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Leaving No One Behind: A Call to Action on Migrant Health

IOM - News - Ven, 02/24/2017 - 10:36
Language English

Sri Lanka - Global health leaders yesterday (23/2) adopted the Colombo Statement, which calls for international collaboration to improve the health and well-being of migrants and their families. The move aims to address the health challenges posed by increasingly mobile populations.

The declaration was adopted on the closing day of the 2nd Global Consultation on Migrant Health, hosted by the Government of Sri Lanka, IOM and the World Health Organization (WHO) in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena addressed the meeting, which was attended by senior public health officials from over 40 countries.

“Protecting the health of mobile populations is a public health and human rights imperative. Ensuring the highest attainable standard of health for all, including migrants and refugees, is something we must all strive towards, and is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of leaving no one behind,” said WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh.

With an estimated 1 billion migrants today, or one in every seven people, the health needs of migrants are huge. But health systems are struggling to adapt and consequently access to health services among migrant populations varies widely and is often inadequate.

“Migrant health must be looked at as a global agenda and the SDGs should be interpreted by linking the call to facilitate orderly, safe and responsible migration and mobility of people (SDG 10.7) with the achievement of universal health coverage (SDG 3.8),” said Director of IOM’s Migration Health Division Dr. Davide Mosca. “This can only be realised through the implementation of well-managed and coordinated migration policies, which include financial risk protection and equal access to quality health services.”

Delegates agreed that health systems must be strengthened to provide equitable, non-discriminatory, migrant-centred health services. They noted that addressing the health needs of migrants reduces long-term health and social costs, enhances health security and contributes to social and economic development.

The Colombo Statement calls for mainstreaming migrant health into key national, regional and international agendas and promotes international solidarity for equitable migrant health policies, a shared research agenda and the development of global frameworks to ensure migrant health is protected.

The momentum generated by the Global Consultation will be carried forward to the World Health Assembly – WHO’s annual meeting – in May 2017, where 194 countries will deliberate on priority actions to protect migrants’ right to health.

For further information, please contact Manuela Altomonte at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 76 65 08616, Email: maltomonte@iom.int. Or Dr. Susie Perera at the Sri Lanka Ministry of Health, Tel: +94 777588944, Email: susiepds@gmail.com

Posted: Friday, February 24, 2017 - 17:08Image: Region-Country: AsiaSri LankaThemes: Migration HealthDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 13,924; Deaths: 366

IOM - News - Ven, 02/24/2017 - 10:34
Language English

Switzerland - IOM reports that 13,924 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 22 February, with over 75 percent arriving in Italy and the rest in Greece and Spain. This compares with 105,427 through the first 53 days of 2016.

IOM Rome reports that over 10,701 migrant arrivals in Italy before the end of February represents a significant increase compared with arrivals in the same period during each of the past two years, when slightly over 8,100 migrants arrived by the end of February. IOM notes that with five days to go in the month, Italian arrivals could be 50 per cent higher than those recorded during the first two months of either 2015 or 2016.

That heightened activity is behind the surging number of fatalities at sea of migrants this year, especially on the Mediterranean’s central route linking Libya to Italy. IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reports an estimated 326 deaths or disappearances of migrants and refugees on this corridor through 22 February, compared with 97 last year, at this time – an increase of over 300 per cent.

Across the entire region, deaths at sea stand now at 366 men, women and children, compared with 425 at this time in 2016. Another factor in these statistics: traffic between Turkey and Greece – which claimed 321 lives during the first 53 days of 2016 – has virtually ceased. This year IOM has recorded just two deaths on the Eastern Mediterranean route.

These data include the death toll reported this week from a boat with as many as 133 passengers on board that foundered off Az Zawiyah, near Tripoli in Sunday (19/2). 

According to an IOM source at the scene, the human smugglers stole the craft’s engine and left the vessel drifting, telling passengers that authorities were en route to rescue them. “This is becoming a common tactic,” said IOM Rome spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo. “But when you take an engine from a boat like this, you can no longer treat it as an ‘incident.’ It is homicide.”

IOM believes that, in addition to 80 known fatalities confirmed where the abandoned craft came to shore, another 21 victims remain unaccounted for. IOM staffers are trying to ascertain whether their remains were lost at sea, or they survived and fled inland.

In the days following this tragedy, IOM Libya reported several more fatal incidents along this deadly coastline. On Wednesday (22/2) 15 bodies were retrieved outside the city of Khoms by local authorities. On the same day 110 migrants were rescued off Zuwara, 85 men and 25 women.

On Thursday (23/2) IOM was notified by the Libyan Red Crescent that 69 migrants of various nationalities had been discovered inside a metal container near Khoms. They are believed to have been trapped in the container for four days. Thirteen migrants were reported dead at the scene, including a 13-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy.

Also on Thursday, some 400 migrants in two boats were rescued off Zuwara. These two vessels are said to have been carrying over 180 women and children, including one 10-year-old girl. Finally, IOM Libya spokesperson Christine Petré shared information this morning about a rescue at sea that occurred Thursday off Gasser Khiar (about 90 kilometers east of Tripoli), of 42 migrants (38 men, three women and one two-year-old child). All now are at the Triq Al Shook detention centre.

With these figures, IOM Libya reported Friday that a total of 2,265 migrants had been rescued at sea off Libya since the first of the year, while 131 bodies had been recovered. An unknown number of victims remain missing.

Deaths of Migrants and Refugees: 1 January-22 February 2016 vs 1 January-22 February 2017   

Region

2017

2016

Mediterranean

366

425

Europe

12

10

Middle East

10

27

North Africa

13

380

Horn of Africa

0

58

Sub-Saharan Africa

0

20

Southeast Asia

49

35

East Asia

0

0

US/Mexico

38

36

Central America

6

13

Caribbean

80

28

South America

0

10

Total

574

1,042

For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic: 
http://migration.iom.int/docs/MMP/170224_Mediterranean_Update.pdf

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit: http://migration.iom.int/europe

Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at: http://missingmigrants.iom.int

For further information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int
Sabine Schneider at IOM Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 17 Email: sschneider@iom.int
IOM Greece: Daniel Esdras, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email: iomathens@iom.int or Kelly Namia, Tel: +30 210 9919040, +30 210 9912174, Email: knamia@iom.int
Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int
Abby Dwommoh, IOMTurkey; Tel. (Direct): +90 (0)312 454 3048| Mobile: +90 (533) 698 7285, Email: Adwommoh@iom.int  Mazen Aboulhosn at IOM Turkey, Tel: +9031245-51202, Email: maboulhosn@iom.int
IOM Libya: Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email: obelbeisi@iom.int  or Christine Petré, Tel. (Direct):  +216 29 240 448, Email: chpetre@iom.int
Hicham Hasnaoui at IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email: hhasnaoui@iom.int

For information or interview requests in French:
Florence Kim, OIM Genève, Tel: +41 79 103 03 42, Email: fkim@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo, OIM Italie, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int

Posted: Friday, February 24, 2017 - 17:07Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Japan Backs IOM Humanitarian Operations in 2017

IOM - News - Ven, 02/24/2017 - 10:32
Language English

Japan - The Government of Japan has allocated USD 34.3 million to support IOM’s operations to assist vulnerable migrants including displaced persons, refugees, returnees and affected communities around the world in 2017.

The funding will also contribute to increasing the capacity of various governments in humanitarian border management to cope with displacement resulting from conflicts and to enhance security.

