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.
TEXT SIZE - +
— 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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid