When Hurricane Odile passed through the tourist zone of Los Cabos, Baja California Sur in 2014, it affected 26,000 foreign tourists and 4,000 Mexican tourists.
Derived from the input of States, civil society, international organizations and private sector actors, these voluntary and non-binding Guidelines to Protect Migrants in Countries Experiencing Conflict or Natural Disaster reflect the outcome of the MICIC Initiative.
Repository of practices
Over the last decades, Thailand, an upper middle-income country with an impressive history of economic growth, has attracted migrants from Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and countries further afield. Migrants currently account for an estimated 6‒8 per cent of the Thai labour force – mostly working in factories in the construction sector or in informal jobs in agriculture, fisheries, services and domestic work.
Migrants face great risks and pressures in their lives, even in “normal” times. They suffer greater prevalence of health problems, work in unsafe conditions, and earn low and uncertain incomes that contribute to higher poverty rates than native-born individuals. Our own experience researching the financial needs of migrants has taught us firsthand that these many immediate worries, together with migrants’ concerns about the safety and wellbeing of their families at home, constantly compete for their attention and money.
On 2 January 2017, the Migration Response Center in Obock, northern Djibouti received four migrants from Yemen, who were seriously injured following an airstrike. Since early 2015 more than 30,000 persons have transited through Djibouti to return to their country of origin.
Sharing early implementation stories, the participants at Sunday’s Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC) Initiative event showed how practical applications of the MICIC Guidelines are already leading to better preparedness in countries with an important migrant presence.
Unexpected crises can affect migrants differently to citizens. Migrants have unique needs and vulnerabilities that at minimum need to be understood and taken into account in preparedness, response, and recovery.
This week IOM evacuated 127 Somalis fleeing the conflict in Yemen. The men, women and children arrived in Berbera, Somaliland, from Sana’a, Yemen on a boat organized by IOM with financial support from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief).
IOM evacuation operations are resuming in Yemen, after a pause imposed by airstrikes and ground fights in the country. Reception capacity for the large influx of migrants from Ethiopia and other Horn of Africa countries returning migrants are over-stretched in Djibouti.