The United Nations' Refugee Agency on Tuesday (December 3) announced that it has contributed $100,000 to help support tens of thousands of Ethiopians returning from Saudi Arabia. Original projections were that some 30,000 undocumented citizens were being expelled but the number of returnees reached over 100,620 by Wednesday evening.
Flights between Saudi Arabia and Addis Ababa have increased from six to twelve a day to keep up with demand at an estimated cost of around $25 million. The UNHCR funds will support the Ethiopian government's mass evacuation efforts in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and assist in the rehabilitation of the returnees. The Government acknowledged the UN refugee agency's support and praised it as "important humanitarian gesture".
The UNHCR has also contributed 500,000 birr (over $26,000) to support to Ethiopia's media campaign aimed to raise awareness about the dangers of human trafficking and irregular migration. The Government is working with the UNHCR and IOM to educate the public and refugees on illegal migration awareness.