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UNCOVERED: How NGOs, not FG facilitated release of ladies held captive in Lebanon

…$5,000 paid as ransom, return ticket by one of the NGOs

BY PHILIPPINE FRANCIS

Three weeks after Omolola Ajayi, and Taiye Bright sold into slavery in Lebanon were rescued and brought back to the country, Voice for African Migrants (VAM) investigations have revealed that it wasn’t the Federal Government and it’s agencies that ensured their release as they made Nigerians to believe.

Contrary to the government and Kwara State governor’s grandstanding that they were responsible for their freedom, findings showed it was two Non Governmental Organisations, Project FERRY and Phemnick Life Support INC that were actually at the centre of the embattled ladies’ release.

Findings revealed that Phemnick Life Support, mentioned by Omolola and Taiye in the videos that went viral on social media particularly paid the sum of $5, 000 meant for their tickets and settlement of the agent that trafficked them to facilitate their release.

The two organisations regretted that despite the crucial roles they played in the ladies’ freedom, government officials never deemed it fit to acknowledge their contributions or mention them anywhere.

Rather than acknowledge their crucial input, the two organizations frowned that government officials fed the public with half truth by pretending and telling the world that they were responsible for ladies’ freedom and return to the country.

The Chief Executive Officer of Phemnick Life Support Inc , Dr Oluwatoyin Aborishade in an exclusive chat with VAM relived how his attention was drawn to the plight of Taiye Bright, who he eventually discovered to be his relation.

Dr Aborishade, CEO of Phemnick

“I saw a video of Taiye Bright begging for help. In the video she mentioned my city,Eruku City, and said that she comes from the place in Kwara State. I sent the video to our city WhatsApp group for proper identification of her and it happened that people know her. She is a twin. Her twin sister -Kehinde was subsequently contacted and that’s how we got her (Taiye) WhatApp number. We later found out she is my cousin. Her real name is Taiye Ogundele. But because she used the name Taiye Bright, I didn’t know she was the one.

“ When I contacted my city Whatsapp group called Eruku Progressive Union, I told them I would pay the money she’s talking about in her video. I told Taiye to be calm that once we arrest the agent, he will let us know how to make the payments and whom to pay to for her release. In the union we have police and civil defense officers who quickly reported the case and set up for the arrest of the agent at Ilorin who was selling them into slavery.”

READ  IOM launches urgent $140 million appeal to support communities and refugees in Cox’s Bazar

Taiye, according to the Phemnick Life Support boss, at this point also spoke with Omolola that “I , her cousin was making arrangements for her release. Then Omolola asked for my number from her (Taiye Bright) and she sent me a video directly- I mean the video that went viral. ProjectFerry,(a non governmental organization that works with and rescues stranded ladies)posted the video that went viral. I sent the video to Project Ferry because they were the ones that let me found out about my cousin.

“I warned my Eruku Union people not to broadcast Taiye’s video again, in order to let us get her out safely. But no one controlled Omolola’s video. Before I knew it, Omolola’s video was all over the media.

“We arrested the agent at Ilorin. He cooperated with us and asked us to make payments. I sent $2500 for Taiye’s release. Then we pressed for Omolola’s release too and he(the agent) asked me to pay the same amount of money which I did. The money covered the agent’s money in Lebanon and their flight tickets. The money was to settle the agent they’re working for so that they could release the girls and also to get the tickets needed to travel back to Nigeria.”

How payment was made
Explaining how the payment was made, Aborishade said: “I transferred the money to Phemnick patron in Ilorin and he took the money to civil defense officers there at Ilorin where the agent showed them how to transfer the money to them at Lebanon.
“We arranged for them (Omolola and Taiye) to travel on the same day but only one of them could travel because there was no space on the aircraft for more than one person.

“ At this point Omolola already left her master’s house and stayed with an Ethiopian woman. She gave the woman all money she had and I promised to keep on paying for her accommodation until we find solutions.

“I called the officer involved at Ilorin to tell the agent there to make another arrangements for Omolola’s safety, which he did.The agent has a son who is an immigration officer in Lebanon. He also cooperated with us because of the conditions we put his father.The condition was that we would only release him if the two girls got out safely from Lebanon.The agent’s son went to the Ethiopian woman to collect Omolola Adeniyi and took her home.

