Govt Repatriates Over 30,000 Ethiopians within few months

ADDIS ABABA – Over 30, 000 Ethiopians who were stranded in Middle-East and neighboring nations returned home since the start of coronavirus outbreak in Ethiopia, said Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).

Returnees were under difficult situation including being unemployed, displaced and abandoned to the streets without any medical and food assistance, MoFA’s spokesperson Dina Mufti told reporters on Friday.

According to Dina, the larger segment of the returnees – 24,700 – returned from neighboring nations including Kenya, Sudan, and Somalia.

The remaining returnees are from Saudi-Arabia (3539), Kuwait (1023), Beirut (656), and Abu Dhabi (72).

United Nations agencies IOM, UNCHR have supported Ethiopia’s effort to repatriate its citizens who required government support, the spokesman said.

Dina, noting the higher number of Ethiopians living abroad, has indicated that the government remains committed to continue to bring back those who have the interest to be repatriated.

Reports say many Ethiopians are still stranded in many Middle East countries particularly in Yemen.

However, bringing back those resided in Yemen is becoming challenging to the ministry, said Dina. The main challenge is knowing their number, tracing their whereabouts, and how they are enduring the coronavirus and other issues as they are deep in the war-torn nation.

According to the spokesperson, the ministry is currently working with UN agencies to locate them and know the exact situations and conditions and find a way to bring back home.

Last week, the UN humanitarians reported tens of thousands of Ethiopian migrants have been stranded in war-ravaged Yemen where they continue to be subjected to arbitrary detention and exposure to COVID-19 infection, forcible relocation and abuse.

By Sisay Sahlu