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IOM said it will be forced to stop repatriating thousands of Ethiopian migrants

March 20, 2012

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said it will be forced to stop repatriating thousands of Ethiopian migrants stranded in the gulf state of Yemen due to fund shortage.

The organization had been assisting thousands of migrants from East Africa most Ethiopians during the past one year. The organization so far has managed to return more than 6,000 Ethiopian migrants from Haradh, a border town used by the migrants as a main transit to reach Saudi Arabia.

Last December, IOM appealed US$ 2.6 million to help the refugees but donors have failed to grant new funding.

In a statement released last week, IOM said it will this month organize a final air evacuation to 277 stranded Ethiopian migrants from Yemen but said it will be unable to continue repatriation flights for the remaining over 12,000 stranded migrants until new funds are secured from international donors.

Most of these illegal migrants trapped in Yemen’s Haradh town were forced back by Saudi due their illegal status and remain languishing and in desperate conditions to return home.

IOM described the living conditions of the migrants as “terrible” and worsening due to increasing numbers of new arrivals and depleted resources. Tensions are also on rise between the migrants and the local community.

“Many migrants are suffering from diarrheal diseases, malaria, respiratory infections and snake bites from sleeping in the open” IOM said.

Others are also suffering from broken limbs, gunshot wounds and other signs of abuse by human traffickers and smugglers.

According to IOM report a total of 103,154 new arrivals were registered in 2011, double from the figure last year. In February alone, IOM registered some 12,454 new arrivals, of whom 10,496 were from Ethiopia.

Since Yemen plunged into political instability, the country has seen a surge in illegal migrants from East Africa.

Illegal migrants from the Horn of Africa use Yemen as a major gate way to their destination in Saudi Arabia hoping to find lucrative jobs.

From → News

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