Refugees from the Horn of Africa who were refugees in the Tigray camps in Ethiopia arrive in Rome Fiumicino airport, Italy | Photo: ANSA/ARCHIVE/REDAZIONE TELENEWS
Refugees from the Horn of Africa who were refugees in the Tigray camps in Ethiopia arrive in Rome Fiumicino airport, Italy | Photo: ANSA/ARCHIVE/REDAZIONE TELENEWS

Some 63 refugees from the Horn of Africa arrived in Italy on Friday from Ethiopian refugee camps as part of a humanitarian corridor project.

A group of 63 refugees from the Horn of Africa landed at the Rome Fiumicino airport on Friday (November 12) coming from Ethiopian refugee camps as part of a humanitarian corridor project. The migrants were 60 Eritreans, 2 Yemeni and one Somali.

The project is a result of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2019 by the Italian interior ministry, foreign ministry, the Community of Sant'Egidio, and the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) for 600 asylum seekers from Ethiopia, Jordan, and Niger.

In a statement, the Community of Sant'Egidio said that the living conditions of these people, who have long been refugees in Ethiopian camps, had been further complicated by the conflict that in recent months and especially in the past few weeks has hit the African country.

Early departure due to security issues

The departure, which had initially been planned for the end of November, was brought forward due to security issues in Ethiopia, rendering the getting out -- in safe, legal forms -- of those especially vulnerable urgent.

Coordinating the arrival of the 63 refugees was the Department for Civil Liberties and Immigration of the interior ministry, under Michele di Bari, as part of the coordination of the national plan for resettlement and implementation of several agreements related to "humanitarian corridors".

To comply with anti-COVID measures, beneficiaries of the program underwent careful medical checks and a rapid antigen test in Ethiopia prior to arriving at the Fiumicino airport, where they were then tested again for COVID.

They will undergo an isolation period at their final destinations in the centers and homes of the Community of Sant'Egidio.

Hosted across Italy

Sant'Egidio said that those welcoming the 63 refugees -- mostly single mothers and their children and individuals under age 25 -- were volunteers and some relatives of those arriving who have long been residents in Italy: some of the latter have already become Italian citizens.

The refugees will be hosted in Rome and in several other Italian regions including Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, Piedmont, Marche, and Campania by various associations and churches, in flats of private individuals and in religious institutes, with the support of Italian families who will assist them with their integration at the social level and into the country's labor market, as well as ensuring services, Italian language courses, school enrolment for minors and appropriate medical care.

This will be funded entirely by a portion of taxes voluntarily given to CEI, funds raised by the Community of Sant'Egidio, and donations from associations and churches as well as individuals who offered their homes and volunteered their time.

 

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