Over half of the amount (USD 18.1 million) has been allocated towards IOM programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Somalia and South Sudan.

A significant amount of the money will be used to improve border management capacity of governments in Western Africa, including Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

IOM offices in Middle East and North Africa, including Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Turkey and Yemen, have also received significant funding for the regional response to the Syrian crisis and assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Iraq, Libya and Yemen.

In Afghanistan, the funding will be used to provide vulnerable Afghan returnees from Iran with life-saving, post-arrival humanitarian assistance and to build local capacities in the country through the return of skilled nationals from Iran.

In Ukraine, the funding will help IOM to rehabilitate social infrastructure and enhance social cohesion in selected communities in the conflict-affected Donbas region.

The Japanese government in the past has supported IOM’s humanitarian and recovery activities, including the delivery of immediate live saving relief, community stabilization and early recovery activities, as well as emergency return and reintegration assistance for migrants caught up in crises.

For further information, please contact Yuko Goto at IOM Tokyo, Tel: + 81 3 3595 0108, Email: iomtokyo@iom.int

Posted: Friday, February 24, 2017 - 17:06Image: Region-Country: AsiaJapanThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Provides Health, Shelter Aid in Volatile Areas of South Sudan

IOM - News - Ven, 02/24/2017 - 10:31
Language English

South Sudan - IOM is providing emergency health care and shelter assistance to South Sudanese forced to flee their homes due to violence in volatile areas of the country, including Unity and Central Equatoria.

IOM, in coordination with Mercy Corps, is conducting an emergency shelter and non-food item (NFI) kit distribution from 22 February – 3 March for over 9,400 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nyal, Unity. The kits will include blankets, nylon and rubber rope, plastic sheeting, a kanga (cloth) and a large carrying bag.

Nyal, in Unity’s Panyijiar county, has been hosting IDPs from surrounding counties since a military offensive in the area in early 2015. The resurgence of conflict in July 2016 prompted additional displacement in central and southern Unity, with many IDPs either fleeing north toward the Bentiu Protection of Civilians (POC) site or toward Nyal, which has remained relatively stable.

IDPs in Nyal are living in very difficult circumstances, having fled with little-to-no belongings. They are largely relying on support from local host communities, where already limited resources are rapidly becoming exhausted.

Panyijiar is located in one of the most food insecure areas of South Sudan. The county is classified as facing emergency level food insecurity, meaning that without humanitarian assistance, some families could be facing famine conditions today.

IOM is currently collaborating with the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to biometrically register the population in Nyal to inform humanitarian response planning and distributions for the area. The exercise is expected to be complete by April.

In Central Equatoria, which continues to experience episodes of fighting, an IOM rapid response team completed a five-week mission on 23 February to provide emergency health care to over 30,000 IDPs sheltering in volatile Kajo Keji County, west of Kajo Keji town, at IDP sites in Ajio, Kerwa and Logo. IDPs in the area fled fighting in nearby counties, and the majority of reported multiple displacements.

“Families ran from their homes with next to nothing, leaving behind their farms and livelihoods,” explained IOM Health Rapid Response Team Coordinator Derebe Kintamo. “Within three weeks of displacement, our clinics began seeing increasing numbers of cases of malnutrition among children under five. We coordinated with a nearby medical centre to ensure cases of acute malnutrition received prompt treatment.”

The team conducted over 7,700 health consultations, providing general health care, vaccinations against common diseases, nutrition screening and maternal health care.

On completion of the mission, IOM handed over responsibility for the three clinics to the American Refugee Committee and the County Health Department.

In South Sudan, one in every four people has been forced from his or her home due to the crisis that broke out in December 2013. IOM emergency aid operations aim to reach vulnerable populations both in displacement sites and remote areas, many affected by multiple waves of conflict and displacement. In 2017, relief agencies are trying to reach 5.8 million of 7.5 million people currently in need of humanitarian assistance.

For further information, please contact Ashley McLaughlin at IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211 922 405 716, Email: amclaughlin@iom.int.

Posted: Friday, February 24, 2017 - 17:05Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastSouth SudanThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsMigration HealthDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Stranded Nigerian Migrants Return Home from Libya

IOM - News - Ven, 02/24/2017 - 10:29
Language English

Libya - On 21 February, IOM helped 172 stranded Nigerian migrants – 110 women, 49 men, seven children and six infants – return home to Nigeria from Tripoli, Libya.

The charter flight, which was coordinated with Libyan and Nigerian authorities, departed from Tripoli’s Mitiga airport. IOM also provided pre-departure interviews, medical check-ups and further assistance, including clothes and shoes.

“We had nothing in Nigeria – no house, no food,” explained 21-year-old Oluchi*, who together with her husband and mother decided to travel to Italy. Oluchi and her family were arrested and jailed in Libya.

Now, she is returning home with her son to Nigeria. At some point during the journey, Oluchi lost her mother and still does not know where she is or whether she is still alive. “The dream of Europe is actually a nightmare,” she said.

Mary* was forced into prostitution by a criminal gang in Libya and today has a baby son. “I don’t know who the father is, but I named him after my father who died when I was three years old,” she told IOM. “Now I want to return to my country with my son.”

Twenty-year-old Zauna* left her husband to try to reach Europe through Libya. When she left, Zauna did not know that she was pregnant. In northern Libya, she was arrested and spent several months in jail, until she gave birth to a baby boy. She then decided to return home with IOM assistance. 

Aisha* was abused by her former employer. The injuries she sustained included broken bones and burns and she was eventually admitted to hospital. IOM provided additional health assistance, organized a vulnerability assessment, provided psychosocial support at the hospital and found a host family, which took care of her for three weeks prior to her return. In Nigeria she will receive further medical assistance.

The 19 most vulnerable cases on the flight will also be eligible for reintegration support in Nigeria in the form of being given the opportunity to start a small business or to continue their education. IOM will pay for any medical treatment that they need as a consequence of their time in Libya.

The return assistance was funded by the UK Foreign Office and is part of IOM’s return assistance programme. So far in 2017, IOM Libya helped 589 stranded migrants return to their countries of origin, of whom 117 were eligible for reintegration assistance.

*Please note that all migrants’ names have been changed to protect their identity.

For further information, please contact IOM Libya. Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email: obelbeisi@iom.int or Ashraf Hassan, Tel +216 29 794707, Email: ashassan@iom.int

Posted: Friday, February 24, 2017 - 17:03Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastLibyaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationMigrant AssistanceDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM: 1.9 Million Displaced, 1 Million Returnees in Northeast Nigeria Need More Aid

IOM - News - Ven, 02/24/2017 - 10:27
Language English

Nigeria - Though the number of displaced people returning home in northeast Nigeria continues to increase, with one million returnees since October 2015, nearly two million are still displaced across the region, according to IOM’s latest Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM).  The DTM covers the six most conflict-affected states in Nigeria: Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe.

Those who return from their locations of displacement often only make it as far as their home area, not to their houses or villages – many of which have been razed as a consequence of the Boko Haram conflict, now in its eighth year.

After living in a displacement camp in Maiduguri for 13 months, Yakaka and her husband Mohammed Kaka made it as close as seven kilometres to their home, when they returned last October. “We can’t even think of going home,” said Mohammed. “I went to see our village, but our house was completely burned down. I wasn’t happy about what I saw or how it made me feel.” They now live in another camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Dikwa, Borno.

Mohammed added he also fears returning to his village because of ongoing insecurity. Boko Haram’s terror and violence has caused 97 per cent of the displacement in northeastern Nigeria; 2.6 million people are displaced or living as refugees across Nigeria’s northeast, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon, largely due to the conflict.