Omolola’s boss in Lebanon (inset is Omotola co founder of PROJECTFERRY

“We contacted the embassy the next day to see if Omolola could be with them for safety because I still didn’t trust those people.”

READ  Relief package scandal rocks IDP camps

After paying for the trafficked ladies to be brought to Lagos, Aborishade said he was shocked that the Nigerian government officials changed their landing to Abuja without informing him. “I changed Omolola’s tickets to Thursday and Taiye tickets was Tuesday.But the embassy changed the whole story once the girl was with them.

They changed the flight ticket landing day. They also changed it from Lagos to Abuja.”

READ ALSO: Travel ban on Nigeria: Don’t punish Nigerians for govt’s inefficiencies, Atiku tells Trump

Asked why the Nigerian embassy in Lebanon made the changes, he said: “ I don’t really know. They wanted all the credit. The good news is that the two girls got home safely. We already set them free before federal government involvement on this case. Only our governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq appreciated what we did and promised to pay us back -the money.”

In a separate interview, co- founder of ProjectFERRY , Omotola Fawunmi, whose organization shared Omolola’s video that went viral told, VAM how the 23 year old became a member of her group and her efforts towards seeing she was released.

“She (Omolola) joined ProjectFERRY’s whatsapp group (while still being held captive in Lebanon). I became her handler guiding her on how to manage her boss and prepare to leave. I had several phone calls where she told me about how he (the boss) was trying to molest her.

“I had video calls with her master’s brother who interpreted in English to the master. I was appealing that they should give Omolola her mobile phone that they had seized

“So, how all of a sudden Nigerian government saved her is a surprise to me. What you will see in the news is that FGN or Kwara State government stepped in. no wahala.I am disgusted that she arrived and they didn’t allow us reach her.”

She further said: “My partner Motilola Adejunle and I run the organization, #projectferry to help victims of irregular migration and human trafficking safely return home. We do this in conjunction with 50 associates who give time, money and networks to facilitate the safe return of these girls.

4.Omolola’s boss’ brother who was interpreting for Omotola of ProjectFERRY

“ Since October we have assisted 12 ladies to return safely home and two of those were prominently featured in the media, though we were not acknowledged.We have currently over 180 girls in our closed whatsapp group who we guide and raise funds for to return one girl per time. sometimes these girls have to be redeemed from their slave owners with $3000 each which is expensive.

Flashback to govt officials’ response to the issue

When concerned nigerians drew the attention of the Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Hon Abike Dabiri Erewa, to the plight of Omolola Ajayi, a 23- year old Nigerian sold into slavery in Lebanon, the former lawmaker shielded herself and her agency from the issue, saying: “ It is a trafficking issue already forwarded to @DG Naptip. I believe everything already being done to find her. I’m optimistic,” she tweeted.

READ  'Our battles with depression, stigmatization after return from Libya’

When people continued to seek her intervention in the young lady’s case, Abike went on to tweet that “Kwara State Gov @RealAARahman has vowed to ensure that all involved are persecuted. As long as traffickers walk about freely, our young girls will remain in danger, @naptipnigeria is doing all they can to nab traffickers.

On January 10, Abike via her tweeter handle announced that the alleged trafficker had been arrested and would be handed over to NAPTIP and that the Kwara State governor was personally on the matter.”

Project FERRY and Phemnick Life Support INC

Omolola having a video chat with Omotola whilw in captivity.

NAPTIP and the Kwara State governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq at various times within that period also regaled Nigerians with their efforts in rescuing Omolola.

When the embattled mother of one was eventually released, Abike, NAPTIP and Kwara government gladly pocketed all the praises from Nigerians without informing them about the contributions of Phemnic Life Support Inc and ProjectFERRY.

About Phemnic Life Support Inc

PHEMNICK life support is an initiative of Doctor Oluwatoyin G. Aborisade. It is an independent development and humanitarian non profit organization that is dedicated to saving lives of vulnerable individuals, returnees and displaced people by providing DURABLE and SUSTAINABLE solutions. We believe in the power and potential of everyone without any discrimination. Working together with vulnerable people, supporters and partners, we strive for a better world. We are building partnership and also very active in the US. Pheminick Life Support has one goal, to successfully help the vulnerable.

