Mesoamerica: Experts in Emergencies are Trained on Assistance to Migrants in Crisis Situations
Date Published: 07/28/2017
Five national workshops on assisting migrants as part of emergency preparedness, response and recovery systems trained more than 100 officials from state organizations, civil society organizations, local governments and migrant community leaders in Mexico, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
These workshops are implemented as part of the efforts of the Initiative for Migrants in Countries in Crisis Situations (MICIC), promoted in the region by IOM through the Mesoamerica Program. The State-led Initiative seeks to enhance the capacity of the various partners involved in disaster preparedness, response and recovery in saving lives and protecting migrants who are often more vulnerable and unprotected than nationals.
The region of Mesoamerica is especially vulnerable to natural disasters. According to the World Risk Index of 2016, Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua are among the 15 countries most at risk of suffering from and being devastated by natural disasters. This is why it is important for countries and their institutions to prepare themselves in the face of emergency situations, also taking into account migrants in these exercises.
In Nicaragua, two workshops were held: one in the capital, Managua and the other in the border department with Honduras, Chinandega. In the latter, representatives of the member institutions of the Departmental Unit against Trafficking in Chinandega participated, as well as representatives of the Red Cross, the National Army, the General Fire Department and civil society organizations. According to the Departmental Delegate of the Ministry of Governance of Chinandega, Fanor Herrera, this type of training strengthens inter-institutional organization and, through it, the country’s security.
"I congratulate all our colleagues who have accompanied us in this process. We know that new challenges and new commitments will arise and I know that with this knowledge they are ready to respond to any crisis or emergency situation and save lives," the delegate said.
In Chiapas, southern Mexico, the IOM implemented three workshops. It established itself as a specialized source of assistance support in times of crisis. The inclusion of experts, including from UNDP and all levels of the government, the adaptation of the material produced by an international initiative into the national context, and the promotion of the creation of networks among participants were identified as good practices.
For Costa Rica, a country that in 2016 experienced a crisis with the passage of Hurricane Otto, local representatives from the National Emergency Commission (CNE) Committees and migrant leaders living in the north of the country – a zone particularly affected by the hurricane – were brought together. The main conclusions of the meeting were: the need for close collaboration between institutions at all levels (local-local, national-national, national-local), and the need to have a contingency plan for emergency preparedness and response.
Other identified challenges were the institutional tools for the management of shelters and warehouses, and the need for training on emergency management including psychosocial assistance and self-care. Finally, the identification of migrant leaders and their inclusion in voluntary groups related to emergency assistance was recommended.
In order to complement these face-to-face trainings, IOM will launch an online course on the subject in the coming months.