to be on land, get off this ship, still alive.”   

A 27-year-old man said he left behind a wife and children in Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, explaining: “I left Bangladesh six months ago, and my destination was Malaysia.”  

He said he left Teknaf, by small boat, together with several more Rohingya. They joined a larger ship out at sea, further corroborating that there were over 500 Rohingyas in the larger vessel.    

“We received meals twice a day – morning and evening – but the rations were very inadequate. Sometimes, we had to fast, due to breakdown in the supply chain. Supplies used to come by fishing boats.”  He said he paid Taka 40,000 (approx. USD 2,380) to get to Malaysia and that his relatives would then pay an additional Taka 250,000 (approx. USD 14,900) in Bangladesh after he had reached Malaysia.    

“As far I know, there are no other Rohingya boats floating in the sea now. I feel very happy to be on the land and alive. I thought, we would not be able to make it,” he said.   

Nenette Motus, the Regional Director for IOM in Asia and the Pacific said, “These latest arrivals highlight the urgent need to continue to monitor and support safe disembarkation for refugees and migrants. We must avoid at all costs, unnecessary death at sea by implementing clear mechanisms for the international community to ensure that we have the necessary support for the safety and security of all who need support.”  

Louis Hoffmann, IOM Chief of Mission in Indonesia, commended the efforts of the Government, local authorities and agencies and most of all, the people of North Aceh, who had once again welcomed the Rohingya. “There have been indications of more people at sea for some time now, and amid the challenges of fighting the coronavirus pandemic, there has been some concern that people be able to disembark and be provided the protection and assistance they need,” said Hoffmann.   

He added, “For the second time in the past few months, IOM applauds the government and local community in Indonesia for reaching out, in humanitarian spirit, and not only providing a welcome door but also sustaining assistance to those who have needed protection. We are very pleased to see this latest group safe on land and receiving the care they need.”   

Hoffmann reiterated IOM’s commitment to assisting the government with these needs, starting with health screening alongside local authorities. “We will continue to work with partners to ensure shelter, water, and core needs are met in the coming days,” Hoffmann said.  

IOM’s emergency response to support the Rohingya in Aceh is funded by the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) and the US Department of State Population, Refugees, and Migration.  

For more information, please contact Patrik Shirak, at IOM Indonesia, Tel: +622157951275, Email: or Itayi Viriri at IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Tel: +63 917 890 8785, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 8, 2020 - 16:29Image: Region-Country: IndonesiaThemes: Rohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM, UNHCR and partners providing support to 296 Rohingya – primarily women and children – landed in northern Aceh early yesterday morning (07-09). Photo: IOM 

The group receiving rapid COVID-19 tests as required by Indonesian authorities. Photo: IOM 

IOM supporting local authorities to provide to care to 296 Rohingya in northern Aceh, Indonesia. Photo: IOM 

The vessel that carried the 296 Rohingya to nothern Aceh after over 7 months at sea. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

African Development Bank to Engage Burundian Diaspora in Tackling Youth Unemployment

Tue, 09/08/2020 - 07:25

Bujumbura – For many migrant-sending countries in Africa, the diaspora is a source of remittances, knowledge, skills and investment. Burundi is the latest country seeking to harness the potential of some half million nationals residing today in nearby countries, as well as many outside Africa.   

A pilot project by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) is designed to contribute to reducing youth unemployment by tapping into the skills of the Burundian diaspora located mainly in the East African Community region, followed by the United States, Canada and Europe.    

The two-year initiative is the first project funded by the AfDB in Burundi. The project’s innovative approach consists of temporarily linking diaspora members to youth and the private sector in the country of origin. 

“This project aims to integrate the skills of the diaspora into the general development of Burundi, emphasizing the transfer of knowledge and exchange of experience in all its forms,” said Ambassador Albert Shingiro, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation.   

The project plans to bring together experts from the Burundian diaspora, 450 youth, the private sector and the government for the development of skills in current and emerging economic sectors in Burundi that will be identified through a market study.  

Burundi’s agricultural sector, which provides livelihoods for most of Burundi’s 12 million citizens, is increasingly impacted by urban sprawl due to population growth, leading to the rapid reduction of arable land. Farming no longer can employ the many job seekers entering local labour markets each year.  

Diversifying employment opportunities – to include, for example, computer and office skills, marketing and hospitality – and introducing new technologies is therefore critical, not least in ensuring sustainable livelihood opportunities for young people.  

The pilot will begin with a basic assessment of needs and some market research on emerging opportunities in two targeted provinces in Burundi as well as a mapping of the Burundian diaspora in two countries. These will be selected based on findings from research conducted during the initial phase of the project.   

“By combining a mentoring programme with the involvement of successful national and international entrepreneurs in Burundi and members of the diaspora population abroad, a global support network will be established for the beneficiaries,” said Mireille Mugisha, Migration Management Coordinator at IOM Burundi. 

The youth involved in this initiative will benefit from the unique expertise of 12 diaspora trainers with advanced knowledge in business management and other specific professional fields, who will return to Burundi to participate in specialized courses.  

Also planned is the selection of 20 additional members of the diaspora who will serve remotely as mentors through an online platform. Nearly 70 others will be key players in consultations with the government to strengthen diaspora involvement in the implementation of Burundi’s National Development Plan (2018-2027).   

Current projections are for at least 450 youth to begin training. Those who choose to start small- and medium-sized enterprises will be supported to do so. The remaining youth will seek placement in participating enterprises through apprenticeships.  

AfDB representative Abdoulaye Konaté explained that the project comes as part of a broader initiative within the bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy (2016-25). Its aim is to spur inclusive economic growth, with the specific goal of creating 25 million direct and indirect jobs while also equipping 50 million youth with employable skills within 10 years (2016–2025).  

Ali Abdi, the Chief of Mission of IOM Burundi, noted that tackling unemployment, particularly youth and women unemployment, is also part of IOM’s mandate. “IOM has developed a regional strategy to support member states in addressing challenges related to youth well-being and unemployment to ensure that migration can benefit both countries of origin and destination of migrants,” Abdi said.  

For more information, please contact Mireille Mugisha at IOM Burundi, Tel: +257 79 99 99 16, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 8, 2020 - 16:25Image: Region-Country: BurundiThemes: Migration and YouthDefault: Multimedia: 

More than 450 youth will benefit from the initiative in two of Burundi’s provinces, Bujumbura Mairie and Gitega. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM and Niger’s Civil Protection Rescue 83 Migrants in Distress in the Sahara Desert

Tue, 09/08/2020 - 05:39

Niamey – IOM’s Search and Rescue (SAR) team operating in Niger’s northern Agadez region on 3 September rescued 83 migrants in distress. IOM worked in collaboration with the General Directorate for Civil Protection (DGPC) in Niger, with support from the European Union.  

The rescue took place in a remote stretch of the searing Sahara Desert, where temperatures frequently surpass 38° Celsius (100° Fahrenheit) and where hundreds of migrants are believed to have perished from dehydration, vehicle accidents and assault in recent years.   

The migrants IOM rescued had been bound for Libya. They included 42 males – mostly Nigerian, but also several from Togo, Mali and Ghana – as well as 41 Nigerian females, including twin 4-year-old girls.   

A week prior, in the transit town of Agadez, the group boarded four pickup trucks taking alternative routes towards Libya to avoid detection by law enforcement and security forces. Witnesses from among those rescued told IOM staff that last Tuesday (1/09), their smugglers made a stopover some 230 km north of Dirkou, another Sahara crossroad.  

It is a common occurrence for vehicles carrying migrants to break down in the desert and for smugglers to get lost or abandon their passengers fearing checkpoints or military patrols.  

After leaving Dirkou, witnesses explained the smugglers spotted military vehicles on the road up ahead and feared the authorities had spotted them and their migrant cargo. Rather than risk arrest, the migrants explained, their four drivers abandoned their passengers, after first taking all their belongings.   

“We were stranded for three days without food or water. We searched for water, but all we found were dirty wells used by livestock. So, we were not able to drink at all,” recalled one witness, 25-year-old “Dennis”, from Nigeria. “People were collapsing left and right. I started crying when I saw the cars approaching, hoping help was coming.”  

