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IOM seeks $84m to support African migrants

by Haruna Gimba

By Asmau Ahmad

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and partners are seeking $84 million to provide humanitarian and development assistance to over one million migrants in the Horn of Africa and communities hosting them.

The United Nations migration agency said this in a statement issued from its headquarters in Geneva on Thursday.

According to IOM, the Regional Migrant Response Plan, launched this week, will address the dire needs and protection risks facing people along the treacherous Eastern Route towards the Arabian Peninsula.

Other objectives of the Plan, include scaling-up delivery of lifesaving and resilience-building initiatives and implementing long-term sustainable solutions for both migrants and host communities.

The Eastern Route is one of the busiest, most complex and dangerous migration corridors in the world, cutting through deserts, seas and war-torn Yemen.

Every year, thousands of people from countries in the Horn of Africa leave their homelands and go through the eastern route in search of better life elsewhere.

They are mostly fleeing interconnected crises, including persistent insecurity and conflict, harsh climatic conditions, and public health emergencies, in addition to socio-economic drivers and more traditional seasonal factors.

Most make the dangerous crossing of the Red Sea through Bossaso in Somalia, and Djibouti’s coastal town of Obock to Yemen and further by land to Gulf countries.

Last year, some 145,545 migrants entered Djibouti – almost double the number in 2021.

Additionally, 89 migrant deaths or disappearances were recorded along the Eastern Route due to hazardous transportation, illness, harsh environmental conditions, drowning at sea and violence, while many more deaths and disappearances go unreported.

“The Eastern Route is an underserved crisis easily forgotten amidst other global crises, and we must accord the migrants the support and dignity they deserve,” IOM Director General, António Vitorino, said.

The Regional Migrant Response Plan will address the most immediate and critical humanitarian and protection needs of migrants in vulnerable situations.

It will also support their voluntary return home in a safe and dignified manner, and ensure that they reintegrate back into their communities successfully.

“The plan provides a flexible mechanism for all stakeholders to respond to evolving migration trends, and broader humanitarian and development challenges affecting migrants, host communities and the respective governments,” Vitorino said.

According to him, funding will further help efforts towards addressing the drivers of irregular migration and strengthen the capacity of governments in the region on migration management, including ensuring greater coordination and collaboration. 

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