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IOM Launches USD 24.6 Million Drought Appeal for Somalia

IOM - News - Ven, 03/03/2017 - 11:57
Language English

Somalia - In order to meet the emergency needs of over a million Somalis affected by drought, IOM in Somalia is scaling up lifesaving interventions throughout the country and appealing to international donors for funding.

Humanitarian agencies report worrying similarities to the 2011 famine in Somalia, in which over a quarter of a million people lost their lives.

A massive increase in humanitarian assistance is urgently needed to avert a famine in some of the worst drought-affected areas of the country. Wages are collapsing, local food prices are rising, animal deaths are increasing, malnutrition rates are starting to rise, water prices are spiralling and Somalis are moving in growing numbers in search of food and water. Without assistance, many people face malnutrition, significantly increased risk of disease, loss of livelihoods and even death.

“We named this (2017) drought ‘Odi Kawayn,’ which is Somali for ‘something bigger than the elders.’ None of our elders has ever seen a drought as severe as this one,” said drought victim Halima.

Humanitarian agencies estimate that there are 6.2 million drought-affected Somalis in need of assistance, including food, water and sanitation, health and nutrition, protection and shelter. In order to address as many gaps in response as possible, humanitarian partners are rolling out a robust operational plan to reach as many Somalis as possible with lifesaving emergency support.

President of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo has acknowledged the devastation of the drought and urged all stakeholders to “respond more effectively” to the famine threat.

IOM will continue to work closely with humanitarian partners and government counterparts to reach as many people in need as possible in the coming four months, and beyond.

IOM’s 2017 Somali Drought Appeal was developed to enhance current response, and expand the UN Migration Agency’s geographic footprint within the country.  IOM teams on the ground are rapidly scaling up ongoing interventions in the fields of health, shelter, water and sanitation, protection and food security.

The activities presented in the Appeal include and build on the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and UN OCHA’s Pre-Famine Operational Plan (January-June 2017), that targets the country’s most critical lifesaving needs.

Download the Appeal here:
https://www.iom.int/sites/default/files/country_appeal/file/IOM-Appeal_S...

For further information, please contact Mary-Sanyu Osire at IOM Somalia, Tel: +254 705 832 020, Email: mosire@iom.int.  

 

Posted: Friday, March 3, 2017 - 18:53Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastSomaliaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Displacement Spikes in Yemen’s Taizz Governorate as Clashes Intensify in Al Mokha City

IOM - News - Ven, 03/03/2017 - 11:53
Language English

Yemen - Some 273,780 people are displaced in Yemen’s Taizz Governorate, according to IOM’s most recent Task Force on Population Movements (TFPM) report. This places it among the top five IDP-hosting governorates in the country.

For almost 20 months, Taizz has been the centre of intensive ground clashes, military confrontations and aerial strikes between battling groups in Yemen. The clashes have led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people both within and outside the governorate.

Following mass displacement from Al Mokha, a major port city in Taizz, in February, IOM initiated its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) to monitor their movement and humanitarian needs. So far, a total of 34,920 individuals have been reported as displaced from Al Mokha, according to the DTM. IOM is currently preparing its response for the newly displaced families from Al Mokha.

“Using the DTM to collect data on the vulnerabilities of the displaced population and their host communities is essential to our work, if we want to plan an effective, efficient and impactful humanitarian response,” said Laurent de Boeck, IOM Yemen Chief of Mission.

“This much-needed data has enabled the entire humanitarian community in Yemen to increase the amount and accuracy of vital support and protection it provides to affected populations. I hope that we can continue to do more – even faster – to guarantee that our responses really reach those most in need.”

Since the start of the conflict in March 2015, IOM has tracked up to 426,672 IDPs and 78,258 returnees in the governorate of Taizz.

IOM Yemen’s displacement tracking is funded by the US Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and the Humanitarian Pooled Fund (HPF). IOM is seeking additional funding to expand its operations to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable in Yemen.

Download a copy of the TFPM report here:
https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/operations/yemen/assessment/mul...

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

Posted: Friday, March 3, 2017 - 18:50Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastYemenThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 16,927, Deaths: 487

IOM - News - Ven, 03/03/2017 - 11:49
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Switzerland - IOM reports that 16,927 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 1 March, about 80 percent arriving in Italy and the rest in Spain and Greece. This compares with 132,743 through the first 60 days of 2016. 

No new arrivals to Italy have been recorded since Tuesday. However, IOM Rome spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo says he expects hundreds of newly rescued individuals to arrive in Italian ports starting Friday. Arrivals in Greece since 27 February totaled 163, with no arrivals on March 1, the most recent date for which data is available.

Mediterranean Developments

IOM Libya reported on Thursday (2/3) that 333 migrants traveling on a wooden boat – 305 men, 16 women (4 of whom are pregnant) and 12 children – were rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard off the western city of Az Zawiyah. The rescued migrants were transferred to the Shuhada Al Nasr detention centre.

 

  Arrivals by sea in Italy
    January - December 2015/2016
       (Source: Italian Ministry of Interior)

 

2017

2016

2015 

January

4,467  

5,273

3,528        

February

8,976

3,828

4,354         

March

n/a

9,676

2,283

April

n/a

9,149

16,056

May

n/a

19,925

21,231

June

n/a

22,371

22,877

July

n/a

23,552

23,210

August

n/a

21,294

22,610

September

n/a

16,975

15,922

October

n/a

27,384

8,916

November

n/a

13,962

3,219

December

n/a

8,047

9,636

IOM staff visited the detention centre to assess the needs of the survivors. International Medical Corps – an NGO – is providing medical services. The largest group of those rescued reportedly came from Bangladesh (155), followed by Mali (53), Pakistan (28) and Morocco (15).

