GENEVA, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) — The UN migration agency, IOM, said Friday that it has relocated over 15,000 Eritrean refugees in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia since March 1.
IOM said in a statement it is working in close partnership with the Ethiopian government’s Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs and UNHCR, the UN refugee agency.
IOM has medically screened and transported newly arrived Eritrean refugees from a reception center in Endabaguna in Shire to four refugee camps in the North of Ethiopia. Eritrea and Ethiopia are neighbors.
“Currently IOM is relocating an average of about 100 persons per day which represents an increase in what has been the most continual refugee flow into Ethiopia in 2017,” IOM quoted Khatab Khalid, the head of IOM Ethiopia’s Shire Sub-Office as saying.
According to official figures, there were 21,215 new Eritrean refugee arrivals to Ethiopia in 2016 while over 20,000 have arrived in 2017 to date, said IOM.
Most of the refugees are youth with 46 percent of the total transported by IOM aged between 18-24 years old. Many of them report walking for days to reach Ethiopia.
Eritreans were the single largest group of migrants and refugees entering by sea into Italy in 2015, totaling 25 percent of all arrivals. However, the number of Eritreans travelling along the Central Mediterranean route into Italy significantly decreased in 2016, by almost 50 percent compared to 2015.