When the rescue team found the group, many were dehydrated, injured and in need of immediate medical assistance.  

After receiving water, food and medical care, the migrants were transported to a COVID-19 confinement site in Dirkou where they will undergo a 14-day quarantine period. Seven migrants are currently being medically assisted at the health centre in Dirkou.  

After their two-week quarantine ends, migrants who wish to return to their country of origin can opt to move to IOM’s transit centre in Dirkou and join the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme, implemented under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.  

IOM and the DGPC have been conducting joint SAR missions in Dirkou since 2016. SAR operations around the cities of Agadez and Dirkou are crucial given the dangerous desert conditions.  At regular intervals, teams are dispatched on migration routes to search for migrants in distress.  

Given the vastness of the Agadez region which spans 703,000 km² – desert, for the most part – finding and reaching migrants in distress can be a daunting task. On these routes, migrants and SAR teams are exposed to many challenges, such as scorching temperatures, poor road conditions and a volatile security context.  

“The migrants rescued last Thursday were found in an isolated place far from any form of life,” said Boubacar Djaram, Mayor of Dirkou. “Without this collaboration between IOM and Civil Protection, these people would have perished without a trace.”   

IOM deploys community mobilizers in strategic locations along the main migration crossroads in Niger to sensitize migrants about irregular migration. They work on the frontlines during SAR operations, assisting migrants with food, water, first aid and information about quarantine, transit centres and AVRR.  

“Participating in SAR operations is one of our most important tasks,” said Tijani Boukary, IOM community mobilizer in Dirkou. “Our commitment to migrants goes far beyond disseminating information; we get involved wherever we are needed, even if that means working in insecure contexts.”  

So far in 2020, 321 migrants have been assisted through SAR operations in Agadez and Dirkou. Since 2016, 1,793 stranded migrants have been rescued in Niger’s Ténéré Desert through joint operations organized by Niger’s Civil Protection, local authorities and IOM.   

“It is impossible to know how many migrants have died attempting to cross the Sahara. Many bodies are buried during sandstorms, never to be found again,” said Barbara Rijks, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Niger. “With support from our partners, IOM and the Government of Niger are making extraordinary efforts to ensure that these life-saving operations can reach migrants in distress in a timely manner.”  

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac at IOM Niger, Tel: +227 8931 8764, Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 8, 2020 - 16:30Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Migrants in Vulnerable SituationsDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM’s community mobilizers participated in the Search and Rescue operation organized on 3 September, which brought 83 migrants to safety. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

ICS, UNHCR and IOM call on States to end humanitarian crisis onboard ship in the Mediterranean

Mon, 09/07/2020 - 11:23


Joint Press Release


ICS, the International Chamber of Shipping, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are calling for the immediate disembarkation of 27 rescued people trapped onboard a cargo ship. The distraught group, including one child and a pregnant woman, have now been onboard the Maersk Etienne for more than one month.  

Governments have been refusing permission for the ship’s Master to disembark the migrants and refugees who fled Libya, in contravention of international law. The ship’s crew have been sharing food, water and blankets with those rescued. They are however not trained or able to provide medical assistance to those who need it. A commercial vessel is not a safe environment for these vulnerable people and they must be immediately brought to a safe port. 

In a letter to the organization’s Secretary General, the International Chamber of Shipping has called on the International Maritime Organization to urgently intervene and “send a clear message that States must ensure that Maritime Search and Rescue incidents are resolved in accordance with the letter and spirit of international law.” 

International law and maritime conventions place clear obligations on ships and coastal States to ensure people in distress are rescued and promptly disembarked in a place of safety. The Maersk Etienne fulfilled its responsibilities, but now finds itself in a diplomatic game of pass the parcel.  

“The absence of a clear, safe, and predictable disembarkation mechanism for people rescued in the Mediterranean, continues to pose avoidable risk to life,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino.  

“IOM and UNHCR have long called on states to move away from the current ad hoc approach and establish a scheme whereby coastal states take equal responsibility in providing a port of safety, followed by a show of solidarity from other EU member states.” 

“The conditions are rapidly deteriorating onboard, and we can no longer sit by while governments ignore the plight of these people,” said Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping. “This is not the first time that this has happened, and we need governments to live up to their obligations. Time is running out and the responsibility for these people’s safety and security rests squarely with government ministers. This is not COVID related; this is a humanitarian issue pure and simple.” 

 “The shipping industry takes its legal and humanitarian obligations to assist people in distress at sea extremely seriously, and has worked hard to ensure that ships are as prepared as they can be when presented with the prospect of large-scale rescues at sea. However, merchant vessels are not designed or equipped for this purpose, and States need to play their part,” said Platten.  

 “Rescue at sea is a basic humanitarian imperative”, said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.  “The Maersk Étienne has fulfilled its maritime obligations and prevented further death in the Mediterranean. The EU and its Member States must now do their part to complete this life saving rescue by allowing those rescued to be disembarked, and should also show some solidarity amongst states, particularly through an effective and predictable relocation mechanism.” 

The Maersk Etienne is the third incident this year in which a merchant vessel has been stranded caring for people rescued at sea. In May, the Marina was delayed for six days with some 80 rescued people on board before being able to disembark, while in July, the Talia took four days out of its scheduled journey to care for 50 people who were finally allowed to disembark in a place of safety after 4 days. This latest incident represents a significant escalation of the situation.

Notes to Editor 

About ICS 

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is the principal international trade association for merchant shipowners and operators, representing all sectors and trades and over 80% of the world merchant fleet. 

Media Enquiries: 

ICS: Duncan Bray 

Tel.: +44 797 222 4445 in UK office hours or +44 (0) 208 638 8753 out of office hours  


About IOM

The International Organization for Migration/ UN 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. 

IOM works to help ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, refugees and internally displaced people. 

Media Contact: In Geneva Safa Msehli, +41794035526,  

About UNHCR 

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, leads international action to protect people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. We deliver life-saving assistance like shelter, food and water, help safeguard fundamental human rights, and develop solutions that ensure people have a safe place to call home where they can build a better future. We also work to ensure that stateless people are granted a nationality. 

UNHCR media contact in Geneva: Charlie Yaxley, +41 79 580 8702  


The Maersk Tankers press office contact is:  Kis Søgaard:  


Language English Posted: Monday, September 7, 2020 - 11:16Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia: 

Archive Photo/IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Releases Guidelines for Labour Recruiters of Migrant Domestic Workers

Fri, 09/04/2020 - 08:28

Geneva – Globally, there are more than 67 million domestic workers over the age of 15. Eighty per cent are women; one in five is a migrant worker.  

Migrant domestic workers often are left out of global efforts to engage private sector employers and encourage increased accountability and protection of employees in operations and supply chains. Due to the hidden nature of their work in private households, migrant domestic workers are harder to reach, and more vulnerable to mistreatment. 

This week, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is releasing guidelines for labour recruiters on ethical recruitment, decent work and access to remedy mistreatment of migrant domestic workers.   

With an estimated 260,000 private recruitment agencies spread over the globe, labour actors continue to shape the migration experiences of migrant workers. They can at the same time also play a decisive role in addressing the unique challenges faced by migrant domestic workers in their recruitment journey.  

The intersection of gender, race, religions and other factors combine to create a unique mode of discrimination for these migrants, and not only in the workplace. Abuse also occurs during recruitment. All over the world, persistent (and fraudulent) abusive recruitment practices put migrant domestic workers into exploitative situations before they even have begun to work in an employer’s household. 

In response, IOM has developed the Guidelines for Labour Recruiters on Ethical Recruitment, Decent Work, Access to Remedy of Migrant Domestic Workers. The guidelines have been informed by existing international labour standards and related International Labour Organization instruments, including the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (C189) and Domestic Workers Recommendation, 2011 (R201).  

Structurally, the guidelines are derived from the International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS) Standard, developed by IOM through extensive multi-stakeholder consultation process; and follow the seven IRIS principles, offering special guidance and best practices tailored for the migrant domestic workers’ recruitment industry.  

