Migration Organization needs more money to help repatriates from Saudi


Now that the number of returning Ethiopian migrants from Saudi Arabia is expected to reach 120,000, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is appealing for USD 13.1 million to address their needs.
According to information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), the number of Ethiopian migrants to be deported from Saudi will exceed 120,000.
“So far, over 87,000 people arrived at the [Addis Ababa] Airport. We are expecting 40,000 more migrants to arrive shortly,” Dina Mufti, Spokes Person of MoFA told Capital on Tuesday December 3.
Every day this week,an average of 7,000 migrants have arrived at the Addis Ababa Airport.
IOM stated that it is currently providing transportation, medical and psychosocial first aid, meals, water, biscuits, and temporary accommodations for migrants who arrive at night, accommodation and transportation for unaccompanied minors. IOM estimates that so far 167 children without an adult to take care of them have arrived at the airport.  
Yet, so far, IOM has received only USD 2.5 million through the Humanitarian Response and Central Emergency Response Funds, according to a press release the organization sent to Capital.
Initially, the government budgeted 50 million birr to bring in its citizens and reintegrate them with their families and society. This budget was only for 40,000 returnees as the government’s expectation was that the number of “illegal migrants” wouldn’t exceed that.
However, by December 6, the number had skyrocketed to over 109,000, according to IOM and about 11,000 additional Ethiopian migrants are also due to be deported shortly.
IOM stated that it costs USD 130 per person to provide the assistance.  This includes water and sanitation, ambulances, medicine, water tanks, blankets, tents, biscuits and mobile toilets. It is also distributing shoes and other non-food items to the extremely vulnerable returnees, according to the press release.
Consequently IOM, which says they have assisted 90pct of the returnees, is appealing for USD 13.1 million. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), International Red Cross (IRC), World Food Program (WFP), International Christian Relief (IRC) and the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) are providing assistance for the returnees. The business community also has joined the mission, according to Dina.
The Ethiopian government, in collaboration with non-governmental organizations and the business community responded to the crackdown by repatriating its citizens.