Addis Ababa – Following an agreement between the Governments of Ethiopia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), over 100,000 Ethiopian migrants are expected to be deported to Ethiopia from KSA, with the arrivals starting on 30 March 2022.
About 900 migrants have today (30 March) arrived back in Ethiopia, at the country's International Airport in Addis Ababa. The returnees, including mothers with young children, were assisted and registered by IOM staff and offered, among others, food, temporary accommodation, medical help and counselling services.
The returnees will receive humanitarian assistance and protection services upon arrival from the Government authorities, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and other partners. However, meeting the needs of the 100,000 returnees is going to be an enormous challenge for the government, IOM, and partners.
Roughly USD 11 million will be needed to assist the over 100,000 Ethiopian migrants from KSA through post arrival assistance. The Government of Ethiopia is appealing to donors, UN agencies, and other humanitarian actors for generous support. It is estimated that about 750,000 Ethiopians currently reside in the Kingdom with about 450,000 likely to have traveled to the country through irregular means and will need help to return home. Over the last four years KSA has returned nearly 352,000 Ethiopians back home.
Previous movements of Ethiopians returning from KSA have included people exhibiting varied needs, risks and vulnerabilities such as pregnant and lactating women, the elderly, and persons with medical conditions including mental health disorders.
IOM is working closely with the Government of Ethiopia and its partners as the country continues to receive thousands of returnees from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A coordinated multi-sectoral response is critical to ensure returnees receive essential services such as medical care, food, shelter, and psychosocial support as well as specialized protection services to alleviate their immediate needs, risks and vulnerabilities and enable their return home in safety and dignity.
The Government of Ethiopia will continue to strive towards strengthening repatriation and rehabilitation programmes and ensuring the orderly return of its citizens abroad. The involvement of key partners in the planning and operationalization of this goal is essential, emphasized an official of the Consular Affairs Directorate General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.
IOM's humanitarian assistance and protection services in response to the needs of the returnees are aligned with the Regional Migrant Response Plan for the Horn of Africa and Yemen, 2022. The MRP aims to address the needs of migrants in vulnerable situations and host communities in countries situated along the Eastern Migratory Route, located between the Horn of Africa and Yemen, with the generous financial support of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration; Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency; and the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations.
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