“It is more important than ever for labour recruiters to uphold international ethical recruitment standards during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marina Manke, Head of the IOM Labour Mobility and Human Development Division, Department of Migration Management. “By providing concrete, operational guidance to labour recruiters and highlighting good practices, the guidelines support labour actors to establish and implement policies to assure the rights of migrant domestic workers during the recruitment process,” Manke added.  

The guidelines have three chapters which provide an overview of the risks facing domestic workers, outline the responsibilities of labour recruiters and set forth operational guidelines on ethical recruitment, decent work and access to remedy based on the IRIS Standard.  

The guidelines will be translated into multiple languages for wider usage. 

Download the Guidelines for Labour Recruiters on Ethical Recruitment, Decent Work and Access to Remedy for Migrant Domestic Workers 

For more information, please contact Itayi Viriri at IOM’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Tel: +63 916 237 0574, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, September 4, 2020 - 12:57Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Returned Bangladeshi migrant domestic workers who participated in an IOM focus group interview for a feasibility study on the abolishment of recruitment fees (Summer 2019 - consent from workers confirmed). © IOM 

Representative of a Private Recruitment Agency in Hong Kong SAR, China participating in an IOM IRIS Introductory Training (December 2019). © IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

European Union Joins IOM to Aid Households Affected by Desert Locust Infestation

Fri, 09/04/2020 - 08:23

Addis Ababa – In Ethiopia, an infestation of desert locusts is inflicting untold damage to crops, leading to a deterioration of the food security situation and an additional threat to livelihoods. 

This summer, IOM has positioned itself to assist thousands of people affected by a severe outbreak of desert locusts in some regions. Over the next four months, 7,500 households – or approximately 45,000 individuals – will receive cash grants to buy food and other essentials in the affected regions of Oromia and Somali. They need this aid for their very survival. 

Described by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as “the most destructive migratory pest in the world,” desert locusts are currently destroying tens of thousands of hectares of crops, grazing land and forests in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Yemen.   

Ethiopia is now at the epicentre of these large swarms that arrived at the end of 2019 in an outbreak reported to be the worst in decades.  

“Thick clouds of ravenous insects have invaded Borena in Oromia region, at the border with Kenya, where they are devouring large quantities of vegetation, crops, pasture and fodder, and causing widespread damage to the environment,” said Ester Ruiz De Azua, Emergency and Post-Crisis Coordinator for IOM Ethiopia. “They are threatening drinking points for livestock and even invading homes.”   

The World Bank warns that, without broad scale control, conservative estimates for locust-related losses including for staple crops, livestock production and asset damages could reach USD 8.5 billion for countries in the wider East Africa region, Djibouti and Yemen.    

Moreover, with the locusts spreading in cycles, a recent re-escalation means the most affected regions and zones of the country will remain under this menace until at least the end of this year.  

This has worsened the situation for communities already affected by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, insecurity and displacement due to communal violence and strained access to food, leaving the most vulnerable facing poverty and hunger. 

As a result, some people have abandoned their homes and sought temporary refuge in other kebeles (wards) of the zone. 

While response teams conduct locust-control operations, IOM – working with the government and the country’s Cash Working Group – has begun implementing a food security and livelihoods project that will extend multi-purpose cash grants to the most affected. 

“In response to a call by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) for immediate action to address the Desert Locust infestation in Ethiopia, IOM mobilized its teams to support the government's efforts to address the economic impact of the invasion for the most vulnerable population already dealing with the consequences of previous and ongoing natural disasters,”  explained Maureen Achieng, IOM Chief of Mission to Ethiopia and Representative to the African Union (AU) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).  

The multi-purpose cash grants to support livelihoods of most vulnerable locust-affected populations is funded by the European Union’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Department (ECHO) through a EUR 2 million facility.  

"The EU has been committed to support efforts to address the desert locust infestation not only in Ethiopia but also in the Horn of Africa,” says Yassine Gaba, the Head of Office of the EU Humanitarian Aid in Ethiopia. “We are confident that this support to IOM will address immediate needs of the most vulnerable, whose livelihoods have been adversely affected by the desert locusts.” 

The cash grants will primarily address people’s immediate food needs, based on the food basket set by the government, while supporting water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education and shelter needs.  

Amounting to ETB 1,500 (approximately USD 40) per household each month for over four months, the cash transfers are unconditional and will be handled through financial service providers such as the Ethiopian Postal Services (EPS) and Somali Microfinance Institution (SMFI).  

The transfer value is based on a minimum expenditure basket (MEB) set by the Cash Working Group and by the government’s National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC). These values were determined after a rapid assessment conducted to monitor consumer market prices. 

The next step before the start of cash disbursements: identifying deserving beneficiaries. There, government and community leaders will play an important part before distribution starts in coming weeks.  

As part of the project, IOM will work with REACH/IMPACT Initiatives to establish a price monitoring system that will continuously track the supply and costs for basic household items in local markets. 

The European Union is also supporting other IOM interventions in Ethiopia since April 2019, through a USD 10 million grant. These include provision of shelter and non-food items to vulnerable displaced people, including those displaced by floods in 2019, site management support, and construction of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.  

It has also supported development of IOM Ethiopia’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) products that are distributed to over 60 organizations, as well as the registration, profiling and provision of onward transportation assistance to thousands of returnee migrants from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

About EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid 

The European Union and its Member States are the world's leading donor of humanitarian aid.  Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity with people in need all around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises.  

Through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian aid Operations department (ECHO), the European Union helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the EU provides assistance to the most vulnerable people based on humanitarian need. 

For more information, please contact, at IOM Ethiopia: Eric Mazango, Email:, or Krizia Kaye Viray, Email:   

On EU Humanitarian Aid: Mathias Eick, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, September 4, 2020 - 12:59Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Swarms of desert locust in some regions of Ethiopia caused widespread damage to livelihood, livestock and even homes. Credits: IOM 2020 

Swarms of desert locust in some regions of Ethiopia caused widespread damage to livelihood, livestock and even homes. Credits: IOM 2020 

 IOM teams assess affected areas in Ethiopia’s Somali region where desert locusts have caused huge destruction. Credits: Mohamud Omer/ IOM 2020

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Supports Unicord's Commitment to Fair Labour in the Seafood industry

Fri, 09/04/2020 - 08:15

Bangkok – Since 2019, Unicord, a tuna processing company, has committed to better protect migrant workers in its supply chains in Thailand from unethical recruitment and labour exploitation. A major subsidiary of the SeaValue Group, a global seafood processor and trader, Unicord joins businesses already engaging with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) towards strengthening ethical recruitment and decent work in their operations.  

Through the partnership, IOM provided support on how to comply with national laws and international fair labour standards and helped the company to implement better management systems to ensure that workers are recruited ethically. 

“The partnership with IOM is of immense social and economic value. It enables us to enhance the safety and fairness of our working environment throughout our operations. We can monitor our supply chain and ensure we do not break any national or international standards. This allows us to deliver higher quality products and protect migrant workers at the same time,” said Amornphan Aramwatananont, Senior Vice President at SeaValue. 

More than half of all workers in the Thai seafood industry are migrants. While migrant workers are key contributors to the sector’s productivity, they also face risks of abuse and exploitation. To address the risks to migrant workers, IOM and Unicord have agreed to partner to promote safe and fair working conditions for those employed in the fisheries industry.  

Through a series of IOM webinars and support, Unicord has increased capacity to independently monitor the recruitment and employment practices within its operations and supply chains, to the benefit of migrant workers, as well as its business and corporate reputation.  

In July and August 2019, Unicord representatives participated in an IOM training on Promoting Ethical Recruitment and Fair Labour practices, along with almost 100 Thai businesses. Unicord also participated in the National Forum on Directions in the Implementation of Solutions to Address Forced Labour, which was organized by IOM and brought together 246 representatives from Thai Government bodies, civil society organizations, private sector actors and international organizations. During the forum, participants developed a common understanding on the implementation of new Thai laws to combat forced labour and human trafficking. 

