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Humanitarian flight safely returns Ethiopian migrants from Yemen

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A member of the IOM team at the entrance to Sana'a airport in Yemen takes the temperatures of children who returned to Ethiopia today through a voluntary humanitarian return flight. © IOM 2021

Sana’a/Addis Ababa – The International Organization for Migration (IOM), with the authorities in Sana’a, Yemen, and the Government of Ethiopia, successfully transported 79 Ethiopian migrants, including 19 women and 14 children to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia today (03/08) in its first Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) flight from Sana’a since 2019.

“IOM stands ready and willing to continue this collaborative return effort in line with international protocols and standards, and hopes this movement is the first of many from Sana’a,” said Carmela Godeau, IOM’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Today’s flight comes four days after World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, which aims to combat all forms of exploitation around the world. Migrants in Yemen face grave risks to their safety and dignity and are routinely impacted by smuggling and trafficking. They also face many barriers to accessing essential services and support.

IOM’s VHR programme is one way the Organization assists migrants in the country and prevents them from falling victim to further abuse and harm.

“Greater efforts are urgently needed to ensure that all migrants in Yemen who wish to come home have the opportunity to do so in a dignified and voluntary manner,” said Malambo Moonga, head of IOM Ethiopia’s Migration Management Unit.

IOM carries out medical and protection screenings prior to departure to ensure that returnees are fit to travel and provides essential humanitarian items to those in need.

In coordination with the Ethiopian government and civil society organizations, IOM has set up a reception centre in Addis Ababa where the migrants will be provided with assistance and protection services including mental health and psychosocial support. The migrants will also receive cash and onward transportation assistance to help them reach their communities of origin.

The Organization also supports family tracing and the reunification of unaccompanied migrant children. IOM also provides life-saving support to migrants through health care, food and water across the Horn of Africa and Yemen.

Today’s voluntary return flight is funded by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), the humanitarian bureau of the U.S. State Department and the German government. Post-arrival assistance in Addis Ababa is supported by the European Commission's Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), and by the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian (OCHA) Affairs Ethiopia Humanitarian Fund.

For more information, please contact:

Avand Hasan at IOM Yemen, Phone: +967 730 556 688, Email: avhasan@iom.int
Mohammedali Abunjela at IOM’s Regional Office in Cairo, Phone: +20 100 300 4406, Email: mmabunajela@iom.int
Kaye Viray at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251993531220, Email: kkviray@iom.int