“The world largely overlooked the crisis impacting north-eastern Nigeria and the Lake Chad region in 2016,” notes IOM Director General William Lacy Swing. “Violent conflict and human suffering have marked Nigeria and parts of Niger, Chad and Cameroon for the better part of a decade.”

Ambassador Swing, IOM Regional Director for West and Central Africa Richard Danziger and IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission Enira Krdzalic are today (24/2) attending the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region in Norway.

Representatives from the governments of Germany, Norway, Nigeria, ministers from the affected countries, other UN agencies, civil society partners, and donors will take part in the conference, which aims to chart the way forward in the region.

IOM Nigeria is seeking USD 58 million to support IDPs, returnees, and other affected populations this year through interventions including non-food aid items, shelter construction, building and maintenance of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities (boreholes, showers and toilets) at camps, and the provision of mental health and psychosocial support.

IOM will also continue its DTM in the region and the biometric registration of displaced people, returnees and host community members, to guide the humanitarian response of the international community.

For further information, please contact Julia Burpee at IOM Nigeria, Tel. +234 (0) 907 373 1170, Email: jburpee@iom.int

Posted: Friday, February 24, 2017 - 17:02Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastNigeriaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationHumanitarian EmergenciesMigrant AssistanceDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Supports Introduction of Drought Resistant Potato in Somalia

IOM - News - Ven, 02/24/2017 - 10:24
Language English

Somalia - IOM, in partnership with the Rural Education and Agriculture Development Organization (READO), a local NGO, is introducing a drought resistant variant of sweet potatoes which will help mitigate the impact of drought in Somalia. The latest drought period has left over 6.2 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

The project mainly targets internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the host community in Baidoa, who will be trained on how to grow the potatoes, before being issued with a set of vines that they can use on their own farms. This sweet potato variant, commonly referred to as the orange flesh sweet potato (OFSP), is suitable for growth in regions with minimal rainfall.

Additionally, the OFSP is nutrient rich in Vitamin A and will help boost nutrition among malnourished children and within IDP households. OFSP’s other benefits include increasing milk production among breast feeding mothers, OFSP flour to make baked products, and the plant’s edible leaves that can be consumed as vegetables and serve as fodder for livestock.

“The introduction of OFSP in Baidoa will be of great value to the community as it will help to improve the livelihood of IDPs. We urge other international organizations and local partners to support the initiative, as this will help in mitigating drought issues in Somalia,” said Abdullahi Abdirahman Ali, READO Executive Director.

Since 2011, IOM Somalia has been working with different stakeholders in Somalia to address food security and durable solutions. Some notable projects to this end include agricultural farm inputs distributions, training on best agricultural farm practices, and provision of conditional and unconditional cash for work.

For further information, please contact IOM Somalia. Omar Kharye, Tel: +254 708 985 812 Email: okhayre@iom.int, or Abubakar Ibrahim Tel +254 720 736 432 Email: aibrahim@iom.int  

Posted: Friday, February 24, 2017 - 17:01Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastSomaliaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Trains Malagasy Officials on Migration, Environment and Climate Change

IOM - News - Ven, 02/24/2017 - 10:23
Language English

Madagascar - IOM and the Ministry of Environment of Madagascar have hosted a two-and-a-half day capacity building workshop on the interdependent relationship between migration, environment and climate change (MECC).

During the workshop, 25 participants from the Ministry of Environment, key ministries and public institutions with sectoral responsibilities for migration and the environment, research institutions and civil society representatives, learnt about the interdependent relationship between migration and environmental change, including climate change. They also discussed and shared expertise on the realities and challenges of MECC, including how the evidence gap on the subject could be solved, in the case of Madagascar.

Four main areas where additional evidence is needed in Madagascar were identified as: mobility of individuals and impacts in the sending regions; mobility of individuals induced by drought; mining and environmental concerns related to sudden migration; and forced displacement due to rapid onset climatic events. Research will be initiated in coming weeks to collect qualitative and quantitative information that will assist stakeholders in their governance of targeted MECC issues.

Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean region have been adversely affected by climate change in recent years. Many people were forced to move when their crops and livelihoods were destroyed by recurrent droughts in the southern part of Madagascar in 2016. In the coastal town of Rivière des Galets in Mauritius, people face the prospect of relocation due to the rise in sea levels and beach erosion, despite the building of a dike.

Recent floods in Mozambique caused the displacement of hundreds of people, while in Namibia the impact of the recent drought has made communities more vulnerable to food insecurity, putting the livelihoods of many families at risk and heightening the possibility of a relocation toward urban areas.

Similar capacity building workshops and research initiatives will be held in Mozambique and Namibia in March. These workshops are part of the wider IOM Development Fund (IDF) supported project: Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Evidence for Policy in Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean, which aims to increase knowledge and awareness about the relationship between migration and environmental change in order to inform related policy and operational planning at both the regional and national level.

For further information, please contact Daniel Silva y Poveda at IOM Madagascar, Tel: +261.32 56 54 954, Email: dsilva@iom.int

Posted: Friday, February 24, 2017 - 17:00Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastMadagascarThemes: Capacity BuildingMigration and Climate ChangeMigration and EnvironmentDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Rehabilitates Homes for Returning Iraqis; Publishes Shelter Rehabilitation Guidelines

IOM - News - Ven, 02/24/2017 - 10:19
Language English

Iraq - When they return to their home communities, Iraqis displaced by the current crisis face a host of challenges, including the destruction of infrastructure, housing and property.  Access to basic services, availability of drinking water, food, health care, shelter and livelihood opportunities are all ongoing sources of concern.

During community assessments in areas retaken from ISIL, IOM staff have met many returned Iraqis whose homes are damaged. They are often staying with their relatives or neighbours, and some are living in tents next to their homes.

Due to the hardship and expense of displacement and return, the cost of home repair may be prohibitive for many families. Damage often includes burned rooms, destroyed roofs, and no access to water.

In response to these needs, IOM is rehabilitating homes for vulnerable Iraqi returnee families with support from the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).  This is enabling families to safely and sustainably move back into their homes.

The project provides repairs for damaged or partially destroyed homes, the rehabilitation of a minimum of one room, the replacement of doors and windows and installation of basic water and sanitation facilities. Families are selected and prioritized based on the state of their home and vulnerability, with special consideration for female-headed households.

The current phase of the project began in December 2016 and includes a total of 200 houses in Salah al-Din and Diyala, which are 40 percent complete. Locations in Salah al-Din include Tikrit City, Al Alam, and Dour. Assistance for returnee families to rehabilitate damaged homes will also be provided in Al-Qayara. The previous phase of the OFDA project in 2016 included the rehabilitation of 400 homes in the same two governorates, benefitting 2,800 individuals.

Marwa and her nine children, granddaughter and daughter-in-law were displaced from Aledhaym sub- district in Diyala governorate in June 2014.

“Prior to displacement our lives were excellent and stable. Our region had prosperous agriculture; our family cultivated wheat and watermelon. We fled because of the arrival of armed groups and clashes between them and the army. We fled in our small car. We brought blankets, a few clothes, our ID cards documents and enough food for two days,” she said.

“We rented houses during our displacement, but we were forced to move from one house to another. These houses were unfinished and lacked doors and windows. We sold our car to have money to pay for our basic needs, including food, clothing and housing.”

