USD 112M Needed to Save Migrant Lives in Horn of Africa, Yemen and Southern Africa

IOM provides assisted voluntary return support to stranded migrants in Djibouti. Pictured: Migrants in Obock, Djibouti in transit to the quarantine site of Ar Aousa prior to their departure to their country of origin. Photo: IOM Djibouti 2021/Alexander Bee 

Geneva, 16 April – The International Organization for Migration (IOM), along with 48 other humanitarian and development organizations and governments, is urgently appealing for USD 112 million to support over 2.1 million migrants and host communities along the Eastern and Southern routes including in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen, Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania.   

The call for funds was made at a donor briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, on 16 April.  

The appeal comes in the wake of last week’s tragedy off the coast of Djibouti in which at least 38 migrants, including children, lost their lives after their boat capsized and sank after leaving Yemen.  

“Last week’s tragedy is yet another very uncomfortable wake up call,” said Ugochi Daniels, IOM Deputy Director General for Operations. “The humanitarian, protection, and development needs of migrants across the Eastern and Southern migration routes are demanding our attention.”  

Each year, tens of thousands of migrants embark on a journey from the Horn of Africa, primarily Ethiopia and Somalia, seeking work in the Gulf countries via the ‘Eastern route.’ Additionally, migrants travel through Kenya, Tanzania, and several countries in Southern Africa, to try and reach South Africa via the ‘Southern route.’ These routes are among the most dangerous, complex, and under-reported migratory routes in the world. Hundreds of thousands of migrants were recorded moving along these routes each year. In 2023, 480,000 movements were recorded.  

Migrants often face starvation, dehydration and human rights abuses, including sexual violence and exploitation by human traffickers and smugglers.   

As of December 2023, 46 per cent of arrivals in Yemen were women and children, with almost 20 per cent of the children unaccompanied travelling along the ‘Eastern route.’ In total, over 46,000 migrants remain stranded along this route, and approximately 11,600 movements were identified along the ‘Southern route,’ heading to destinations including South Africa. 

This appeal falls under the ‘Regional Migrant Response Plan for the Horn of Africa to Yemen and Southern Africa, 2024’, which includes life-saving assistance, protection services, voluntary return, addressing the root causes of migration, promoting sustainable reintegration and livelihood opportunities, and enhancing partnerships and coordination.  

Despite previous appeals, the plan remains severely underfunded, emphasizing the critical need for support.  


For more information please contact:  

Yvonne Ndege, IOM Regional Office for the East and Horn of Africa,   

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