The UN agency for migration Tuesday said it moved 140 Ethiopian migrants stranded in Yemen back to their home country.

“Today, a flight carrying 140 stranded migrants departed from Aden International Airport for Addis Ababa,” the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in a statement.

It added: “This was the first flight to Ethiopia from Yemen under the IOM’s Voluntary Humanitarian Return program since the COVID-19 global pandemic was declared.”

“This flight is a vital lifeline for migrants who have been stranded for months in unsafe conditions,” it quoted IOM Director General Antonio Vitorino as saying. “In the coming months, we hope to see more migrants safely going home.”

“Despite a reduction in the number of migrants arriving in Yemen – from 138,000 in 2019 to just over 37,500 in 2020 – the dangers they face have drastically increased over the past year. Unable to continue across Yemen to Saudi Arabia, many stranded migrants lack shelter, water and food,” the statement noted.

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