“It was not until September 2016 that we felt it was safe to return to our village. We found our house was burned, but we stayed because we did not have any other options. We no longer have the tools for agriculture, so my eldest son is planning to open a shop near our home. He is currently just working as a labourer when there are opportunities. My other children have not yet had an opportunity to return to their studies. We were not able to afford the renovations, but now IOM has renovated our bathroom and living room. The new space will keep us safe,” she added.

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss said: “As returns increase in Iraq, it is necessary to expand strategies and funding to assist returnees; shelter provision is a main priority. IOM is pleased to support thousands of Iraqi families with shelter support in cooperation with the Government of Iraq and our donors to promote and support sustainable long-term return.”

The OFDA-funded project also includes shelter upgrades to assist displaced families living in unfinished buildings, schools, religious buildings, and other critical shelter arrangements. In 2016 more than 700 families in Baghdad, Najaf, Kerbala, Babylon, Qadissiya and Wassit governorates benefitted from these emergency rehabilitation works and upgrades, carried out by contractors and IOM staff. The 2017 phase of the project will assist more than 600 families in critical shelter arrangements.

Methods for these upgrades are compiled in IOM Iraq Mission’s recent publication, Rehabilitating, Repairing and Upgrading Critical Shelters and Damaged Houses. Click here to download the booklet.

Drawing from hands-on experience on the ground, the booklet presents shelter guidelines that aim to offer step-by-step guidance in repairing and upgrading critical shelters and damaged houses. The information is directed at the humanitarian aid community, IDP community members, and camp technical working committees.

The text provides guidelines for upgrades often needed for critical shelters, including internal wall partitions, roof repair and electrical safety. Rehabilitation guidelines for damaged houses includes: ceiling floor and wall repair, plastering and painting, and electrical rewiring.

As one of the largest shelter partners in Iraq, in 2016 IOM assisted more than 10,000 Iraqi families with shelter support including emergency sealing-off kits, emergency shelter kits, home rehabilitation and repair of critical shelter arrangements and homes.

Amid continued displacement from Mosul operations and the ongoing displacement of more than 3 million Iraqis across the country, thousands of Iraqis are choosing to return home. The latest IOM Iraq Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) dataset identified over 3 million displaced Iraqis and more than 1.5 million returnees from the period of January 2014 to mid-February 2017.

Return figures across Iraq governorates, as tracked by DTM (by number of individuals), are: Anbar (702,700), Salah al-Din (375,000), Diyala (202,100), Ninewa (186,300), Baghdad (31,000), Erbil (29,000) and Kirkuk (3,400). These figures, covering returns through 16 February, represent an increase since the previous DTM dataset (returns through 2 February) of more than 32,700 individuals in Anbar governorate, 17,800 individuals in Ninewa, and 800 individuals in Diyala.

More than 161,000 Iraqis continue to be displaced as a result of Mosul military operations, which began on 17 October. In total nearly 224,000 individuals have been displaced by Mosul military operations; more than 62,000 have returned to their areas of origin. Of the currently displaced, the majority (more than 150,000) are currently within Ninewa governorate.

The DTM Emergency Tracking figures on displacement from Mosul operations are available at: http://iraqdtm.iom.int/EmergencyTracking.aspx.

The latest full DTM report and data set on displacement and returns across Iraq are available on the DTM website: http://iraqdtm.iom.int

Please click to download the latest:

DTM Factsheet #17 (Feb. 23): https://www.iom.int/sites/default/files/press_release/file/IOM_Iraq-DTM-...

DTM Snapshot (Feb. 23): https://www.iom.int/sites/default/files/press_release/file/IOM_Iraq-DTM-...

DTM Mosul Corridor IDP Analysis (Feb. 20): https://www.iom.int/sites/default/files/press_release/file/IOM_Iraq-DTM-...)

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

Posted: Friday, February 24, 2017 - 16:59Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastIraqThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationHumanitarian EmergenciesDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Qualified Afghan Returnees Recognized at Kabul Event

IOM - News - Ven, 02/24/2017 - 10:18
Language English

Afghanistan - IOM has organized an event in Kabul to recognize contributions made to the development of Afghanistan by qualified Afghans who returned from Iran through IOM’s “Return of Qualified Afghans” (RQA) programme.

Since 2001, IOM has facilitated the return of diaspora Afghans in order to strengthen the capacity of government and non-government institutions, as well as the country’s private sector.

A key component of the programme has been the assisted return of qualified Afghans from neighbouring Iran, funded by the Government of Japan since 2008.

To date, 515 qualified Afghans living in Iran have returned under the programme to contribute their expertise in areas such as education, engineering and healthcare.

The event brought together RQA beneficiaries, host institutions and representatives from the government of Afghanistan to celebrate the achievements of the 2016-2017 phase of the programme. 

“Leveraging the skills base of the global Afghan diaspora to contribute to the development of institutions is key to ensuring sustainable recovery and development in Afghanistan and of importance for the government’s repatriation concerns,” said IOM Afghanistan Chief of Mission and Special Envoy, Laurence Hart.

“Participants in the programme have held senior roles in the Ministries of Energy and Water and Urban Development, as well as agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency,” he added.

Several participants in the programme shared their stories. Mohsin Alizadeh studied civil engineering in Iran. After graduating, he began working in a design firm in Iran, as well as studying for a post-graduate degree in Structural Engineering. He then returned home under RQA and subsequently joined Afghanistan’s Ministry of Urban Development and Housing.

“While living in Iran, I had no information about the job market in Afghanistan. Thanks to RQA, I was able to come here and work, while also familiarizing myself with the local job market,” he said.

Zahra Adili returned from Iran in 2016 under the RQA program and works in Jamhoriat Public Hospital Operation Room: “I am 23 years old and was born in Iran. The IOM RQA programme connected me to my country and helped me return and find a good job. I am happy to be serving my nation,” she noted.

The returnees come from a variety of backgrounds, but share the same motivation to contribute their skills for the recovery and development of Afghanistan.

Speaking at the event, Afghan Minister of Refugees and Repatriation Sayed Hussain Alimi Balkhi described the programme as “a bridge between the host country and the country of origin.” “The main objective should be to provide job opportunities allowing Afghans to stay in the country,” he said.

Following the success of the previous phases of the programme, IOM Afghanistan will once again receive support from the Government of Japan to continue supporting qualified returnees from Iran through 2017 and beyond.

For further information, please contact David Hofmeijer in IOM Kabul, Tel. +93 72 922 9432, Email: dhofmeijer@iom.int

Posted: Friday, February 24, 2017 - 16:58Image: Region-Country: AsiaAfghanistanThemes: Migration and DevelopmentDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Relocates 6,000 Displaced to Ease Overcrowding in Wau, South Sudan

IOM - News - Mar, 02/21/2017 - 10:48
Language English

South Sudan -  IOM is improving living conditions for internally displaced persons (IDPs) at the crowded Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Wau, South Sudan. Hosting more than 30,000 IDPs, the Wau PoC site adjacent to the UN peacekeeping base is the most congested displacement camp in the country.

Camp management conducted a relocation exercise from 26 January to 20 February, helping more than 6,000 IDPs move from the most congested areas into over 800 units in 176 communal shelters constructed by IOM teams. Households continue to access common services within the site, such as clinics managed by IOM, International Medical Corps and Médecins Sans Frontières.