This latest Coast Guard operation brings the total number of migrants rescued in Libyan waters in 2017 to 2,535.

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reports an estimated 487 deaths at sea on various Mediterranean routes through the first 60 days of 2017, compared with 426 fatalities at this point in 2016. The two deaths recorded since last Tuesday’s (28/2) report happened in waters off Spain.
The 2017 fatalities figure represents almost a reverse of the pattern of casualties from a year ago, when 97 deaths occurred between North Africa and Italy and seven deaths were recorded off Spain. Most of the deaths – 322 – were reported between Turkey and Greece.

So far this year it is the Central Mediterranean route from North Africa to Italy – with 444 deaths – and Spain (with 41), which account for all but two fatalities. The remaining two were reported off Greece.

Worldwide, Missing Migrants researchers note that 709 deaths recorded in 60 days demonstrates migrants are perishing at a rate of nearly 12 daily. That is less than the 20 per day recorded during all of 2016, with two important caveats: (1) winter months tend to be the slowest migration season and (2) data remains largely uncounted for many routes this early in the year, especially across Africa.

This trend became pertinent in Libya this week with the discovery in Bani Walid, 100 kms southeast of Tripoli, of 12 bodies of sub-Saharan African migrants. IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reported Thursday that no information had been provided on how they died, but she learned that “118 migrants have been found in the outskirts of Bani Walid area since December 2016, apparently victims of disease or hunger.” None of the 118 was murdered and none had been washed ashore from shipwrecks.

The Missing Migrants Project will seek to determine which of those 118 fatalities should properly count as deaths from 2017 and which from 2016 (or perhaps earlier), while acknowledging a definitive determination may be impossible. 

IOM notes that virtually everywhere data are being collected regularly – Europe, the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, the Americas – 2017 totals tend to be running slightly ahead of comparable numbers from 2016 (see chart, below). With more information on past migrant deaths still to come, this is an indication that current figures are an undercount of this ongoing tragedy.

Deaths of Migrants & Refugees: 1 January 2016 - 2 March 2016 vs. 1 January - 2 March 2017

 

2017

2016

Mediterranean

487

426

Europe

13

11

Middle East

10

28

North Africa

25

382

Horn of Africa

0

82

Sub-Saharan Africa

0

23

Southeast Asia

44

35

East Asia

0

0

US/Mexico

42

39

Central America

7

13

Caribbean

81

29

South America

0

10

Total

709

1078

 

For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic:  http://migration.iom.int/docs/MMP/170302_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 or Mazen Aboulhosn, 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, March 3, 2017 - 18:35Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

EU, IOM Help 2,500 Refugee, Migrant Children to Attend Greek Schools

IOM - News - Ven, 03/03/2017 - 11:35
Language English

Greece - The European Union (EU) is backing a special education programme that is helping 2,500 refugee and migrant children go to school in Greece. IOM provides transport and bus escorts who accompany the children from their accommodation to the nearest Greek schools.

Working with the Greek Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs, IOM also provides them with school kits, including notebooks, pens, pencils and other educational materials. The escorts accompany the children on the buses and make sure that their daily commute to school is safe and organized.

According to IOM Greece, it now has 61 school buses taking the children from accommodation centres to 94 nearby schools on a daily basis.  

Escorts working at the Eleonas Accommodation Centre in Athens report that the children are enthusiastic students. “There were children running barefoot, shoes in hand after the prayer, so they would not miss their school bus. They wanted to stay at school even after the end of their courses.”

Of the 2,500 migrant and refugee children now going to school in Greece, over 1,000 children from 11 accommodation facilities on the Greek mainland have joined the school system since the start of 2017.  Thousands more are following informal courses in camps and urban settings.

“Four months ago, we were facing the alarming reality that thousands of migrant and refugee children in Greece were not attending school, compounding the hardships they have had to face.  Today, it is  heartwarming to see a much more positive picture as the number of children who attend school is now into the thousands and continues to grow,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing. “We greatly appreciate the support from the EU and our partners in Greece, and look forward to continuing to ensure that all migrant and refugee children are in school,” he added. 

“Following the adoption of a new legal framework by the Greek Parliament in August 2016, access to education for refugee children of school-going age has improved significantly. The European Commission is helping the Greek authorities carry out this fundamental task by co-financing the transport of children to schools and the distribution of school kits with a total of EUR 2.8 million in EU Emergency Support,” said Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management. “This comes on top of our support to informal education activities for over 9,000 refugee children in Greece,” he added.

The reaction from the parents has been very positive and many have expressed great relief that their children are back in school.

“I am very happy for my children because education is very important,” says Hiyfat, who fled Aleppo with her husband and her three children a year ago.

Her 10-year-old daughter, Sara, adds: “I went to school in Syria for almost a year. I love that I’m starting again. I would like to study English, to learn every language in the world! It would be nice to do some drawing and to make new friends too.”

The programme is part of IOM’s Multi-sectoral Assistance to and Protection of Migrants and Refugees Stranded in Greece programme.

