The number of migrants arriving in Yemen from Africa is close to pre-pandemic levels

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The IOM warns that it may have to suspend aid programs if funding is not provided “urgently” for its response


The number of migrants who have crossed the Gulf of Aden to reach Yemen from Africa has exceeded last year’s figures in the first half of 2023 and is close to the levels registered before the coronavirus pandemic, as reported on Wednesday by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The agency has indicated that more than 77,000 migrants have crossed this route to try to reach Yemen and has warned that the increase in these crossings also implies an increase in the dangers faced by people who use the ‘Eastern Route’, marked by the Human Rights violations, including torture, violence and human trafficking.

Most of the migrants arriving in Yemen from the Horn of Africa aspire to move to Persian Gulf countries to find work, although after crossing the sea they often find themselves in the hands of human smugglers who take control of their lives, marked by abuses and impunity for those responsible.

“Despite the increase in the number of migrants arriving in Yemen and the severity of the abuses they suffer, people on the move remain largely invisible,” lamented the acting head of the IOM mission for Yemen, Matt Huber.

Thus, the Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) system appears as the only safe way for these people to return to their countries after being trapped in Yemen. So far this year, IOM has assisted 5,631 migrants, including 5,572 Ethiopians, to return home on VHR flights, an increase from previous years.

In fact, the agency’s teams registered thousands of migrants in June who requested help to return to their countries of origin, although the process has been suspended precisely because the number of applicants exceeds the resources available to organize these transfers.

“IOM works closely with partners, donors and the authorities to help stranded migrants, but the growing number of migrants in difficult situations requires many more resources to respond,” Huber explained, warning that “if Funding for IOM’s migration response is not urgently provided, the VHR program and other forms of vital aid could be suspended shortly.”

Along these lines, the agency has requested funds to increase its aid to trapped migrants, especially those who are in Migrant Response Points in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, and the cities of Aden and Marib, where migrants can obtain safe, dignified and free protection and health services.

IOM has stressed that hospitals in Saada and Marib are also dependent on the agency for equipment, supplies and support to pay salaries, while health and protection teams support mobile responses where the victims travel. migrants so that they can receive support.

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Written by Editor TLN

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