“The hospital in Sanaa told me that both my kidneys had failed…I didn’t know what to do next until I heard about IOM”, says Mohamed, a recent returnee from Yemen, speaking from the IOM Transit Centre in Addis Ababa.


Sanaa is the capital of Yemen, also the transit country for many irregular migrants heading to Saudi Arabia. Some migrants briefly work in Yemen to save money to cover their payments to smugglers and other expenses for their onward travel to Saudi Arabia.

Mohamed was born in Arsi Zone in Ethiopia’s Oromia Regional State. Like many others from his district, Mohamed comes from a family of subsistence farmers without the means to support a large household.


Mohamed - who is in his thirties - has four brothers and four sisters and had to carry the burden of supporting them as well as himself. Prior to leaving the country he worked at a vegetable farm in Harar, a city 500km away from his hometown. His entry into Yemen was through the Jijiga-Hargessa-Bossaso route, which is popular with irregular migrants intending to reach Saudi Arabia.

In Yemen he worked at a vegetable farm for three years until fell ill and was hospitalised.


“I had to pay all the money I earned from working at the vegetable farm (close to USD3500) for treatment in Sanaa. I was left with nothing, then my friends told me about IOM and the support I can get.”


Mohamed adds: “IOM accepted me in Sanaa, and they provided me with treatment for free. They even provided me with transport to return to Ethiopia, and now I am being helped at the (transit) center and getting medical treatment for free.”


Support for Mohamed came through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative, which facilitates orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration management through the development of rights-based and development-focused procedures and processes on protection and sustainable reintegration.


 The project, backed by the EU Trust Fund, covers and has been set up in close cooperation with a total of 26 African countries.

The EU-IOM Joint Initiative is also the co-funder of the IOM Transit Centre in Addis Ababa.