For more migrant stories from Greece, please go to: https://goo.gl/MhHD7J

For further information, please contact IOM Greece. Christine Nikolaidou, Tel. +30 210-9919040 Ext 248, Email: cnikolaidou@iom.int or Ioannis Baveas, Email: ibaveas@iom.int or iomathenspi2@iom.int

Or contact the European Commission Spokesperson's Service. Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordujela, Tel. +3222965322, Email: carlos.martin-ruiz-de-gordejuela@ec.europa.eu

Posted: Friday, March 3, 2017 - 18:31Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaGreeceThemes: Migration and YouthRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Family Assistance Programme Centre Opens in Erbil to Facilitate Family Reunification in Germany

IOM - News - Ven, 03/03/2017 - 11:31
Language English

Iraq - IOM Iraq and the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Erbil this week hosted the official opening of a Family Assistance Programme (FAP) service centre for Syrians and Iraqis in Erbil.

The centre was officially opened by Karim Sinjari, Minister of Interior of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq, and Iman Naji Hindi, Director General in the Ministry of Migration and Displacement of the Government of Iraq.

The aim of the Family Assistance Programme, which was initiated and funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, is to support family reunification applicants in Iraq with their visa application process. The centre in Erbil will be able to assist up to 30,000 Syrian and Iraqi close family members of recognized refugees already in Germany.

IOM will also distribute information materials at the centre to facilitate the integration of family reunification applicants once they arrive in Germany.

The project aims to dissuade refugee families from seeking unsafe, irregular migration channels to migrate, to support German consular staff, and to help refugees to successfully integrate in German society.

German Consul General Marc Eichhorn has high hopes for the project. “Having seen hundreds of thousands of refugees being welcomed in Germany, we are now expecting the family members who have a right to family reunification. We are convinced that the Family Assistance Programme will accelerate the visa process and therefore lead to shorter waiting times for all applicants. We strongly believe that, in IOM, we have found the perfect partner to achieve this goal,” he said.

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Dr. Thomas Lothar Weiss welcomed IOM’s role in assisting the Government of Germany and vulnerable migrants waiting for family reunification. “IOM promotes regular migration for the benefit of migrants as well as countries of origin, transit and destination. This centre in Erbil will provide a crucial service to ensure the safe and efficient migration of Iraqis and Syrians to Germany,” he said.

Karim Sinjari, Minister of Interior of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq noted: “The opening of this centre will have significant impact and will be helpful to raise awareness among displaced Iraqis and refugees. It will provide them with accurate information and assistance with visas to reunite them with their families in Germany.  The centre will also prevent the human trafficking of vulnerable displaced people and eventually, will reduce the number of the victims trying to reach western countries. We at the Ministry of Interior fully support this project; it is very important for us.”

All applicants are asked to contact IOM and arrange an appointment prior to visiting the centre in Erbil, by sending an email to info.fap.iq@iom.int. More information is available on the FAP Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/IOM.Family.Assistance.Programme/

For further information please contact Sandra Black at IOM Iraq, Tel.+9647512342550, Email: sblack@iom.int. Or Eleonora Servino at FAP. Email:  info.fap.iq@iom.int

Posted: Friday, March 3, 2017 - 18:27Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastIraqThemes: Refugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Helps Stranded Migrants Return to Mali from Libya

IOM - News - Ven, 03/03/2017 - 11:25
Language English

Mali - On Thursday, 2 March, IOM helped 163 stranded Malian migrants – 151 adults, seven children, five infants – return home on a charter flight from Tripoli, Libya.

IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reported 37 of the migrants had been released from the Triq Al Sekka detention centre prior to their departure. Others were longer-term residents of Tripoli, having journeyed to Libya in search of work years – or in some cases, decades – before Libya’s current spate of violence, which began in 2011.

Many of the returnees from the suburbs of Tripoli stayed in the Malian Embassy in Tripoli for one night prior to departure.

Seydou*, 21, said: “I can’t express my happiness to return to my home country and continue my university education. I came to Libya to go to Europe – on the death boats – but I realized that this path leads to hell and I will never think about [doing] it again.”

Another of the returnees was 63-year-old Oumar*. He came to Libya 30 years ago, leaving his wife and children behind to earn money to send back. Today Oumar’s children are grown – with families of their own and Oumar’s grandchildren, whom he has never seen.

“There has been no work or money in Libya for the last three years and I didn't get paid for a year and a half now,” Oumar explained. “That is why I have decided to go back to Mali and die among my family members.”

Twenty-year-old Aminata* came to Libya with her husband and one-year-old son. But when her husband left her, she had trouble finding work – especially after refusing to work illegally. Desperate, she eventually learned about IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme.

Thirty-year-old Fatou*, a mother of three, came to Libya looking for her husband, who had left Libya for Europe. Left alone and unable to earn enough money to follow her husband to Europe, she also decided to return voluntarily return home with IOM.

One of the returnees was an unaccompanied child. IOM’s protection unit traced his family and once back in Mali, IOM Mali staff will escort him back to his parents in a village outside Bamako.

IOM’s AVRR efforts in Libya are funded by the UK Foreign Office, the EU’s Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) and the US government.

The charter flight – which was coordinated with Libyan and Malian authorities – departed Tripoli’s Mitiga airport. IOM provided pre-departure interviews, medical check-ups and other assistance, including clothing and shoes.

So far in 2017, IOM Libya has helped 819 stranded migrants return to their countries of origin. Of those, 235 were eligible for reintegration assistance.

*All names have been altered to ensure privacy.

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, March 3, 2017 - 18:22Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastMaliThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Donors Visit Frontline IOM Operations in Turkey

IOM - News - Ven, 03/03/2017 - 11:21
Language English

Turkey - This week a delegation of diplomats and representatives of humanitarian agencies from Finland, Sweden, Luxembourg, the United States and France visited IOM’s operations at Turkey’s southeastern border region with Syria to assess aid delivery and needs in Turkey and northern Syria.  

