News / Africa

Stranded Ethiopian Migrants Return From Yemen

Ethiopian migrants, stranded on Yemen's border with Saudi Arabia, recite prayers appealing for evacuation to their home country from the western Yemeni town of Haradh, March 30, 2012.Ethiopian migrants, stranded on Yemen's border with Saudi Arabia, recite prayers appealing for evacuation to their home country from the western Yemeni town of Haradh, March 30, 2012.
x
Ethiopian migrants, stranded on Yemen's border with Saudi Arabia, recite prayers appealing for evacuation to their home country from the western Yemeni town of Haradh, March 30, 2012.
Ethiopian migrants, stranded on Yemen's border with Saudi Arabia, recite prayers appealing for evacuation to their home country from the western Yemeni town of Haradh, March 30, 2012.
— Almost 300 stranded Ethiopian migrants returned on Tuesday from Yemen. Thousands more remain stuck in nearby countries, though, after they went abroad illegally for economic reasons.
 
A charter flight by IOM, the International Organization for Migration, carried 275 Ethiopian migrants back to Addis Ababa on Tuesday morning. These migrants had crossed the borders illegally and were stranded in Yemen.  

IOM assists with the return and reintegration of migrants worldwide, and has helped more than 2,000 Ethiopians to return voluntarily from Yemen since March.
 
Yemen itself was not the destination for most. Demissew Bizuwork of the IOM said most were trying to reach Saudi Arabia.
 
“Many would like to travel to the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, and other Middle East countries. Most people, when we interview them, they would like to cross, because Yemen is very close to the Horn of Africa, so they would like to cross through Yemen to Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries,” said Bizuwork.

Addis Ababa shelter

The returnees on the charter flight on Tuesday were brought to a shelter close to the airport in Addis Ababa upon arrival. Women, children, elderly and vulnerable migrants are accommodated in the shelter for a day or two. Demissew said it's better for the returnees to rest in the shelter for a couple of days, before going back home.
 
“When we bring people directly from the airport, we bring them here so that they can settle here. These people lost everything. We provide them with accommodation, food, medical assistance as well," said Demissew. "We provide them some reintegration assistance, some money so that they at least when they come to their families they can do something. And we also provide them with transportation up to their destination."

Hopes for a better economic future lead many Ethiopians to leave their country. But for most migrants, the reality in Yemen is opposite from what they were told before departure. Smugglers and human traffickers convince Ethiopians that life in the Middle East is much better, said Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Dina Mufti.
 
“There are some push factors and one of the major push factors is actually the people who are involved in the illegal human trafficking," said Mufti. "They deceive the minors. They have targeted the rural areas, where people are not familiar with what is happening in the rest of the world. The deal with the minors and the youngsters, they target them, they promise them something that is not there."

Returness discuss experiences

Yohannes is one of the returnees at the shelter. He is in his twenties and comes from the Tigray region in the north of Ethiopia. He left his job as a merchant six months ago in hopes of making more money. But the trip ended badly, as he was detained in Yemen.
 
“Its a very difficult journey. They beat you and they don’t take care of you,” he said.

Gobeze is another of the migrants at the shelter. He is in his twenties, has a wife and three kids in the Wollo province, but decided to leave Ethiopia in December. Although he already had a job as a weaver, he hoped to make more money in the Middle East. But the journey only cost him money, said Gobeze.
 
“Initially I paid 4,000 birr. But they were hanging me by my arms and I was suffering so I had to ask my family for another 15,000 to save my life,” he said.

Rising tide of migrant Ethiopians

Yohannes and Gobeze are just two of the thousands of Ethiopians experiencing the hardship of illegal migration. But the number of Ethiopians crossing over to Yemen has been rising in recent years. Statistics of the United Nations refugee agency show that more than 103,000 Ethiopian and Somali migrants arrived in Yemen in 2011, up from 53,000 in 2010.
 
The Ethiopian government has formed task forces and is working with various organizations to inform people about the dangers of illegal migration, said Mufti.
 
“The government has recently been aware of the fact that the gravity of the illegal immigration, the human trafficking is felt.  Because it has a social consequence, and economic consequence, and psychological consequence as well.  Now what is happening is to try things from the grass root, to go to the grass root level and create an awareness on the part of the citizen that these human traffickers are doing damage to the country.”

The IOM charter flight on Tuesday was the third and last flight in September. Many more Ethiopians in Yemen are waiting to go home, said Demissew.
 
“There are thousands of people stranded, there are about 4,000 people in the border town. Our center accommodates about 350 people. It was initially built to accommodate maybe 150, 200 people. But there are many more people,” said Demissew.


The next flight returning illegal migrants to Ethiopia is expected in October.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Awot Gidey from: Addis Ababa
September 27, 2012 5:18 AM
There is huge migration from Ethiopia to Somalia and Yemen. If you ask some Ethiopians they tell you that they still want to go and in recent months many of them died on the way to South Africa. It is better to tackle the cause than the symptom. There is chronic maladministration. The new civilian administration need to address it.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid