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UN Migration Agency Co-hosts Hong Kong Workshop on Public-Private Sector Partnerships to Combat Human Trafficking

Wed, 04/11/2018 - 04:55

Hong Kong SAR – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in partnership with Justice Centre Hong Kong, today (11/04) hosted a workshop to help private sector companies understand how they can work better with civil society and IOM to meet internationally recognized human rights standards, particularly relating to labour exploitation, including modern day slavery and human trafficking.

The event, which took place in Hong Kong, was supported by international law firm King & Wood Mallesons and diversified financial group Macquarie.

The issue of modern day slavery remains a major challenge around the world with an estimated 40.3 million victims in 2016. Of these, approximately 25 million were victims of forced labour, notably in the Asia-Pacific region. Over 60 per cent or 16 million victims of forced labour were working for private sector companies.

“Competing in a global market means that many leading companies are outsourcing their business operations overseas to reduce costs. As a result of these global market pressures, companies often find themselves at risk of being publicly associated with severe labour exploitation in their global supply chains,” said Dr. Nenette Motus, IOM Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific. “This event is about exploring how companies can act as powerful drivers of change by forging meaningful partnerships with civil society and IOM to end modern slavery and human trafficking,” she added.

Piya Muqit, Executive Director of Justice Centre Hong Kong, added: “With the publication by the Hong Kong SAR Government of an action plan to tackle trafficking in persons, this event is an opportunity to explore how strategic partnerships can ensure the corporate community are ahead of the policy curve.”  

Representatives from over 35 major private sector companies including Starbucks, Adidas, Credit Suisse, HSBC and Atkins participated in the workshop to discuss how corporates can contribute to eliminating modern slavery and human trafficking through building partnerships with civil society and international agencies like IOM.

With the adoption of a Private Sector Partnership Strategy 2016-2020, IOM recognized the significant role of the business community to positively impact and further the benefits of migration.

IOM’s Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking (CREST), supported by the Development Section of the Embassy of Sweden in Thailand, is designed to help companies undertake and fulfil their due diligence obligations in promoting and upholding universal human rights and labour standards throughout their supply chains.

The Corporate Change Maker project is an evolution of Justice Centre’s evidence-based policy work on human trafficking in Hong Kong. “Since 2014, the Macquarie Group Foundation has been directing efforts towards preventing and responding to modern slavery. Working with organizations across the region, we have supported a range of initiatives, including the Corporate Change Makers project, with the goal of increasing awareness among our peers and governments,” said Ben Way, Asia CEO of the Macquarie Group and a member of the Macquarie Group Foundation Committee.

For more information please contact Nurul Qoiriah, IOM China’s Hong Kong Sub-Office, Tel: 2332 2441, Email:

Language English Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 - 10:44Image: Region-Country: ChinaDefault: Multimedia: 

Evidence of forced labour has repeatedly surfaced in the Thai fishing industry – a major supplier of seafood to world markets. Photo: Thierry Falise / IOM.

Press Release Type: Global

UN Migration Agency Launches Regional Action Plan to Strengthen Response to Venezuelan Outflows

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 09:10

Buenos Aires – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, today (10/04) launches a Regional Action Plan, detailing its support to Governments hosting Venezuelan nationals in the Americas and the Caribbean. The Action Plan aims at strengthening the regional response to large-scale flows of Venezuelans, supporting the efforts that governments have initiated across the region.

The Action Plan responds to the needs and priorities expressed by concerned governments, as well as information gathered through IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix, currently active in several countries in the region, and the Organization’s experience delivering aid to individuals and groups of Venezuelans nationals.

According to a recent IOM report, population outflows from Venezuela have considerably increased over the last two years, with an estimated 1.6 million Venezuelans abroad in 2017, as compared with 700,000 in 2015. Of this total, approximately 1.3 million Venezuelan nationals are in South America (885,000), North America (308,000), Central America (78,000) and the Caribbean (21,000).

IOM’s Action Plan, which requires USD 32.3 million in funding to implement, focuses on such activities as data collection and dissemination, capacity building and coordination, direct support and socio-economic integration.

