Almost 5,000 Ethiopian migrants are stuck in Yemen while awaiting a chance to return home safely. This week about 300 of them are scheduled to leave Aden for Addis Abeba on two humanitarian flights run by IOM.
Nearly 5,000 Ethiopians stranded in Yemen are waiting for their chance to safely return home, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said Tuesday (September 7).
"This week, about 300 migrants are scheduled to depart Aden for Addis Ababa on two Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) flights run by IOM. The Organization hopes to continue at this pace, operating two flights per week until the end of the year and plans to expand VHR to other places such as Ma'rib where the conflict persists," IOM said in an online statement.
"To sustain this programme, IOM urgently needs USD 3 million from the international community, as well as the continued support of Yemeni and Ethiopian authorities to facilitate the movements," it added.
"We call on donors to make more significant contributions to this crucial lifeline which provides thousands of stranded migrants with their only chance to escape a dangerous situation and make their way home," John McCue, IOM Yemen's Deputy Chief of Mission, said.
About 32,000 migrants stuck in disastrous conditions in country
"An estimated 32,000 migrants are stranded in dire conditions in the country - mainly in urban transit hubs - due to COVID-19 mobility restrictions which have impeded their journeys to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)," IOM said.The vast majority do not have regular access to water, food, washroom facilities, and healthcare.
Since May 2020, about 18,200 migrants "in Yemen have made the perilous return journey by sea to Djibouti or Somalia, using the same network of smugglers they used heading to the Arabian Peninsula. Dozens of migrants have drowned this year after overcrowded boats capsized," it added.
Situation critical in Ma'rib, where armed clashes continue
The situation is especially dire near Ma'rib, 180 km east of the capital Sana'a, a government stronghold in the northern part of the country. The city, at the center of an oil-rich zone, has been besieged for months by pro-Iran Yemeni forces under Houthi militias.
The Houthis have had control of north-central Yemen since 2014. In 2015 Saudi Arabia formed an inter-Arab military coalition to support government forces but the conflict has long been in a stalemate and, despite repeated UN mediation attempts, fighting continues on several fronts including in Ma'rib.