Date: Thursday, 11 May 2017
From ADANE BIKILA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, (CAJ News) – DISASTER-struck Ethiopia is on the brink of renewed catastrophe with the impending deportation of 200 000 citizens from Saudi Arabia.
The Ethiopians, who have been living in the Middle East country without residence and work permits, will be repatriated within the next two months, following a 90-day amnesty period to help them leave the country without penalties.
In 2013, a similar situation occurred when more than 170 000 Ethiopians were repatriated from Saudi Arabia.
Among the returnees, 40 percent were women in addition to a significant number of children, unaccompanied minors and migrants with serious health conditions.
Humanitarian organisations said they were preparing contingency plans to support the government in receiving these returnees.
The upcoming deportations come at a time the cash-strapped East African country is already struggling to cope with a severe drought affecting 7 million people. This includes an estimated 303 000 children under the age of five at risk of severe acute malnutrition in 2017.
The devastating drought hit pastoral communities in the south and south-east of Ethiopia, brought diarrhoea, food and water shortages.
A huge influx of refugees fleeing the conflict in South Sudan has also gripped Ethiopia with up to 250 000 Sudanese expected in the coming weeks from the volatile Jonglei State.
Some 362 000 Sudanese are already refugees in Ethiopia.
They are among 830 refugees in Ethiopia, with others from Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan.
– CAJ News