Our objective is to provide stability to those who were less privileged so as to relief them of the trauma they have been through. PHEMNICK LIFE SUPPORT is registered with Corporate Affairs Commission in Nigeria and also in the United States of America.

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Investigation

Migrant Return and Reintegration: Complex, Challenging, Crucial

Photo: Alexander Bee/ IOM

Cameroon — Since the COVID-19 outbreak, many Cameroonian migrants, like countless others from West and Central Africa, have been stranded, en route to their destinations due to lack of resources or because countries closed borders to stop the spread of the virus.

Despite these restrictions, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) continues to provide voluntary return assistance to stranded migrants along migration routes.

Between January and June 2021, 233 Cameroonians benefited from IOM’s assisted voluntary return and reintegration programme, including 194 men, 19 women and 20 children (13 boys and 7 girls). These returnees, who were already receiving holistic assistance from IOM’s protection teams in transit centres in Niger, were able to return home, where most of them have started their reintegration process.

“My brother and I waited five months in Niger. The situation was not always easy but what helped us hold out under this circumstance was the fact that despite how long it would take, we would soon be back home,” said Youssouf, a returnee from Algeria.

READ  Despite positive efforts, too many migrants face challenges accessing COVID-19 vaccines
Photo : Alexander Bee/ IOM

Under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, IOM works closely with the Cameroonian authorities and non-governmental organizations, through a transparent and inclusive approach at all stages of the process.

Eric Atangana, reintegration counsellor at the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Civic Education, said the reintegration process starts with screening migrants, including checking their identity A reintegration plan is then developed in counselling sessions between the migrant and a counsellor.

“Subsequently, a project summary sheet is drafted and validated during a sectoral committee made up of several actors, including a government representative, a civil society representative and IOM staff,’’ Atangana said.

“After the committee has validated the project, the business plan is developed and adjusted accordingly. This ensures that the case is completed and finalized, then forwarded to the reintegration unit for the funding process.”. In practice, this process is far from a smooth ride.

Photo : Alexander Bee/ IOM

It is complex, multidimensional, and requires the continued collaboration of all stakeholders. For example, some of the migrants have trouble establishing their national identity cards, which are crucial to receive economic support. Then there are lags for some reintegration projects because of lack of constancy and/or dedication of some returnees applying for socioeconomic reintegration.

Arnaud, 31, who returned from Algeria in January this year, initially faced a tough time but has settled in, although challenges remain. “Since I started keeping and selling broiler chickens, I am focused on this activity. Before my reintegration, I worked on construction sites and that was exhausting and poorly paid. Now I focus on my chickens,’’ Arnaud said.

‘‘Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the business is quite precarious; suppliers are having trouble delivering the products, so I face delays in meeting my commitments and this compromises my production schedule. However, this activity enables me to fully address my needs and, gradually, I am rebuilding my life.”

On top of these hurdles in the reintegration process, more migrants are applying for voluntary return assistance. “Since January 2021, the number of assisted voluntary returns has been increasing. The main challenges in organizing these returns are related to the COVID-19 pandemic response that has entailed decreeing restrictive measures,’’ explained Lonje Bernard, Reintegration Assistant at IOM in Cameroon.

“Returnees must submit negative tests upon arrival dating back three days. They still have to retest at the airport and wait for the results on the spot. This makes everyone feel stressed and nervous. There has been a considerable increase in operations between January and June 2021,” Bernard said.

From June 2017 to date, with funding from the European Union Emergency Trust Fund under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, this programme has enabled more than 5,450 Cameroonian migrants to return and reintegrate.

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Investigation

Alarm as Nigeria receives 60 new deportees from countries ravaged by COVID-19

  • Returnees melt into society without observing protocols

  • We’re not aware of deportation – Foreign Affairs Ministry, NIDCOM

  • 42 people already deported – FAAN

  • Development portends grave danger – NARD

On May 23, the Federal Government declared 90 returnees from Brazil, India, and Turkey wanted for violating the provisions of the COVID-19 Health Regulations Protection, 2021. The Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said the affected persons travelled into Nigeria from restricted countries and evaded the mandatory seven-day quarantine for persons arriving from such countries. Surprisingly, the same federal government accepted 60 deportees from Germany and other European countries without plans for them to be quarantined or subjected to fresh COVID-19 tests in the country as stipulated in the guidelines. INNOCENT DURU reports that health experts say the development portends grave danger for the country and the efforts to stop the spread of the pandemic.

