ADDIS ABABA, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- The UN migration agency (IOM) on Sunday said some 142 Ethiopian migrants, who were stranded in Djibouti, have been repatriated home safely.
The returnees, who were said to be en-route to Saudi Arabia, were stranded in Djibouti where "smugglers abandoned them after robbing them of their money, leaving them with no means to continue their journey or return to Ethiopia," IOM said in a statement on Sunday.
According to the UN migration agency, the latest group of 142 illegal migrants, who were repatriated home during the past few days, are among the 8, 987 Ethiopian returnees who were stranded in Djibouti that the IOM assisted so far in 2019, registering an increase of more than 3, 600 compared to the 5, 382 returnees assisted in 2018.
IOM also indicated a growing number of unaccompanied migrant children, in which the organization has assisted some 1,897 unaccompanied migrant children to safely return home this year alone, including many whose treacherous journeys brought them into the middle of the conflict in Yemen."
"These returnees were assisted with accommodation at the IOM Emergency Migrant Response Centre in Djibouti and IOM Transit Centre in Addis Ababa, and were provided with transportation allowance so that they could reach their home," IOM said.
IOM also stressed that as human smugglers continue to target young men in Ethiopia, more and more migrants have been lured to travel through irregular means.
IOM, among other things, carries out awareness raising sessions in areas that are prone to irregular migration and provides support to vulnerable returning migrants.
"By providing additional livelihood options, we try to ensure that migration occurs as a choice and not as a necessity," said Malambo Moonga, Migration Management Unit Programme Head at IOM Ethiopia.
Moonga, however, stressed that "the lack of funding for more livelihood programs has rendered these efforts challenging."