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18 May 2016

Aleppo in Syria lies in ruins. The country’s civil war has led to neighboring states being overwhelmed by millions of refugees. Photo: Abdalrahman Ismail/Reuters

Global Crises Overwhelming Aid System, Says Migration Chief

United Kingdom - The world’s top official managing migration flows has warned that the global aid system is crumbling under an overwhelming number of crises, from wars across the Middle East and Asia to natural disasters and earthquakes, writes Emma Graham-Harrison in the Observer.

William Lacy Swing, veteran head of the International Organization for Migration, has spent more than five decades working across some of the world’s worst troublespots, but believes the scale of current challenges dwarfs anything he has grappled with before. “The system as it stands now is pretty much overpowered, overwhelmed by the demand for assistance,” Swing told the Observer. “I don’t want to sound pessimistic, because I am really not, I’m sure there is a way out, but I just don’t see it yet.

“I have not known any time in my half century in this business in which we have had this many simultaneous, complex and protracted crises, of no solution right now. And a lack of engagement in the resolution of them.”

Speaking on the eve of the first world humanitarian summit (WHS) in Istanbul, which has been billed as a chance to end “the greatest humanitarian crisis of our lifetime,” Swing described a pressing need for help across an “arc of instability” from West Africa to Asia.

The gathering in Istanbul, Turkey on 23-24 May will bring together more than 5,000 people from governments, charities, businesses and international organizations such as the UN to try to create a more effective system to help those in the most desperate need.

Read on

A Bangladeshi woman sits on a banana raft inside her house, which is nearly waist deep in flood water. File Photo: Abir Abdullah / IOM 2010.

Data on Environmental Migration: How Much Do We Know?

Germany - The impact of climate change is a key concern for the international community. The links between environmental degradation and human mobility are becoming increasingly clear, leading to calls for more data on environmental migrants.

But meaningful data usually only exist on people newly displaced by disasters. The environment is often just one of several social and economic factors behind the decision to migrate,  compounding the difficulty of quantifying such movements.

IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) has now produced a new Data Briefing to provide an overview of existing data sources on environmental migration.

The briefing identifies best practices in assessing the evidence to guide new and comparable data collection.

It also aims to help State actors to integrate human mobility into all aspects of adaptation, disaster response and disaster risk reduction planning associated with  environmental and climate change.

Find the full briefing here

Migration in the News

  • BBC reported that migrants are being pushed out of countries such as Libya by living conditions so horrific that even the possibility of drowning at sea seems preferable.

  • Reuters and Sky News reported that Italian prosecutors are calling for an 18-year prison term for the man they say captained a migrant boat that sank in the Mediterranean last year, killing up to 800 people.

  • The Conversation reported that unaccompanied minors in the Moria migrant detention centre on the Greek island of Lesbos are protesting against being imprisoned there in poor conditions for over two months.

  • Newsweek reported that Pope Francis said that London’s election of the first Muslim mayor of a Western capital is an example of how migrants can be integrated in Europe.

  • Euronews reported that Libya’s coast guard intercepted a dinghy carrying over 100 African migrants on Monday (16/5).

  • ZDF, Zeit, Frankfurter Rundschau and Spiegel reported the rescue of over 1,100 migrants in the Mediterranean on Monday (16/5).

Trending on the Internet

  • UNA-UK devoted the latest issue of its magazine New World to migrants and refugees. The magazine claims to look beyond the politicized terminology and populist myths that have skewed public perceptions of the crisis.

Media Contacts

For comment / interviews on today's news, please go to the contact(s) listed at the end of each press briefing note.
For other information please contact the IOM Media & Communications team here