IOM says over 23,900 migrant Ethiopians return home since April amid COVID-19 pandemic

Xinhua News Agency | Aug 7, 2020 at 2:55 PM

ADDIS ABABA, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- More than 23,960 Ethiopian migrants have been repatriated home since April this year, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) revealed on Friday.

The UN migration agency, in its latest COVID-19 response update for Ethiopia, revealed that between April 1 and August 6, the East African country had received over 23,960 migrant returnees from different countries.

According to IOM, some 5,789 of the Ethiopian migrants were returned from Djibouti, 5,639 from Somalia, 5,049 from Sudan, 3,162 from Saudi Arabia, 1,024 from Kuwait, 995 from Kenya, 650 from Lebanon, among others.

The IOM also noted that it has registered some 712 new migrant returnees in the last week in Ethiopia.

As the designated lead agency for supporting the Ethiopian government in the management of migrant returnees, the IOM stressed that it has continued to support the government in coordinating support for quarantine facilities in Addis Ababa and the regions, 35 in total.

In coordination with Ethiopia's Disaster Prevention and Food Security Program Coordination Office, the IOM has also provided orientation on COVID-19 preventative measures and provided personal protective equipment to volunteers working in arrival areas for migrant returnees.

Amid the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the East African country and the eventual preventive measures to contain the spread of the virus, the UN migration agency provides direct assistance to returnee migrants in quarantine facilities, including registration, food, water and onward transportation assistance, it was noted.

The IOM, among other things, provides personal protective equipment such as face masks, gloves and sanitizers to quarantine facility staff in major migrant-receiving areas in Ethiopia, it was noted.

It also distributes non-food items in quarantine facilities in the capital, Addis Ababa and across various regional states, including soaps, dignity kits, medications, kitchen sets, clothes, bed sheets and mattresses.

As of Friday morning, Ethiopia's confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 20,900 as the death toll due to illnesses related to the COVID-19 pandemic rose to 365, according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Health.

According to the ministry, the number of recoveries is also increasing as some 9,027 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 had so far recovered, including 429 in the last 24 hours period.