from MAVHUTO BANDA in Lilongwe, Malawi
LILONGWE, (CAJ News) – MORE than 50 Malawians have returned home from South Africa where they struggled to survive because of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The migrants including 41 men, 10 women and one child, travelled through Mozambique.
A majority of them spent more than two weeks in Mozambique amid complications with the journey as some did not have travel documents.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) coordinated with the Malawi High Commission in Maputo to obtain emergency travel documents.
Due to urgency, arrangements were made for seats on commercial airlines.
The migrants’ work in South Africa ranged from welding, food and clothing sales, to housekeeping and tailoring.
Dr Laura Tomm-Bonde, IOM Mozambique Chief of Mission, said the economic impact of COVID-19 affects their employment prospects, and the essential remittances that migrants send to support their families.
“Migrants are especially vulnerable in this COVID-19 period,” Tomm-Bonde said.
Frank Elias Viyazhi, the High Commissioner of Malawi in Mozambique, said, the group of Malawian migrants along with many others were in risky situations during this period.
“We must properly follow COVID-19 quarantine and prevention guidelines, while also facilitating regular migration movements, especially returns,” Viyazhi said.
The Malawians’ return was supported within the framework of the European Union-funded project “Southern Africa Migration Management” to respond to the protection and assistance needs of stranded and vulnerable migrants in the region impacted by COVID-19.
Since June 2020, more than 1 000 stranded and vulnerable migrants have been assisted to return home safely.
– CAJ News