A group of migrants from the Horn of Africa arrive in Obock, Djibouti, guided by a local "facilitator". They will wait in the shade of trees for, sometimes, a few days as smugglers organize their travel to Yemen. They are typically hoping to eventually make it to Saudi Arabia. This area is near IOM's Migrant Resource Centre and the team from the Centre frequently travel to this location to ensure the arriving migrants are aware of the health and voluntary return services available.

$54m needed to assist 113,000 vulnerable migrants in Horn of Africa, Yemen

An estimated 113,000 vulnerable migrants are in transit or stranded in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and Yemen in need of life-saving assistance, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said today.

“Migrants undertaking these journeys do so in search of a better life for themselves and their families,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s Regional Director for the East and Horn of Africa.

“They are often young – in many cases children – unaware of the dangers on the route to Yemen, including extreme heat, conflict and violence, and human trafficking.”

Last month IOM and its partners updated the Regional Migrant Response Plan for the Horn of Africa and Yemen (RMRP) 2018-2020, seeking to raise USD 54 million to assist those in need.

The RMRP is a humanitarian and development strategy to assist vulnerable migrants from the Horn of Africa who are moving to, transiting through and returning from Yemen.

Many on the perilous journey are exploited and abused as they attempt to reach Gulf countries in search of work.

“Migrants on the route to Yemen are among some of the most vulnerable. Meeting the humanitarian needs of this population must remain a priority for the international community,” he added.

The RMRP lays out a plan for development-oriented durable solutions that address root causes of migration in the Horn of Africa and supports governments with capacity building activities to address the humanitarian and protection needs of migrants. It also supports research on root causes and drivers of migration in the Horn of Africa and Yemen. RMRP partners have secured 32 per cent of the funding required as of October.

IOM estimates that by the end of the year 160,000 migrants will have entered Yemen by sea from points in the Horn of Africa.

Nearly 130,000 migrants are expected to return home to the region from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the same period. The Organization provides post-arrival assistance to many of the returnees.

Approximately five per cent of all migrant arrivals into Yemen tracked by IOM in the first six months of 2019 are unaccompanied or separated children. This is an increase from the two per cent observed during the same period in 2018.

The October 2019 update to the RMRP reflects updated priorities for partners in each of the target countries. These include providing life-saving humanitarian assistance to stranded migrants in Yemen, ensuring adequate protection for unaccompanied children, and scaling-up assistance to the thousands of vulnerable migrants returning from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Horn of Africa.

In all, 17 partners in the four target countries – including UN agencies and NGOs – work in coordination to provide a comprehensive humanitarian and protection response to vulnerable migrants on the eastern route to Yemen. The RMRP’s target population includes children, the elderly, victims of human trafficking and gender-based violence, and other vulnerable migrants.

RMRP partners seek to build off their achievements from 2018 in which 58,000 vulnerable migrants were provided with food, water and temporary shelter in the four target countries. An additional 15,000 vulnerable migrants were provided with transportation assistance to voluntarily return home, and 14 community development projects were completed in areas of high returns. The 2018 RMRP required USD 46 million in funding, of which 44 per cent was secured.

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