IOM Assists 142 Ethiopians Stranded in Djibouti to Return Home

By Staff reporter

IOM-UNOctober 13, 2019 ( -- In press statement the UN Migration Agency (IOM) said 142 stranded Ethiopians were assisted to safely and returned home from Djibouti on Tuesday, October 8, 2019.

The returnees who were en-route to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia when they were stranded in Djibouti where smugglers abandoned them after robbing them of their money and possessions, leaving them with no means to continue their journey or return to Ethiopia.

Many of the stranded travelers were planning to go to Yemen, hoping to continue their journey to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to look for work.

However, things didn’t go as planned when travelers found themselves with no means to get to Yemen.

In the released reported, it was noted there was no boat to collect the travelers as promised by the smugglers.

According to IOM statement, the travelers ended up stranded and left on their own by the smugglers.

Based on the report from IOM, a total of 8,987 returnees who were stranded at various times were assisted to safe return in 2019.

The report also elaborates how IOM assisted 1,897 unaccompanied migrant children to safely return home, including many whose treacherous journeys brought them into the middle of the conflict in Yemen.

These returnees were assisted with accommodations at the IOM Emergency Migrant Response Centre in Djibouti and IOM Transit Centre in Addis Ababa, and were provided with transportation allowances so they could go home.

As smugglers continue to target young men in Ethiopia, more and more migrants have been lured to travel through irregular means.

IOM Ethiopia's Migration Management Unit Program Head, Malambo Moonga, said IOM carries out awareness raising sessions in areas that are prone to irregular migration, in addition to the support it gives to vulnerable returning migrants.

"In collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, IOM was able to use awareness raising tools such as Community Conversations and reach out to more than five million people over the past five years,” the program head reported.

Despite these efforts, however, the number of Ethiopian migrants heading through the eastern route through irregular means continues to increase.

Mr. Moonga added that IOM also implements livelihood support activities in migration-prone communities.

“By providing additional livelihood options, we try to ensure that migration occurs as a choice and not as a necessity.” However, he admitted that the lack of funding for more livelihood programs has rendered these efforts challenging.  

The assistance provided to returnees from Djibouti on October 8 was made possible through the financial support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.

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