"The Plan is tailored to specific national contexts across 17 countries including eight South American countries, six Caribbean countries, two Central American countries and Mexico," explained Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for Central America, North America and the Caribbean.

“IOM commends the ongoing efforts of the countries that are hosting Venezuelan nationals, in particular those governments that have implemented measures to regularize their stay. We encourage host countries to consider adopting such measures whenever possible,” said Diego Beltrand, IOM Regional Director for South America.

Beltrand highlighted that "IOM’s Regional Action Plan also represents a call for the international community to contribute to and strengthen government efforts to receive and assist Venezuelans, so that those efforts may be sustained."

In addition to tracking and documenting migration flows at the regional and national levels through the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), IOM has also been implementing trainings in Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) and supporting the establishment of transit centres and temporary shelters. It has also been providing direct assistance to Venezuelan nationals, including transportation and food, as well as provision of information related to immigration requirements, including potential regularization.

Those efforts have been launched through advance financing made by IOM’s Migration Emergency Funding Mechanism (MEFM), to meet the main priorities of governments in providing assistance to Venezuelan nationals.

The Action Plan is complementary to existing regional and national coordination mechanisms, including those efforts undertaken by partner United Nations agencies, particularly those of the UNHCR, as well as civil society organizations to converge towards complementing strengths in the region.

Access the regional action plan here.

For more information, please contact Juliana Quintero at the IOM Regional Office in Buenos Aires, Tel: + (54) 11 4813 3330, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 15:07Image: Region-Country: ArgentinaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

A Venezuelan family assisted by IOM. © IOM

IOM is assisting Venezuelans throughout the region. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 16,089 in 2018; Deaths Reach 521

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 09:09

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 16,089 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2018 through 8 April, with the vast majority arriving in Italy and the rest in Spain, Greece, and Cyprus. This compares with 33,355 arrivals across the region through the same period last year.

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo said Monday (09/04) that only one rescue operation was carried out over the weekend: the Italian Coast Guard rescued one small boat carrying a total of 104 migrants – all Tunisians – off the coast of Lampedusa.  

Di Giacomo added that, according to Ministry of Interior figures, 6,894 migrants arrived by sea to Italy this year: nearly 74.37 per cent less than the same period last year, when 26,902 migrant men, women and children were brought to Italy after being rescued in the waters north of Africa.

However, despite fewer arrivals registered in Italy this year, the number of dead and missing in the Mediterranean Sea on the Central Route – although lower in absolute numbers (359 in 2018 versus 745 in 2017) – has increased relative to the number of arrivals by 75 per cent.

This figure shows that the humanitarian emergency in the Mediterranean continues to remain a dramatic reality and that saving lives at sea is still the number one priority.

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported that 3,460 men, women and children have arrived in Spain across the Western Mediterranean in 2018, through 8 April.

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has recorded 876 deaths and disappearances during migration in 2018. In the Mediterranean alone, 521 migrants are estimated to have died this year.  The remains of four migrants have been recovered in the Western Mediterranean in the past 10 days.

On 6 April, the remains of a man washed up on a beach near Tarifa, Spain – authorities believe that he wasn’t one of the missing migrants from the shipwreck on 1 April, as the body appeared to have been in the water for weeks or even months. Additionally, three bodies were recovered during the first weekend of April in Algeria’s north-western province of Ain Témouchent: on 31 March, the body of a migrant washed up on Plage Sbiaat; on 1 April, another body was retrieved in Iles Habibas; while on 2 April, the remains of a migrant were found 6 nautical miles off Port of Bouzedjar.

On 9 April there were reports of a shipwreck off the coast of Morocco, 20 kilometres south the coast of Tangiers. There are believed to be ten survivors and six who died in this incident. It should be noted that these deaths will be recorded by MMP once further information is confirmed about this incident.

There were two other additions to the Missing Migrants Project database since last Friday’s update. In Ceuta, Spain's enclave in northern Africa, a 16-year-old boy was run over in the port area on 6 April, as he was trying to cling to the undercarriage of a truck waiting to board a ferry bound for mainland Spain. On the US/Mexico border, the remains of an 18-year-old boy who drowned in the Río Bravo on 18 March were repatriated to his hometown in Nicaragua. 

