Japan funds emergency shelters for displaced families in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) will provide emergency shelter assistance to 280 displaced families affected by the La Soufrière volcanic eruption in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. This response is funded by a US$ 850K Emergency Grant Aid provided by the Government of Japan.  

In April, residents on the island of Saint Vincent began evacuating areas surrounding La Soufrière volcano in the wake of volcanic eruptions and ensuing pyroclastic flows. According to the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO), approximately 24,419 persons from 21 communities were displaced through mandatory evacuation in vulnerable zones surrounding La Soufrière in the island's northern region. 

Evacuees initially resided in private homes and government emergency shelters in the country's safer regions. In May, the Alert Level was reduced as seismic activity at La Soufrière began to decline and remains low, as reported by the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre. Since then, evacuated families were encouraged to return to their homes and attend to the damages incurred since the eruption. 

However, extensive ashfall and mudslides, compounded by damages incurred from the recent Hurricane Elsa, have prevented other residents from returning to their homes and farms. As of July, IOM estimates that over 2000 persons still reside in emergency shelters and need to be prepared for a more extended period of displacement.

The government has identified state-owned land for building family-size shelters, creating new neighbourhoods for families who cannot return to their place of origin. Depending on the volcano's activity, most evacuees will need transitional shelter solutions for a period of six to nine months. 

IOM will support the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the temporary relocation of internally displaced peoples from the volcanic eruption. IOM aims to strengthen NEMO's operational capacities to relocate the internally displaced families to emergency shelters where they can stay until developing durable housing solutions. As such, IOM is rehabilitating 20 emergency shelter facilities to host 1,120 evacuees. 

Some of IOM's planned rehabilitation works include adding partitioning and floor space, upgrading bathroom facilities, minor building repairs, and providing non-food items. 

Additionally, in coordination with Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Government, this programme will support these buildings' rental, utility, security, and maintenance costs during the programme period.

"Hundreds will benefit from this emergency grant with the improvement of living conditions and hygienic facilities to persons impacted by the volcanic event" said Jan-Willem Wegdam, head of the IOM team responding to the situation in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

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

Date Publish: 
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: miggomez@iom.int, Tel: +503 7600 1784.