Pamela: Child of the Cyclone

Fri, 03/20/2015 - 11:15

By Joe Lowry in Vanuatu

Somewhere, out on the Pacific swell, a dot in the ocean off the shores of storm-lashed Vanuatu, there is a fishing boat. And on it, is a man who doesn’t yet know he’s a father.

His family got word that his boat and all souls on it are safe, hundreds of kilometres away. But that’s all they know, they didn’t manage to pass word that they are safe too, and that his wife gave birth on a classroom floor as Cyclone Pam raged all round. Finally, he doesn’t know that his first-born child’s name has already been chosen.

All the leaves are gone…

Thu, 03/19/2015 - 14:42

By Joe Lowry in Port Vila

Vanuatu, sitting in the heart of the South Pacific, is known as a tropical paradise; a string of lush, verdant islands lapped by sapphire seas. Now it’s a wasteland, smashed beyond recognition by Cyclone Pam which roared over the island nation on Friday 13th.

How Migration Reduces Disaster Risk

Fri, 03/13/2015 - 16:25

By Lorenzo Guadagno

Anyone who works in the development sector, anyone  involved in international politics or trade, anyone concerned about the state of our planet will know about “Sendai”. It’s more than a mid-sized city in Japan, it’s also shorthand for the third global conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, which starts there this weekend.

Improving Livelihoods and Standing Together: Changing Communities in Sri Lanka

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 14:26


© IOM 2015

By Marina Gandhi and Emily Wiseman

In Mallikaithivu village in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka, local women are finding their voice and improving their livelihoods through support meetings and trainings.

The women in this community have faced many challenges, after years of conflict. They include low income, the squandering of their income on alcohol by men in the village, and in some cases, domestic violence.

Women on the Move: A Look at Migration, Women and Cities

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 13:48

By Lee Kanthoul

Around the world, cities are welcoming migrants and displaced populations like never before, with women and girls arriving in unprecedented numbers. Not only do they make up nearly half of all international migrants, but they are also more likely than men and boys to migrate internally, most often settling in urban areas.

As urbanization continues to expand, it is becoming increasingly apparent that men and women use cities in different ways, in terms of public transit, public spaces and housing, for example. It is also becoming evident that cities also impact migrant men and women differently.

IOM Director General’s Message on International Women's Day 2015

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 13:39

By William Lacy Swing

More women are on the move than ever before. They represent approximately half of the world’s one billion migrants and are approximately half of the estimated 51 million displaced persons.

On this year’s International Women’s Day, IOM calls on the international community to ensure the empowerment of migrant and displaced women through the full realization of their human rights.

As we commemorate the historic twenty-year anniversary and review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, we must acknowledge that, while there have been many significant achievements in realizing women’s rights, serious gaps remain in making gender equality a reality. This is particularly true for migrant women.

Our Sea

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 11:03


The Italian Harbourmaster Corps (Coast Guard) in Rome rescues migrants bound to the coasts of Italy. © Francesco Malavolta 2014

By Eugenio Ambrosi
IOM Regional Director, RO Brussels

First published in New Europe | 18 Feb 2015

Europe seems to have forgotten that it was only 70 years ago that Europeans were uprooted and seeking shelter from war and poverty. Then in the blink of an eye, Europe went from a continent of emigration to one of destination and yet our welcome leaves much to be desired.  We have drawn up the bridge and entered into “crisis” mode as if Europe were under siege by migrants.

Facing the Syrian Refugee Crisis, Turkey Must Not Stand Alone

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 11:25

By Isabel Santos

Last month I was part of a delegation from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly to Harran, Turkey, where we came across a “city of containers” – thousands of them – surrounded by fences and housing some 14,500 refugees. Life goes on day after day in search of a normalcy that such a place can never provide. In one of the container-city’s schools, we met with children who expressed their distress in crayons, drawing planes dropping bombs and scenes of war, bleeding and destruction. The images were populated by mothers and children on trails, leaving their homeland behind.

The Saints Go Marching

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 18:24

By Joe Lowry

I’m always interested in what’s happening in the English port city of Southampton. My great-grandmother sailed in there from Ireland as a migrant at the end of the 19th century, and  I spent childhood summers near there, splashing in the bracing bays off Lymington, walking under the verdant canopy of the New Forest.  I cheer for the Saints, the local football team, who are enjoying a renaissance and have a chance of qualifying for the Champions League next year.

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