September 21, 2012 ·1 Comments
Press Briefing Notes
Friday 21st September 2012
Spokesperson: Chris Lom
1. IOM Airlifts 915 Stranded Ethiopian Migrants from Yemen, But Thousands Remain
2. Regional Mixed Migration Committee for Horn of Africa and Yemen Meets in Djibouti
3. IOM Teams Up with Colombian Singer Juanes and USAID to Prevent Child Recruitment
4. Korea International Cooperation Agency and IOM Host Disaster Relief Workshop
5. IOM Relocates Refugees, Fights Disease at South Sudan’s Flood-Affected Doro Camp
IOM Airlifts 915 Stranded Ethiopian Migrants from Yemen, But Thousands Remain – An IOM-charter flight carrying 275 stranded Ethiopian migrants from Yemen to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa will leave Al-Hodeida airport on Tuesday (25/9/12.)
The flight, which was funded by a USD 2.1 donation from the Netherlands, follows two other Dutch-funded charters on Tuesday and Wednesday (18 & 19/9) of this week carrying another 551 migrants. A third charter, carrying 89 medical cases and victims of trafficking, funded by the USA, left Yemen earlier this month.
The returnees represent less than a quarter of some 4,000 near destitute Ethiopians currently living in the open in and around Yemen’s northwestern town of Haradh. All of them became stranded there after trying and failing to cross into Saudi Arabia in search of jobs.
IOM’s limited funding means that the most vulnerable, including women, children, the elderly and unaccompanied minors, are given priority on the flights back to Ethiopia.
IOM has a migrant response centre in Haradh designed to house up to 150 people. It is currently providing shelter to some 350 of mostly sick and infirm migrants.
The vast majority of the migrants leave poverty-stricken lives in Ethiopia in search of jobs in the Gulf. They embark on a dangerous journey through the Horn of Africa, across the Gulf of Aden and through conflict-ridden Yemen, with the help of smuggling networks.
Those lucky enough to survive the journey often find themselves stranded and destitute at the Saudi Arabian border, unable to progress further. The most vulnerable, including women and unaccompanied minors, live at risk of kidnap, exploitation and assault by smugglers and criminal gangs.
IOM medical staff at the border also report widespread health problems caused by lack of food, poor sanitation and sleeping in the open. Casualties arising from gunshots and landmines are also rising.
Since 2010 IOM has provided urgent medical assistance to over 35,031 Ethiopian migrants stranded in Yemen, and has helped over 9,000 of them to return home from Yemen.
But demand for urgent return assistance far outstrips the number of flights that IOM can provide. IOM Haradh staff say that at any given time there are up to 1,000 migrants asking for help to return to Ethiopia.
Meanwhile, the number of irregular migrants from the Horn of Africa arriving in Yemen continues to rise. According to UNHCR, 63,800 Ethiopians and Somalis arrived in Yemen by sea in the first seven months of this year, up from 48,700 in 2011. The proportion of Ethiopian migrants also rose. In 2011, a total of 103,000 Ethiopian and Somalis arrived, up from 53,000 recorded in 2010.
2- Regional Mixed Migration Committee for Horn of Africa and Yemen Meets in Djibouti – The Regional Committee on Mixed Migration for the Horn of Africa and Yemen will hold its second meeting in Djibouti on 23- 24 September 2012.
The meeting, which will be hosted by Djibouti and organized by IOM, follows an earlier event held in Addis Ababa in December 2011 and will include member government delegations from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somaliland, Puntland and Yemen.
Egypt, Eritrea and Saudi Arabia will also attend as observer states, together with representatives from the donor community, IGAD, the AU, UNHCR and NGOs.
The meeting aims to improve collaboration between governments in the Horn of Africa and Yemen, and their international partners, to improve the condition of migrants, save lives and more effectively manage migration in the region.
Participants will review progress on 2011 recommendations relating to rescue at sea, smuggling and trafficking, and the role of Migration Response Centers (MRCs) operating in the region. They will also assess the situation of migrant health and examine ways to extend medical services to migrants.
The Horn of Africa has unique migration challenges. Every month thousands of irregular migrants and asylum seekers attempt to cross borders to escape conflict, drought and economic difficulties. In the process, many regularly perish or disappear.
In the first seven months of 2012, 63,800 migrants arrived in Yemen from the Horn of Africa – a 30% increase from the same period in 2011. If the trend continues, 2012 may be the highest number of migrant arrivals yet recorded.
Migrants make the journey from their places of origin in the Horn of Africa through Puntland and Somaliland to Djibouti and across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen and the Gulf States.
For more information please contact Craig Murphy at IOM Nairobi, Email: email@example.com, Tel: +254 717 711 822.
3- IOM Teams Up with Colombian Singer Juanes and USAID to Prevent Child Recruitment – Soñar es un derecho (Dreaming is a Right) is the new mass information campaign launched this week in Bogota by IOM, Colombian singer Juanes and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to prevent the recruitment of minors by illegal armed groups in Colombia.
As the leading voice of the campaign and winner of 19 Latin Grammy Awards, Juanes explains: “Violence, inequality and lack of opportunities set the stage for this campaign. Music and other artistic expressions offer an opportunity for a different way of life for many young people today. I believe it is worth investing in education and art because it is our way to narrate our story, to think about ourselves, to resist war, and, above all, to never forget the violent past.”
Dreaming is a Right aims to raise public awareness on forced recruitment. Using the slogan Yo Protejo or I Protect, the campaign’s messages appeal to all Colombians to keep children away from the armed conflict, through TV ads, a website (www.yoprotejo.org), social media and print materials.
