IOM’s revised funding requirements are aligned with the immediate humanitarian needs outlined in the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) for COVID-19, updated on 7 July 2020. The plan remains aligned with the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan and the coordination efforts of United Nation’s and humanitarian country teams and country-level preparedness and response plans. IOM continues to adapt its response and service provision to the evolving health and multi-sectoral needs of affected populations and communities of concern while also implementing programmes to mitigate and address the mid to longer-term socio-economic impact of COVID-19 and prepare for recovery.
As of 9 September, a cumulative total of over 27 million cases and over 894,240 deaths have been reported since the start of the outbreak. The impact of the COVID-19 emergency on global health and mobility is historically unprecedented in size and scope. The pandemic has increased travel restrictions bringing international mobility to a rapid standstill, and subsequent openings and closings of airports and travel corridors. A total of 219 countries, territories, or areas had issued 86,722 travel restrictions which have been put into effect by governments worldwide to contain and reduce the spread of COVID-19. The COVID-19 mobility policies and measures have, in many cases, created new challenges for migrant and other mobile populations while exacerbating existing vulnerabilities.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) works with governments and partners to ensure that migrants and mobile populations, including stranded migrants, returnees and displaced persons are included in efforts to mitigate and combat the illness’s impact. Although they face the same health threats from COVID-19 as the host populations, they may face vulnerabilities due to the circumstances of their journey and living and working conditions. Loss of jobs and income, residence permits and resources have all impacted mobile populations, resulting in hundreds of thousands of stranded migrants globally. COVID-19 has also intensified stigma, xenophobia and discrimination directed towards migrants and other vulnerable populations, due to perceived linkages with the origin or transmission of the pandemic. Movement restrictions imposed at national and local levels also limited the continuation of livelihood activities, leading to a drop in global remittances further affecting remittances-dependent households in countries of origins and eroding coping capacities. Forcibly displaced populations already face dire situations emanating from situations such as protracted conflict with limited access to social, health and protection services. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in crowded shelters and camps or camp-like settings, often with inadequate sanitation and health care facilities, face increasing risks as COVID-19 cases continue to emerge.
With the economic slow-down and recession, migrants and mobile populations will remain among the most vulnerable population groups to be economically affected. This is particularly dire given that their employment often supports families left behind and contributes to poverty reduction, access to basic services and education worldwide.