GENEVA, Switzerland, March 26, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM Djibouti is urgently appealing for USD $5 million under the UN Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) 2013 to be able to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to a growing number of vulnerable, stranded Ethiopian migrants in Djibouti.
IOM Djibouti has received no funding under the CAP to date, despite the continuing need to support vulnerable migrants, particularly the women, who are increasingly being abused on the migration route by human smugglers and traffickers. (The US$72 million sought by humanitarian agencies in Djibouti under the 2013 CAP is currently only 6% funded.)
Every year more than a hundred thousand migrants, mostly Ethiopians but also Somalis, continue to make the extremely hazardous journey through Djibouti in the Horn of Africa to Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula in search of a better life in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.
They walk on foot for weeks over the vast, unforgiving desert from Ethiopia and Somalia trying to reach Obock in Djibouti. Djibouti has been suffering more than six years of continuous drought and the lack of water has increased tensions between local communities and migrants. Many of the migrants die on the way and many others are exploited by criminals.
IOM is appealing for funding to continue to provide crucial support to stranded migrants. This includes an active mobile outreach campaign to sensitize migrants to the risks of irregular migration and trafficking in remote and border areas.
IOM also runs a Migrant Response Centre (MRC) in Obock, which currently provides counselling services, hygiene promotion and medical support including referrals for severe injury cases to the District Hospitals of Tadjoura and Obock – the two regions that receive the highest numbers of migrants en route to Yemen. The resources of both hospitals are stretched to the limit, supporting both local communities and the migrants.
The MRC has registered an increasing number of Ethiopian migrants desperate to return home under its Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) Programme. In the first three months of 2013 IOM helped 161 Ethiopians to return home, up from 10 in the first three months of 2012 and 69 for the whole of last year.
IOM registers AVR applicants and liaises with the Government of Djibouti and the Ethiopian Embassy to issue them with the necessary travel documentation. It also provides food, shelter, medical assistance and arranges their return transportation. There are currently 20 migrants awaiting return to Ethiopia at the MRC in Obock.