IOM Supports First Response to Earthquake in Haiti

As Haiti struggles to cope in the aftermath of a deadly weekend earthquake, the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) relief efforts to support national authorities are now also focusing on finding safe buildings where thousands of displaced residents can shelter from an approaching storm likely to cause flash flooding and mudslides.
"The double impact of the earthquake and the imminent storm could increase the number of people seriously affected and will make it even more difficult for the government and the different humanitarian actors to deliver humanitarian aid," said Federica Cecchet, IOM's Deputy Chief of Mission in Haiti. 

According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center, Tropical Depression Grace is expected to cause torrential rains when it hits Haiti late on Monday or early Tuesday.

After the 7.2 earthquake struck on Saturday leaving close to 1,300 dead, around 3,200 injured and thousands of homes and public buildings destroyed, including schools and hospitals, IOM and other United Nations humanitarian teams are supporting government recovery efforts.

The Haitian Civil Protection Directorate (DPC) activated the National Emergency Operation Center (COUN) in Port-au-Prince, and the departmental centers in Sud, Grand'Anse and Nippes, the three departments worst affected by the earthquake. IOM teams are supporting official data collection, helping evaluate losses, and providing lifesaving assistance.

According to preliminary tallies, more than 13,600 homes were destroyed or severely damaged, displacing thousands of residents, 470 of whom have sought protection in often improvised emergency shelters or host families.

"These numbers will grow as data collection progresses, and one of the main priorities in the coming weeks will be the proper management of emergency shelters and humanitarian support for thousands of people who are displaced." said Cecchet.

On Saturday afternoon, Cecchet accompanied Haiti's Prime Minister Ariel Henry, the Minister of Justice Rockefeller Vincent, the Director of Civil Protection, Dr Gerard Jerry Chandler, representatives of UN agencies and donors on a reconnaissance flight to the affected areas.

The aerial view reveals a bleak picture, Cecchet said. "Although the perception of the destruction is not widespread, the devastating impact on housing, public buildings, and road infrastructure is evident.”

The transport of aid to affected areas will be complicated by destruction and damage to roads and bridges. Some routes have been cut by landslides. On the third day after the quake, humanitarian teams have not yet reached many areas, especially in the department of Nippes.

IOM Haiti, in partnership with the Government, is co-leading the response for Shelter, Non-Food Items (NFI) and Camp Management (CCCM) sectors. Thanks to the support of US Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) and the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), distributions have already started to provide quick, lifesaving assistance to the most vulnerable, including blankets, hygiene kits, jerrycans, repairs material, and tarpaulins.

To reduce the risks associated with COVID-19, IOM will distribute COVID-19 washable masks as part of the NFI distribution activities and disseminate essential COVID-19 awareness and prevention messaging through the distribution of flyers, sound trucks, community outreach and social media.

IOM’s psychologists will provide specialized psychosocial support, including the Prevention of Abuse and Sexual Exploitation (PSEA) and complaint handling.  In addition, IOM’s free 840 hotline remains open to make a complaint or provide feedback, as well as to receive information or psychosocial support.

For more information, please contact Anton Galan at IOM’s Office in Haiti, Tel: +509 46 12 04 36, Email: 

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IOM, USAID to Provide 6,000 Scholarships for Young Salvadorans

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19 / 11 / 2021

Zacatecoluca - More than 6,000 young Salvadorans will benefit from scholarships covering tuition and monthly fees, transportation subsidies, school supplies, support for skills development, job training, and formal employment possibilities through the Educational Opportunity Scholarships project launched last Wednesday November 17.

These incentives for young people to continue their studies will be channeled through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology within its Gradual Educational Model for Technical and Technological Learning (MEGATEC) framework.

The program's coverage is nationwide. The academic offer includes technological management of cultural heritage, global logistics, electronics, computer engineering technician, computer hardware, tourism management and development, food technician, construction engineering technician, and others.

"Together with IOM, the U.S. Government, through USAID, will provide full scholarships and stipends for transportation and food for thousands of young people to successfully complete their studies at the Megatec centers in Zacatecoluca, Santa Ana, Ilobasco, Sonsonate, Chalatenango, and Morazán. They will obtain the skills and knowledge that will allow them to aspire to better jobs," said Jean Manes, Chargé d'Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador.

With a total investment of USD 20 million, the implementation of this initiative is projected for the next four years. It seeks to strengthen strategies for sustainable reintegration of returned migrants, prevent risks associated with irregular migration and generate prosperity and hope in the lives of Salvadoran youth through equitable access to higher education options.

"Through education, I have learned to question the issues I am passionate about and to look for solutions," said Samuel Castaneda, a high school student and potential beneficiary of the program.

A study conducted by the Salvadoran Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUSADES) in 6 municipalities of San Salvador and published in October 2021 revealed that over 50% of the surveyed population considering to leave their country in the next 12 months reports the search for better opportunities as their primary motivation to migrate.

"This scholarship program is an invaluable opportunity to demonstrate that investing in human development is the best response to prevent irregular migration and the risks inherent to it. Enhancing the skills and competencies of young people, increasing their self-esteem, and providing them with professional tools will allow them to make reasoned decisions in line with their life projects," said Nicola Graviano, IOM Chief of Mission in El Salvador.

The Educational Opportunity Scholarships project was presented las Wednesday November 17 in an event chaired by the Chargé d'Affaires of the United States in El Salvador, Jean Manes; the Chief of Mission of the IOM in El Salvador, Nicola Graviano; the Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), David Gosney; the Director of Planning of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, José Mauricio Pineda, and the rector of ITCA-FEPADE, Elsy Escolar Santodomingo.

For more information please contact José Miguel Gómez at IOM El Salvador, Email:, Tel: +503 7600 1784.