As the crisis in Syria enters into its seventh year, nearly 11 million people have been displaced.  Approximately 6.3 million people are displaced inside Syria and 85 percent of the population is living in poverty. Some 2.9 million Syrians are living in Turkey – now accounting for approximately 3.5 percent of Turkey’s population. 

With the conflict enduring, many Syrian refugees are losing hope of being able to return home.  “I will always be Syrian and that’s all I think about,” says Houda, a displaced Syrian woman. “But watching loved ones die in front of you, no one can live like that.  I want to go back to Syria, but I don’t know how or if it will ever be possible.”

Since 2012, IOM Turkey has provided humanitarian relief to over 1.5 million vulnerable people affected by the Syrian crisis.  In Turkey, IOM provides direct assistance to refugees, placing particular emphasis on protection, education, provision of life-saving assistance, as well as early recovery and resilience support to displaced Syrians and host communities. 

IOM also continues to provide humanitarian relief to vulnerable people in northern Syria through cross-border programs. At the trans-shipment hub in Turkey, 10 km from the Syrian border, donors observed as aid trucks from Turkey unloaded core relief items onto another Syrian truck. These items were set to be delivered to nearly 1,400 vulnerable people in Syria the same day. The donors spoke with officials from local government and others at the border gate.

Despite Turkey granting Syrians the right to temporary protection in 2014, vulnerable Syrians continue to face challenges accessing services due to the language barrier, geographic distance, a lack of awareness or insufficient resources. “The biggest challenge for us is the communication barrier,” said one Turkish official. “We speak Turkish, the refugees speak Arabic.  If we both spoke the same language, our work would be easier.” 

During the donors’ visit, IOM held focus group discussions with refugee communities and visited an IOM-supported community centre, which has been providing Turkish language and vocational training to over 500 Syrians in Turkey’s Hatay province for the last six months.

Representatives from Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg and France met with local government officials to discuss the challenges refugees face in host communities and public institutions’ capacity to meeting these needs. One District Governor near the Turkish-Syrian border emphasized the need for continued support, particularly to address basic needs of the Syrian community.

“The international community must work together to address the root causes behind the conflict, rather than continue this focus on addressing its consequences,” said Lado Gvilava, IOM Turkey Chief of Mission. “Changing needs also require a proactive and flexible approach from the humanitarian and donor communities.”

“Unpredictability is the bane of the humanitarian. We need more un-earmarked and long-term funding to respond to changing priorities within our refugee response,” he added.   

For further information, please contact Abby Dwommoh at IOM Turkey, Tel: +90 312 454 3048, Email: MediaIOMTurkey@iom.int.

Posted: Friday, March 3, 2017 - 18:16Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaTurkeyDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM, South Caucasus Governments Gather in Vienna for Joint TB-HIV/AIDS Response

IOM - News - Ven, 03/03/2017 - 11:15
Language English

Georgia - Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS continue to pose a threat to mobile and migrant populations in Europe. Now the countries of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia are teaming up to reduce the threat posed by the two diseases.

A new project, funded by IOM, aims to address the challenges posed by TB and HIV to migrants in the southern Caucasus region. Government representatives from the three countries met with IOM in the Austrian capital Vienna this week to move forward on the project.

“Our world is increasingly mobile,” noted Argentina Szabados, IOM Regional Director for South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. “IOM is committed to ‘leave no one behind,’ as the (UN) Sustainable Development Goals declare. To that end we are supporting the governments and IOM Country Missions in this region to address national and regional migration health-related challenges.”

The project is the first to bring together the three neighbouring countries of the South Caucasus transit corridors, and sets out to develop a migrant-centred regional approach to TB and HIV/AIDS.  It will span two years and include health promotion campaigns focusing on preventive screening and treatment adherence; in-country, cross-border and regional studies to provide the evidence for a TB and HIV/AIDS prevention and surveillance intervention; and the strengthening of health services through training health care professionals and border authorities. 

“We want to respond effectively to the common challenge of TB and HIV/AIDS in an area of high geopolitical importance,” said IOM Georgia Chief of Mission and project manager Ilyana Derilova. “Supporting the three governments is an honour to us and we know that our cooperation will help vulnerable migrants through joint response mechanisms.”

For further information, please contact Ilyana Derilova at IOM Georgia, Tel: +995 32 2252216, Email: iderilova@iom.int

Posted: Friday, March 3, 2017 - 18:06Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaGeorgiaThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Urgent Action Needed to Help Millions Facing Famine in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, North-east Nigeria

IOM - News - Mar, 02/28/2017 - 11:32
Language English

Switzerland - Over 20 million people in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and northeast Nigeria are facing extreme levels of food insecurity. Severe drought conditions, conflict, insecurity, extreme violence and/or economic degradation, have led to famine in certain areas of each country, putting millions of people’s lives at risk and forcing millions to move in search of food and water.

IOM is working with partners – including other UN agencies, NGOs and governments – to respond with life-saving support in each of the affected countries.

“Inaction could mean the starvation of millions,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s Director of Operations and Emergencies. “IOM and partners need vital resources to continue to help those facing drought, food insecurity and famine. We have an opportunity to stop famine from spreading and affecting more and more people throughout these four countries and others, but only if we move fast,” he added. 

Famine was declared in parts of South Sudan on 20 February 2017 due to conflict and insecurity, suggesting that as many as 100,000 people may be at risk. Without access to timely humanitarian aid, famine is likely to spread throughout the country. IOM is working with the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to biometrically register vulnerable populations in Panyijiar, a county on the verge of famine, to inform humanitarian response planning and distributions for those areas. The number of people facing severe food insecurity is expected to reach 5.5 million in July, the height of the lean season. (The current number is 4.9 million).

