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13 January 2016


An internally displaced Syrian family driven from their home by the war shelters under IOM plastic sheeting. Photo: IOM

IOM Strongly Supports UN Calls for Relocation of Medical Cases from Madaya, Syria

Syria - IOM has voiced its strong support for the United Nations’ call to relocate 400 Syrians from the besieged Damascus suburb of Madaya. After visiting a hospital in Madaya, UN Humanitarian Affairs Chief Stephen O’Brien said that 400 patients needed immediate medical relocation to treat malnourishment, starvation and other medical conditions.

A report from Médecins Sans Frontières says that 23 people have died of starvation in Madaya since the beginning of December 2015. The town has been under siege by armed groups since July 2015.

Working with Syrian authorities and UN agencies, IOM is ready to assist in the transportation of these 400 patients to safety, where they can receive urgently needed lifesaving medical treatment.

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Trucks of food relief are unloaded in the dark on arrival at Madaya, Syria on 11 January 2016. Photo: WFP/Hussam Alsaleh

U.N. Relief Official Calls for ‘Immediate’ End to Blockades in Syria

United Nations — The head of the United Nations’ relief efforts for Syria pleaded with all warring parties on Tuesday to lift their sieges on key towns and let aid agencies deliver food and medical care to people stuck behind front lines, write Somini Sengupta and Anne Barnard in the New York Times.

“The immediate thing to be done is to lift sieges everywhere,” said humanitarian coordinator for Syria Yacoub El Hillo, speaking to journalists from the Syrian capital Damascus.

His comments came a day after he joined a carefully negotiated aid convoy into the besieged town of Madaya. He said he saw severely malnourished people there, especially children, and others who had gone hungry for a long time. He said some people there resembled “skeletons that are now barely moving.”

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Quote of the day

"Closed borders unintentionally subsidize smugglers, pushing desperate migrants into their hands." – IOM Director General William Lacy Swing, speaking in Amsterdam.


Migration in the News


  • Xinhua, Irish Independent, and Sputnik cited IOM estimates that some 18,872 refugees and migrants reached Europe by sea in the first 11 days of 2016.

  • BBC reported that battle lines are being drawn for 2016's contest between migrants seeking to reach Europe and European governments who want to stop them.

  • Independent UK reported that seven Somali refugees trying to reach Italy are thought to have died in the Mediterranean after they were reportedly thrown overboard by human smugglers.

  • AFP reported on the joy and anxiety of a first group of stranded Cuban migrants about to fly out of Costa Rica to El Salvador en route to new lives in the United States.

  • Thomson Reuters reported on what has changed six years after the 7.0- magnitude earthquake in Haiti and the key challenges ahead.

  • National Post Canada interviewed obstetrician Vanig Garabedian - one of the first Syrian refugees to be resettled in Canada in December 2015.

  • Jakarta Post reported that Indonesia repatriated 23 Myanmar citizens who were enslaved on a Thai-owned fishing vessel in December, after the victims settled claims against their employers.

  • Radio Tamazuj reported that the UN protection of civilians site in Malakal, South Sudan, suffered a deadly weekend. A fire left a baby dead and six other people died in a grenade blast outside the camp.

Trending on the Internet


  • New York Times reported that the Obama administration is turning to the UN to help screen migrants fleeing violence in Central America and to help set up processing centers in several Latin American countries.

  • AP reported that the number of people who migrated to foreign countries surged by 41 percent in the last 15 years to reach 244 million in 2015, according to a UN study released Tuesday.

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