IOM, Governments and 38 partners Launch USD 99 Million Appeal for Migrants Across the Horn of Africa and Yemen

Many migrants lack access to food, shelter, water and medical care. Photo: IOM

Nairobi – The International Organization for Migration (IOM), regional governments and 38 humanitarian and development organizations are appealing today (25 March) for USD 99 million dollars to provide life-saving assistance to over half a million (563,128) vulnerable Horn of Africa migrants, many of whom need urgent help after being stranded along the route taking them from the Horn of Africa to Yemen.

These funds are required for the first year of a 4-year plan, known as the “Regional Migrant Response Plan 2021-2024" (MRP), to address the dire humanitarian, human rights, safety and security challenges migrants in the region are facing. Once met, funding raised will assist local communities in affected countries, which are also impacted by the emergency.  

Every year, tens of thousands of migrants in the region leave countries like Ethiopia, Somalia and others in search of work and job opportunities to escape poverty, the effects of climate change, violent conflict and discrimination.

Many undertake journeys fraught with danger and face life-threatening situations en route. They lack access to food, water, shelter, and medical care. Every year migrants die of starvation and dehydration along the way. Many others are exposed to human rights violations including arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, and sexual and gender-based violence. In addition to facing stigma, discrimination and xenophobia, migrants continuously face various forms of exploitation by traffickers and smugglers. Nearly 700 migrants are currently stranded and in need of help in Djibouti, with over 900 more in Somalia.

In Yemen, that number stands at a much larger 14,500 men, women and children, many unaccompanied.

The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened all these conditions. Migrants have been summarily dismissed from their jobs, leaving them and their dependent families even worse off than before their journeys began.

Funds from this USD 99 million appeal will increase migrants’ chances of returning home and being successfully reintegrated back into their communities. Support will also be given to communities of origin to address the drivers of ‘irregular’ migration, strengthen the capacity of governments in the region to provide humanitarian support, and further improve the coordination of humanitarian organizations, as well as improved migration management on the route.

At the launch of the appeal on March 25, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, the Executive Secretary of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), said: “IGAD will work with MRP partners to ensure that the plan is successfully implemented to contribute to the humanitarian and protection needs of migrants and host communities.”

Ethiopia’s State Minister for Economy Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tsion Teklu, added: “The Government of Ethiopia applauds the MRP’s holistic approach and its goal to create a broad-based coordination platform across stakeholders and across borders and  stands ready to maintain and to strengthen its participation in the plan.”

For his part, Mohammed Mohammed Al‐Adeel, Deputy Minister for Expatriate Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Yemen, noted:  “Yemen government is closely working with humanitarian agencies to assist  irregular migrants from Horn and East Africa,” .

“The MRP should support member states to strengthen child protection mechanisms along the Eastern route”, underscored Mariam Yassin, Special Envoy for Children and Migrants’ Rights, Office of the Prime Minister Federal Republic of Somalia.

Houssein Hassan Darar, Executive Secretary of ONARS, Republic of Djibouti, also underlined that the launch of the MRP 2021-2024 “is important for partners, including IOM, to continue supporting the Djiboutian government in helping migrants.”

Subsequently, Clementine Nkweta-Salami, UNHCR Regional Director for the East, Horn and Great Lakes Regions of Africa, stressed that the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and the Global Compact on Migration (GCM) “reaffirm our collective responsibility to protect their human rights and put in place mechanisms to meet the individual needs of persons on the move by ensuring their protection and humane treatment at all points along the routes of movement.   This is most pertinent to and from the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa routes.”

“The RMRP enables us to respond to the critical needs of people along the Eastern Route with a more integrated and complementary approach,” said Heather Amstutz Ferrao, Danish Refugee Council Regional Director for the East Africa and Great Lakes Region.

“Migration challenges in Yemen is a regional issue and requires strong cooperation and engagement,” highlighted David Gressly, the United Nations Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen.

Wendy Henning, Africa Office Director, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration said: “The Government of the United States is committed to supporting the humanitarian needs of refugees and vulnerable migrants from the Horn of Africa and Yemen.”

“The migratory route between the Horn of Africa and Yemen is one of the busiest, most complex and dangerous in the world,” emphasized IOM Director-General António Vitorino. “The Migrant Response Plan complements the efforts of governments to address the needs of migrants and provides a route-based approach to ensure a continuity of services. IOM extends its sincere appreciation to all the MRP partners, Member States, the IGAD, UN agencies and NGOs, for their continuing efforts to assist migrants in often very difficult conditions.”

For more information, please contact Yvonne Ndege, Regional Communications and Spokesperson, East and Horn of Africa, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Email: , Tel:  +254797735977

Regional Migrant Response Plan Appeal here.