Japan donates US$6 million to IOM for COVID-19 response in Asia


The International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) COVID-19 response program received a boost with the timely donation of US$6 million from the government of Japan, which will be used to provide emergency assistance to the Islamic Republic of Iran and surrounding developing countries to prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus.

“The funds we have received from the Government of Japan will enable IOM to support these essential efforts through inclusive approaches that take into account migrants and travelers, including cross-border coordination, tailored risk communication and community engagement, surveillance and critical interventions at POEs,” said Jacqueline Weekers, the Director of IOM’s Migration Health Division.

As the number of COVID-19 cases increases across a growing number of countries, IOM is extremely concerned about the impact on migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees and other vulnerable groups.

The situation is rapidly evolving and expected to worsen, especially for those who are on the move, if effective risk communication, surveillance, prevention measures and efforts to enhance management and health services at Points of Entry (POE) are not in place.

Recent data indicates 90% of people worldwide live in countries with COVID-19 travel restrictions. The contribution will be targeted at public health responses in the following countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar and Pakistan.

IOM’s appeal is integrated within the Inter-agency COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) released on March 25. IOM continues to prioritize the provision of support to refugees and migrants, including internally displaced persons, returnees and other vulnerable groups and their host communities during this pandemic.

“COVID-19 is having an unprecedented impact on the health, economy and well-being of people around the world,” IOM Director General, António Vitorino explained during the launch of the appeal.

“We must not forget the devastating impact this disease will have on the tens of millions of people who are already living in dire humanitarian situations. IOM’s global response to the pandemic relies on the support of its donors so we appreciate the Japanese government’s generous and timely support to help us reach those most vulnerable to contracting the virus.” (Source: IOM)