Additionally, MMP received reports of the deaths of at least five Rohingya in the Andaman Sea last week. Survivors had been stranded for weeks in their boat and were rescued by Indonesian fishermen and brought to Aceh. IOM staff is gathering survivors’ testimonies to confirm the number of those who did not survive the journey.

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on migrants’ deaths and disappearances are collected, click here.

For more information, please contact: 

Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email:
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail:
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Tel: +216 71 860 312 Ext. 109, Mobile: +216 28 78 78 05, Email:
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email:
Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel:  +40212115657, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 14:58Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global

‘Destination Europe’ WeChat App Offers Pre-Departure Orientation to Chinese Migrants

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 09:09

Beijing –  IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has launched a WeChat app in China designed to provide pre-departure orientation to Chinese workers migrating to Europe.

The initiative was funded by the European Union’s Partnership Instrument under the framework of the EU-China Dialogue on Migration and Mobility Support Programme (MMSP).

“赴欧贴士” or ‘Destination Europe’ is a WeChat-based function embedded in the IOM China official WeChat account. WeChat is an all-in-one communications app and China’s largest social network, providing assorted services to over 900 million active users daily.

The easy-to-use ‘Destination Europe’ app aims to inform Chinese migrant workers of the key aspects and processes related to their journey, starting when they leave China through to their eventual integration into a European host country.

Besides providing a general overview of the European Union and key information about its Member States, the app also includes detailed sections on Austria, Germany and Italy – three key European destinations for Chinese migrant workers.

Useful information relating to each country covers topics such as visa requirements and residence permits; education, health services, and accommodation; labour legislation and the working environment; money transfer to country of origin; and useful phone numbers, including emergency contact numbers.

As the number of Chinese migrants travelling to Europe increases, so too does their vulnerability and exposure to the risks associated with inadequate information about migration procedures and their countries of destination.

IOM China developed the app to address this issue by increasing awareness, providing practical support to Chinese migrants and their families, and making the information accessible to anyone with a smartphone. 

For more information, please contact Etienne Micallef at IOM China, Tel: +861059799695, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 15:01Image: Region-Country: ChinaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

'Destination Europe' app helps to prepare Chinese migrants for life abroad. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global

Japan, IOM Help to Bring Safe Water to 30,000 Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 09:08

Cox’s Bazar – Some 30,000 Rohingya refugees living in Cox’s Bazar will soon have easier access to safe water with the inauguration of a major new borehole project this week. It is the first part of a high capacity water production and supply system designed to meet spiraling water needs in Ukhiya sub district, which suffers frequent water shortages.

Last year’s massive Rohingya refugee influx into Ukhiya and Teknaf sub districts placed huge pressure on water supply in Cox’s Bazar. Both the refugees and host communities have been suffering from insufficient supplies of safe water.

To address the need, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, launched the safe water supply project in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Bangladesh’s Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE).

At present, the targeted population need about 500 cubic meters of safe water per day. The test / production well that DPHE will establish with JICA backing expects to be able to meet that demand when it is operating at full capacity.

IOM will design and construct the water supply network and facilities once the borehole work is completed next month. It expects to start the water distribution within three months of the installation of the borehole.

“The camp is very congested. Almost 95 per cent of toilets are close to water points, and these eventually degrade the water quality. So, the Government decided to go for establishing deep tube wells. We thought that there might be problem with deep tube wells as well in future. So, we decided to go deeper and establish this deep ground water production well,” said Naoki Matsumura, JICA’s country program coordinator for disaster management.

“This boring machine can drill down to 400 meters, which is very useful if we need to dig deeper than the existing deep tube wells in the camps. A lot of water can be lifted through the thick pipe of the borehole, tested and treated to ensure the quality, before being distributed to a very large number of people,” he added.