This engagement is part of part of IOM’s Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking (CREST) initiative, which is a regional partnership that aims to realize the potential of business to uphold the human and labour rights of migrant workers in their operations and supply chains. 

Through its direct partnerships with private companies, IOM provides strategic and practical solutions tailored to partners’ needs and supports longer term sustainable change to better uphold the labour and human rights of migrant workers through ethical recruitment channels, transparent employment terms and conditions, sustainable and inclusive supply chains.  

For more information, please contact IOM at

Language English Posted: Friday, September 4, 2020 - 12:26Image: Region-Country: ThailandThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM training session on ethical recruitment for Unicord representatives. Photo: IOM 

IOM training session on ethical recruitment for Unicord representatives. Photo: IOM 

IOM training session on ethical recruitment for Unicord representatives. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM-led Consortium Provides Emergency Aid to Flood-affected Families in Pakistan’s Sindh Province

Fri, 09/04/2020 - 06:31

Sindh Province – The International Organization for Migration-led Natural Disaster Consortium (NDC) has this week initiated emergency response in the flood-affected districts of Pakistan’s Sindh Province by providing aid to 1,540 people in Hyderabad.  

The current monsoon spell that started in the second week of August has caused widespread flooding and has led to extensive human and infrastructure damage across many parts of Pakistan. The provinces of Sindh and Balochistan—and the District Chitral in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa—have been most adversely affected by the heavy rainfall.  

The NDC is providing emergency aid to flood-affected families in the most affected areas of Sanghar, Umerkot, Badin, Hyderabad and Mirpur Khas in Sindh under the Multi Year Humanitarian Programme (MYHP) funded by the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).  

To respond to the immediate needs of affected families, two NDC partners—Health and Nutrition Development Society (HANDS) and the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED)--have identified extremely vulnerable households for assistance and transported those emergency stocks available to the affected areas.  

“As part of the ongoing emergency response in the affected districts of Sindh, NDC partners have also conducted rapid need assessments (RNAs) in the affected areas in Sindh and Balochistan. Results of these assessments will inform a more comprehensive plan of intervention that NDC will develop in the coming weeks, mobilizing additional resources for the response activities addressing the needs identified on the ground,” said Mio Sato, IOM Chief of Mission in Pakistan.   

The emergency stock from Karachi and Kashomre was transported to four flood-affected districts of Sanghar, Mirpur Khas, Badin and Umerkot. As part of this immediate response, the NDC has so far assisted 1,096 households in Sindh.  

HANDS distributed 220 hygiene kits among affected people in Hyderabad from 29 August through 1 September. This was much-needed assistance, especially for women in the communities struggling with the immediate aftermath of heavy rains and floods.   

One woman, Halima, from the Muhalla Liaquat Ashraf Colony in Hyderabad district, described the situation in her village: “Our lives have turned upside down due to these heavy rains, but the support from the UK through NDC and HANDS has been a beacon of hope.” 

ACTED distributed 898 hygiene kits, 450 tarpaulin sheets and 37 tarpaulin rolls in Umerkot, Mirpur Khas and Badin among affected people this week (01-02/09). UNICEF, another NDC partner, has also committed to contribute additional stock as the response proceeds. 

The NDC, which is comprised of IOM, FAO, UNICEF, HANDS, WHO and ACTED was established in 2015 with the goal of assisting at-risk and affected communities to prepare for, respond to and recover from natural disasters in Pakistan.  

For more information, please contact Suzana Paklar, IOM Pakistan at Tel: +92 (0) 300 5005862, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, September 4, 2020 - 12:58Image: Region-Country: PakistanThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Distribution of emergency aid in Muhalla Liaquat Ashraf Colony and American Quarter in Hyderabad district, Sindh Province. Photo: NDC 

Distribution of emergency aid in Muhalla Liaquat Ashraf Colony and American Quarter in Hyderabad district, Sindh Province. Photo: NDC 

Distribution of emergency aid in Muhalla Liaquat Ashraf Colony and American Quarter in Hyderabad district, Sindh Province. Photo: NDC 

Distribution of emergency aid in Muhalla Liaquat Ashraf Colony and American Quarter in Hyderabad district, Sindh Province. Photo: NDC 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Resettlement to France Resumes as Syrian Refugees Arrive from Lebanon with IOM Support

Fri, 09/04/2020 - 05:36

Paris – Nearly 300 Syrian refugees – including 113 children – have left Lebanon and arrived safely in Europe over the past week through France’s national resettlement programme. The refugees traveled via two chartered resettlement flights organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in cooperation with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the government of France.  

Yesterday (3 September), 147 Syrian refugees accompanied by IOM staff flew safely from Beirut to Paris. This follows the safe arrival of 137 Syrian refugees to France on 27 August, or just over 50 families. 

The two charter flights mark the resumption of resettlement movements from Lebanon under a programme funded by the French Ministry of Interior. Resettlement flights had been put on hold temporarily in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.     

“After many months of uncertainty, we are very pleased to see the successful resumption of resettlement activities,” said Sara Abbas, Head of IOM’s Office in France. “The fact that these two movements were carried out in these challenging times is a tribute to the engagement and coordination of all parties involved, both in France and in Lebanon.”  

Added IOM Lebanon's Head of Office, Fawzi Alzioud: “These resettlement flights took place only a few weeks after the horrific blasts that shook Beirut, and which profoundly impacted many refugees including some of those recently resettled to France. This highlights the resilience and commitment of humanitarian staff who have continued to successfully carry out their work even in the midst of this disaster.”  

In addition to the flight, IOM in Lebanon helped prepare the refugees’ early integration with pre-departure orientation sessions, organized in line with physical distancing measures, as well as medical examinations and subsequent care and additional logistical support. 

IOM in France assisted the refugees upon their arrival in Paris, collaborating with relevant authorities, NGOs and accommodation providers. IOM also helped organize secondary transportation.  

The newly resettled refugees were welcomed by French NGOs and are being accommodated in different regions around the country. Social workers will support settlement into their new environment throughout the first year with housing. They will also help the refugees access rights and medical care, while acquiring the tools for successful integration in France.    

Resettlement remains a life-saving tool for many refugees. The temporary hold on resettlement travel—necessitated by disruptions and restrictions to international air travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic—delayed departures of some 10,000 refugees to resettlement countries.  

Throughout this period, IOM, UNHCR and partners continued to process and counsel refugees and resettled scores of emergency and urgent cases.  

For more information, please contact Kay Lowther at IOM France, Tel: +33 1 40 44 06 91, Email:  or Angela Wells, IOM Public Information Officer for the Department of Operations and Emergencies in Geneva, Email:, Phone: +41 79 403 50365 

Language English Posted: Friday, September 4, 2020 - 13:00Image: Region-Country: FranceThemes: ResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

Nearly 300 refugees have embarked on resettlement flights to France since the Beirut explosions on 4 August. Photo: IOM/Muse Mohammed. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Lao Ministry of Public Security Led Points of Entry Mapping Assessment

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 10:33

Vientiane – On 28 August 2020, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Department of Immigration (DOI), Ministry of Public Security (MoPS) conducted a rapid assessment at two Points of Entry (PoE) in Vientiane Capital.

Nine representatives from IOM and DOI visited the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I and the Wattay International Airport (VTE) to observe the operational procedures and processes in border management amid COVID-19. The team assessed the capacities of existing infrastructure, personnel and discussed best practice and future plans under the project, to better protect travellers, frontline officials, and ensure safe and effective immigration and border management.

During the visit, IOM observed both inbound and outbound processes and flow to collect first-hand information on how to strengthen surveillance. COVID-19 detection and prevention mechanisms were in place at the Friendship Bridge and airport, while more resources are needed to enhance PoE capacities in handling larger numbers of returnees.

The team also met with PoE authorities to better understand their needs and discuss how the project can best support in addressing challenges arising under the current and future pandemics. Khamphone Thepphavanh, Chief of Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I, thanked IOM for the support and was eager to see upcoming collaborations.

The findings of this assessment will be used to support the development of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for frontline border officials in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the development of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials for incoming and outgoing passengers, and address personal protective equipment (PPE) and infrastructure needs at PoEs.

