Somalia + 5 more

Migration Response Centres (MRCs) East and Horn of Africa (01 January - 31 August 2020)

Situation Report
Originally published



A total of 176 migrants were registered at MRCs across the region in August, a 35% decrease compared to July. This brings the total registrations in 2020 to 4,866 migrants. Only three out of seven MRCs recorded registrations in August. The largest number of migrants were registered in Bossaso (106), followed by Hargeisa (48) and Obock (22). No migrants were registered in Ethiopia at the MRCs in Dire Dawa, Metema, Semera and Togochale.

COVID-19 cases in the region were still on the rise in August, particularly in Ethiopia which recorded a drastic increase in new cases. The country continued to operate under a state of emergency, but announced the resumption of land and air transport services to neighbouring Djibouti on 7 August. Since 17 July, Djibouti's air, land and sea borders have reopened with strict health guidelines put in place. Similarly, Somalia reopened its airspace for international flights at the beginning of the month, while domestic flights have been operational since July. Despite the reopening of some Ethiopian land border points, Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) services were still suspended, and no migrant was returned to Ethiopia in August.

The MRC in Obock registered 22 new migrants in August. In the context of COVID-19, the admission of new migrants at the MRC in Obock was reduced to admitting the most vulnerable migrants only, namely women, children and sick migrants. Nonetheless, the MRC in Obock is conducting COVID-19 awareness activities in the MRC area as well as protection activities on the migration route between Obock City and Khor Angar, which is used by migrants returning from Yemen to Ethiopia. In Bossaso, migrant registrations decreased by almost 50% between July and August, while the MRC in Hargeisa recorded a 20% decrease in registrations over the reporting period.

Unlike in July, more female adults (41%) were registered in August than male adults (33%), while 26% of registrations were children. Most migrant children were registered in Hargeisa (48%), whereas 28% were registered in Obock and 24% in Bossaso. While all children registered at the MRC in Hargeisa were accompanied, all children tracked in Bossaso and Obock were unaccompanied.

Almost all registered migrants were Ethiopian nationals (99.4%), most commonly from the Oromia (53%) and Amhara (10%), regions of Ethiopia. About 9% reported departing from Aden in Yemen; these migrants were all registered at the MRC in Obock. As returns to Ethiopia from Yemen have not yet resumed, many migrants have attempted to travel from Yemen to Djibouti by boat, and then cross the Djiboutian desert on foot over the past few months. The majority of registrees in Obock (95%) and some in Bossaso (10%) and Hargeisa (2%) were planning to go back to their country of origin (19% overall). Nonetheless, many others reported their intention to continue their journey to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (38% overall). This was most commonly the case amongst migrants registered in Bossaso (90%). Overall, most migrants reported migrating for economic reasons (69%) or cited educational reasons (20%), while 2% reported migrating for health reasons.