IOM Strengthens Engagement of Diaspora Organizations in Disaster Response, Preparedness and Recovery

Report
from International Organization for Migration
Published on 17 Sep 2019 View Original

Washington, DC – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) last week (13-14/09) held training sessions for Bangladeshi, Haitian and Filipino diaspora organizations during which participants focused on safer shelter in disaster response, preparedness and recovery.

The frequency and intensity of natural disasters force more people to flee their homes every day. Recent events like Hurricane Dorian earlier this month serve as a stark reminder of the need to rebuild more disaster-resilient shelters to help prevent or reduce displacement associated with natural hazards.

In the wake of a crisis, only 15 to 20 per cent of shelter needs are typically met by the international community. Those affected are ultimately left to rebuild their homes, often relying on aid, money and volunteers from the diaspora.

“The diaspora has proven in many countries to be some of the largest players in responses,” said Joseph Ashmore, IOM Shelters and Settlements Specialist. “Contributions through diaspora groups can be larger than the entire inter-agency response in some places.”

The training is part of a larger project funded by the US Agency for International Development’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). Recognizing the critical role of the diaspora, the project also aims to inform the diaspora about existing coordination mechanisms in the field of disaster response and shelters and explore linkages with these systems.

The Haitian Diaspora Emergency Response Unit (HDREU) is already an example of a more coordinated and effective disaster response, within the diaspora and between diaspora and other stakeholders. The coalition of more than 30 diaspora organizations is currently mobilizing resources to better support the needs of communities impacted by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.

“[With] each disaster we should be getting better, not worse,” said Magalie Emile-Backer, co-founder of the Haiti Renewal Alliance, one of the lead organizations of the HDREU. “These trainings will empower us with more knowledge on how to build back safer to be able to train our communities and ensure that we mitigate the next one because we know it is coming.”

Presenters for this workshop included representatives from IOM, OFDA, InterAction, World Bank, University of the Philippines Alumni Association of San Francisco, Haiti Renewal Alliance and UDION Foundation.

Last year, trainings were held in Washington, San Francisco and Miami. Additional workshops will be held in New York, Boston and Houston in the coming months.

For more information, please contact Liz Lizama at IOM Washington, Tel: +1 202 716 8820, Email: elizama@iom.int

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