There are currently hand pumps in the areas near where the borehole is being established, but many have now run dry. “We have one near our shelter. But the water flow is declining all the time,” said Saibun, 23, who lives with her 5-member family nearby the borehole site in camp 12 of Ukhiya. “There is another pump, but it also ran out of water. Now people come to fetch water from this pump,” she added.

“Access to safe water is a human right. This investigatory project poses several challenges. First is getting good quality ground water. This is just the initial step to see how successful the project will be,” said Md. Saifur Rahman, DPHE’s Superintending Engineer, Groundwater Circle.

As part of the water supply network, some 20 water points will be set up within the targeted area of the camp. Each water point will have 4 – 6 taps to serve 250 people per tap per day without queuing up for more than half an hour. The maximum distance from any household to the nearest water point will be 500 meters to ensure that the targeted population can easily access it during the distribution hours, which will be twice a day, three hours each time.

“It’s very difficult to ensure safe ground water here. But we’re very excited about this project, which is the first of its kind in the camp. It will ensure daily access to safe water for 30,000 – 40,000 people,” said IOM Cox’s Bazar Emergency Coordinator Manuel Pereira. “If it’s a success, we will scale it up in other areas of the camp, as well as in host communities, especially in Teknaf where groundwater is scarce,” he added.

For more information please contact IOM Cox’s Bazar:
Fiona MacGregor, Email:, Tel. +880 173 333 5221
Shirin Akhter, Email:, Tel: +880 341 52195

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 15:05Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM, JICA, DPHE officials inaugurating major new borehole project in Cox's Bazar. © Abdullah Al Mashrif / IOM

Press Release Type: Global

IOM, Partners Continue Vaccination Campaigns in South Sudan, Reach over 144,000 People in March

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 09:06

Juba – In the coming days, IOM will begin the second round of an oral cholera vaccination campaign in Malakal and Wau, South Sudan. The first round in March reached over 60,400 people above one year of age.

Also, in March, IOM led an eight-day reactive measles vaccination campaign in Aweil East, reaching over 83,700 children following an outbreak that began in February. IOM’s health rapid response team worked in close partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the State Ministry of Health, the International Rescue Committee and other health agencies.

Measles is a highly contagious disease that can become life threatening if complications, such as pneumonia, arise. The campaign, which involved over 117 teams of five people each, targeted children aged six to 59 months.

“Children are extremely vulnerable to outbreaks of measles and other contagious diseases, particularly in areas such as Aweil East where health conditions are further compromised by severe food insecurity and poor living conditions,” explained Derebe Tadesse, IOM Migration Health Officer. “The measles vaccine will save lives. With just one dose, 85 per cent of children over nine months and 95 per cent of children over twelve months of age are immune.”

Protracted displacement, access constraints and poor health and water and sanitation infrastructure have contributed to yearly cholera outbreaks in South Sudan since the crisis began in 2013; the longest lasted from June 2016 to February 2017, killing 436 people.

As a preventive measure, IOM completed the first round of several two-round oral cholera vaccination campaigns in Malakal and Wau, reaching approximately 24,300 and 36,100 individuals respectively in late March. The second-round campaigns are slated to begin in both locations in the coming days. The campaigns target both internally displaced persons within the Malakal and Wau protection of civilian sites and displaced and host communities in Malakal and Wau towns.

In 2017, IOM completed oral cholera vaccination campaigns in Unity, Warrap and Eastern Equatoria, reaching more than 469,800 people with the vaccine.

As the country endures the fifth year of a humanitarian crisis, an estimated 5.1 million people are in need of emergency health care assistance. IOM teams work across the country, in displacement sites, remote locations and host communities, to provide aid to the most vulnerable people affected by the conflict. 

IOM’s health rapid response teams are supported through funding from the USAID Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance and the Government of Japan.

For more information, please contact Ashley McLaughlin at IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211 922 405 716, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 15:03Image: Region-Country: South SudanThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMigration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM provides life-saving vaccines to vulnerable individuals across South Sudan. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global

UN Migration Agency Supports Relocation of Venezuelan Migrants in Brazil

Fri, 04/06/2018 - 08:59

Boa Vista – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is supporting the Government of Brazil to relocate about 300 Venezuelan migrants from the State of Roraima, which borders Venezuela, to other cities in Brazil.

