Ethiopian migrants detained in Yemen fly home

The International Organization for Migration reports two flights carrying an estimated 250 Ethiopian migrants departed to Yemen on Saturday for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as part of a larger ongoing repatriation operation.

The operation, which was to have begun, last Saturday, got off to a late start; according to the IOM Spokesperson Angela Wells this might pose a problem

“The operation was only cleared for eight days. So, because it was delayed, we are now waiting to see if we can continue it past that date, “she said. “We will do our best to work with the authorities to find sustainable solutions and start another round of VHR (Voluntary Humanitarian Returns) and to help people where we can.”

With the approval of the Saudi-led coalition and Government of Yemen, 347 migrants have been flown home on three IOM chartered flights this past week. Wells says women and children were among the first to be repatriated as they are seen to be the most vulnerable.

The UN migration agency says it hopes to repatriate another 1,968 Ethiopian migrants who are being detained under horrific conditions in a sports stadium in the Yemeni port city of Aden.

In the meantime, IOM reports Yemeni authorities are continuing to round up more migrants and bring them to the sport stadium. It warns the growing number of people being detained under sub-standard conditions is worsening an already acute humanitarian situation.