IOM Scales Up Plans for COVID-19 Readiness and Response, Appeals for USD 116.1 Million

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is scaling-up its plans to address the mobility aspects of the global response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic with a new funding requirement of USD 116.1 million. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports the outbreak has affected at least 166 countries with about 210,000 confirmed cases. Close to 8,700 people have lost their lives.  

Governments around the world are working together to prevent the spread of the disease, boosting surveillance, detection, and treatment efforts, re-allocating resources, restricting travel, imposing quarantines and more. 

The COVID-19 outbreak – which is first and foremost a health crisis – is fast becoming the largest mobility crisis ever seen. It is changing patterns of and acceptance toward migration, services offered by airlines, attitudes towards foreigners, as well as border and migration management regimes. An unprecedented number of people are becoming stranded on their journeys. 

As a result, some United Nations interventions, including refugee resettlement operations, have been scaled back or suspended temporarily. 

Building on a first plan launched on 20 February, the revised IOM COVID-19 Global Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SRP) covers all regions of the world, and comprises a wide range of on-going and planned activities including:  

  • emergence of humanitarian needs in new settings;  
  • cross-border coordination; 
  • capacity-building for government staff on disease surveillance;  
  • setting up or enhancing hand-washing facilities at entry points;  
  • support with case management;  
  • monitoring and mapping of people’s movements within and across borders;  
  • improvement of displacement sites to ensure site safety and hygiene and that livelihoods are sustained;  
  • and the dissemination of information on how to stay healthy, specifically targeting migrants, refugees and displaced persons.  

IOM is the global lead of the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) humanitarian cluster and, with more than 430 offices and 14,000 staff members across the world – including thousands working specifically on health and community engagement – is uniquely placed to provide support in international public health emergencies. Since January, the Organization has assisted Governments with COVID-19 preparedness and response, for example with donations of protective suits, gloves and masks for Wuhan, China, the monitoring of flows of people in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and the secondment of IOM staff for disease surveillance in Afghanistan.  

The plans described in the revised SRP span 10 areas of work: coordination and partnerships, risk communication and community engagement, disease surveillance, point of entry, national laboratory system, infection prevention and control, case management and continuity of essential services, protection, displacement tracking, as well as logistics, procurement and supply chain management.   

The geographic prioritization of the appeal is based on existing national and IOM capacities: over USD 43.4 million are to cover interventions in Eastern, Western and Southern Africa; more than USD 24.5 million are to be dedicated to the Asia-Pacific region; more than USD 17 million are for the Middle East and Northern Africa; over USD 13.6 million are for the Americas and, the remainder will support activities in Europe and Central Asia, as well as global interventions.  

The new appeal complements and is aligned with the WHO’s COVID-19 Global Preparedness and Response Plan, issued on 3 February, as well as the upcoming Inter-Agency Standing Committee Humanitarian Response Plan, led by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).   

IOM’s Global Crisis Response Platform provides an overview of IOM’s plans and funding requirements to respond to the evolving needs and aspirations of those impacted by, or at risk of, crisis and displacement in 2020 and beyond. The Platform is regularly updated as crises evolve and new situations emerge.  

For more information please contact Yasmina Guerda, IOM Public Health Communications Officer at HQ, Tel: +41 79 363 17 99, Email:; Paul Dillon, IOM Managing Editor at HQ, Tel: +41796369874, Email: or