The Reporter (Addis Ababa)

7 December 2013

Ethiopia: IOM Estimates the Number of Returnees From Saudi to Be 120,000

Photo: IOM
International Organisation for Migration assisting the Ethiopian government to manage influx of returnees from the Middle East.

Ethiopian migrants from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continue to arrive in Addis Ababa, with the number of returnees reaching more than 100,000. Meanwhile, the

International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that the number may even surpass 120,000.

This was disclosed in a briefing to donors held on Wednesday, 'Emergency Assistance to Vulnerable Ethiopian Migrants from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia', by Josiah Ogina, IOM chief of mission, and representatives from the African Union (AU), Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

After thousands of irregular migrant workers were arrested and deported from the Kingdom due to an expiry of a grace period, the number of the returnees has increased dramatically, and the IOM is requesting international donors to contribute more finance to avert the problem.

On November 14, 2013, the government of Ethiopia, through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, officially requested that the IOM to provide post arrival and reintegration assistance to Ethiopian returnees from the Kingdom.

According to Sharon Dimanche, IOM migration management program coordinator, it is working closely with different international organizations, such as Humanitarian Response Fund (HRF), International Rescue Committee (IRC) , United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), World Food Programme (WFP), the Ethiopian Red Cross Society and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

And to respond to this emergency situation, so far the IOM has received USD 1,000,000 from the HRF and in addition it has accessed an international emergency loan worth USD 1,000,000.

Though the IOM receives donations both in cash and in kind, ranging from wash kits, ambulances, water tanks, blankets, tents, food and so on, it is still in need of more funding, Dimanche said.

As the number of the returnees has increased over the weeks so the has the fund required, reported Dimanche, and the IOM seeks USD 13.1 million as the projection reaches 120,000.

Other requests by the IOM to help with the emergency include reception assistance, post arrival medical and psychosocial support, provision of food, water and snacks, temporary accommodation, on ward transportation, family tracing, reunification support and other non-food items.

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