Geneva – Over the past two decades, protracted conflicts, humanitarian needs, increasing frequency of disease outbreaks and heightened geopolitical tensions have continued to proliferate. Emerging crises – compounded by climate change and global financial pressures – add to the complexity of humanitarian needs. IOM puts the safety, dignity and protection of people first in the most challenging crisis response contexts in the world.
As displacement rises to record levels, a resounding truth has emerged – migration is not only a consequence of crisis but also a response, an adaptive strategy, and an opportunity for people to create better lives and stronger communities. The first-ever IOM Global Appeal for 2024 is designed to help deliver on that promise. Full funding would allow IOM to serve almost 140 million people, including internally displaced persons and the local communities that host them. Crucially, it would also allow for an expansion of IOM’s development work, which helps prevent further displacement.
Two years into the full-scale war in Ukraine, nearly 3.7 million people remain displaced across the country, while over 4.5 million people have returned. Many of them have depleted their savings and need financial assistance. People across the country are enduring overwhelming loss as their homes, communities, and sense of security have disintegrated. The war has had a severe impact on the mental health of people which can persist for generations and have debilitating effects, ranging from exacerbated mental and emotional stress to difficulty integrating into new communities.
The earthquakes that struck Türkiye and Northwest Syria in February 2023 claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people and left many more homeless. Approximately 3 million people became displaced in Türkiye and more than 100,000 were injured. In times of crisis, providing shelter and relief items, establishing hygiene facilities and organizing settlements to make them liveable for everyone – including the elderly and people with disabilities – is crucial. IOM's response is built on three pillars: create enabling conditions for people to return home, leverage mobility for economic recovery and increase preparedness for future disasters.
In Somalia, 4.6 million people face a dire displacement crisis as the impacts of both climate change and conflict increase. The drought caused a devastating food and water crisis, pushing over 7 million people – almost half of the country's population – to the brink of starvation. Women and children are worst affected. Migrant women often recount despair and horror of the harassment and abuse they have experienced on their migration journeys along the Eastern Route to Gulf countries – from falling victim to forced marriages with smugglers, to being trafficked into situations of exploitation while searching for job opportunities in the Middle East.
Now in its seventh year, the Rohingya crisis has left hundreds of thousands of people dependent on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs. Limited opportunities, and lack of access to education and skills development, further contribute to the increasing demand for humanitarian aid. Particularly vulnerable groups, such as persons with disabilities and women-led households become more susceptible to human smuggling and trafficking. The impacts of climate-induced disasters have further lessened people's hope of finding stability. In the past few months, several of the Rohingya refugee camps were subject to fire, repeated cyclones, and a heavy monsoon season.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Decades of interconnected crises have resulted in one of the world’s most complex yet underfunded humanitarian emergencies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, marked by mass displacement, severe human rights violations and critical uncovered basic needs. Nearly 7 million people are internally displaced, and over 25 million face crisis-level food insecurity. Acute and immediate humanitarian needs are set against a backdrop of limited resources, access and services. However, humanitarian aid alone cannot solve the crisis; root causes must be addressed, and long-term solutions found to meet the pressing needs of communities affected by protracted and repeated internal displacement.
In Afghanistan, the political upheaval in August 2021 plunged the country into turmoil. Today, Afghanistan is facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Two thirds of the population require humanitarian assistance. Women and girls are being systematically discriminated against and marginalized from society. The collapsing economy, disruption of aid flow and supply chains, combined with ongoing drought and elevated food prices, have had a devastating impact. People in Herat province are reeling from a series of deadly earthquakes that struck in October, destroying thousands of homes, leveling critical infrastructure and leaving over 50,000 families in need of assistance. Borders have been overwhelmed by the dramatic increase in the number of Afghans forcibly returned from Pakistan. Over 500,000 people have returned from Pakistan in the last four months, including over 10,000 people in the first half of January alone. Needs continue to rise at an alarming rate. The people of Afghanistan need long-term sustainable solutions to lessen the humanitarian crisis, including much-needed development assistance that international donors currently do not fund.
Sudan is the largest displacement crisis in the world with over 10 million people displaced by conflicts, 9 million inside the country, as of January 2024. The recent surge of newly displaced people in Sudan has placed immense strain on public services and resources in the receiving areas, leading to deplorable living conditions for millions of individuals who are struggling to survive. The situation is worsened by substantial damage to infrastructure, the breakdown of banking and financial services, frequent disruptions to internet, telecommunications, electricity supply, and the destruction of health facilities – underscoring the urgent need for intensified humanitarian efforts and heightened global attention.
IOM staff are working tirelessly to meet the needs of those affected by the most challenging crisis response contexts in the world, but more must be done. Recognizing the need for both humanitarian and developmental aid, the IOM Strategic Plan emphasizes three key themes: saving lives, finding solutions to displacement, and facilitating regular pathways for migration. The IOM Global Appeal serves as a tool to implement actions aligned with these themes, promoting long-term engagement to support humanitarian response during and post crises, alongside proactive work to unlock the huge potential of migration for economic growth and human development.
Written by Tanishqua Kanetkar