By Akanimo Sampson
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), a United Nations agency, has assisted 143 Somali returnees stranded in Yemen to return home. A total of 46 men, 41 women, 26 boys and 30 girls set off by boat from Aden, Yemen, the previous Monday and arrived the next day at the port of Berbera.
The movement was made possible through funding from the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief) and the Government of Kuwait.
IOM works in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on returnee movements out of war-torn Yemen. With the conflict having effects on the economic and security situation in Yemen, many migrants and refugees find themselves without the means to provide for themselves and their families. Stranded, they then turn to humanitarian organizations for return assistance.
At Berbera port, representatives from the Somaliland National Displacement and Refugee Agency (NDRA), together with IOM, UNHCR, KSrelief, the Danish Refugee Council, Somaliland Red Crescent Society, Ministry of Health and the Immigration Department, welcomed the returnees home.
One of them, a 50-year-old man, expressed his gratitude: “We were provided with transport and welcomed nicely. I decided to return after I realised that the war, the main reason I left Somalia, has ended.”
“We thank KSrelief for their support to this important project enabling Somali to return back to their home,” said NDRA representative Abdiqani Abdirahman Mohamoud, who also acknowledged IOM and other counterparts involved in the operation.
Since this KSrelief-funded project began in November 2018, 1,505 (783 men and 722 women) Somali returnees were assisted. The aim of the project is to facilitate safe and dignified movements from Yemen and contribute to sustainable reintegration of Somali returnees.
“I am happy to attend the arrival of this twelfth movement we were able to support. We thank the government authorities, IOM and the other agencies for their efforts in welcoming the returnees and providing them with further assistance,” said Yousef Bakheet R. Albulushi, KSrelief representative at the port of Berbera.
Contributions from the government of Kuwait were also used to finance the movement from the Yemen side on September 30.
IOM and partners offered reception assistance to the people returning from Yemen. Those in need of medical support were assisted at the IOM clinic at the Berbera Reception Centre, together with the Ministry of Health supported by IOM. In the days that followed their arrival, IOM helped to ensure that the returnees had the support needed to reach their final destination.