from NDABENI MLOTSHWA in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
BULAWAYO, (CAJ News) – MORE than 380 000 migrants have returned to Zimbabwe from neighbouring South Africa since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Of these 380 967 individuals returning migrants through various points of entry, 315 000 were provided with reception support in Beitbridge.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) disclosed the figures as it lauded best practices from Zimbabwe in supporting returned migrants.
IOM disclosed strong collaboration between the authorities in Zimbabwe and South Africa had made it possible to recover the earnings of some migrants forcibly returned from the latter.
At the height of the pandemic, the Beitbridge Reception and Support Centre also played a central role in fighting the scourge, with assistance from Médecins Sans Frontières, the international medical humanitarian organisation.
The centre, located near the border, has to date supported thousands of Zimbabweans involuntarily return from South Africa.
It has supported them with a range of services, including food, information and onward travel to their communities of origin.
Before the involvement of various stakeholders, Zimbabwe had taken over the centre’s operations in 2015.
This was nine years after its establishment in response to multiple and complex migration challenges in the country.
Thousands of Zimbabweans fled economic crisis and sought refuge in South Africa mostly over the past two decades.
The outbreak of the worst COVID-19 crisis in the neighbouring countries early in 2020 has prompted other Zimbabweans to return home.
– CAJ News