IOM, Handicap International sign global cooperation agreement

Posted on Fri, Apr-19-2013

Switzerland – IOM and the Handicap International Federation have signed a global Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together in emergencies to help vulnerable people, including people with disabilities, the injured, and those struggling with forced displacement, particularly following natural disasters.

The agreement, which will serve as a basis for future collaboration, is designed to strengthen links between the two agencies in the field and follows an earlier, country-level MoU agreed in Haiti, where the two organizations worked together to help victims of the catastrophic January 2010 earthquake. 

“Our emergency response activities are often complementary, so it makes good sense for us to work together closely in the field. For example in Haiti, IOM provided essential transportation for people injured in the quake to and from Handicap International rehabilitation facilities,” says IOM Director of Migration Health Services Dr Davide Mosca.

IOM and Handicap International started to work together in Indonesia in the wake of the major earthquakes that hit Aceh in December 2004 and Yogyakarta in 2006. IOM facilitated referrals of injured earthquake victims to specialized hospital facilities both inside Indonesia and in neighbouring countries.

When patients returned to Indonesia following treatment, IOM coordinated their reception at the airport, return home and on-going care needs with Handicap International and other health care providers. It also worked closely with Handicap International on follow-up rehabilitation and care for amputees and patients with spinal cord injuries.

“During humanitarian crises, vulnerable people, including people with disabilities, are often isolated and go undetected by humanitarian aid operators. And yet their survival and the quality of our response depend on our ability to identify them rapidly and follow them up over time. Given this race against the clock and the chaotic conditions we face in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, our partnership with the IOM is extremely valuable,” says Jean Pierre Delomier, Director of Handicap International’s Emergency Response Department.

In Haiti in 2010, the two agencies worked together to help the government to decongest hospitals by facilitating the return home and referrals of earthquake victims.  In addition to providing transport, IOM also worked closely with Handicap International to assess the situation of people with spinal cord injuries (SCI) and their future follow up care. 

Handicap International technical experts also advised IOM on housing modifications needed by people with a variety of disabilities and advised the IOM-led Camp Coordination and Management Cluster and Shelter Cluster agencies on disability-friendly services and interventions.

For more information please contact 

Dr Kaisa Kontunen
Tel. +41.22.7179.472


Claudio Solazzo
Handicap International Switzerland
Tel. +41.22.7109334 - Mobile: +41 (0) 78 659 47 23