 

A number of Nigerian migrants who went in search of greener pastures  to Germany, Austria and Poland were deported penultimate Wednesday amidst the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic. They arrived at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos at exactly 13:30 pm via Air Tanker Airline, which flew back after refueling.

The returnees were subsequently moved out in three batches in a white Coaster bus that dropped them outside the airport. Three women and four children were sighted by our correspondent among the deportees.

Many people at the airport distanced themselves from the deportees with some warning their colleagues to stay away from them because they were coming from regions hard-hit by the deadly virus.

“You better stay away from them if you don’t want to put yourself in danger. How can you stay so close to people who just came back from Germany where the coronavirus infection rate is very high?” one of the workers at the cargo section said as he hurriedly walked away from where the deportees stood despondently.

Contrary to directives by Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 that returnees must “show evidence of payment/appointment for a repeat PCR test in the country and proceed on seven-day self-isolation as per protocol and present (themselves)  at the designated sample collection sites on the 7th day of arrival,” the deportees were merely cleared based on the test results they brought and  presented to the authorities when they arrived at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.

Some of the deportees who had the means started taking taxis to their various destinations within Lagos. Some who had no relations in Lagos State boarded taxis that took them to where they could get vehicles going to places like Edo, Delta and other states.

“I didn’t pay money in Germany for a repeat Covid test in Nigeria before I was deported. When we landed, I gave them the result of the COVID-19 test I did before coming back.

“They only checked our temperature after profiling us. They didn’t ask us to go and do a repeat COVID-19 test anywhere here in Nigeria. After the profiling, they brought a bus that dropped us here,” one of the deportees said.

His claims were also corroborated by other deportees who spoke with The Nation, saying: “We weren’t asked to do a repeat COVID-19 test here. I was even surprised because I was expecting that they would ask us to go for a fresh test on arrival. In Germany, testing centres are everywhere. You can see them in vans in open places. You can walk into any of them anytime to do your test. I am shocked to see that there is nothing like that here.”

READ  Migrant Return and Reintegration: Complex, Challenging, Crucial

More than seven days after they returned, the deportees neither went on self isolation nor presented themselves for fresh tests. The authorities did not make any preparation for all that, and this has continued to raise questions about the genuineness of the campaign for people to wear face masks and observe social distancing, among other precautions, while the government and its officials continue to bring in deported migrants from high risk countries without considering the implications for the populace.

Three of the returnees evacuated from Dubai last year tested positive for COVID-19 infection following the tests conducted on them upon arrival in Lagos. They had earlier tested negative in Dubai but the test conducted on them on arrival in Nigeria by the Lagos State Government proved otherwise.

According to the World Health Organisation, the incubation period of coronavirus infection is an average of five to six days and can also take up to 14 days. This is the period between exposure to the virus and patients showing symptoms. In other words, the three patients could have been infected but asymptomatic when they returned, and thus initially tested negative.

Checks conducted by our correspondent revealed that it was  not the first time Nigeria would allow deportees to melt into the society without subjecting them to fresh tests. Last year, December 20 to be precise, The Nation had reported how deportees from Austria and Germany were quietly let into the country without subjecting them to fresh tests or considering the implications of such for the country and its inhabitants.

Surprisingly, government officials are in the habit of denying such deportations or feigning ignorance of them.

FAAN, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NIDCOM disagree on deportation

Three federal government agencies were in disagreement over the veracity of the deportation exercise penultimate Wednesday.

The Federal Airways Authority of Nigeria told The Nation that the deportation took place, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) said they were not aware of the exercise.

Spokesperson of FAAN, Henrirtta Yakubu, in a reply to a test message sent by our reporter, listed the countries the deportees came from thus: “Germany (24), Australia (16), Hungary (2). They   arrived on 26-5-21 At about 1330hours on airplane with no GYM registration.

Spokesman of NIDCOM, Rahman Balogun, in a text message, said: “I am not even aware of such deportation. You may wish to get it from the respective embassies or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

When contacted, the spokesman of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ferdinand Nwoye, simply said: “I am not aware of the deportation.”