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. Some 1.89 million are internally displaced in the country and 1.37 million have fled to neighbouring countries. Insecurity and hunger are also forcing people to move in search of protection and assistance. Many people from famine-affected areas have fled to the Bentiu Protection of Civilians (PoC) site, where IOM provides multi-sector humanitarian aid.

In Somalia, the humanitarian situation is rapidly deteriorating and the likelihood of famine is increasing. Food and water shortages, due to drought conditions, are forcing pastoral communities to move in search of water and pasture. Mogadishu and Awdal have received more than 8,000 individuals each from drought-affected areas.

Between 1 January and 26 February 2017, 138,000 individuals have become internally displaced. The number of people moving across the border to Ethiopia, to seek food and services, is also increasing. IOM is responding in Somalia through food, health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), shelter and core relief item assistance, as well as scaled up data collection to inform the humanitarian community’s response. IOM is set to launch its appeal for its drought response in Somalia on Friday, 3 March 2017.

Across Yemen, enduring conflict and rapidly deteriorating conditions are pushing millions of displaced Yemenis further into danger. The rapidly deteriorating food crisis has reached famine conditions in some areas of the country. Overall food insecurity has risen sharply, with 17.1 million people currently food insecure, according to the Emergency Food Security and Nutrition Assessment (EFSNA.) An estimated 7.3 million people are severely food insecure.

In 2016, emergency food assistance was vital in preventing much larger food insecurity. Continuing and upscaling this assistance across the country is necessary in order to save millions from severe food insecurity and famine. Since the beginning of the conflict in March 2015, some three million have been forced to flee their homes. Worsening conditions are now forcing one million of the displaced to return home, despite continued danger.

Food insecurity is increasing in north-eastern Nigeria, where the ongoing Boko Haram conflict has prevented farming for many and forced nearly two million people to flee their homes, according to IOM. Five million people are in urgent need of food assistance in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, as reported in UN OCHA’s Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) last November. That number has nearly doubled over the past year.

Cadre Harmonisé estimates that 5.8 million people will be in urgent need of food assistance by June 2017; 120,000 will be living in famine-like conditions. Some 55,000 are already living in such conditions in the “worst affected and least accessible areas of Borno and Yobe,” states hit hard by Boko Haram, highlights the HNO. Around 300,000 children will suffer severe acute malnutrition in the Borno alone over the next 12 months, according to the HNO.

Data from IOM Nigeria’s biometric registration has supported WFP’s cash-based transfers programme, to provide relief to families facing food insecurity in the northeast. IOM plans to provide agricultural and livestock support to affected communities, particularly the internally displaced, over the coming months in Borno. IOM is seeking USD 58 million to support displaced people, returnees, and other affected populations in Nigeria’s north-east.

IOM is working to provide life-saving assistance to millions across the affected regions. It needs greater support to meet humanitarian needs and widespread food insecurity in rapidly deteriorating settings.

For further information, please contact Leonard Doyle at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 285 7123, Email: ldoyle@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - 18:29Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMigration and Climate ChangeDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Iraq Sees Surge of Internally Displaced from Mosul as Fighting Intensifies

IOM - News - Mar, 02/28/2017 - 11:27
Language English

Iraq - Since the February 19 start of Iraqi forces’ efforts to retake Mosul’s western sector, IOM reports over 10,000 men, women and children now have been displaced in the zone, according to Iraq’s Ministry of Migration and Displacement (MoMD).

Along with the 3,000-4,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) already arrived at emergency locations established by an array of humanitarian agencies, the MoMD reports at least another 6,000 individuals were waiting on Monday evening at two separate checkpoints, hoping to find shelter during the night.

IOM reported some 1,650 people arrived today at the Hamam al-Aleel facility, and nearly 2,800 arrived at Qayara air strip on Sunday night. Both these locations are in Nineweh governorate southeast of Mosul.

The MoMD estimates another 3,000 individuals are already moving towards the checkpoints and are expected to arrive tomorrow.

These numbers, among the largest in weeks, are just a fraction of the 250,000 or more people who could yet be displaced from West Mosul as fighting escalates to retake the city, according to IOM Iraq press officer Hala Jaber.

“There is serious concern for the 750,000 trapped in the densely populated western sector, with conditions worsening daily, according to reports and testimonies from those who have managed to escape,” she said.

IOM’s Jaber recounted the ordeal of 10-day-old Hajir and the infant’s five siblings, who fled Mosul after losing a father and two uncles when a shell believed to have been fired by ISIL forces landed on their house. “This occurred just hours before arriving at IOM’s emergency IDP site late last night,” Jaber explained.

Hajir and her siblings were among nearly 400 families (2,400 individuals) who were forced to escape the Hay al-Maamoun district yesterday, as ISIL and the military engaged in ferocious fighting before the army re-took the district. 

She added that the tiny baby’s mother was critically injured and, in the chaos of their escape, the family lost track of her, later hearing that she was evacuated by Iraqi soldiers to a hospital. They later learned that she had sustained a serious neck injury caused by shrapnel.

By late Monday afternoon, they still did not know whether she had survived or died from her wounds. Hajir’s grandfather was out looking for her in hospitals near the emergency site. Hours after arriving by bus at IOM’s Qayara emergency site, the family still had no word on her fate. 

But that was not the end of Hajir’s ordeal. She had not been breast-fed for hours. She was hungry, weak, dirty – in short, in an extremely fragile state. “She will die if she is not taken care of, please help us to get her milk,” a relative pleaded with an emergency site resident, Khalaf, who was working as a day labourer at Qayara.