IOM has been monitoring the large number of migrants returning across the region. The pandemic has significantly changed 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: Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - 16:28Image: Region-Country: Lao People’s Democratic RepublicThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

Representatives from IOM and MoPS conducting a rapid assessment at the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge.

The team walked through the passages of travellers arriving at Wattay International Airport.

IOM and DOI met with POE authorities to better understand the situation.

Press Release Type: Local
Categories: PBN

IOM Launches Report on Durable Solutions for Indigenous Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 10:20

Brazil – More than 5,000 indigenous refugees and migrants from Venezuela have arrived in Brazil since 2017, posing significant challenges to the public officials and humanitarian workers dealing with the flow.

Brazil has emerged as the regional leader in the humanitarian response for indigenous refugees and migrants from Venezuela. Now Brazil is facing the challenge of putting long-term policies into action for this newly arrived population.

Taking stock of the Brazilian experience, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is launching the first-ever study on durable solutions for indigenous Venezuelan refugees and migrants.

The report Durable Solutions for Indigenous Migrants and Refugees in the Context of the Venezuelan Flow in Brazil, released in English and Portuguese, assesses the three traditional types of durable solutions: voluntary return, resettlement, and local integration, to propose a unique, culturally appropriate approach to be applied to the Brazilian case.

One of the report's main recommendations is to inform and consult indigenous people before acting. Professor Elaine Moreira, an anthropologist from Brasilia University who served as principal investigator during the research, emphasized "this study would not be possible without the participation, trust and support from the indigenous people who share their world views, needs, and perspectives on the migration flow."

To better appreciate what the indigenous from Venezuela understand to be a "durable solution,"—and what kind of public policy should be tailored to address their needs—IOM has promoted rounds of consultation with the three indigenous peoples in the cities of Pacaraima, Boa Vista, and Manaus. The testimonials of the indigenous Venezuelan refugees and migrants are collected and shared along with the report chapters.

"One of the main lessons learned is that each indigenous people needs different long-term solutions," explained Marcelo Torelly, IOM's partnerships and cooperation coordinator in Brazil.

He was referring to the three prominent peoples' movements: the Warao people, who represent 65 per cent of all the indigenous Venezuelans in Brazil, yet who are culturally different from the Pémon people (30% of the total) and the Eñepa (5%).

While Waraos are urban indigenous peoples, the Pémon and Eñepa live in rural areas. Moreover, the Pémon people have familiar links to the Taurepang people who live in protected lands in Northern Brazil.

"This means that in one case, we can reinforce existing public policies to the indigenous people coming to live with their foreign brothers that are historically settled while in other cases brand new initiatives must be designed to assist a population with no historic ties to Brazil," added Torelly.

With the report, IOM aims to contribute to the global discussion on creating culturally appropriate public policies to indigenous peoples in displacement and the local debate in Brazil and the region on how to move from emergency policies to long-term policies.

Evaluating the report conclusions was Erika Yamada, of UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. She emphasizes that "the discussion on shelters exit strategies and the importance of prior consultation is especially relevant to allow those indigenous from Venezuela to take an informed decision, mainly in current pandemic context when governments and societies must work together to protect the indigenous peoples’ life."

The study concludes with 25 recommendations in six primary areas: recognition of indigenous condition, documentation and community reinforcement; institutional aspects of governance and dialogue; shelter reception and exit strategies; access to education; access to health, and social assistance.

This initiative is possible thanks to the financial support of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) of the Department of State of the United States. The report is available in the IOM Online Bookstore and can be downloaded (English version) here.

For more information, please contact Juliana Hack at IOM Brazil, Tel: +55 61 3771 3772, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - 12:57Image: Region-Country: BrazilThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Venezuelan Indigenous Warao in Brazil ©IOM/ Bruno Mancienelle. 

Pemón child drawing representing her homeland. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Supports COVID-19 Quarantine Facilities Across East and Horn of Africa

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 10:07

Nairobi – Tens of thousands of migrants who have managed to return in recent months to their countries of origin across the East and Horn of Africa have received assistance from IOM in government-operated COVID-19 quarantine facilities. Among these are more than 2,000 children.

IOM strongly advocates for the inclusion of all migrants, regardless of their nationality or migratory status, in all national COVID-19 response plans, including measures being introduced to mitigate the economic

downturns, ensuring that they have access to information, health services, shelter, food and other social support systems.

With this background, IOM’s support for quarantine centres has been a key factor in assisting national authorities in the region in their response to the pandemic. IOM stands ready, in partnership with other UN agencies and stakeholders, to continue to support governments and ensure protection and assistance to migrants globally in all efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

In Ethiopia – which has the highest number of migrants from the region – more than 28,000 have returned from Djibouti, Sudan, Somalia and Kenya since the outbreak of COVID-19. Many also have returned from as far away as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Young Ethiopian migrants are among those caught up in COVID-19 air, land and sea border closures within transit and destination countries. Most of these migrants have gone through quarantine facilities in Addis Ababa and the different regions. IOM Ethiopia’s quarantine facility assistance is being done in coordination with UN organizations, NGOs and other humanitarian partners.

“Building the capacities of the quarantine facilities is critical to supporting COVID-19 response efforts and ensuring the needs of migrants are met, many of whose vulnerabilities have been heightened due to their difficult journeys,” said Malambo Moonga, Migration Management Programme Head at IOM Ethiopia.

This has meant the supply of thousands of pieces of essential items including food, blankets, wash basins, diapers, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), such as face masks, visors and gloves for migrants.

In neighboring Djibouti – traditionally a transit country for tens of thousands of Ethiopian migrants bound for work in the Middle East – IOM currently is providing support to 167 migrants at the Ar-Aoussa quarantine site in Ali Sabieh, which lies about 10 kilometres from Djibouti’s border with Ethiopia. That site, managed by the National Office for Assistance to Refugees and Disaster Victims, has hosted over 2,500 migrants since it opened this past April.

IOM supported the Djiboutian authorities who designed and operate the site, while providing two “rub” halls (pop-up structures designed to handle large groups of migrants), four multi-purpose tents and 109 family tents to the camp.

Additionally, IOM is providing water, food, clothing and hygiene kits, as well as medical care and counselling to those who may have experienced trauma during their dangerous journeys before arriving at the quarantine sites.

Indeed, many migrants hosted in Ar-Aoussa today are returning from Yemen or Saudi Arabia. Despite the difficulties they face, many migrants in Djibouti’s quarantine centres continue to be targets of people smugglers who look to profit for their efforts to go home, or else renew their journeys to the Middle East.

“The quarantine site in Djibouti was set up to reinforce the capacity of the Djiboutian government to protect migrants from COVID-19 and to allow for their safe and dignified returns while preserving the population in Ethiopia,” explained Stéphanie Daviot, IOM Chief of Mission, Djibouti.

In Kenya, IOM is supporting the Ministry of Health through the management of ten government quarantine centres since March, with surveillance of COVID-19 and data collection. One site has been dedicated to

serve other UN colleagues and their families who are required to quarantine as per the government’s directive.

All told, IOM is serving over 1,500 individuals. IOM is also providing psychosocial support through tele-counseling to those in quarantine.

Infection prevention and control training has also been provided to 66 clinical staff. including officers and nurses, as well as to more than 270 hotel staff providing various services at the quarantine sites. Topics of training included proper use of personal protective equipment, hand washing as recommended by WHO, physical distancing, disinfecting of surfaces and rooms among others.

For more information, please contact IOM Ethiopia: Alemayehu Seifeselassie, Tel: +251116611117 (Ext. 1455), Mobile: +251911639082, Email: IOM Kenya: Muthoni Njenga, Mobile: +254 20 4221 000, Email: IOM Djibouti: Moustapha Mohamed Ali, Mobile: +253 77 80 15 07, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - 12:58Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaKenyaThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

Awareness raising on COVID-19 followed by physical exercise for returnees at the Sidist Kilo Quarantine Centre in Addis Ababa. Photo: IOM

Registration of returnees at the Sidist Kilo Quarantine Centre in Addis Ababa. Photo: IOM

Awareness raising on COVID-19 for returnees at the Sidist Kilo Quarantine Centre in Addis Ababa. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Nearly 120,000 People Displaced, at Least 10 Dead After Flash Floods in Chad

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 05:35

N’Djamena – Nearly 120,000 people have been displaced by flash floods caused by heavy rains across Chad in the month just ended. At least 32,000 of the affected persons are in N’Djamena, the country’s capital city, according to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM). DTM data further indicate a total of 7,122 households have been affected. Ten people have died across seven departments of the Chadian capital.