When our correspondent reached out to the National Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Monday James, he said: “ I am no longer the PRO. I have been promoted.”

Spokesperson of the service in Lagos, Edet, also said he had been promoted and not in a position to respond to the enquiry. He promised to provide the contact of his successor but was yet to do so at the time of filing this report.

No response was also received from the image maker of Nigeria Port Health, Morenikeji Okoh. A call made to her mobile phone went unanswered. She later sent a text message asking our correspondent to send his request by text message. She didn’t respond to the request either.

When our correspondent called her for a similar request last year, Okoh had said: “You need to know that I cannot give you any information from the ministry because I am not authorised to speak to the media. So, I cannot answer any of those questions.

READ  Families of missing migrants in Ethiopia: Stories of absence in many forms

 

It portends grave danger for our health system – NARD

A medical expert and First Vice Chairman of the National Association of Resident Doctors, Dr Arome Adejo, says the practice of allowing people from abroad to mingle with the larger society without carrying out necessary tests on them portends grave danger for the country and its people.

In a telephone chat with our correspondent, he said it is not enough for them to present test results they had done over there on arrival, adding: “If people are leaving here for Germany and on arriving there, they are meant to do the test again. They should also do the same thing here because of the incubation period.

“You might have been exposed after you did the initial test at the airport. They have to repeat the test. If they are allowing them to enter the country without doing the test, it means we don’t know what we are doing.

“If they have been allowed to mingle with the larger society, it is the fault of the people whose responsibility it is to make the deportees do the test.”

Such practice, Arome said, is the reason why they as resident doctors are lamenting  that  people are not held responsible in this country.

He said: “Ours is a country where things are not taken seriously until they escalate. We are not setting our priorities right. They need to repeat the test here on arrival.

“Obviously, it is right for them to come back here and do another test if they have not been vaccinated. If they don’t do the test, it is wrong.

“We have some countries that are seeing their third wave now. We don’t need to introduce the third wave into this country. It is absolutely wrong.”

He also expressed disappointment at claims by government agencies that they were not aware of the deportation, saying: “It is a shame if government agencies say they are not aware of the deportation. Was it not a plane that brought them?

 

“Even if those people are not deportees, everybody coming into the country has certain protocols they must observe.

“We have travelled abroad. There was a time I was kept at the airport abroad for six hours. They should not be saying that they are not aware. If they say so, it is an embarrassment.

“This is why we are saying that people should be held responsible.”

A public affairs analyst and former president of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, Mazi Okechukwu Unegbu, blamed the development on inconsistencies in government policies.

He said: “Our government is like a government of triple or quadruple standard. What you hear today is not what you will hear tomorrow. There is no consistent policy from them.

“Allowing deportees from Germany to come in without subjecting them to tests is very unfortunate, and that is part of the double standards I am talking about.”

He feared that the action of the authorities was tantamount to joking with the lives of the entire citizens.

“They are endangering most of us, particularly those of us that have not had the opportunity of taking the jab.

“Our government needs to be consistent with what they are doing, otherwise, the implication is that they will be endangering the lives of many Nigerians.

READ  ‘No Olvidado’: These Americans find and bury missing migrants

“Economically, it is also very dangerous for the country. The government should realise that any policy they take has an implication on the larger economy.”

Asked if the cost of the tests could have made the authorities take such a decision since the deportees might not have the wherewithal, Unegbu said: “If the government didn’t subject them to tests because of the cost of doing so, it would be dangerous. The government has the responsibility to protect the citizens.

“If possible, the government can bear the cost and make claims on them later. Since they have their passports  they can trace them later.

“But I must tell you that it is  dangerous for them to have allowed them to enter the larger society without the normal process of testing and quarantining them.

“Testing is very important because without it, some of them may not show the actual result.

“The government needs to protect the citizens through their policies. Unfortunately, some of the civil servants are just too careless. If you come out of the airport and see how they behave, you will wonder how Nigeria is not having a pandemic escalated beyond what we have.

“Honestly, Nigeria is blessed through nature and not through the actions of our workers.”

German authorities snatched our children from us – Deportees

Some of the deportees alleged that the German authorities took their children from them before they were deported.