The campaign is already underway in 14 municipalities that are especially vulnerable to recruitment by illegal armed groups. A total of 720 minors, involved in youth groups, were trained to use art and communication as a strategy to resist violence. To spread the message, the campaign is sponsoring peace education meetings, exhibits and workshops partnering with different institutions and NGOs.
The initiative has already been joined by the Intersectorial Commission for the Prevention of Recruitment and Use of Children and Adolescents by Illegal Armed Groups; the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (responsible for the government´s child policy); the Ministries of Education and Culture; the Colombian Reintegration Agency; the World Bank; UNICEF; the Norwegian Refugee Council; the media; other artists including Miguel Bosé and Fonseca; and thousands of citizens committed to peace and reconciliation.
Although there are no exact numbers, it is estimated that many children are still involved in the guerrilla or with criminal bands. An average of one child per day is rescued from illegal armed groups by the Colombian authorities. Between November 1999 and June 30, 2012, the Colombian Family Welfare Institute provided assistance to 4,935 children who had abandoned these groups.
It is estimated that 83 per cent of minors who were linked to illegal armed groups were victims of family violence; 57 per cent were employed before their recruitment, 30 per cent of them were working in coca plantations; and 25 per cent had dropped out of school.
Marcelo Pisani, IOM Chief of Mission in Colombia said, “We want to raise awareness and mobilize Colombian society against the forced recruitment of minors. Under no circumstances should a child be involved in war. Every member of society is responsible for their protection and must report and prevent these crimes. This is what this project is all about.”
Since March 2001, with funding from USAID, IOM has been implementing the Support to Ex-Combatant Minors and Children at Risk of Recruitment by Illegal Armed Groups programme, which focuses on strengthening the capacity of the government to guarantee the rights of children.
For further information, please visit the Campaign Website at www.yoprotejo.org (available in English and Spanish), follow it on Facebook (Yo Protejo) or Twitter (@Yoprotejo) or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Juanes, please go to: email@example.com.
For other information, please contact Jorge Gallo at IOM Bogota, Tel: +57 1 639 7777; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
4- Korea International Cooperation Agency and IOM Host Disaster Relief Workshop – IOM this week organized a three-day workshop on humanitarian assistance and disaster management in Seoul.
The event, which follows to an earlier disaster relief workshop in May, provided simulation exercises on migration crises and an overview of the humanitarian operating environment, disaster management standards and guidelines.
Participants included the Korea NGO Council for Overseas Cooperation, National Disaster Management Institute, (the Government think tank on disaster relief) and representatives from the Korea Humanitarian Assistance Centre, including the Ministries of Public Administration and Security, Foreign Affairs, Unification, the National Emergency Management Agency and Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“We are experiencing dramatic changes in our own weather patterns that have started to affect Seoul and are therefore interested in learning from IOM’s global expertise on disaster risk reduction and preparedness. We also hope to collaborate with IOM in its overseas disaster relief efforts,” said Youn Ji-hyon, Director of Humanitarian Assistance Division at the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
KOICA is the Government of Republic of Korea’s development aid arm, which, along with the Korea Association of International Development and Cooperation (KAIDEC), supported the workshop.
5- IOM Relocates Refugees, Fights Disease at South Sudan’s Flood-Affected Doro Camp – IOM is helping to relocate refugees from Doro Camp in South Sudan’s Upper Nile Sate, following floods which hit the area early this week causing a temporary suspension of aid deliveries.
The Organization is also intensifying hygiene promotion and the construction of emergency latrines following an outbreak of Hepatitis E in several refugee camps in Upper Nile State, South Sudan.
At the request of UNHCR, IOM is providing water and sanitation services for over 42,000 refugees at Doro, one of five refugee camps established in Maban County for 106,000 refugees from Sudan’s Blue Nile State.
Heavy rains have led to widespread flooding in Doro Camp and the neighboring town of Bunj. The main access road to the camp is flooded and aid deliveries are on hold until road access is restored. Earlier this month, entire sections of the road were washed away by flooding northeast of the camp and aid agencies were forced to bring in equipment and trucks to repair the road. IOM operates a fleet of trucks to transport emergency relief for humanitarian partners providing assistance in Maban.
This week flooding displaced refugees living in five villages across Doro Camp. IOM and partner agencies are now helping to relocate affected communities to temporary communal areas until new locations can be identified.
Twenty-six latrines have overflowed due to the floods and IOM is intensifying efforts to prevent the contamination of surrounding water sources. IOM and partners have also conducted an inter-agency assessment and are monitoring the situation to prevent the spread of water-borne diseases.
South Sudan’s Ministry of Health announced the outbreak of Hepatitis E on 13 September 2012 in three refugee camps – Jamam, Gendrassa and Yusif Batil. A total of 407 suspected and confirmed cases of Hepatitis E have been recorded and 16 deaths have been reported. In the past week, one case of Hepatitis E has been reported in Doro.
Hepatitis E is a virus that causes infection of the liver and can be transmitted by consuming water and food contaminated with faeces. The infection is most common in young adults, but poses the greatest risk to pregnant women.
IOM is working with partners to reduce the risk of transmission through chlorinating drinking water, increasing the number of hand washing points, distributing soap, constructing emergency latrines, and intensifying hygiene promotion.
IOM has been operating in Maban since December 2011. It has appealed for USD 10 million to respond to emerging needs in South Sudan and has received contributions from the USA, Italy, Canada and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF.) But the number of refugees and internally displaced people in the country is growing and more funds are needed.