Many victims of the displacement have been welcomed by family members and friends in less affected parts of the city. Nonetheless, many whose houses have been destroyed remain in need of shelter and emergency assistance.

“The flooding has exacerbated the already challenging situation for many of the most vulnerable N’djaménois, who are now seeking refuge in local school buildings after having lost not only their homes but also their livelihoods,” explained Anne Schaefer, IOM Chad’s Chief of Mission.

The flash floods have not only affected the N’djaménois, but also the migrants who live and work in the city, some of whom have been waiting for an opportunity to return home amidst mobility restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For these migrants, the socio-economic pressures, already heightened by the restrictions related to COVID-19, have been exacerbated by the floods which have de facto paralyzed their economic activities.

Last week, a joint team comprised of IOM’s Emergency and Displacement Tracking officers, Chadian Government authorities and the Camp Coordination and Camp Management and Food Security Clusters – as well as other members of the inter-cluster coordination team – conducted a needs assessment across N’Djamena to assess the scale of the damage caused by the floods and the key needs of the displaced persons.

“Not only does the damage caused by floods exacerbate the risks of COVID-19 due to unsanitary conditions, there are very high risks of cholera and malaria outbreaks as water levels rise and water stagnates in the city,” added IOM’s Schaefer.

Built around the Chari River which flows through Central Africa and feeds 90 per cent of Lake Chad, N’Djamena is prone to flooding, particularly when the river overflows during heavy rains.

In 2010, at least 150,000 people were affected and tens of thousands of hectares of land were destroyed by flooding caused by heavy rains.

IOM is calling for a durable disaster risk reduction and humanitarian approach to provide relief to the affected populations and strengthen the capacity of local actors to prepare for and respond to potential disasters in the long term. This will include physical risk prevention and mitigation as well as community-based disaster risk reduction and emergency preparedness and response.

For more information, please contact Anne Kathrin Schaefer at IOM Chad, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - 12:59Image: Region-Country: ChadThemes: Internal DisplacementDefault: Multimedia: 

In N’Djamena, roads and streets turned into rivers while houses in many neighbourhoods were flooded.

In N’Djamena, roads and streets turned into rivers while houses in many neighbourhoods were flooded.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

114 Ivorians, Guineans, Liberian migrants return home from Algeria amid COVID-19 with IOM assistance

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 05:27

Algiers - This week (31/08), one hundred and fourteen migrants from Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea and Liberia returned home safely from Algeria via a voluntary return flight organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) thanks to the permission and support from the Government of Algeria.

This is the second voluntary return operation to be facilitated by IOM amid COVID-19 within less than two months, following the voluntary return of eighty four migrants to Mali on 14 July. The flight departed from Algiers towards Conakry, with a stopover in Monrovia and as its final destination, Abidjan.

The group, including one hundred and two men, six women, four boys, and two girls, had been stranded in Algeria. As their socio-economic situation became challenging due to COVID-19 , they had approached IOM and their respective Embassies to request an assistance to return home and to reunify with their families.

Thanks to collaboration of the Algerian authorities and the facilitations that have been granted within the framework of the programme of voluntary returns of migrants in irregular situation in Algeria, travel restrictions were exceptionally lifted to enable IOM to facilitate the return of the migrants. Partner Embassies from Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea supported with the issuance of travel documents for all migrants in due time prior to departure. In absence of a permanent diplomatic representation in Algeria, the Government of Liberia conducted remote identity verification interviews and assured the delivery allowing migrants to benefit from the return operation. 

Migrants residing outside of Algiers received inland transportation assistance and were accommodated at the IOM run transit facilities (DARV), a government structure made available to IOM to accommodate migrants waiting to return to their countries of origin. The inland movement and exit procedure were closely coordinated with and supported by relevant Algerian authorities, which has significantly facilitated the preparation and departure of the migrants.

IOM staff in Algeria implemented specific COVID-19 prevention measures in line with international, national and IOM standards, which included medical checks for health conditions prior as well as a mandatory COVID-19 PCR test five days prior to the flight, the distribution of COVID-19 kits and awareness-raising on COVID-19 prevention.

Upon arrival to their respective countries, migrants will be received by IOM staff at the airport and benefit from assistance on arrival, including protection and medical services, before returning to their communities of origin.

In the following weeks, all returnees will receive a socio-economic reintegration assistance including  medical and psychosocial support, educational and vocational training, support for housing and other basic needs, as well as the set-up of income generating activities to ensure a sustainable reintegration into the origin communities, depending on the needs and the will of the returnees.

The return assistance was made possible with support from the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

For more information please contact Ghazi MABROUK at the IOM Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, Email:, Tel: +201011478084 and Aïssatou Sy at the IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa, Email:, Tel: +221774792141.

Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - 13:00Image: Region-Country: AlgeriaThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

Migrants from Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, and Liberia at Houari Boumediene Airport boarding a special return flight to their countries of origin. Photo: IOM/F.Giordani

Migrants from Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, and Liberia at Houari Boumediene Airport boarding a special return flight to their countries of origin. Photo: IOM/F.Giordani

Migrants from Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, and Liberia at Houari Boumediene Airport boarding a special return flight to their countries of origin. Photo: IOM/F.Giordani

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Urgent Coordinated Response Needed to the Alarming Conditions of Migrants and Refugees Detained in Melilla: IOM, UNHCR

Sat, 08/29/2020 - 17:26

Madrid - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) call on Spanish authorities to adopt urgent and coordinated measures to respond to the concerning situation of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants hosted in the autonomous city of Melilla, both in the CETI (Center for Temporary Stay of Immigrants) and the city’s bullring.

At this very moment the CETI hosts close to 1,400 people, twice its intended capacity, including some 150 children, as well as women and highly vulnerable people with pre-existing medical  conditions and profiles that put them at risk of COVID-19. Many of them have fled war or persecution and some have applied for asylum in Spain.

Considering the persistent overcrowding of the CETI, new arrivals are hosted in improvised spaces in extremely inadequate conditions, such as the city’s bullring. Despite the efforts taken by the authorities, and with no alternatives, the current hosting conditions make it impossible to practice social distancing and implement sanitation measures that would protect residents from COVID-19.

The recently confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the CETI, added to the described conditions and the lockdown of the center, have triggered fear of infection and tensions amongst the residents, which have been the origin of the protests in the center since Tuesday.

Well aware of the complexity of the issue, IOM and UNHCR urge the relevant authorities to take concrete and coordinated action to improve reception conditions in Melilla, in order to guarantee a reception in accordance with the relevant and specific legal instruments.

In light of this situation, both agencies suggest starting a swift assessment procedure, as well as promptly implementing potential measures that could be applied, such as the transfer of asylum seekers to the mainland, the voluntary return and reintegration programme and, when relevant, family reunification.

IOM and UNHCR remain ready to support the authorities by offering our experience and technical expertise to help find urgent and dignified solutions to the challenges that Melilla faces today in the fields of international protection and migration, especially taking into account the latest challenges posed by COVID-19.

For more information please contact:


In Brussels, Ryan Schroeder, + 32 492 25 02 34,

Language English Posted: Saturday, August 29, 2020 - 21:54Image: Region-Country: SpainThemes: Migrants in Vulnerable SituationsDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM and UNHCR call for urgent disembarkation of rescued migrants and refugees in Central Mediterranean Sea

Sat, 08/29/2020 - 11:17

Geneva- The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, are calling for the immediate disembarkation of more than 400 rescued migrants and refugees currently on board three vessels in the Central Mediterranean.

