Over 1, 270 Ethiopians airlifted from Saudi Arabia

ADDIS ABABA – More than 1, 270 Ethiopian nationals have returned to their country as the repatriation of citizens from Saudi Arabia continues on Monday.

The east African nation started bringing its nationals living in difficult situations in the Gulf Nation back on Wednesday, March 30, 2022.

Today, three flights with 1,270 onboard have arrived at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport until midday, said the spokesperson office of the ministry of foreign affairs.

Today’s returnees, mostly women as well as 269 children, came from the city of Jeddah.

To date, the government has repatriated more than 4, 000 citizens from Saudi Arabia. The repatriation push will continue for three days in a week each day involving three flights, said the spokesperson office.

Over 100,000 Ethiopian migrants are expected to be deported to Ethiopia from the gulf nations, with the arrivals starting on 30 March 2022.

– $11mln needed –

The government has already set up temporary shelters where they will stay for at least 24-hours and receive assistance including food, medical help and counseling services with support of partner aid agencies.

However, meeting the needs of the 100,000 returnees could be an enormous challenge, according to the UN migration agency, International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The IOM said roughly $11 million will be needed to assist the over 100,000 Ethiopian migrants from Saudi Arabia through post arrival assistance.

The Government has already appealed to donors, UN agencies, and other humanitarian actors for support to the repatriation push which officials say could run for at least 7 months.

About 750,000 Ethiopians currently reside in Saudi Arabia. About 450,000 are likely to have traveled to the country through irregular means and will need help to return home.

Over the last four years, the Gulf Nation has deported nearly 352,000 Ethiopians back home.