One of them, a fair complexioned woman, had lost her voice crying over the loss of her only child to the German authorities. She was said to have cried from when they left the airport in Germany till she arrived in Lagos.

She said: “They took my 18-year-old daughter from me. I don’t know how I will see her again.

“They brainwashed her seriously and immediately they took her from me. I was put in prison before they deported me.

“I have not eaten for the past five days because I didn’t want them to poison my food. They handcuffed me and tied me to my seat with a belt.

“My concern is about my daughter.”

Another deportee said: “They took my children from me and kept me in prison for 18 months before deporting me.

“I would advise you not to travel to a white man’s country because they are very wicked.”

Nigeria’s coronavirus cases compared in Germany, Austria, and Hungary

Checks on countries where the migrants were deported from showed that they have extremely higher cases than Nigeria.

Germany, at the time of compiling this report, ranked 10th on the global COVID-19 chart with over 3,692,908 cases and 89,316 deaths. Hungary placed 32nd with 804,987 cases and 29,774 deaths. Austria placed 38 with 645,552 and 10, 621 deaths. Nigeria ranks distant 81 with 166,534 and 2,099 deaths.

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For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
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Investigation

IOM launches urgent $140 million appeal to support communities and refugees in Cox’s Bazar

Cox’s Bazar – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched an Appeal for USD 140 million to support over 1.3 million host community members and Rohingya refugees residing in Cox’s Bazar District in Bangladesh.

For the nearly 900,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, 2021 marks the fourth year since their mass displacement from Myanmar, preceded by decades of influxes spurned by systematic discrimination and targeted violence.

While the Government of Bangladesh and the international community have maintained the provision of immediate life-saving assistance, the needs are immense and complex challenges continue to emerge and reshape the nature of the response.

“Under the leadership of the Government of Bangladesh, we will continue to work closely with our partners and uphold our commitment to safeguard the well-being and dignity of both Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and their host communities,” said António Vitorino, IOM Director General.

“At the same time, the international community must continue to advocate for sustainable solutions in Myanmar that would eventually facilitate what all Rohingya refugees have consistently voiced as their main concern — to return home.”

READ  Families of missing migrants in Ethiopia: Stories of absence in many forms

The humanitarian community swiftly shifted priorities in 2020 to respond to the impact of COVID-19 on the Rohingya residing in the 34 congested refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar district. COVID-19 interventions were scaled up, and other humanitarian services adjusted, according to guidelines on access and presence to reduce the spread of infection.

A recent UN survey revealed a decrease in shelter maintenance and livelihoods, and deterioration in the protection environment. These challenges, and others such as monsoon and cyclone preparedness and response, will remain at the forefront of the response in 2021.

IOM will continue to provide life-saving emergency shelter and core relief items to support households affected by the recent devastating fire, monsoon and other disasters and shocks. The team will strengthen safe and dignified living conditions through rationalized and participatory site planning and through environmentally conscious construction and site maintenance initiatives.

The activities outlined in the appeal promote equitable access to mental health and psychosocial support services for all crisis-affected individuals. IOM also aims to encourage the use of essential healthcare packages among refugees and host communities by countering misinformation and supporting community engagement.

READ  We’re in dilemma! Nigerians in India lament as COVID-19 ravages Asian country

The impact of the crisis on the affected areas in Cox’s Bazar District likewise requires concerted efforts to support host communities affected by price increases and strained livelihoods.

IOM will enhance the livelihoods and resilience of women, girls, men and boys who are part of vulnerable host communities, and support social protection interventions in cooperation with the Government of Bangladesh. The organization will also continue to address the urgent cooking fuel needs of refugees through the provision of alternative clean fuel and technology.

“Together with the Government and our local partners, we will contribute to the peaceful coexistence of Rohingya refugees and host communities,” said Giorgi Gigauri, IOM Chief of Mission in Bangladesh. “Ensuring a community-based approach to the response, the teams will continue to improve the participation of affected people through community feedback and collective data analysis.”

IOM’s Global Crisis Response Platform provides an overview of IOM’s plans and funding requirements to respond to the evolving needs and aspirations of those impacted by, or at risk of, crisis and displacement in 2021 and beyond.

READ  How Nigeria 'imports, spreads' COVID-19

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