Joe Lowry

Pamela: Child of the Cyclone

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…

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.

The Saints Go Marching

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.

Making Headlines – A New Look for IOM’s Press Notes

IOM’s Press Briefing Notes go to over 100,000 subscribers around the world, including missions, governments, embassies, media, donors, academia, civil society organizations and individuals. They are launched online on Tuesdays and Fridays, as well as at the UN Palais des Nations in Geneva, where our spokesperson directly briefs the international press on IOM’s recent, high-profile activities.

Yolanda’s First Year

By Joe Lowry in Tacloban 

One year ago, 18-year-old Marike Malate was swimming for her life, in the dark, debris-strewn water that engulfed her family home on Pampongo Street, Tacloban. Not just for her life, but for the life inside her, the life that burst out hours later in an abandoned building, with her mother and father as her birth attendants.  

Peaks and Valleys: Nepal’s Migration Story

By Joe Lowry in Kathmandu

This is a story – or two stories – about three women and a man, going in different directions. A story of hope, and a story of despair. One of dreams dashed, one of butterflies in the stomach. A story of escape, and a story of imprisonment. It is about setting out on a new life full of soaring promise, and of returning to deep, bitter disappointment.

Pacific Poet sounds Climate Alarm

By Joe Lowry

The Marshall Islands has already suffered a massive drought, necessitating a national emergency to be called, and for the US government, through IOM, to mount a large-scale relief operation across the islands, separated by hundreds of miles of deserted sea.

Journalists and Aid Workers Are Targets for a New Brand of Extremists

By Joe Lowry

The tragic and highly mediatized deaths of two journalists and an aid worker at the hands of militants in the middle east may seem to have little to do with migration, but they are in many ways a defining chapter for all who work in perilous situations.

Have the first “climate refugees” just landed?

By Joe Lowry

I live with someone whose country no longer exists. My wife was born in the Soviet Union, in what is now the Republic of Belarus. The culture she was brought up in as a child, the festivals, the education, the products, like the USSR itself, exist only in books, films and memories. But the land, the land is still there. The people still tell their stories, sing their songs, grow their crops, raise their families.

World Bank proposes some Pacific solutions

By Joe Lowry

I am no Pacific expert, but my trips to rural Papua New Guinea, and my marathon flight from Bangkok to Majuro (via Manila, Guam, Palau, Chuuk, Kwajalein, Pohnpei – and then from Majuro to a teeny tiny atoll in the midst of a turquoise ocean) got me thinking.

Short Distance Displacement

By Joe Lowry

Betty Barnabas has been displaced by violent conflict, and can’t go home until the peace process is concluded. She has been living with relatives for five years, patiently waiting her turn to use the kitchen, wash the kids, get ready for work. Day after day, for the last five years.