Unable to see images? Click here

24 May 2017

Comments/questions: editor@iom.int


main banner

School children in Papua New Guinea read flyers preparing them for a natural disaster occurrence. Photo: IOM / Muse Mohammed

How Long Must Communities in Disaster Prone Areas Remain Hopeful?
By William Lacy Swing, Director General, the UN Migration Agency (IOM)

2015 was the year of hope for the global migration and humanitarian communities.

That year, we saw the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development call for effective measures and strengthened support to empower displaced people and migrants as part of a broader commitment “to leave no one behind”. This was important progress on the Millennium Development Goals which had nothing to say about migration, let alone the contribution it can make to resilience or sustainable development. 

Also in 2015, the world came together to agree to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which set out core commitments to substantially reduce disaster risk, loss of lives and livelihoods, and improve health. Now part of the development architecture built around the 2030 Agenda, the Sendai Framework is the first global agreement on disaster risk reduction to incorporate clear references to mobility and displacement. The core commitments not only recognize displacement as a principal consequence of disaster, they also acknowledge the important contributions that migrants make – through remittances, networks, skills and investments – to risk-reduction and resilience-building.

Read: English | French | Spanish

main banner

The Science of Preparing Cities for Natural Disasters

As Robert Muir-Wood sees it, there’s a basic flaw in how cities perceive disaster risk, writes Citiscope’s Christopher Swope.

City leaders tend to look back at recent history to understand how well prepared they are for big storms, earthquakes, tsunamis or volcanic eruptions. Instead, they need to get better at predicting, planning and managing around what’s likely to happen in the future.

Applying this sort of catastrophe modeling is Muir-Wood’s specialty. He’s the chief research officer for Risk Management Solutions, a company that develops catastrophe-risk software models for the insurance industry, and advises other businesses and governments on managing disaster risks. He’s also recently published a book that explores the science of disasters and how humans do and don’t prepare for them: "The Cure for Catastrophe: How We Can Stop Manufacturing Natural Disasters."

Read more

main banner

Beautiful Walls
By Joe Lowry

Afghanistan. Not only is it bedevilled by almost incessant armed violence, it's also subject to boiling summers. harsh winters and flash floods which can wipe out years of hard-won development in seconds. When homes are under threat, when making a living is impossible, people migrate. IOM is building walls all over Afghanistan – not to keep people out, but to hold back the floods and allow people to stay where they want to be – at home.

Afghanistan is sometimes known as "a hypermarket of disasters" Whatever you name, disasterwise, they have it, 24/7, year in,year out. Earthquakes, floods, droughts, landslides, sandstorms, avalanches,bitter cold, searing heat... all that on top of relentless conflict and grinding poverty.

While the International Community worries about the big picture, in Afghanistan's towns and villages there are farmers who want to plant, parents who want safe houses, children who simply want to go to school.

IOM has recorded tens of thousands of families being displaced by disasters every year. Worryingly, the trend is on the rise.These disasters not only claim lives, injure people and damage homes, they also destroy livelihoods and place lives on hold while new houses can be built, land secured and jobs found.

Read more


An average of 25.4 million people per year were displaced by disasters triggered by natural hazards between 2008-2015. Read IOM's flyer here.  To find out more about IOM's work in disaster risk reduction, please visit our website or our profile on PreventionWeb.


IOM Myanmar combats natural disasters.
Click here to watch


People of Vanuatu build disaster resilient homes.
Click to here watch


The Women Who Move Mountains.

One year after Cyclone Komen shattered rural Myanmar, women are building back their communities

Read here


The Platform on Disaster Displacement Policy Brief jointly produced by PDD, IOM, UNHCR, IDMC, and NRC. Download here

“i am a migrant” is part of the UN TOGETHER initiative that promotes respect, safety and dignity for those who have left home in search of a better life. More here

Mike and Alice: "This land is more than just our home [...] I was born here and I will be buried here alongside my ancestors."
Share on Twitter | Facebook


Find further information on the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cancun, Mexico, here.


"A change of attitude towards migrants and refugees is needed, from defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization towards a culture of encounter and more creative forms of solidarity." –  Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN. Read more here.


Migration in the News

  • AFP and  DPA reported that migrants rescued off the coast of Libya have described discovering a shipwrecked dinghy at sea, saying dozens of people including children were lost to the waves.
  • News Deeply reported that most of the 600,000 Afghans who returned from Pakistan last year settled in the eastern border province of Nangarhar, straining services and sending land prices soaring.
  • Anadolu Agency reported that more than 1,000 irregular migrants have been returned to Turkey under the refugee deal with the Europe, EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik said.

Trending on the Internet

  • Al Jazeera featured the story of Robtel Neajai Pailey, a Liberian academic, activist and author who writes about how becoming an undocumented migrant at age six changed her life.
  • The New York Times reported that since the beginning of the year, Sicilian authorities have registered 125 migrants who have arrived on yachts and sailboats, mostly piloted by Ukrainian skippers, in what is a lucrative and growing trend.

Media Contacts
For interviews and other media requests, please contact the IOM Media and Communications team here.