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27 April 2016

The quake devastated Pedernales, the town closest to the epicenter. Photo: IOM / Jamie Paredes 2016

IOM Appeals for USD 9.25 Million to Aid Victims of Ecuador Earthquake

Ecuador – Following the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Ecuador’s Pacific coast on April 16th, the government has declared a “state of emergency” in the six provinces of Esmeraldas, Guayas, Los Rios, Manabi, Santo Domingo and Santa Elena.  

As of 24 April, 655 deaths and at least 4,605 injuries have been reported. Over 40,000 people are internally displaced and at least 29,000 are sheltering in public spaces, including sports stadiums. Over 6,698 buildings have been completely destroyed and 2,740 seriously damaged, including 281 schools. The government and aid agencies estimate that over 720,000 people are in need of humanitarian aid.

Severe damage to roads and bridges has limited access to many of the affected areas and made it difficult for the government and aid workers to assess the full extent of the damage. Damage to telecommunications infrastructure and repeated aftershocks, including one registering 6.3 on the Richter Scale, are compounding the logistics challenge. Official estimates of the extent of the damage are expected to rise.

IOM has a main office located in the capital, Quito, and over 60 staff in country. This capacity was strengthened immediately after the quake through a contribution of USD 500,000 from its Migration Emergency Funding Mechanism, which enabled the immediate deployment of a rapid response team with expertise in camp coordination and camp management (CCCM), shelter, displacement tracking, and logistics.

IOM is now appealing for USD 9,250,000 from donors over the next three months for activities in its capacity as sector lead for CCCM, co-lead with IFRC for Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI), and a partner in the Early Recovery sector.

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IOM Urges Leaders to Boost Action on Climate Migration after Paris Agreement Signing

Switzerland - As the Director General of the only agency with a global footprint that works on migration, I chaired a High Level Panel on Human Mobility in a Changing Climate during last year’s COP 21 in Paris, writes IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.

I was joined by a host of other leaders also committed to the idea that global climate policies cannot ignore human mobility concerns. I was heartened by the commitment I witnessed during the discussions on migration in a changing climate.

As the COP21 came to an end with the adoption of the Paris Agreement by world governments on 12 December 2015, it became clear that the formal inclusion of ‘migrants’ in the preamble of the agreement and the decision to create a special task force on climate-related displacement were far more than just words on paper.

These developments exemplify the increased interest displayed by various stakeholders: international and national policymakers, the media, civil society and the academia, as well as the migrant communities themselves.

All of us have a stake in addressing climate change as a driver of migration if we want to avert future crises and to realize the potential benefits of migration. For this reason, I urge all world leaders who convened in New York on 22 April 2016 to sign the Paris Climate Agreement, to consider issues related to human mobility and climate change in their national climate policies and planning.

IOM stands ready to support its Member States and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in integrating migration and climate change in policy planning. We have developed an extensive programme of work spanning technical and policy guidance; capacity building for policymakers (to date over 300 policymakers have been trained in 40 countries); research and strengthening the evidence base (over 70 specialist publications on climate migration); and activities in the field in support of migrants and host communities.

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Migration in the News

  • Reuters and AFP reported that 49 more refugees and migrants have been sent back to Turkey from Greece under the European Union (EU)-Turkey deal. Reuters cited IOM’s related ongoing resettlement of Syrian refugees from Turkey to the EU.

  • International Business Times and Sofia News Agency reported that according to IOM, over 181,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in  Europe from Turkey and North Africa in 2016.

  • The Daily Sabah reported that the resettlement of Syrian refugees to the EU from Turkey has picked up since the launch of the EU-Turkey agreement on April 4th.

  • Turkey’s TRTWorld reported that US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel disagree on the creation of ‘safe zones’ for displaced people in Syria. Merkel supports the idea.

  • Ghana News Agency reported that the Ghana Immigration Service Training School in the Central Region has opened an ICT Centre to build the IT skills of immigration officers under a joint project with IOM.

Trending on the Internet

  • NYT reported that the Turkish-born founder of U.S. yougurt-maker Chobani will give shares representing 10 percent of the company to its 2,000 full-time employees, many of whom were refugees, if it goes public or is sold.

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