The relocation, which began this week (04/04) and is also supported by other UN Agencies, is part of the Brazilian Government’s strategy to manage migrant flows from Venezuela, which have overwhelmed Roraima’s capital city of Boa Vista and the city of Pacaraima, on the border with Venezuela. The main aim is to help ease the pressure through the voluntary relocation of migrants to other cities across Brazil.

The first group of 104 Venezuelan migrants flew out of the city of Boa Vista, on Wednesday (04/04) aboard Brazilian Air Force airplanes, destined for São Paulo. An additional group of 168 are expected to leave today (06/04) to Cuiabá, in Mato Grosso State.

IOM is supporting the pre-departure and identification process, monitoring the movement and assisting the migrants upon arrival at their destination.

The Venezuelan migrants will stay in public shelters, and will be supported by local authorities and civil society organisations to facilitate their integration, including support to access, the labour market, health services as well as education and other rights.

“Our role in this operation is supporting the Brazilian Government to respond to the migrant flows from Venezuela in the State of Roraima,” said IOM Brazil Chief of Mission Stéphane Rostiaux.

“We are implementing the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) in the cities of Boa Vista and Pacaraima in Roraima which captures key information to provide a better understanding of the flows and the evolving needs of Venezuelan nationals in Roraima,” Rostiaux explained.

He added: “We have also been supporting the Brazilian Government in activities related to Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) and provided direct assistance to Venezuelan migrants as well as income generation and labour market inclusion of the Warao indigenous people.”

IOM is also supporting civil society organizations in Roraima assisting vulnerable migrants through the Global Action Against Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants (GloACT).

According to the latest IOM report on Venezuela, there has been an increase of Venezuelan citizens entering Brazil through Roraima State in the past two years. The report estimates approximately 35,000 Venezuelans in Brazil in 2017.    

Besides its office in Brasilia, IOM opened a field office in Boa Vista in August 2017 to support the Brazilian authorities and civil society in the management of the Venezuelan flows.

For more information please contact Fabiana Paranhos at IOM Brazil, Tel: +55 61 3038 9014, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, April 6, 2018 - 14:52Image: Region-Country: BrazilThemes: Migrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

Venezuelan migrants flying out of the city of Boa Vista, on Wednesday (04/04) aboard Brazilian Air Force airplanes, destined for São Paulo.  © IOM

Press Release Type: Global

World Health Day 2018: ‘Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere’

Fri, 04/06/2018 - 08:57

Geneva – Ahead of World Health Day, which will take place tomorrow (07/04), IOM calls for ‘Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere’ to ensure the inclusion of internally displaced persons (IDPs). People displaced within the borders of their own countries are often excluded from health services and have difficulties in accessing them due to social exclusion, financial constraints, as well as cultural and political barriers.

“Without migrants, including internally displaced people, universal health coverage (UHC) would not be truly universal,” said Jacqueline Weekers, Director of the Migration Health Division at IOM. “Their inclusion is of paramount importance to rights-based health systems and global health security. Not doing so, counters public health principles, ethics and universal health care goals,” she added.

2018 also marks the 20th anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (GP20), a global framework for advancing protection, prevention and solutions for IDPs. The framework states human rights and humanitarian law relevant to displacement, including the safe access to essential medical services and sanitation. More than 40 million people are displaced by conflict within the borders of their own country.

In addition, disasters displace an average 25 million people per year. As the magnitude of internal displacement is set to continue, IOM remains committed to increase access to quality, equitable health care services for vulnerable migrants including internally displaced people. IOM stresses the importance of inclusion of IDPs in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially in addressing universal health coverage.

IOM is a lead actor in addressing internal displacement through provision of humanitarian assistance, including essential health care and strengthening local health infrastructure.

