from ADANE BIKILA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, (CAJ News) – SOME 140 Ethiopian migrants have been repatriated from the war-torn Yemen.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) facilitated the returns in the first flight to the East African country from the Arab nation since the COVID-19 global pandemic was declared, last March.
“This flight is a vital lifeline for migrants who have been stranded for months on end in unsafe conditions,” said António Vitorino, IOM Director General.
“In the coming months, we hope to see more migrants able to safely go home to their loved ones in this way.”
Despite a reduction in the number of migrants arriving in Yemen — from 138 000 in 2019 to just over 37 500 in 2020 — IOM said the dangers migrants faced drastically increased over the past year.
Unable to continue across Yemen to Arabia, many stranded migrants reportedly lack basics such as shelter, water and food.
Migrants also have been at increasing risk of experiencing xenophobia, exploitation and detention over the last year.
The IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix reports show that since the outbreak of the pandemic, at least 9 000 desperate people have used smugglers to return to the Horn of Africa on dangerous overcrowded boat journeys.
Twenty migrants lost their lives in an incident.
Since 2020, IOM teams in the temporary capital, Aden, registered over 6 000 migrants expressing a wish to return to Ethiopia.
– CAJ News