IOM joins Ethiopia to rehabilitate and integrate returnees from Saudi Arabia

Tesfaye Ejigu

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is exerting efforts to receive and rehabilitate Ethiopian migrant workers returning from Saudi Arabia, Ambassador Dina Mufti, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), said.  So far a total of 4, 97 1- 3,723 male and 976 female – Ethiopians have returned. Of the total 272 are children.

The rehabilitative support has been extended since last Wednesday, Nov 13 to contain the ever growing numbers of returnees. Six airplane flights everyday are bringing the returnees back home. Ambassador Dina said returning the migrant workers back home has become a priority on the part of the Ethiopian government, which has formed a National Committee to handle the returnees.

IOM is supplying shoes, blankets, food, mattresses, water, transport allowance, and medical help for the returnees. It is also helping underage returnees and unaccompanied minors until adult guardian or family members are located. Ambassador Dina says even if implementations are posing challenges the government is doing everything it can, as do Ethiopian embassies in the Gulf States.

A source at the IOM described ‘illegal migration’ as the major cause of the plight Ethiopians are going through now and said this was an incident the IOM had no prior budget allocation. Currently, the rehabilitative and integration endeavor at the Nyala Warehouse in Gerji here in Addis Ababa is jointly organized by IOM, MOFA and Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Authority (DPPA).

Last week the government announced a USD2 million budget to help returnees. Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister, met the returnees on Thursday, Nov 14 during which he indicated that more funds will be allocated as required.

Caption: Ambassador Dina Mufti

Photo: Addis Standard

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