A group of some 27 migrants and refugees, including a pregnant woman and children, who departed from Libya have been on board the commercial vessel Maersk Etienne for an unacceptable three-week period since their rescue on 5 August. A solution must be found, and the vessel provided with a safe port for disembarkation.

A commercial tanker cannot be considered a suitable place to keep people in need of humanitarian assistance or those who may need international protection. Appropriate COVID-19 prevention measures can be implemented once they reach dry land.   

More than 200 other rescued refugees and migrants are in urgent need of transfer and disembarkation from the NGO search and rescue vessel Louise Michel, which is currently far beyond its safe carrying capacity, after having intervened in a rescue early this morning. Any delays could jeopardize the safety of all people onboard, including its crew members.   

A further 200 rescued people on the Sea Watch 4 NGO vessel should also be promptly provided with a safe port.  

The humanitarian imperative of saving lives should not be penalized or stigmatized, especially in the absence of dedicated State-led efforts.    

The lack of agreement on a regional disembarkation mechanism, long called for by IOM and UNHCR, is not an excuse to deny vulnerable people a port of safety and the assistance they need, as required under international law. Stalled discussions around such a proposal should urgently be revived, especially amid repeated stand-offs delaying disembarkation. Clarity and predictability are in the immediate and long-term interest of all.             

It is crucial that other EU Member States provide more support to countries at the forefront of receiving sea arrivals in the Mediterranean.   

Meaningful solidarity should be expressed through the pledging and implementation of relocation places as well as support for accelerated processing, in line with international standards, to identify persons in need of international protection and those in need of other forms of protection like unaccompanied children and victims of trafficking. It is also important to enable swift returns for those who wish to go back to their countries of origin and for those who are found not in need of international or other forms of protection.   

IOM and UNHCR are deeply concerned about the continued absence of dedicated EU-led search and rescue capacity in the Central Mediterranean. With relatively fewer NGO vessels compared to previous years, the gap is being increasingly filled by commercial vessels. It is vital that they are permitted to disembark rescued passengers promptly, as without such timely processes, shipmasters of commercial vessels may be deterred from attending to distress calls for fear of being stranded at sea for weeks on end.  


For more information please contact:


In Geneva, Safa Msehli, +41 79 403 5526,     

In Brussels, Ryan Schroeder, + 32 492 25 02 34,     

In Rome, Flavio Di Giacomo, +39.347.089.89.96, 


Geneva: Charlie Yaxley +41 79 580 8702  

Brussels, Maeve Patterson:, +32 470 99 54 35  

Rome, Federico Fossi,, +39 349 084 3461  

New York, Kathryn Mahoney,, +1 347-443-7646 


Language English Posted: Saturday, August 29, 2020 - 17:15Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: Migrants in Vulnerable SituationsDefault: Multimedia: 

A child rescued in the Mediterranean Sea reaches a safe port in Italy. IOM: file photo

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Strengthens Preparedness Measures for COVID-19 Across the North Pacific

Fri, 08/28/2020 - 11:06

Pohnpei – The Republic of Palau (ROP), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) remain free of COVID-19 due to the decision to close their borders in March 2020 when many countries opted to remain open. While the three countries are at varying stages of reopening, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) will continue to work with government partners to further strengthen their capacity to prevent, detect and respond to a potential outbreak of COVID-19.

In the Republic of Palau, IOM will promote handwashing techniques and good hygiene practices by procuring soap and soap dispensers for public buildings as well as constructing handwashing stations. Moreover, IOM will partner with local organizations to distribute household WASH kits for practicing good hygiene to families in the Republic of Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia.

IOM will also partner with the Gender and Protection Cluster in the Republic of the Marshall Islands to address gender-based violence, provide psychosocial support trainings and carry out inclusive and protection measures in the context of COVID-19. IOM will also distribute Safe Space kits for women and girls in need of assistance following a violent situation, which Angela Saunders, Head of Sub-Office in Majuro, highlighted are “an essential item for women and girls who may have to seek alternative shelter during a lockdown.”

Similarly, IOM will support the newly established Protection Cluster in the Federated States of Micronesia to ensure that the country’s most vulnerable persons are prioritized throughout preparedness and response efforts and will partner with the Pohnpei Women’s Council to increase their capacity to function as a safe space for women and girls.

A gendered-lens is particularly important for any activity related to COVID-19, as lockdown measures risk increasing incidents of violence against women in the household.

IOM will work with other government partners, including the State Risk Communication and Community (RCCE) sub-committees in each of the States of the Federated States of Micronesia and the Public Information Office (PIO), the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) as well as the Ministry of Health (MoH) in ROP to develop Information, Education & Communication (IEC) material related to COVID-19.

IOM will also seek partnerships with the private sector and local advocacy groups to develop additional messages on protection and assistance, particularly for persons with disabilities, women, youth and the elderly.

In addition, IOM will support the Republic of the Marshall Islands’ National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) to coordinate and plan the government’s COVID-19 response strategy and will donate communication tools to NEOC as well as smart devices to the Ministry of Health and Human Services (MoHHS). According to Salvatore Sortino, Chief of Mission of Micronesia, “These activities will serve to further support inter-governmental coordination and thereby promote a more effective response to an outbreak.

In terms of medical equipment, IOM will coordinate with the World Health Organization (WHO) and relevant government partners in each of the three countries to donate Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) and health supplies. The items will be stored in IOM’s warehouses and are meant to cover any short-term gaps in each country’s supply chain.

The combination of awareness raising, donation of medical supplies, promotion of handwashing and enhanced protection measures are expected to better prepare the three countries for COVID-19. IOM’s assistance to the three countries is possible thanks to generous support from the government of the United States of America and the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA).

For more information please contact Ryan McVey at IOM FSM, Email: or Angela Saunders at IOM RMI, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, August 28, 2020 - 12:59Image: Region-Country: Federated States of MicronesiaThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

An example of a handwashing station constructed by IOM in Chuuk, FSM, through another projected funded by the United States Government. Photo: IOM 

IOM has extensive experience carrying out protective measures and supporting the Gender and Protection Cluster in RMI. For example, IOM had previously partnered with Youth to Youth in Health to train their team on psychological first aid trainings. Photo: IOM 

In a previous project, IOM coordinated with government partners in FSM to develop awareness material on handwashing techniques. The video can be accesed here, and features sign language for the hearing impaired. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Over 360,000 Persons Displaced in Chad’s Lake Province, Over Half of Province’s Population

Fri, 08/28/2020 - 05:56

N’Djamena – An estimated 363,807 persons are currently displaced in parts of the African nation of Chad’s zone bordering Cameroon, Nigeria and Niger. That’s over half of the population of Chad’s Lac Province now considered displaced, according to new figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) – a tool for measuring human activity in emergency or crisis situations – cites structural instability caused by the protracted insurgency and rapidly degrading climate and environmental conditions, as factors in a surge of this latest displacement dashboard. 

These new figures reflect a 22 per cent increase in the number of displaced persons compared to the previous dashboard in April 2020, and the highest number recorded since IOM has been implementing the Displacement Tracking Matrix in the Lake Region. 

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Chad’s Lake region is facing a double security and environmental crisis. Since 2015, the region has been the target of repeated attacks by non-state armed groups conducting an insurgency in the Lake Chad Basin (Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria), which have forced millions of people across the four countries to flee their homes.

Since the beginning of the year, the security attacks and incursions by non-state armed groups have become recurrent, prompting the Chadian Government to declare in March 2020 the departments of Fouli and Kaya, two of Lake Chad’s borderlands departments “war zones”. 

“This year, the Lake Region has recorded the highest rainfall in nearly 30 years. According to the food security cluster, we are at 400mm of rainfall and the rain continues. That is why we are witnessing the flash flooding of villages and fields which leaves thousands of persons displaced,” explained Mouftah Mohamed, IOM Head of sub-office at Bagasola in the Lake province.

The volatile security situation, combined with flash flooding caused by heavy rainfall, have upended the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, forcing them to leave their villages and communities.

Between 8 and 16 August 2020, 11,764 persons were displaced in Fouli, Kaya and Mamdi in the Lake Region, one of the highest numbers ever recorded by IOM in such a short period. Among them, 36 per cent were displaced as a result of floods and 64 per cent due to the worsening of the security situation.