Khalaf took the baby to his tent, woke his wife, Hanan, and explained the emergency. Since escaping ISIL in November and arriving at the IOM emergency site in December, Hanan had given birth to their own baby, Fatima, an hour after arriving at the emergency site. Fatima was the first child born in the emergency site.

But Hanan could not nurse Hajir, because the stress of escaping Mosul had dried up her breast milk. However, the couple did manage to find Hajir milk formula, a change of clothes and disposable diapers. “She is like our own Fatima,” Hanan said with a smile, as she fed Hajir from a bottle. 

 

Many who arrived at IOM’s Qayara air-strip yesterday, including children, spoke of seeing dead bodies on the streets as they escaped. Many corpses, they said, were ISIL fighters; others civilians killed by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) laid by militants.

Homes, shops and warehouses of those who escaped are confiscated by ISIL. ISIL is apparently also raiding the homes of the well-off, who have stockpiled food supplies, and confiscating their stocks.

Leaflets have also been dropped on some of the captured areas on the east side, warning people that unless they leave they will be regarded as ‘enemies’.  

The Government of Iraq has decided, initially, to transport people displaced from western Mosul to camps in the east, while new capacity is being added in the south.  

What is threatening to become a humanitarian crisis for the civilians of West Mosul has IOM, UN and other humanitarian agencies working round the clock to expand the camps and secure stocks in the warehouses to meet the needs of the displaced.

IOM’s Qayara air strip site, where IOM now has a four-person team handing out essential non-food aid items to displaced families arriving at night, is currently providing shelter for 4,472 displaced families (25,344 individuals), with a planned capacity to hold 10,000 families (60,000 individuals).

Haj Ali emergency site is currently hosting 1,565 displaced families (6,994 individuals), with a planned capacity for 7,000 (40,000 individuals).

A total of 37,330 families (223,980 individuals) have been displaced from Mosul Corridor since the military operations started on October 17, 2016. Of these 29,426 families or 176,556 individuals remain displaced. The majority are from Mosul district.

Iraqi forces seized a damaged Mosul bridge on Monday which could link up their units on either side of the Tigris river, allowing for thousands of civilians to escape the fighting engulfing ISIL’s remaining strongholds.

Testimonies from the newly displaced spoke of worsening conditions in West Mosul, ranging from food, fuel, medicine and water shortages, rocketing prices, and ISIL threats against civilians even contemplating escaping.

Um Mahmoud, 50, who escaped, arrived at IOM’s Qayara site on Sunday night. She said that those inside Mosul are having to improvise to find fuel for heat and cooking.

Food for those who cannot afford the rocketing prices is nearly unobtainable. A bottle of cooking oil now costs 18,000 Iraqi Dinar (more than ten times its normal price). Flour now costs IQD 120,000 per 50 kilos – a 1,000 percent mark-up. A kilo of sugar is IQD 20,000. Um Mahmoud said people are now using sweet vanilla essence used in sweets as a sugar substitute.

Mosul residents have also been cooking a root vegetable that is generally pickled. “We cook it as we would potatoes by boiling it, even though it’s tasteless. But at least it’s filling,” Um Mahmoud explained.

Um Mahmoud displayed hands blackened by petroleum residue and said everyone’s voices have become hoarse from the unhealthy smoke enveloping the town.   “We stayed out of fear of ISIL. People escaping were caught – their men killed and women left tied out in the cold as punishment,” she said.

Escapees have described how cars are chosen randomly to be used as booby traps against the approaching troops. The car bomb detonations are then followed by suicide bombers.

Escapees also report militants have forced residents to remove front gates from their homes, in order to facilitate their movement in and out of houses, and to make their escape when the Iraqi army approaches.  

Families escaping with children are reportedly taping their mouths with duct tape to ensure they don’t cry or make a sound that would alert ISIL. Other families are giving their children sleeping pills or Valium to keep them quiet during their escape.

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss noted: "The stories of the survivors are heart-breaking. Our IOM teams and other humanitarian partners on the ground witness every day the unspeakable tragedy that has befallen the people from Mosul. We are very worried about the fate of the tens of thousands of families still trapped inside of West Mosul. In partnership with the Iraqi government, we are working around the clock to help and appeal for continued generosity and support from the international community."

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 

DTM Mosul Operations Snapshot (Feb. 28): 
https://www.iom.int/sites/default/files/press_release/file/IOM_Iraq-DTM_Mosul_Operations_Snapshot-Feb28.pdf

DTM Mosul Corridor Displacement Analysis (Feb 27):
https://www.iom.int/sites/default/files/press_release/file/IOM_Iraq-DTM-Mosul_Corridor-Displacement_Analysis_Feb27.pdf

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

Posted: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - 18:20Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastIraqThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 16,775; Deaths: 485

IOM - News - Mar, 02/28/2017 - 11:20
Language English

Switzerland - IOM reports that 16,775 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 26 February, with just over 80 percent arriving in Italy and the rest in Greece and Spain. This compares with 124,986 through the first 57 days of 2016.

IOM Rome reports that 13,457 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. Last year just fewer than 9,000 migrants had arrived by this date. IOM notes that with two days left in the month, Italian arrivals already are well above those recorded during the first two months of either 2015 or 2016.

Deaths at sea in the region this year also are running well ahead of fatalities in 2016, especially on the Mediterranean’s central route linking Libya and Italy. IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reports an estimated 444 deaths or disappearances of migrants on this corridor through 26 February, compared with 97 last year at this time – an increase of almost 400 percent.