In 2016, IOM’s operations reached more than 19 million IDPs and provided over 6 million host community members with support across 31 countries, making IOM one of the largest actors on internal displacement globally. As a member of the Global Health Cluster, IOM’s health emergency activities are extensive. For example, IOM has provided life-saving health care services to more than 600,000 individuals across South Sudan, including IDPs in protection of civilians (PoC) sites in 2017.

“Internally displaced people are among the world’s most vulnerable; facing poverty, loss of education, unemployment, marginalization and insecurity, to name only a few,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing. “Addressing internal displacement is a global humanitarian imperative, one that is critical for the fulfilment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” he added.

IOM is committed to the principle that “humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.” In this era of unprecedented scale of internal displacement, 2018 is the time to reflect on what has to be done to reduce displacement, and support the displaced and empower them in the responses and solutions; strengthen partnerships and operational responses; and promote a stronger political and health agenda on internal displacement.

IOM Member States committed to ‘leave no one behind’ through the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its dedicated target to achieve Universal Health Coverage, which will be possible only through the inclusion of migrants.

For more information on international displacement, please click here.

For more information, please contact Sachiko Miyake at IOM HQ, Tel: +41227179367, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, April 6, 2018 - 14:56Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global

Canada Supports IOM Scale-up of Humanitarian Aid for Displaced People in DR Congo

Fri, 04/06/2018 - 08:57

Goma – The Government of Canada announced on Wednesday (4/04) that they will fund IOM, the UN Migration Agency in its response to the ongoing displacement crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The funding, which totals CAD 2 million, will be used to provide lifesaving humanitarian aid to displaced people in three provinces: North Kivu, Tanganyika and Ituri.  

“This funding arrives at a time when IOM is scaling up its response to the escalating displacement crisis in DRC,” said Jean-Philippe Chauzy, IOM DRC Chief of Mission.

IOM has been present in displacement sites in North Kivu since 2013 and with this new funding, will be able to continue its activities in North Kivu, while also strengthening its response to internal displacement in Tanganyika and to address the more recently developed displacement crisis in Ituri. 

At the end of 2017, Ituri was once again plunged into intercommunal violence, as fighting between the two prominent ethnic communities broke out. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), approximately 343,000 persons have become internally displaced within the province since the beginning of January 2018 following the conflict. As this recent surge of violence was unexpected, humanitarian actors in DRC were not prepared for the massive displacement crisis, which followed.

As vital information on displaced communities in Ituri was greatly lacking, IOM took part in an inter-cluster assessment mission and subsequently conducted rapid needs assessments in three spontaneous displacement sites in and around of the Ituri provincial capital Bunia near the end of March. These assessments included information on approximate number of households and internally displaced persons in the sites, available assistance, gaps and humanitarian actors present on the ground. The rapid needs assessments were shared with the wider humanitarian community to foster a more informed response.

“The funding from the Canadian Government will help IOM scale up its response in Ituri and will be used to conduct site planning in the spontaneous displacement sites in Bunia, assist displaced households with shelter assistance, provide cash assistance, and assist returnees who wish to return to their area of origin,” said Chauzy.

“IOM’s response in the DRC is one of its most underfunded, although it is the country in Africa with the greatest amount of internal displacement – 4.5 million people are internally displaced – and one of the countries with the most urgent needs; 13.1 million people need humanitarian assistance and protection. The upcoming high-level pledging conference for the DRC crisis in Geneva at the end of next week will be an opportunity for the donor community to save lives through providing more funding,” he added.

In December 2017, IOM launched an appeal for USD 75 million to urgently meet the growing needs of displaced people and the communities hosting them across the DRC. IOM’s interventions focus on the following sectors: Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM), Displacement Tracking, Shelter and Non-Food Items, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Health, and Protection, particularly responding to gender-based violence. As of today, IOM DRC has received 11 per cent (USD 8.3 million) to address the needs of the appeal.

The IOM Humanitarian Appeal for the Democratic Republic of the Congo is here.