Beginning in late 2016, IOM, as camp manager, began developing an extension area to ease congestion and enable families to move away from shelters that were either close to latrines or teetering near drainage ditches. Teams cleared and levelled 40,000m2 of land adjacent to the existing site, installed drainage and water points and constructed roads and pedestrian crossings, in order to facilitate the move.

The day after Rosa, a young mother of six, relocated to a new shelter, she said: “We are so much happier here in this shelter. I can cook outside and there is fresh air because we are not right next to the latrines. My children even have space to play.” Due to ongoing fears of insecurity, Rosa says she intends to stay in the PoC site until the crisis ends.

"The extension is also improving conditions for those who remain in the old areas of the site,” explains Kevin Merkelz, IOM Camp Management Officer for the Wau site. “We were able to open up wide avenues to improve safety and make space for dozens of badly needed showers and latrines. This also allowed us to empty six classrooms that had been occupied since the start of the crisis so that they could be used once again for educating the children displaced by the conflict."

The PoC site was an empty plot of land before fighting broke out in Wau, a relatively calm area before a rapid escalation of insecurity in late June 2016. The site swelled quickly as displaced families rushed to safety.

Today, over 45,900 people are sheltered in the PoC site and other displacement centres, like churches, across Wau town. Thousands more have been affected by the crisis in areas south of Wau, but relief agencies have faced extreme difficulty accessing these populations since early July.

Resources have been further stretched as IOM and other aid agencies respond to an influx of more than 5,000 newly displaced people, who have arrived at collective centres in Wau town since early February due to insecurity in Jur River County. IOM teams are distributing relief items and coordinating to provide access to clean water and other services.

Over 7.5 million people in South Sudan today are in dire need of humanitarian assistance due to a devastating crisis that has displaced over 3 million people since 2013. The scale of humanitarian needs is unprecedented, with UN agencies announcing on 20 February that an estimated 100,000 people are facing famine conditions due to war and a failing economy. As IOM continues to provide aid to the most vulnerable, it remains extremely concerned by the ongoing violence in the country and deepening impact on civilians caught in the crisis.

For further information, please contact Ashley McLaughlin at IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211 922 405 716, Email: amclaughlin@iom.int.

Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 17:14Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastSouth SudanDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 13,170, Deaths: 272

IOM - News - Mar, 02/21/2017 - 10:46
Language English

Switzerland - IOM reports that 13,170 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017, through 19 February, with over 75 percent arriving in Italy and the rest in Greece and Spain. This compares with 90,180 through the first 50 days of 2016.

IOM Rome reports that the over 10,000 migrant arrivals in Italy before the end of February represents a significant increase compared with arrivals in the same period during the past two years, when slightly over 8,000 migrants made it to Italy by the end of February.  

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reports an estimated 272 deaths at sea on various routes, compared with 420 through the first 50 days of 2016.

These figures do not include reports received by IOM Libya that as many as 100 fatalities may have occurred on Sunday (19/2) off Az Zawiyah, near Tripoli. They include at least 75 bodies found aboard a boat that washed ashore.

Traffickers reportedly stole the engine and left it to drift. Another six bodies were recovered on the beach and at least a dozen other migrants are missing, presumed drowned. A survivor, reportedly in a coma, was transferred to hospital. If confirmed these deaths would raise the total number of Mediterranean fatalities to over 365 through 20 February.

IOM Libya also reported Monday that last Friday (17/2), 125 migrants (105 men, 16 women and 4 children) were rescued at sea off Zuwara. On Saturday (18/2), 187 migrants were rescued off Az Zawiyah, and are currently at the Al Nasr detention centre.

Deaths of Migrants and Refugees: 1 Jan-19 Feb 2016 vs 1 Jan-19 Feb 2017

Region

2017

2016

Mediterranean

272

420

Europe

9

10

Middle East

10

27

North Africa

0

259

Horn of Africa

0

58

Sub-Saharan Africa

0

20

Southeast Asia

36

35

East Asia

0

0

US/Mexico

38

34

Central America

3

13

Caribbean

68

28

South America

0

10

Total

436

813

For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic:  http://migration.iom.int/docs/MMP/170221_Mediterranean_Update.pdf

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit: http://migration.iom.int/europe

Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at: http://missingmigrants.iom.int

For further information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int
Sabine Schneider at IOM Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 17 Email: sschneider@iom.int
IOM Greece: Daniel Esdras, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email: iomathens@iom.int or Kelly Namia, Tel: +30 210 9919040, +30 210 9912174, Email: knamia@iom.int
Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int
Abby Dwommoh, IOM Turkey; Tel: + Direct: +90 (0)312 454 3048| Mobile: +90 (533) 698 7285, Email: Adwommoh@iom.int  Mazen Aboulhosn at IOM Turkey, Tel: +9031245-51202, Email: maboulhosn@iom.int
IOM Libya: Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email: obelbeisi@iom.int  or Christine Petré, Tel. (Direct):  +216 29 240 448, Email: chpetre@iom.int
Hicham Hasnaoui at IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email: hhasnaoui@iom.int

For information or interview requests in French:
Florence Kim, OIM Genève, Tel: +41 79 103 03 42, Email: fkim@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo, OIM Italie, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 17:15Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Supports Key Health Facility in Sana’a, Yemen

IOM - News - Mar, 02/21/2017 - 10:46
Language English

Yemen - IOM has donated two water tanks with a total capacity of 60,000 litres to Al-Thawra General Modern Hospital in Sana’a, Yemen.

Al-Thawra General Modern Hospital is the biggest public hospital in Yemen, providing services to the whole community, including migrants and refugees, who receive the same care and pay the same minimum charges as local people.

The hospital is suffering from a desperate lack of resources, while facing a large influx of patients due to the ongoing conflict. Prolonged air, sea and land blockades are contributing to an acute shortage of medicines, medical supplies and equipment. Water, sanitation and health personnel are also in short supply.

Currently, only 45 percent of health facilities are functioning in Yemen. Around 274 facilities have been damaged or destroyed due to the conflict, and the facilities that are still functioning have limited capacity.

Most people seeking medical assistance are unable to find the help they need inside Yemen. But seeking medical care outside the country is also difficult, with the main functioning airport in Yemen, Sana’a International Airport, now closed.

To support public health facilities in Yemen, IOM is planning to support Al-Thawra General Modern Hospital with another three tons of medicine and medical supplies, as well as essential equipment.

“The health infrastructure in Yemen continues to face immense challenges due to a severe lack of medical supplies and resources,” said IOM Yemen Chief of Mission Laurent de Boeck. “Thanks to UK DFID, IOM has been able to support Yemen’s damaged health infrastructure, but more support is urgently needed to expand our response and ensure the provision of healthcare services to the most underserved areas,” he added.

For further information, please contact Saba Malme at IOM Yemen, Tel: + 967 736 800 329, Email: smalme@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 17:16Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastYemenDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM/UNHCR: Yemen’s Brutal Conflict Pushing One Million Displaced to Return to Danger

IOM - News - Mar, 02/21/2017 - 10:46
Language English

Yemen - Unabated conflict and rapidly deteriorating conditions across Yemen are pushing millions of displaced Yemenis further into danger and adversity, IOM, the UN Migration Agency and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, warned today, following the release of the latest data on the country’s displacement crisis.

Since the beginning of the conflict in March 2015, more than 11 percent of Yemen’s population, some 3 million people, have been forced to flee their homes for safety. Almost two years later, however, prolonged hostilities and worsening conditions are now forcing 1 million of those uprooted to return to the homes from which they fled, despite danger and insecurity across the country.

