IOM upscales its Migration Response Centre to Respond to the Needs of Vulnerable Migrants in Ethiopia
Tog-Wajalle, Ethiopia – To respond to the growing needs of people crossing in key border towns across Ethiopia, since 2019, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) started operating a Migration Response Centre (MRC) in Tog-Wajalle, a key transit town for thousands of migrants trying to reach the Gulf through Somalia, supporting over 4,000 migrants since its opening. MRCs are managed by key governmental ministries and departments, such as the Ministry of Justice, of Women and Social Affairs, of Health and the department of Immigration.
The organization, which is supporting an additional four MRCs, has seen an escalating need and has taken a step to expand its life-saving assistance and long-term support to stranded migrants along the main migratory routes in Ethiopia. It is expected that the Tog-Wajalle MRC will continue assisting hundreds of migrants every week.
In the first quarter of 2023 alone, IOM has assisted close to 2,000 migrants. Over the last year, the organization assisted over 8,000 migrants across the five MRCs.
Many migrants become stranded and suffer life-threatening hardships during their trip which frequently lead to fatalities. MRCs provide life-saving emergency assistance, including medical assessments and referrals, meals, accommodation, and clothing, to vulnerable migrants, alongside the Government of Ethiopia and regional administrators.
Migrants also receive information on the dangers of migrating irregularly and how such journeys expose them to human trafficking. Additionally, they are provided with transportation assistance to their hometowns, and the most vulnerable ones are assisted towards a livelihood project in their communities.
Over the years, a growing number of migrants in dire situations were assisted in Tog-Wajalle MRC. However, the infrastructure hosting the MRC was cramped, limiting the number of migrants assisted at the time and comprehensiveness of the support provided.
IOM, in cooperation with the Somali Regional State government and with funding from the Government of Norway, the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) under the Better Migration Management (BMM) Programme, and the US Government, constructed the new premises in Tog-Wajalle. The MRC will increase the organization’s capacity to respond to the high needs and assist additional migrants with improved quality of services.
“MRCs are saving the lives of migrants who would have risked more hardship if they were to continue their journey on treacherous irregular migratory routes. This newly inaugurated centre in Tog-Wajjale will allow the Government to improve the protection and assistance of those who need it the most,” Tchalim Bawele, IOM Ethiopia Migrant Protection Programme Manager.
The Better Migration Management programme is a regional, multi-year, multi-partner programme, funded by the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). IOM is one of the main implementing partners alongside British Council, Civipol, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, and UNODC. BMM aims to improve the human-rights based management of safe, orderly and regular migration and to support competent national authorities addressing the trafficking in human beings and the smuggling of migrants within and from the Horn of Africa region. BMM is implemented in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda.
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