As for most organizations, the COVID19 epidemic has also created logistical and operational challenges for IOM. As UN Migration, mobility is one of the key components of the projects we run. This is also true for our Assisted Voluntary Return & Reintegration programme.
With most of the airlines grounded, limited flight ability, and the closure of our regular counselling locations, helping people to return to their home country was affected too. However, through invaluable commitments of staff modern technology and the resilience of the beneficiaries, IOM the Netherlands still managed to assist people to return, even during these difficult circumstances. Below you will find an overview of the number of returnees and the countries of return between 16 March and 30 June 2020.
In the meantime, more and more airlines start operating flights to countries for people wishing to return with IOM. In addition, our good relationship with diplomatic representations in the Netherlands helps us to identify repatriation flights that are potentially welcoming IOM beneficiaries too (see also story about a charter to Colombia).