Two reports issued by the Task Force on Population Movement (TFPM), a technical working group co-led by IOM and UNHCR, show that there are currently 2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) across Yemen and 1 million IDP returnees; and that as conditions across the country further deteriorate, many more IDPs are contemplating a return home, where challenging security and socio-economic conditions persist.

Comprising a Multi-sectoral Location Assessment report released today and a periodically updated population movement tracking report (TFPM 12th report) published last month, the TFPM reports furnish the most comprehensive and detailed estimates of displaced populations and their circumstances in Yemen, and inform humanitarian response planning for 2017.

The reports highlight that a lack of access to income and basic services in areas of displacement are the main reasons pushing IDPs to return to their areas of origin, with 40 percent of key informants indicating that IDPs now intend to return home within the next three months.

UNHCR’s Country Representative for Yemen, Ayman Gharaibeh, said: “It’s testament to how catastrophic the situation in Yemen has become, that those displaced by the conflict are now returning home because life in the areas to which they had fled for safety is just as abysmal as in the areas from which they fled.”                                                                                                                                              

“Those attempting to return face tremendous challenges,” Gharaibeh added. “They often return to homes that have been damaged, in areas lacking essential services. They still need humanitarian aid and are often forced to flee their homes again. These returns cannot be viewed as sustainable.”

Noting that all of Yemen’s governorates, with the exception of the island of Socotra, have been affected by conflict, Gharaibeh said: “The overwhelming majority of Yemen’s 1 million IDP returnees have returned to Aden, Amanat Al Asimah, Taizz, Lahj and Shabwah, which have been particularly impacted by hostilities and insecurity.”

“For those that are returning home, food, financial assistance and psycho-social support remain priority needs,” he added.

The TFPM reports also provide indications of how dire life has become for the 2 million IDPs across the country. Shortages of food and malnutrition are widespread and reported in 84 percent of IDP locations identified. In addition to malnutrition, diarrheal diseases and malaria are cited as the most common health concerns for Yemen’s displaced.

IOM Yemen’s Chief of Mission, Laurent De Boeck, noted the distress of those in collective centers and spontaneous settlements. “IOM, alongside its partners, remains committed to support IDP families who have sought shelter in these camp-like settings and are living in unbearable conditions with limited to no access to services and are exposed to health risks and environmental hazards on a daily basis,” he said.

“When I recently visited some of these spontaneous settlements and IDPs in schools in Taizz, Hajjah, Lahj and Ibb governorates, I saw just how imperative it is for the humanitarian community to adapt its response to address lifesaving needs, while also working to rebuild the damaged infrastructure to improve access to services, such as health, shelter, NFIs, water and food, and to alleviate the pressures on communities hosting large IDP populations,” he added.

“With the most recent large scale displacement seen in Taizz, which is not yet reflected within the TFPM reports, IOM and all partners must scale up their response to support the newly displaced, as well as those whose displacement is becoming increasingly protracted with shifting needs, as indicated in the released reports. This motivates IOM to scale up and access the most remote areas in country,” he noted.

So far, 71 percent of those displaced have been seeking refuge in Yemen’s central and western governorates – including Hajjah, Amanat Al Asimah, Sana’a, Dhamar, Ibb and Taizz, all of which are experiencing intense hostilities – and multiple displacement is increasingly being observed. In the absence of livelihood opportunities and insufficient assistance, many IDPs are also resorting to harmful practices to cope in displacement, including child labour and early marriage.

Yemen’s local communities, which are overwhelmingly absorbing the burden of the displacement crisis, are also under intense strain with alarming scarcities of food and insufficient access to water and sanitation services reported. Eighty-four percent of Yemen’s 2 million IDPs have been displaced for more than a year and scarce resources are increasingly overstretched.

The Location Assessment report also provides insight into difficulties in accessing conflict-affected populations across Yemen and the perceptions among IDPs and returnees of humanitarian assistance. Though the majority of IDPs and returnees perceive humanitarian assistance as partially supporting them in meeting priority needs, negative perceptions of aid and considerable gaps in the engagement of humanitarian actors with local communities are also reported.

In response, the humanitarian community in Yemen has adopted an “Accountability to Affected Populations Framework” as part of the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2017, requiring all humanitarian partners to create mechanisms to ensure that affected populations can provide feedback or complain about the assistance they have received.

In addition, IOM and UNHCR are continuing to engage with all parties to the conflict for improved access to populations in need across Yemen, and with donors for increased international support for life-saving humanitarian programs.

Assessments for the two TFPM reports were conducted in all of Yemen’s governorates. Displacement tracking for the 12th report covered 98.5 percent of Yemen’s 333 districts and data for the Location Assessment report was collected through physical site visits by field teams where key informants representing the community were interviewed.

Copies of the full reports can be downloaded here:

Multi-sectorial Location Assessment Report:  https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/operations/yemen/assessment/mul...

TFPM 12th Report: http://reliefweb.int/report/yemen/yemen-task-force-population-movement-t...

For further information, please contact Joel Millman at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int  Or IOM Yemen: Esam Al-Makhzomi, Email: ealmakhzomi@iom.int, Tel: + 967 737 789 120 or Saba Malme, Tel: + 967 736 800 329, Email: smalme@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 17:17Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastYemenDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Johannesburg Students Lauded for Anti-Human Trafficking Social Media Campaign

IOM - News - Mar, 02/21/2017 - 10:33
Language English

South Africa - IOM and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) held an awards ceremony last week (17/2) at the UJ campus to commend students’ work on a 2016 social media campaign to combat human trafficking.

As part of the campaign, 16 second-year Applied Strategic Communications students produced, directed and edited a photo shoot illustrating the conditions in which victims of human trafficking often find themselves, holding signs condemning human slavery.

The pictures were then used together with messages as part of a social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter launched during Human Trafficking Awareness Week (3-7 October 2016).

Addressing the students at the awards ceremony, IOM South Africa Chief of Mission Richard Ots said: “The campaign which you directed, produced and crafted for us was a huge success. IOM is now sharing it with other missions as an example of an innovative way to raise public awareness of human trafficking.”

Professor Sonja Verwey, Head of UJ’s School of Communication, said: “The campaign forced them to confront themselves and see their role in the world. Communication is a social science and it’s our duty to teach students to deal with social issues like this.”

Globally human trafficking is believed to be the third most profitable illegal trade after drugs and weapons. Trafficking victims are often subjected to rape, torture, debt bondage, unlawful confinement and threats against their family or other people close to them, as well as other forms of violence.

According to the US State Department’s 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report, South Africa is a source, transit and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking.  South Africans continue to constitute the largest number of victims of trafficking within the country, with large numbers of people being trafficked from poorer rural areas to wealthier urban areas.

The campaign’s posts reached over 36,000 people on Facebook and generated 21,000 impressions on Twitter during Human Trafficking Awareness Week.

For further information, please contact Lerate Tsebe at IOM South Africa, Tel: +27 12 342 2789, Email: ltsebe@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 17:13Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastSouth AfricaDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Egypt Workshop Focuses on Harnessing Migration for Development

IOM - News - Mar, 02/21/2017 - 10:29
Language English

Egypt - The Egyptian Ministry for Immigration and Egyptian Expatriate Affairs and IOM have hosted Egypt’s first international partners’ round table on harnessing the development impact of migration.

The event, in Cairo, was chaired by Immigration Minister Nabila Makram Abdel Shahid and attendees included representatives of over 20 embassies and development agencies.