Across the entire Mediterranean region, deaths at sea stand now at 485 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 57 days of 2016 – has virtually ceased. This year IOM has recorded just two deaths on the Eastern Mediterranean route.

IOM Libya reported Monday that the bodies of 143 migrants have been recovered from Libyan beaches through the first 57 days of 2017 (See chart below). Just over 75 percent of those deaths occurred this month.

IOM Libya also recorded this week the disappearance of 105 migrants on February 22 – the same day as 13 bodies washed up in Al Khums, apparently from the same shipwreck. This brings the total number of dead recovered in Libyan waters this year to 248, or just over half the total of fatalities recorded in the Mediterranean so far this year.

“The increased activity of Libyan authorities patrolling the coast, and NGOs like the Libyan Red Crescent working relentlessly to handle the remains in a humane and dignified way, are the main reasons we know about so many deaths this year,” said IOM Libya spokesperson Christine Petré.

“We can only guess at how many deaths like these, occurred last year and how many more lives were lost needlessly,” she added.

Date

Location

Bodies recovered by Libyan authorities

23/2/2017

Zuwara

14

22/2/2017

Al Khums

13

20/2/2017

Az Zawiyah

74

24/1/2017

Tripoli   

10

21/1/2017

Subratah

5

21/1/2017

Tripoli   

1

15/1/2017

Zuwara

5

12/1/2017

Zuwara

14

10/1/2017

Subratah

1

4/1/2017

Tripoli

5

2/1/2017

Tajoura

1

Figures on migrant deaths worldwide continue to trail those of 2016, due largely to a lack of data reported along African routes where, by this date in 2016, some 458 migrant fatalities were confirmed.

Despite the lack of available data, IOM can show that migrants this year have been dying at a rate of at least 12 per day – an average that is almost certain to climb as the weather improves and migration activity grows more robust in the coming months.

Deaths of Migrants and Refugees: 1 January-27 February 2016 vs 1 January-27 February 2017

Region

2017

2016

Mediterranean

485

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

693

1,042

 

For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic: 
http://migration.iom.int/docs/MMP/170228_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  or Mazen Aboulhosn, 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 28, 2017 - 18:09Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Psychosocial Support Certificate Programme in Turkey Aids War-affected Communities

IOM - News - Mar, 02/28/2017 - 11:06
Language English

Turkey - On 25 February, IOM launched a certificate programme to train humanitarian workers in psychosocial support and conflict transformation for refugees in Turkey.

The programme – the first of its kind in Turkey with the potential to help tens of thousands of refugees living in the country – will train NGO workers providing direct assistance to war-affected communities to cope with distressing experiences and mental health challenges.

Turkey currently hosts the world’s largest refugee population with over 3.1 million people seeking international protection. The vast majority have fled from regional conflicts that have been ongoing for years.

The course will train humanitarian workers to identify and conceptualize emotional and mental threats to individuals caused by displacement, war and migration; adopt creative approaches to strengthen the community fabric; counsel war-affected individuals and develop conflict resolution and mediation skills.

Funded by the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), the course aims to foster dialogue, contribute to the resilience of impacted communities, and promote social cohesion between refugees and their host communities in Turkey.

The four-month modular course will run through June 2017 to provide psychosocial support and conflict transformation training to 35 Turkish and Syrian NGO workers with a background in social work, psychology or related fields and are directly working with affected communities. The course is held in collaboration with the Social Sciences University of Ankara. 

International and Turkish experts will offer a diverse overview of topics related to the relationship between psychosocial support and conflict transformation in a conflict-affected environment. The programme is divided into three areas: psychosocial support, conflict and arts. Topics include systemic approaches to psychosocial support, counselling, nonviolent communication, small scale conflict mediation, conflict transformation, drama therapy, social theatre and oral history.

“This certificate programme is the newest iteration of IOM’s capacity building of humanitarians working directly with communities affected by the Syrian crisis since the first Executive Professional Masters programme on the same subject began in Lebanon in 2013,” said Guglielmo Schininà, who heads IOM’s Global Mental Health, Psychosocial Response and Intercultural Communication Section.

“We are looking toward the future, to build the resilience of communities and foster dialogue and social cohesion between refugees and their hosts,” he added.

IOM has developed a multi-disciplinary approach to try to resolve psychosocial issues related to the Syrian crisis, with a special focus on the individual, the family and the community. It uses social theatre, community animation, creative arts, oral history and narrative counselling to de-stigmatize emotional problems related to displacement and war, to help people recover from distress, and to strengthen the capacity of national and local actors in this field.

For further information, please contact IOM Turkey. Abby Dwommoh, Tel: +90 312 454 3048, Email: MediaIOMTurkey@iom.int or Amal Ataya, Tel:+90 312 454 3043, Email: aataya@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - 18:03Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaTurkeyThemes: Capacity BuildingMigration HealthRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Libyan Detention Centre Staff Receive Human Rights Training

IOM - News - Mar, 02/28/2017 - 11:03
Language English

Libya - IOM has held a five-day training for managers and staff of Libyan detention centres on The Promotion and Protection of Migrants’ Human Rights inside the Detention Centres.

The training was designed to build the capacity of detention centre authorities to ensure that migrants in detention centres are treated in a way that upholds their dignity and fully respects their human rights. 

Directorate for Combatting Irregular Migration (DCIM) officials from five detention centres (Abu Sleem, Triq Al Sekka, Triq Al Matar, Ghariyan and Al Khums) participated in the training, which also included improving their knowledge on identifying vulnerable groups, addressing their needs and enhancing existing referral mechanisms.

