Nation Repatriating Some 2,000 COVID-19 Vulnerable Ethiopians from Middle East


Addis Abeba, May 28/2020 (ENA) Ethiopia has started repatriating close to 2,000 COVID-19 vulnerable Ethiopian migrants in compliance with the UN resolution of mass repatriation during pandemic. 

In an exclusive interview with ENA, Foreign Affairs State Minister Tsion Teklu said even if repatriation is not encouraged at this challenging time the return of extremely vulnerable  migrants is necessary as they cannot get the much needed assistance in the host countries.

“The most vulnerable ones will be repatriated and in light of that last week, for example, we had 57 from the UAE. They were detained and given parole to be repatriated.

Similarly, we are going to repatriate 649 Ethiopians from Beirut today and on Saturday because they made  precarious living that exposes them to the virus,” she elaborated.

Tracing and identifying the irregular migrants is difficult as they are not registered by the Ethiopian missions, Tsion said.

She stated that collaborative efforts have been exerted to prevent the   spread of COVID-19 among Ethiopians in the host countries.

“In total the number of those that are going to be repatriated would not exceed 2,000. We are actually working on sustaining them where they are and providing them with what they need to control the spread of the virus,” the state minster said.

According to her, medical supplies, including places for quarantine, for the returnees are prepared in cooperation with the pertinent sector offices and ministries.

Tsion pointed out that “ the repatriated, upon arrival, will be quarantined and in the meantime the different ministries will work out plans for their resettlement…. We are of course taking a lot of precaution to resettle them because they are coming from different countries to Addis Ababa to be  quarantined and sent to regions. We are sticking to the idea of not spreading the virus.”

Any work related to migration, especially during such times as this needs genuine collaboration among countries, international organizations, and the community at large, she added.

In any case “we will continue to assist our fellow Ethiopians since it is uncertain when COVID-19 will be fully controlled,” Tsion stated.

Over the last couple of years, Ethiopia has been repatriating its citizens and resettling them.