IOM Helps Ethiopian Migrants Return Home from Sana’a, Yemen

IOM has supported the voluntary humanitarian return of more than 700 migrants since the beginning of 2019. Photo: IOM/2019

Sana’a - Starting Monday (06/05), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) organized the voluntary return of 176 migrants from Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Unable to continue to support themselves or fund their travel home, the migrants were left stranded in a country experiencing a deadly conflict. 

Through three flights over three days, IOM supported 137 men, 11 women and 28 children in returning home. Some 20 people with medical needs were among the group, for whom IOM provides escorts to ensure their safe travel. A fourth flight with an additional 46 people will depart on Saturday (11/05), bringing the total number of people assisted in all four flights to 222. 

These are the first return movements to take place from Sana’a since mid-March 2019. In fact, IOM was only able to resume air movements from Yemen in November 2018; having had to suspend them just after the conflict broke out in 2015. During that time, IOM used boats to return vulnerable Ethiopian migrants to Ethiopia, via Djibouti. 

In Yemen, IOM provides the returning migrants with pre-departure assistance, including medical, mental health and psychosocial care. On arrival in Ethiopia, the returnees undergo health screenings and then are housed in IOM's transit centre in Addis Ababa. From there, IOM supports them in reaching their final destinations. For unaccompanied and separated migrant children, IOM provides family tracing assistance, helping them to reunite with their primary caregivers. 

Globally, IOM is committed to ensuring that returnees have opportunities to rebuild their lives at home. In Ethiopia, IOM supports the reintegration of vulnerable returnees through education, psychosocial support and small business grants.  

In 2018, IOM helped 1,040 migrants leave Yemen and return home. So far in 2019, the Organization has supported the voluntary return of 733 migrants. IOM also works with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to support the spontaneous return of refugees, helping 2,590 Somali refugees to return from Aden last year. 

Despite the ongoing conflict in Yemen, migrants seeking economic opportunities in Gulf countries continue to make the treacherous journey by land and sea to the Arabian Peninsula. All along the route, migrants face many challenges in accessing protection and assistance. IOM is committed to supporting Yemen and the region in managing migration in a sustainable and humane way.  

IOM’s voluntary humanitarian return programme from Yemen is funded by the Federal Republic of Germany, the Government of Canada, the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Government of Denmark and the Government of Kuwait. 

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon from IOM Yemen, Tel: +353833022648, Email: