Ethiopia Airlifts 3, 200 Citizens from Saudi Arabia

ADDIS ABABA – At least 1,179 Ethiopian migrants have been repatriated from Saudi Arabia today, bringing the total of arrivals from the Gulf Nation this week to more than 3, 200.

The repatriation operation, launched last March, has entered its twelve-week period as authorities airlifted more migrants from Saudi Arabia, where they were detained for illegal entry.

Three planes aboard a combined total of 1, 197 Ethiopians arrived at Addis Ababa airport today, said the Ministry of women and social affairs said. 

The country has already airlifted 1,034 and 1, 024 migrants on Monday and Wednesday, respectively.

The ministry said the latest returnees, all-male including 25 children, are in shelter centers where they are getting food, temporary accommodation, medical assistance, counseling, and other services.

Authorities started the ongoing repatriation oepration on March 30, 2022, with a plan to repatriate at least 102,000 of its citizens, who are living in dire situations in Saudi Arabia, within eleven months.

To date, it has received more than 42, 000 returnees, according to the social affairs ministry. The repatriation effort involves receiving, rehabilitating, and sending returnees to their respective localities in dignity.

The operation involves the International Organization for Migration (IOM) which, last month appealed for USDsaid 11 million to be ableUS dollars is needed to provide post-arrival assistance to the returnees.

Since 2017, Saudi Arabia has deported close to half a million Ethiopians. There are hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians currently residing in the Gulf Nation, according to authorities, and they may need greater assistance upon arrival in Ethiopia should they also be sent back.