Humanitarian Emergencies

The Names Behind the Statistics

By Itayi Viriri

Twenty Eight! That is how many people survived what may be the worst tragedy in living memory involving migrants crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa last weekend. The 28 migrants had been traveling on a wooden fishing boat carrying over 800 people when it capsized near Libya.

#MigrantsLivesMatter: Ali’s Journey

By Itayi Viriri 

Sicily - He just turned 14 years old and yet Ali immediately comes across a natural spokesperson for his family. It seems as if it is something he has been doing for some time now and is naturally expected of him.

Escaping Danger into Uncertainty: The Voyages of Migrants out of Yemen into Somalia

By Dayib Abdirahman Askar

Mohamed is originally from Jigjiga, Ethiopia.  He was living in Yemeni capital Sana’a

“I was working at a hotel in Sana’a. I am married and have a one-year-old son.”

Then fighting broke out and Mohamed says there was a fight between two armed groups.

Vanuatu: One Month After Cyclone Pam

One month ago Cyclone Pam tore across the tiny Pacific nation of Vanuatu, ripping up houses and trees, and destroying food stocks and crops. IOM was among the first responders, deploying a surge team made up of staff from Papua New Guinea, Myanmar, the Philippines and the Regional Office in Bangkok.

IOM Helps Migrants Start Anew in South Sudan

By Katy Snowball

Mahamed Garad is a 28 year-old Somali living in the United Nations Protection of Civilian (PoC) site, in Juba. Mahamed was forced to leave his humanitarian career in Mogadishu, Somalia in October 2013 because he felt too unsafe to continue working there. After spending time in Rwanda, he headed to South Sudan and established himself in Bor, the capital of Jonglei State, as a retailer.

Migrants Must Be Saved, Not Counted

iom map

By William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General

GENEVA--Easter tells us of mankind's triumph over injustice; Passover of mankind's liberation from dictatorship.

Both holidays should remind everyone today living in peace and security of the terrible price millions elsewhere are paying to achieve the freedom to live in dignity.

Painted Trucks, Pomegranates and People at Afghan-Pakistan Zero Point

By Matthew Graydon
IOM Afghanistan


The Torkham border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is chaotic, crowded and dusty, but it is a vital lifeline between the two countries. Nearly twelve thousand people cross the border every day, going to Pakistan to work, study, seek medical treatment or visit family. Lines of colorfully painted trucks bring goods from Pakistan and the rest of the world to landlocked Afghanistan, and carry Afghan pomegranates, nuts and other exports. 

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.

“I Want to Inspire More Women to Become Carpenteras”

© IOM/Alan Motus 2014

By Charisse Licaña

I am a newly trained carpenter, having recently spent 10 days learning how to rebuild houses. I was also the only woman on the course, out of 19 participants. In the Philippines, carpentry is still seen as a man’s occupation. It makes me proud to think that I’m helping to change people’s minds.

Facing the Syrian Refugee Crisis, Turkey Must Not Stand Alone

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.

Mobility is the Key

By Christopher Hoffman

Whether we are discussing pre-disaster risk reduction methodologies or post disaster response, one overarching factor is key: mobility.