For more information, please contact:
Olivia Headon in IOM HQ, Tel: +41794035365, Email:
Jean-Philippe Chauzy in IOM Kinshasa, Tel: +243 827 339 827, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, April 6, 2018 - 14:54Image: Region-Country: Democratic Republic of the CongoThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

A displaced family at a spontaneous displacement site in Bunia, D.R. Congo. Photo: IOM/Félicien Mibulo Mbungu

Accessing clean water at a spontaneous displacement site in Bunia, D.R. Congo. Photo: IOM/Félicien Mibulo Mbungu

Press Release Type: Global

Micro Gardening Scheme to Help Feed Rohingya Refugees, Bangladeshi Local Communities

Fri, 04/06/2018 - 08:56

Cox’s Bazar – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are distributing 50,000 vegetable gardening kits to tackle malnutrition and improve the diet of people affected by the Rohingya refugee crisis in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

Almost 700,000 refugees have fled to Cox’s Bazar from Myanmar’s North Rakhine State in the past seven months. Many were already suffering from malnutrition due to poverty and discrimination in Myanmar. Now reliant on basic food rations of rice, lentils, cooking oil and spices distributed by aid agencies every two weeks, the refugees, particularly children under five years old, urgently need to diversify their diet. Local families also need access to more diverse and nutritious food.

The micro gardening initiative, which will provide seeds and tools to 50,000 families – 25,000 in the refugee camps and 25,000 in host villages in Ukhiya and Teknaf sub-districts – is part of a USD 3 million programme to promote home gardening and larger-scale production among local farmers. The initiative is funded by the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). Almost half of the households receiving the kits are female-headed. 

“In the coming months, we’ll be able to have leaves and vegetables regularly,” said 27-year-old Hamida, a young mother living in the Kutupalong-Balukhali mega camp with her husband and two children, who recently received a micro gardening kit. “Now we only eat them when we have money to buy them in the market. Otherwise we just eat rice and lentils or sometimes just rice with some chili and salt,” said Hamida.

“The kits mean that they (the refugees) can grow leaves and vegetables on whatever land they have around their shelters. They can also sell the extra produce,” said Mohammad Abul Kalam, Commissioner of Bangladesh's Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC) in Cox’s Bazar, who handed over the first kits in the Ukhiya sub-district complex. "This will enable people to live better," he added.

Local day labourer Rashid Ahmed, 48, agreed: “Buying leaves and vegetables regularly from the market isn’t possible. But we can have it almost every day if I grow it myself.” said Rashid, who is the only person earning money in his seven-member family. “It will bring in some money as well. I can earn at least 100 taka (USD 1.19) a week selling the extra produce,” he added.

As part of the kits, families received red amaranth, high-iron spinach, lady fingers, long yard beans and pumpkin seeds. They also got compost, a spade and a watering can. The kits include a watertight, 60-litre food storage drum to prevent mold and infestation of food stocks, which will be essential in the coming wet season. Local families received a slightly different kit, as most have bigger kitchen garden areas than the refugees. All the beneficiaries received basic training in micro gardening techniques.

“The initiative mainly focuses on providing high quality, nutritious food to improve nutrition at the household level, but also focuses on production capacity and farm-to-market strategies for farmer groups,” said Peter Agnew, FAO’s Emergency Response Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar. “We’re also introducing new technology to the communities, as it’s been successful in producing high-nutrition vegetables for the refugee population and providing some income generation for the host community.” FAO is implementing a five-year project with Bangladesh's Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE). 

“Seven months into the crisis, it’s not only the refugees, but also the host community that needs assistance,” said Manuel Pereira, IOM's Emergency Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar. “The speed of the influx of refugees put huge pressure on local agriculture and the food supply chain. There are 400,000 people among the refugees and host communities who currently need nutrition support. This initiative will improve their nutritional status. It will also contribute to mitigating an expected 50,000 metric tonne annual food deficit in Cox’s Bazar,” he added.

For more information please contact IOM Cox’s Bazar:
Fiona MacGregor, Email:, Tel. +880 173 333 5221
Shirin Akhter, Email:, Tel: +880 341 52195

Language English Posted: Friday, April 6, 2018 - 14:58Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRefugee and Asylum IssuesRohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Hamada’s micro gardening kit will improve her family’s diet. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global