In Bahamas Recovery, IOM Takes Lead on Shelter Coordination

Date Publish: 

Nassau – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has taken the lead, alongside the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), to assist the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Renewal with shelter coordination and management.   

Through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Government has taken the responsibility of coordinating the emergency response from its Nassau-based National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC).  

Last week, an emergency support function (ESF) humanitarian coordination structure was developed and is made up of 13 ESFs.  Each of these have their own lead Government ministries and departments and are paired with UN agencies to implement activities.  

“IOM has been partnered directly with ESF-6, which deals with mass care and shelter and is led by officials of the Ministry of Social Services,” explained Vynliz Dailey, the IOM Communications Officer.  

Thousands of Bahamian residents displaced after Hurricane Dorian are being housed in gymnasiums, schools, churches and other emergency shelters while the Government and humanitarian partners move quickly to identify more durable, longer term housing solutions.  

Through almost daily meetings with government officials and other humanitarian agencies and partners, solutions to the gaps identified regarding non-food item (NFI) distribution, communication, shelter capacity and protection issues, among others, are being identified. By the end of this week, IOM expects to submit a list of recommendations to ESF-6 to address the matters at hand. 

“It’s going to take a lot of effort and coordination with many stakeholders to get the people into more suitable accommodations,” said IOM Team Leader, Jan-Willem Wegdam. “IOM has been given the responsibility to support those efforts and we are more than happy to assist. On the ground all the agencies are willing to collaborate with us and are dedicated to doing the work we have been tasked to do.”  

As of 10 September 2019, NEMA reported 2,043 people registered in shelters in New Providence alone, which includes many Haitian migrants. At that time a total of six shelters were in use. That number is expected to change as people continue to be evacuated from the affected islands to Nassau. An IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) expert based in Haiti has been deployed and will begin DTM assessments with multi-agency teams in the coming days.   

Meantime, with support from a local partner, IOM has distributed most of the 1,000 tarpaulins delivered to Marsh Harbour Port, Marsh Harbour – Abaco, on 10 September 2019.  Distributions were supervised by IOM’s Head of Community Stabilization Unit from Washington DC, Brian Kelly, stationed in Abaco, who is also leading the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination team in that area.  

For more information please contact Jorge Gallo at the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Tel: +506 7203 6536, Email: 


dorian, hurricane, emergency, preparedness, bahamas

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 2020

Date Publish: 
30 / 07 / 2020

António Vitorino

Director General, International Organization for Migration (IOM) 

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 

 30 July 2020 


This year is the twentieth anniversary of the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, and its historic Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. 

We are half-way through a very difficult year for everyone, and our contemporary challenges have had a severe impact on people’s vulnerability to trafficking and exploitation. 

IOM was implementing counter-trafficking interventions in accordance with human rights principles long before the Palermo Protocol gave us the clearly defined parameters that we know today. And likewise, our interventions have evolved over time as new forms of trafficking have emerged. 

We have learned, as have governments, that it is imperative to partner with the private sector, trade unions, supply chain auditors, and recruitment agencies to put in place practices to reduce the risks of trafficking and exploitation. 

As we embark upon a new decade, the world is now confronted with perhaps our biggest challenge to counter-trafficking – that of a pandemic, that has in addition brought severe restrictions to mobility, impacted livelihoods, and limited access to vulnerable people. COVID-19 has brought a devastating impact upon the household security and health of billions of people all over the world, which inevitably heightens vulnerability and risk of exploitation, whether it is job-seekers taking hazardous journeys, families relying on child labour for survival, or the marriage of young daughters in a desperate attempt to relieve economic strain. 

Now, as we have always done, the anti-trafficking community must evolve and adapt to this new crisis, finding innovative ways to identify trends, to screen for vulnerabilities, to support States while advocating for human rights and the prevention of abuse, and to seek safe and viable options for those who will remain on the move.  Let's move into this direction together, as united we are stronger!