“The Government of Egypt is committed to continue its efforts to engage Egyptian expatriate communities in development initiatives in Egypt, while ensuring protection of their rights, through the development of a comprehensive policy framework and the undertaking of concrete initiatives to foster engagement,” said Minister Abdel Shahid, noting the government’s ongoing cooperation with relevant international partners, including IOM.

Several initiatives are expected to be developed in the context of the policy framework. They will include encouraging the return of qualified nationals to contribute to specific sectors of the Egyptian economy; promoting investment in local and national development plans/initiatives; encouraging expatriate contributions to trade development; and protecting expatriates’ rights abroad.

The initiative will advance the government’s commitment to support migrants and migration made under the country’s 2014 Constitution and 2030 Sustainable Development Strategy, as well as the global 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

“Egypt's USD 20 billion in remittances received in 2015 made it among the top 10 recipients of remittances worldwide. But Egyptians abroad contribute in many more ways. They also support trade and business networks, invest in their communities of origin, and transfer of knowledge and expertise,” said IOM Egypt Head of Office Amr Taha.

For further information, please contact Teuta Grazhdani at IOM Egypt, Tel: +202-27365140, Email: iomegypt@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 17:12Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastEgyptDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

As Displacement Continues in Iraq, Nearly 1.5 Million Iraqi IDPs Return

IOM - News - Ven, 02/17/2017 - 11:17
Language English

Iraq - As military operations to retake Mosul intensify, concerns mount that these operations may displace additional tens of thousands of civilians – beyond the 160,000-plus individuals currently categorized as “displaced” in the Mosul region after four months of combat.

Nonetheless, IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) has identified a recent spike of internally displaced persons (IDPs) returning to their location of origin across the country – including in the Mosul area – despite simultaneous displacement movements.

As of 16 February, DTM identified a cumulative total of 217,764 IDPs (36,294 families) displaced as a result of the Mosul operations that started on 17 October 2016.

Yet today only 160,302 individuals (26,717 families) remain displaced; of these, 93 percent are hosted in Ninewa Governorate. Most (78 percent) are from Mosul district in Ninewa Governorate. The remaining 57,462 individuals (9,577 families) have returned to their location of origin.

Context here is important. Since January 2014, the DTM has identified over three million internally displaced persons (a total of 505,000 families), dispersed across 3,661 locations in Iraq.

Yet for the same period, DTM has recorded nearly 1.5 million returnees (a total of 249,327 families), that is, IDPs who believe their communities are safe enough now to return to. This represents an overall increase in the returnee population of 7 percent (98,946 individuals) just in the past month.

With Iraq’s military retaking areas from ISIL, IOM has provided figures and identified locations of significant returns, which will facilitate the efforts of the Government and humanitarian agencies in directing assistance for people likely to return to their homes this year.

During the spring and summer of 2016, IDPs began returning to retaken areas of Anbar Governorate. By early February 2017, Anbar recorded the highest increase in returnees – 73,386 individuals – to districts including Falluja, Ramadi and Heet. Smaller numbers of IDPs returning were recorded in the districts of Salah al-Din, including Al-Shirqat and Tikrit.

Among the challenges faced by returnees are security regarding the presence of militias, risks of unexploded ordinance, and the destruction of infrastructure, including housing and other private property. 

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Weiss said: “Displaced Iraqis have had their lives uprooted and communities have been deeply affected. Those returning home need the full support of the humanitarian community. In cooperation with the Government of Iraq and humanitarian partners, IOM is providing returning Iraqis with a variety of support mechanisms including shelter rehabilitation, livelihoods, non-food items, and light infrastructure projects, to support their ability to resume their lives and provide for their families.”

In the town of Gwer, IOM is currently the only organization working with returnees.  “Thanks to IOM’s livelihoods programmes, people are encouraged to return because they receive support in finding employment or income-generating activities, said Herash Husain Hasan, Gwer’s Mayor. “That helps them to rebuild their homes.”

Shortly after ISIL took control of areas in Gwer in 2014, most schools were closed and therefore children have missed out on education for the last for two years. Currently, of the seven schools in Gwer, only three are open.

Three weeks ago, IOM turned to rehabilitating Gwer’s schools, where classrooms were burned, latrines destroyed, and furniture broken. This includes cleaning the buildings, supplying desks and white boards, painting, plastering and repairing plumbing. These efforts are expected to be completed by mid-March.

“Once schools and health centres are rehabilitated, people will have the courage to stay in the community,” the Mayor of Gwer added.

In Gwer, nearly 200 individuals recently benefitted from 26 business support packages and 6 business enhancement packages. These packages are supporting a coffee shop, barbershop, bakery, butcher, hairdresser, and a clothing rental shop.

IOM is also rehabilitating Gwer’s health centre, re-wiring its electrical system, painting, plastering, plumbing, and providing furniture. The works began in February and will be completed by the end of March 2017.

While the health centre is being rehabilitated, an IOM medical team in Gwer is operating out of two caravans, providing health consultations and medicines for adults and children. Since November 2016, the team has provided more than 3,500 primary health care consultations.

In an effort to support further returns of displaced populations in Iraq, IOM is chairing the Returns Working Group (RWG), established by the UN Humanitarian Country Team to develop recommendations for Iraqi governorates affected by returns and to provide technical advice to humanitarian partners, government authorities and civil society organizations to support returns in accordance with international standards.

The latest DTM Emergency Tracking figures on displacement from Mosul operations are available at: http://iraqdtm.iom.int/EmergencyTracking.aspx.

Please click to download the latest:

IOM Iraq DTM report, providing country-wide displacement and return figures from January 2014 - 2 February 2017: 

http://iraqdtm.iom.int/downloads/DTM%202017/February%202017/Round%2064%2...

IOM Iraq DTM Mosul Operations – Factsheet:

http://www.iom.int/sites/default/files/press_release/file/IOM_Iraq_DTM-M...

IOM Iraq DTM Mosul Operations – Data Snapshot:

http://www.iom.int/sites/default/files/press_release/file/IOM_Iraq_DTM-M...

For further information, please contact IOM Iraq:

Hala Jaber, Email: hjaberbent@iom.int, Tel. +964 751 740 1654

Sandra Black, Email: sblack@iom.int, Tel. +964 751 234 2550

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2017 - 18:07Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastIraqDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 12,381; Deaths: 272

IOM - News - Ven, 02/17/2017 - 11:17
Language English

Switzerland - IOM reports that 12,381 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 15 February – just under 9,500 to Italy, just under 2,000 to Greece, and 1,000 to Spain. This compares with 84,645 arrivals during the first seven weeks of 2016 – 90 percent of whom arrived in Greece.

Today’s numbers show a significant increase in arrivals to Italy compared with the same period last year – 9,448, up from 6,123 – while the traffic to Greece has practically dried up. IOM Athens reports daily average arrivals in Greece of 42 in 2017 - compared with nearly 1,500 during the same period last winter.

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reports an estimated 272 deaths at sea on various Mediterranean routes this winter, compared with 417 at this time last year.

It is important to note that 2016’s Mediterranean death toll at this point was mostly on the eastern route. Some 320 people – three quarters of the total – died between Turkey and Greece. This winter, the route has accounted for just two fatalities. 

The central Mediterranean route between Libya to Italy has recorded 232 fatalities through February 15.

Another 38 deaths have been recorded on the western route between North Africa and Spain. Last year only seven people died on this route.

During the whole of 2016, Missing Migrants recorded a total of 70 deaths along this route, which means that 2017’s total already has passed last year’s half-way mark after just seven weeks.

