Humanitarian Emergencies

Typhoon Haiyan brings renewed urgency to Asia-Pacific food security summit

Children outside the Astrodome in Tacloban where thousands of shocked residents took shelter from the super-typhoon which hit on November 9.

IOM Active at Typhoon Ground Zero


A young girl stands near the devastation of the central Philippine city of Tacloban. © IOM 2013 (Photo by Conrad Navidad)

By Joe Lowry in Tacloban

Tens of thousands still displaced in southern Philippines


© Kerwin Baldovino 2013

By Joe Lowry

Just under two months ago, the historic town of Zamboanga, in the southern Philippines, exploded in a frenzy of violence as fighters from the Moro National Liberation Front clashed with Government forces. The city was paralysed for several days and still bears heavy scars from the fighting. Scores of soldiers, militants and civilians were killed and one in six residents in this city of 775,000 fled their homes.

Zamboanga still chaotic weeks after violent clashes


Omal Gani, born by the side of the road in Zamboanga

By Joe Lowry

Meet Omal. He was born on the side of the road 12 days ago, his mother pushing him out in a rapid 45-minute labour. Motorbikes, trucks and cars screamed by, inches from the newborn’s head. Aged just 22, Misbah Gani is now mother to four bright-eyed kids under the age of 10. They live in a one-metre-high lean-to - a temporary shelter next to a petrol station that is sweltering, noisy and full of exhaust fumes.

Dream dashed, lives on hold in Philippines quake zone


By Joe Lowry

Rita Elatabelo’s world has fallen apart twice in the last seven months.

Two years ago she retired after 44 years in the capital Manila, and moved back to her native village on the island of Bohol with her husband and one of her sons. Over the past ten years they had been building their dream retirement home, in the little village of Libertad, their corner of paradise. But just as they were getting settled, her husband passed away.

Sadder but Wiser


By Ihsan Hussein

I woke up early the morning of 7 August, exhausted from the week but ready to move forward with the weekend distributions in Al Obaide Camp. My family was excited all week for the Eid al-Fitr holiday, marking the end of Ramadan, and the large celebration we would have at my parents’ home. However, with complications and the poor ongoing security situation in Anbar, IOM’s distribution of non-food items (NFIs) to Syrian refugees in the camp had been continually delayed until that morning. It had been a long, hot Ramadan, and despite the existence of modest healthcare, sanitation, and electricity, morale in the camp was low.

Taking Photos in the Field


By Ray Leyesa

“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”

These words from Robert Capa, a Hungarian war photographer, photojournalist and co-founder of Magnum Photos, have been taught to photojournalism students for decades. But getting a closer shot does not mean using a long lens or the zoom functions of your camera. What Capa was saying was to physically get closer, be more involved and to some extent be intimate with your subjects.

A Road Map for Resilience

By Leonard Doyle

Haiti remains one of the Caribbean countries most exposed to damage during each hurricane season as the above infographic reveals. (Click here to see the animated version) A high level of deforestation over the past three decades has left the country at extreme risk of flooding and landslides.

Last week Tropical Storm Chantal dissipated before it could do any harm, providing a timely opportunity to test life-saving preparations for the upcoming Caribbean hurricane season. The effects of last year’s hurricane season are still felt today. Tropical Storm Isaac in August and Hurricane Sandy in October took lives and inflicted extensive damage to homes and crops, which led to food shortages and price increases, as well as to a substantial increase in the number of cholera cases.

In the Name of the Father


By Christopher M. Hoffman

Father’s day provides us with a great opportunity to highlight the humanity of our staff and the work that we do.  Like many of you I have a son and am a son.  My father has been the professional role model that many of us strive to be:  conscientious, efficient, hungry for growth and focused. 

The Disaster Risk Reduction Agenda

By Daniel Salmon 

The Fourth Session of the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR) took place between the 21st and 23rd of May 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland. Recognising the GPDRR as the world's foremost gathering of stakeholders committed to Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) IOM participated in the platform highlighting its global Disaster Risk Reduction and migration strategy.

In line with Platform's objectives of information exchange and knowledge and partnership building, IOM underlined how human mobility plays a dual role in determining vulnerability and resilience to disasters. IOM brought to floor the specific protection needs of internal and international migrants caught in disasters, highlighting the importance of preventing forced migration and providing adequate assistance and protection for affected people. 

Now read on

Flames Lick the Heels of Syria's Refugees



by Abeer Ali, and Veronica Costarelli

Wherever they run, the flames of Syria's civil war are licking at the heels of its refugees. 

“We have fled the flames of war to (come to) this boiling desert,” said a 35-year-old Syrian woman living in a refugee camp in Jordan. Her frustration mounting along other equally disgruntled women, she added: “We just want a decent life.”

A Mapping Revolution...


By Leonard Doyle

WOULD you like to know about an innovative high-tech initiative to help vulnerable communities build resilience, ahead of the coming hurricane/typhoon season, by using low-tech solutions? If so, read on.