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, and safety and security challenges migrants in the region are facing. Once met, funding raised will assist local communities in affected countries, also impacted by the emergency.
Every year, tens of thousands of migrants in the region leave countries like Ethiopia and 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 dangerous risks 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, and 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 being able to return home and 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.