Missing Migrants has reported three incidents since January 30 – including two this week – that have resulted in 14 fatalities along this route.

On 30 January, three migrants were reported missing, while 11 were rescued by Guardia Civil units off Almeria. On 12 February three migrants landed on the Spanish coast at Tarifa, telling authorities two other members of their party drowned when their small craft foundered. Then on Wednesday (15/2), nine migrants were reported lost in the Strait of Gibraltar. Two were rescued in that incident.

No landings have taken place in Italy since Sunday. But Italy’s Ministry of Interior has released data on the top nationalities arriving by sea as irregular migrants through January. (See chart below.)

Of the top ten sender countries, all but two – Iraq and Bangladesh – are from Africa, with all but one of those African countries – Morocco – considered Sub-Saharan. Cote d’Ivoire, with 839 arrivals reported the highest tally, followed by Guinea (796), Nigeria (483), Senegal (431), The Gambia (359) and Mali (282). Morocco (257), Bangladesh (224), Iraq (131) and Cameroon (117) surpassed more traditional senders like Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and the Sudan. Many Eritreans and Ethiopians have been recorded as fatalities this year, so it is somewhat surprising that relatively few people from these countries arrived in Italy this year.

 

Arrivals by sea in Italy - Main Countries of Origin
Total 2017/2016 Comparison
(Source: Italian Ministry of Interior)

Main Countries of Origin

January 2017

January 2016

Cote d’Ivoire

839

332

Guinea

796

504

Nigeria

483

905

Senegal

431

493

The Gambia

359

676

Mali

282

393

Morocco

257

483

Bangladesh

224

N.A.

Iraq

131

N.A.

Cameroon

117

96

Total All Countries of Origin

4,467

5,273

In terms of the number of worldwide migrant deaths, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reports that 2017’s total of 435 men, women and children is just over half of 2016’s total through February 16. This appears to be a statistical anomaly that may be due to a lack of data coming from key spots like the Horn of Africa and North Africa’s Sahara Desert, rather than changes in migration patterns.

With nearly 110 migrant deaths reported in the Americas – compared to 78 a year ago at this time – IOM has noted that accurate data collection often is a function of proximity to large population centres, while the deaths themselves occur in remote places and are therefore reported weeks or months after the fact.    

Deaths of Migrants and Refugees: 1 Jan - 16 Feb 2016/2017

Region

2017

2016

Mediterranean

272

417

Europe

9

10

Middle East

10

27

North Africa

0

179

Horn of Africa

0

49

Sub-Saharan Africa

0

18

Southeast Asia

36

35

East Asia

0

0

US/Mexico

38

29

Central America

2

12

Caribbean

68

27

South America

0

10

Total

435

813

 

 

 

For the latest Mediterranean update infographic: http://migration.iom.int/docs/MMP/170216_Mediterranean_Update.pdf
For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit: http://migration.iom.int/europe
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at: http://missingmigrants.iom.int

For further information please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41.79.103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int 
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int  
Sabine Schneider at IOM Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 17 Email: sschneider@iom.int
IOM Greece: Daniel Esdras, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email: iomathens@iom.int or Kelly Namia, Tel: +30 210 9919040, +30 210 9912174, Email: knamia@iom.int  
Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int 
Mazen Aboulhosn at IOM Turkey, Tel: +9031245-51202, Email: maboulhosn@iom.int
IOM Libya: Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email: obelbeisi@iom.int or Maysa Khalil, Tel: +216 29 600388, Email: mkhalil@iom.int
Hicham Hasnaoui at IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email: hhasnaoui@iom.int

For information or interview requests in French:
Florence Kim, IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 03 42, Email: fkim@iom.int 
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Rome, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2017 - 18:06Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Launches Documentary ‘In Their Own Words and Voices’ in Kuwait

IOM - News - Ven, 02/17/2017 - 11:16
Language English

Kuwait - On Sunday (12/2), IOM launched the documentary In Their Own Words and Voices in Kuwait. The film showcases the agency’s humanitarian efforts in several war and crisis-ridden countries in the Middle East, as well as the positive impact the support of the Government of Kuwait has had on IOM operations and affected populations.

The launch was held under the auspices of H.E. Sheikh Sabah Khalid al-Hamad al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the National Library of Kuwait. It opened with keynote speeches by IOM Director General William Lacy Swing and the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Ambassador Swing thanked the Amir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, noting: “The generous assistance of His Highness has contributed to giving hope to those who feel hopeless about life amid displacement and wars.”

Ambassador Swing also credited His Highness as the innovator behind a new term – Humanitarian Diplomacy – that reflects the leading role of Kuwait during this period of unprecedented conflict and suffering that is affecting of hundreds of thousands of people in the Arab region.

The screening of the hour-long documentary was followed with testimony from refugees, internally displaced persons and migrants living in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey.

The documentary was filmed over a period of six months under the direction of IOM, and is an expression of appreciation for the humanitarian leadership shown by the Government of Kuwait in the region, and for their invaluable contribution towards IOM’s work.

For further information, please contact Mohamed El Zarkani at IOM Kuwait, Tel: +965 99394157, Email: melzarkani@iom.int

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2017 - 18:05Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastKuwaitDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Over 4,800 South Sudanese Refugees Moved to New Camp in Gambella, Ethiopia

IOM - News - Ven, 02/17/2017 - 11:16
Language English

Ethiopia - IOM last week (9/2) transported 816 South Sudanese refugees from the Pagak entry point on the South Sudan-Ethiopia border to the new Nguenyyiel refugee camp in Gambella Region, Ethiopia, bringing the total number of refugees moved since the beginning of 2017 to 4,833.

This latest movement was part of IOM’s an operation designed to move newly arrived South Sudanese refugees to places of safety in an organized and dignified manner. IOM medical escorts accompanied the refugees and provided drinking water and food for the trip. Some 95 buses, carrying a total of 1,436 families, have been used in these movements.

“We are happy to be going to the camp – we can get help there,” said Nyawech, a South Sudanese refugee travelling with her four daughters and several grandchildren. “Fighting came to our village [in South Sudan] so we walked day and night for one week to get here,” she added, before boarding the bus. Insecurity, severe food shortages, and searing temperatures in South Sudan mean a perilous journey for the refugees who travel to Pagak.

Gambella already hosts some 330,211 refugees from South Sudan, due to the ongoing conflict in the country, which continues to displace people inside the country and force them into neighbouring countries. Ethiopia is currently the second largest receiving country for refugees from South Sudan, the vast majority of whom have found shelter in Gambella.

The day before refugees board the bus, IOM medical teams conduct medical screenings to ensure that they are physically able to make the journey. Those refugees for whom the journey may be too difficult due to health problems are referred to IOM’s medical partners working in Pagak. Alternative transportation is then provided at a later date. The most common medical conditions are acute diarrhoea in children and complications related to pregnancies.

“IOM will continue to ensure the safe and dignified movement of South Sudanese refugees in Gambella to places where they can get the help they need, as part of our comprehensive efforts to manage the ongoing influx,” said Miriam Mutalu, IOM Head of Sub-Office in Gambella.

IOM’s transportation services for refugees in Gambella are funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and UNHCR. The movements are carried out in partnership with the Ethiopian Government’s Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA).

For further information, please contact Miriam Mutalu at IOM Gambella, Tel: +251 94 6692 501, Email: mmutalu@iom.int

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2017 - 18:04Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastEthiopiaDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM