The IOM said that the only safe route for stranded migrants to return home is through the Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) program…reports Asian Lite News
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said the number of migrants entering Yemen through the Gulf of Aden has exceeded 77,000 so far this year, up from the yearly figure of 73,000 in 2022.
The migrants, mostly from Ethiopia and other countries in the Horn of Africa, endured horrific abuses, violence, and human trafficking along the perilous migration route into Yemen, commonly known as the “Eastern Route”, reports Xinhua news agency
Many of the migrants fell victim to traffickers who take control of their journey once they reach Yemen. Migrants faced widespread violence, exploitation, and other forms of abuses in the country, the IOM said.
Insecurity, ongoing arrest campaigns, and forced transfers have left about 43,000 migrants stranded across the country without any viable means of assistance, it added.
“Despite the heightened numbers of migrants entering Yemen and the severity of abuses they endure, people on the move continue to be largely invisible,” said Matt Huber, the acting chief of mission for IOM Yemen.
The IOM said that the only safe route for stranded migrants to return home is through the Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) program.
This year, the IOM has already facilitated the return of 5,631 migrants, and 5,572 of them are Ethiopians.
However, the growing demand has outpaced the available resources.
The IOM received requests for assistance from thousands of migrants seeking to return home in June alone.
The Organization has to temporarily suspend the registration of new requests due to a lack of funding.
Huber urgently appealed for increased funds to help migrants, warning that the VHR program and other forms of lifesaving assistance may soon have to stop if additional funds cannot be guaranteed.
Despite years of civil war, Yemen continues to serve as a transit country for tens of thousands of migrants traveling from the Horn of Africa to Saudi Arabia.
Yemen has been embroiled in a devastating civil war since 2014, with the Houthis fighting against the internationally-recognised government.
The Saudi Arabia-led coalition intervened in the conflict in support of the Yemeni government in 2015.