iom in need of urgent funding for lifesaving migrant response missions to continue
It’s just halfway through 2023 and over 77,000 have already made their way into the war-ravaged Yemen, crossing the Gulf of Aden. The number has conveniently surpassed the one from last year and is fast approaching pre-COVID levels.
But as migrant arrivals increase, so have the dangers encountering people moving along the “Eastern Route” plagued by human rights violations, including trafficking, torture and violence.
Each year, scores of people indulge in the perilous journey from the Horn of Africa to Yemen to eventually find work in Gulf countries. But most of them never anticipate the abuses ahead. After crossing the sea, traffickers often take control of every further step of their journey.
What’s The Only Safe Pathway Home?
Abuse and exploitation against migrants are evidently widespread. Arrest campaigns and forced transfers have left tens of thousands of them stranded across Yemen.
Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) is still the only safe pathway home for the troubled migrants. IOM has assisted 5,631 individuals this year to return home on VHR flights. The figures include 5,572 Ethiopians.
The number of people assisted so far this year is much higher than the numbers seen in previous years. Still scores of migrants needing help to return home approach IOM migrant response points in Sanaa, Aden and Marib daily.
Insufficient Resources For Increasing Arrivals
Teams registered thousands requiring assistance last month. These registrations, however, have now been suspended for a temporary period as the number of migrants seeking help to return to their country of origin far exceeds the resources currently available to help them.
The agency requires urgent funding for its VHR programme and other forms of lifesaving assistance to continue, said Matt Huber, IOM Yemen’s Acting Chief of Mission. Some hospitals also rely on IOM for supplies and help with salaries so they can serve the displaced people.