West & Central Africa – COVID-19 – Impact On Mobility Report (June 2020)

Health Protection

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted global mobility in the form of reduced travel, border closures and travel restrictions and bans. In West & Central Africa (WCA), where measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 have been imposed, mobile population are heavily affected by the coronavirus crisis.
This report presents, for the month of June 2020, key trends and events relating to mobility in the WCA region; details the status of Points of Entry (PoE) and extent of travel restriction measures; presents preventive and mitigating measures in place; and explores the impact of travel restriction measures on mobile populations, including migrants and forcibly displaced populations.
• Regional migratory flows increased by 29 per cent between May and June 2020.
• The closure of border has left 11,000 migrants currently stranded • 7,000 transhumant herders are stranded at borders.
• 1,300 migrants are waiting at IOM transit centers and unable to return to their home country.
• Over 20,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) displaced by the crisis in North West and South West Cameroon returned to their location of origin.
• The number of forced returns from Algeria and Libya to Chad, Niger and Mali grew.
The COVID-19 epidemic has upended regional mobility in West & Central Africa.
Restrictions on cross-boundary mobility and bordure closures as well as reduced travel linked to truncated business and economic opportunities and fear of the virus, have heavily impacted international mobility throughout the region.
IOM, through its Flow Monitoring activities, conducted at key transit points across the region, observed a striking drop in flows in March; this coincides with the period during which the number of COVID-19 cases grew and countries in the region started imposing travel bans and enacting border closure measures.
Subsequently, the number of travellers observed at transit points grew substantially from April to June. Between April and May 2020, recorded flows jumped by 65 per cent, while flows increased by 29 per cent between May and June 2020. After witnessing a continuous rise between April and June, migratory flows stabilized in the second half of the month of June.
The volume of flows observed was significantly smaller in 2020 than in 2019, pointing to the bearing of the COVID-19 crisis on regional mobility: regional transboundary flows in June 2020 were six per cent smaller than observed flows over the same period in 2019, while at the height of the crisis, flow volume was up to 70 per cent lower in 2020 than in 2019

Source: International Organization for Migration