In August 2011, nearly 500 Ethiopian migrants were registered in Bossaso, one of the largest ports in the Puntland State of Somalia. Thousands of displaced persons from drought-affected South-Central Somalia also reside in makeshift camps scattered across the region.
Migrants and displaced persons are amongst the poorest and most vulnerable in Bossaso. Arriving empty-handed and living in extreme poverty, they have limited access to water, food and health care.
Over the last two months, IOM has provided over 300 migrants and the displaced persons in Bossaso with fishing equipment and fishery skills training. The programme aimed to enable the beneficiaries to develop sustainable livelihood opportunities. In Garowe, the capital of Puntland region, 600 migrants, the displaced and host community women will also benefit from the newly refurbished Central Garowe Market supported by IOM.
In the health sector, IOM and local partners are sensitizing vulnerable populations on HIV and sexual and gender-based violence with 301 peer educators trained across Somalia in 2011. Funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, IOM is also providing micro-finance training and peer support groups for HIV positive persons in Somalia.
But the needs are still immense. Hussein Hassan, IOM’s health coordinator in Somalia states: “The need is vast; psychosocial support, clean water, shelter and a comprehensive migrant-friendly health care package must be offered for the most vulnerable.”
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) supports a centre established jointly by IOM and the authorities to register new migrants, provide referrals and to offer a space for advocacy and migrant rights awareness.
The centre, which is called Bossaso Migration Response Centre, is funded by the Government of Japan, the Government of Switzerland and the US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM).
Two additional Migration Response Centres are operational in Hargeisa, Somaliland and Obock, in Djibouti