“This is a worrying trend as displacement has not only become recurrent, but also large in numbers and protracted due to the deterioration of security and environmental situations,”, said Anne Kathrin Schaefer, IOM Chad Chief of Mission.

In addition to displacement tracking which is key to understanding the scale of displacement in the region, IOM provides emergency humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations including more than 2,500 transitory and semi-permanent shelters to nearly 13,000 persons, and more than 2,700 non-food items including hygiene kits, sleeping mats, clothes and basic cooking equipment for over 14,000 persons in the Lake Region.  

Besides meeting household needs, IOM also is engaged in a range of peacebuilding, community stabilization and recovery activities. These include youth capacity-building, the distribution of farming tools and seeds, and the roll-out of income-generating activities to strengthen the socio-economic resilience of displaced populations and their host communities in the face of security and climate shocks.

Even more needs to be done, especially for families now being forced to face the heavy rainfall without proper housing.

Said Yakin Mwanza, DTM Coordinator at IOM Chad: “Seventy-five per cent of the displaced persons IOM identified live in displacement sites, most of which are made of straw and metal shelters. Many of them sleep in the open without adequate protection from bad weather, with limited access to amenities such as water, hygiene installations, health services and COVID-19 protective equipment.”

As a result of regional instability, mobility in the Lake Region is characterized by different patterns including internal displacement, the return of Chadian nationals from abroad, and mobility by third country nationals such as fishermen from neighboring countries seeking refuge from attacks.

“It is crucial that we scale up development interventions to strengthen resilience in the region, and help populations and communities recover better and as quickly as possible,” said Schaefer.

For more information, please contact Anne Kathrin Schaefer at IOM Chad, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, August 28, 2020 - 00:00Image: Region-Country: ChadThemes: Internal DisplacementDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM donated handwashing stations and liquid soap boxes to Kaya's COVID-19 Departmental Watch Committee to support prevention against the pandemic in the department, especially in displacement sites. Photo: IOM/Abdourahmane Seid.

IOM donated handwashing stations and liquid soap boxes to Kaya's COVID-19 Departmental Watch Committee to support prevention against the pandemic in the department, especially in displacement sites. Photo: IOM/Abdourahmane Seid.

IOM donated handwashing stations and liquid soap boxes to Kaya's COVID-19 Departmental Watch Committee to support prevention against the pandemic in the department, especially in displacement sites. Photo: IOM/Abdourahmane Seid.

A view of one of the displacement sites in the Lac region.

A view of one of the displacement sites in the Lac region.

A view of one of the displacement sites in the Lac region.

A view of one of the displacement sites in the Lac region.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Profile of Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants in Latin America & the Caribbean Reveals Country-to-Country Variations in their Characteristics and Experiences

Thu, 08/27/2020 - 17:44

WASHINGTON — More than 4.3 million of the estimated 5.2 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants who have fled the ongoing complex socio-political and economic landscape in their country remain in Latin America or the Caribbean. While the movements have been widespread across the region, they are far from monolithic in their character.  

A new analysis of Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) data of Venezuelan refugees and migrants by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) through the Office of the IOM Director General’s Special Envoy for the Regional Response to the Venezuela Situation, reveals differing socio-economic profiles, living conditions and future intentions regarding settlement in the host country or onward travel. 

Drawing on DTM data based on government statistics compiled and analyzed by the Regional Coordination Platform (R4V) that it is co-led by IOM and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the MPI-IOM fact sheet offers a profile of Venezuelan refugees and migrants present in 11 Latin American and Caribbean countries during 2019, examining their demographics, education levels, employment before and after migration, remittance sending, health conditions and mobility patterns, among other characteristics. 

“Since March 2020, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the evictions, the loss of employment, the inability to access health and education and the practical impossibility in most cases of complying with the rules of social distancing and isolation have generated significant setbacks in the possibility of integrating into the receiving countries,” said Eduardo Stein, Joint UNHCR-IOM Special Representative for Venezuelan refugees and migrants. 

Venezuelans who headed to Venezuela’s immediate neighbors—Brazil, Colombia, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago—tend to have lower educational attainment than Venezuelans who move to other countries farther away, are more likely to be younger and single, and report more restricted access to health services and mental health supports. The majority expressed their intention to remain in those countries. 

Those who traveled to nearby but not adjacent countries—Ecuador and Peru—also tend to be young, but more than one-third hold a technical degree or higher. 

The final group, moving to destinations further away—Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Paraguay and Uruguay—is older on average and reported particularly high levels of educational attainment, with half or more having a bachelor’s or master’s degree. 

Diego Beltrand, Special Envoy of the IOM Director General for the Regional Response to the Venezuelan Situation, said:  “As part of the response to the Venezuelan refugee and migrant emergency situation, since 2017 IOM has collected cross-sectoral data on this population that has been key to ensure that stakeholders at national and regional levels can make evidence-based decisions and that has been also useful as a input for the Regional Refugee and Migrants Plan.” 

Across all 11 countries, respondents reported holding a variety of statuses, reflecting differences in their profiles as well as the diverse and largely welcoming policies that countries in the region have designed to address one of the world’s largest migration flows. Notable shares of Venezuelans in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay described having attained residency, asylum seeker or refugee status, while Ecuador appears to have the largest proportion of irregular migrants of the sampled countries. 

Given that receiving countries now face the challenge of addressing the needs of Venezuelan refugees and migrants as well as host communities while also managing the COVID-19 public health crisis, there is a pressing need for timely and accurate data on this population’s characteristics and vulnerabilities. IOM’s DTM collects cross-sectoral data to help fill the gap for policymakers, UN agencies and other stakeholders. 

“We need good data to guide decisions by the governments, civil society organizations and the international community so that we can turn a mixed-flow crisis, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, into a long-term opportunity for the region by taking advantage of the talent and skills of the Venezuelan refugees and migrants who have moved to other countries in the hemisphere,” said MPI President Andrew Selee. 
Among other findings from the analysis of DTM data: 

The median duration of respondents’ travel to their destinations ranged from 2 ½ months for trips to Colombia, Guyana and Peru to 7 ½ months or more for journeys to Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica and Paraguay. 

The challenges experienced during the trip that were most commonly reported across the 11 countries, in order of frequency, were lack of financial resources, food scarcity, lack of a sleeping place, insecurity, no transportation, issues with travel documents, lack of information and health concerns. In Guyana, 80 percent of respondents expressed concern about food insecurity, while 91 percent in Colombia experienced financial problems during travel. 

Significant shares of respondents in a number of countries surveyed reported access to health care: Brazil (87 percent), Chile (80 percent), Paraguay (61 percent), Costa Rica (59 percent) and Trinidad and Tobago (57 percent). In contrast, 62 percent in Guyana reported having no access. 

Few respondents said they intend to return to Venezuela; in every country other than Colombia, 5 percent or fewer indicated an intention to return. While 17 percent in Colombia declared they intend to return, 58 percent said they planned to remain in Colombia and 24 percent expressed a desire for onward movement. For the 10 other countries, more than four-fifths said they planned to remain where they were. 

Significant numbers report sending back remittances or other resources to dependents in Venezuela. Nearly three-quarters of respondents in Trinidad and Tobago, 56 percent in Ecuador and 53 percent in Paraguay did so. The proportions were smaller in Argentina (26 percent) and Costa Rica (21 percent). 

For more information please contact 

Bryan Brennan at the Office of the IOM Director General’s Special Envoy for the Regional Response to the Venezuela Situation Email: 

Michelle Mittelstadt at Migration Policy Institute - MMittelstadt@MigrationPolicy.Org 


Language English Posted: Thursday, August 27, 2020 - 23:30Image: Region-Country: PanamaVenezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)Themes: Venezuela CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Respondents to an IOM survey speak to conditions of Venezuelan refugees and migrants across 11 countries in the Americas  ©️ IOM / Muse Mohammad

Press Release Type: GlobalTopic: Generating Data and Evidence
Categories: PBN