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Thousands of Ethiopians and Eritreans stranded in northern Yemen

April 3, 2013

(UN Radio) – The voluntary repatriation of thousands of undocumented migrants from Yemen is likely to stall in the next six months due to lack of adequate funding, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

About 3,000 migrants from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia are stranded in the northern Yemen town of Haradh, where living conditions are said to be deteriorating on a daily basis.

IOM says it can only distribute about 300 meals per day mainly to the most vulnerable women, the elderly and unaccompanied minors.

Jumbe Omari Jumbe from IOM says the stranded migrants are extremely vulnerable to human traffickers and criminal gangs dealing in human organs.

“Shelter capacity and medical referrals have also been also reduced, resulting in increased hardship and illnesses among the migrants. Currently, the Haradh hospital mortuary is filled with the unclaimed bodies of migrants. In addition, IOM has suspended its voluntary repatriation programme because of the lack of funds. The last IOM-sponsored flight to carry migrants from Yemen was in September 2012,when 210 migrants were voluntarily repatriated to Ethiopia. In Haradh town, thousands of migrants roam the streets and sleep rough in the open with no money for food or medicine.They include single women, unaccompanied minors, the elderly and the sick – most of whom are desperate to return home.”

The number of migrants entering Yemen has more than doubled over the last two years from 53,000 in 2010 to over 107,000 last year.

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