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20 November 2018

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US Ambassador John Bass, Afghan and IOM officials welcome the first of three flights carrying US aid to drought victims in Herat, western Afghanistan. Photo: IOM

US Airlift Targets 70,000 Afghans Displaced by Drought

Herat  – Afghanistan is currently facing its worst drought in decades. The Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) and humanitarian partners have so far identified 35,549 families (223,100 individuals) displaced in the western provinces of Herat, Badghis and Ghor between January and October 2018.  

Of these, 44 per cent or close to 100,000 individuals are children below the age of 18, and 19 per cent are below the age of five. More than half of the displaced have settled in Herat city, 39 per cent are in and around Qala-e-Naw, the provincial capital of Badghis, and the remaining two per cent in other provinces.

The displaced population is desperately poor and lacks access to food, water, shelter and health services. Many are living in tents or in the open air with the onset of freezing winter temperatures.  

Watch this IOM Reporter: Chief of Mission Laurence Hart in Herat, Afghanistan

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The WHO SCAAN dashboard onscreen at IOM’s 24/7 operations centre in Manila. Photo: IOM

Real-time IOM Crisis Communications System Deployed to Help Save Lives During Ebola Response in DR Congo

Geneva – The World Health Organization is now using IOM’s innovative Security Communications and Analysis Network (SCAAN) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to support the security of its staff fighting the Ebola epidemic. The effectiveness of this innovative crisis communications system was demonstrated almost immediately. 

With the latest Ebola outbreak spreading in the country, health workers are responding to the emergency in remote parts of north-eastern DRC which are prone to rebel violence. In October 2018, containment efforts in Beni city had to be suspended after a deadly rebel attack killed 21 people. Last week seven UN peacekeepers were killed in a military attack on rebel forces.

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The block M24 (Camp 20) mosque is one of the community structures upgraded by IOM, with funding from ECHO, to provide temporary shelter for Rohingya refugees during emergencies. Photo: IOM

IOM Creates Emergency Safe Havens for Bangladesh’s Rohingya Refugees

Cox’s Bazar – Dozens of community buildings in Bangladesh’s Rohingya refugee camps have been upgraded by shelter teams from IOM, the UN Migration Agency, to provide temporary accommodation for refugees in emergency situations. 

Seventy buildings have now been completed under the first phase of the project, supported by the European Union (EU), offering temporary shelter space for over 4,500 people. 

The upgraded structures will allow IOM shelter and site management teams to provide better protection for refugees if they are affected by landslides, floods, bad weather or other unexpected events that force them to leave their own shelters. 

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  • AP reported that Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez urged greater cooperation on migration during his first visit to Morocco on Monday.

  • Refugees Deeply ran an op-ed by a physician onboard one of the last rescue ships in the Mediterranean, who looks at the deadly consequences migrants face when sea rescues are blocked. 

  • The Washington Post published an op-ed by former Assistant US Secretary of State, Rick Barton, who noted that in addition to treating migrants with dignity, the US must address the root cause of migration from Central America: ongoing violence.

  • Sudan Tribune reported that Sudanese forces have freed 84 Eritrean victims from human trafficking in the eastern state of Kassala following clashes with their captors. 

  • BBC reported that Kenya has launched its first Coast Guard vessel to protect and monitor its territorial waters for drug and human trafficking, amongst other organized crimes.

  • The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster published a blog which highlighted how IOM keeps refugees informed through its Communicating with Communities programme in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

  • Bhekisisa reported that experts at this week’s World Innovation for Health Summit in Doha argued that few governments are ready for what could be the highest levels of forced migration ever, driven by climate change and conflict.

  • Kurdistan 24 reported that on 30 November, Erbil will host the first ever ‘Ride On!’ international cycling marathon co-sponsored by Kurdistan 24, IOM and others. The event aims to promote a cycling culture in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

  • Nikkei Asian Review published an op-ed which noted that it is time for ASEAN to respond more urgently to migrants' needs with coordinated policies for refugees and economic migrants.

  • Australia’s News.com reported that Venezuelan outward migration is rivalling the flow of Middle Eastern and African refugees to Europe, with the number of refugees and migrants escaping the economic and political crisis in the South American country rising to three million worldwide, according to IOM and UNHCR.

  • CNN reported that most Americans think migrants who reach the US border should be given the opportunity to enter the country if they meet certain requirements, according to a new poll by Monmouth University.