“A strong young man rescued at sea can be a vulnerable case too. Vulnerability is not about gender, it’s about the circumstances a person has had to face,” explained anti-human trafficking training expert Dr Joana Daniel-Wrabetz. “DCIM deals with these cases daily and this training is not about pointing fingers, it’s about sharing information and finding solutions,” she added.

The training also included sessions on migrants’ rights, the links between human trafficking and smuggling, external communication and protection, as well as how to interview and protect vulnerable migrants.

In addition to these topics, IOM, together with UNHCR, the Danish Refugee Council, Save the Children, International Medical Corps and UNFPA, discussed migrants’ health in detention. Most of the problems raised by the detention centre staff were linked to the lack of sanitary facilities and the risk of the spread of communicable diseases.

“It’s very important to talk about the health situation and to know how to reduce the risk of contagious diseases for the migrants and for ourselves as well,” said Makram Mabrouk, one of the training participants.

“We continuously need medical assistance, especially for pregnant women and also for women and children in general, in order to meet their specific needs,” said Abdalhakeem Shlabik, who works for the DICM inspection and follow-up office.

Closer collaboration and better communication channels between IOM and DCIM were agreed on to ensure more timely and accurate responses.

The trainings are part of the project: Supporting Libyan Authorities in Managing Migration Flows by Improving Compliance with Human Rights in Migrants’ Detention Centres and Through Voluntary Repatriations, funded by the United Kingdom.

The project’s overall aim is to improve detention infrastructure to ensure humane detention conditions and ensure target detention centres meet minimum international standards, as well as to provide capacity building for the DCIM.

IOM is about to begin the refurbishment of the Al Khum’s detention centre, which will include improvement of ventilation and heating systems, and repairing toilets, sewage systems and waste disposal containers. Under the same project, IOM has also conducted an anti-scabies treatment of detainees at the Triq Al Sekka detention centre.

For further information, please contact IOM Libya. Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email: obelbeisi@iom.int or Maysa Khalil, Tel: +216 29 600388, Email: mkhalil@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - 17:59Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastLibyaThemes: Capacity BuildingCounter-TraffickingMigrants RightsDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM, OAS, UNHCR Analyze Reintegration of Returnees to El Salvador

IOM - News - Mar, 02/28/2017 - 10:58
Language English

El Salvador - Representatives from IOM, OAS, UNHCR, the Government of El Salvador and the private sector have met to discuss challenges facing the reintegration of returnees to El Salvador.

The Intersectoral Forum for the Development of Special Programs: Protection of Victims of Irregular Migration in Mesoamerica and Reinsertion of Returnees in El Salvador, organized by the El Salvador’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, concluded that returnees frequently face discrimination.

This affects their reintegration in their communities of origin and is usually associated with delinquency. However, according to government figures, in 2015, 93 percent of returnee migrants had no criminal record.

According to El Salvador’s General Directorate of Migration and Immigration (DGME), at least 52,548 Salvadoreans were returned in 2016 – some 21,340 from the United States and 31,147 from Mexico.

Salvadoran Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hugo Martínez; IOM’s Chief of Mission in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Jorge Peraza Breedy; and the Representative of the Organization of American States (OAS) in El Salvador, Robalth Ochaeta, chaired the Forum.

“This activity is the beginning of the implementation of special programs aimed at promoting the protection and effective respect for the human rights of returnees,” said IOM’s Peraza Breedy.

The forum also included a discussion of government initiatives for victim protection, testimonies of returned irregular migrants, panels on the role of the institutional programs for the protection of migrant women, families and children; and shared responsibilities with civil society.

The event was part of the Program for the Prevention of Crimes Related to Irregular Migration in Mesoamerica, implemented by IOM, UNHCR, and OAS, with funding from the European Union.

“The program promotes the formulation and implementation of policies for protecting migrants’ human rights, in particular vulnerable groups such as unaccompanied children, adolescents, women, LGBTI groups, indigenous people and people with disabilities,” Peraza Breedy noted.

During the Forum, IOM recognized the improvements El Salvador has made in assisting returnees and reiterated its commitment to support government efforts to reintegrate them to enable them to again be part of the social, cultural, economic and political life of their communities.

For further information, please contact Jorge Gallo at the IOM Regional Office in Costa Rica, Tel. +506 2212 5352, Email: jgallo@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - 17:50Image: Region-Country: AmericaEl SalvadorThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Director General William Lacy Swing Expresses Concern about Anti-Migrant Violence in South Africa

IOM - News - Sab, 02/25/2017 - 11:11
Language English

Switzerland - During the past two weeks I have noted with deep concern the escalation in hostilities towards migrants in South Africa.

As the Rainbow Nation, South Africa is synonymous with diversity, inclusivity and multiplicity and the current anti-migrant violence is an anathema to the true spirit of Ubuntu (or humanity towards others) for which African cultures and societies are well known and rightly lauded.

As South Africa’s Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba rightfully pointed out, “South Africa remains the most diverse country on the continent and is by many measures, a beacon of tolerance and human rights.”

Migrants across the world and especially in South Africa have made valuable contributions across all spheres of life and have added value to their new communities and adopted countries. 

IOM remains committed to working towards a prosperous and diverse South Africa that can serve as an example not only in Africa but throughout the world.

For further information please contact Leonard Doyle at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 792857123, Email: ldoyle@iom.int

Posted: Saturday, February 25, 2017 - 11:08Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastSouth AfricaEurope and Central AsiaSwitzerlandDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

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