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

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    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.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora