IOM Charter Flight Brought Safely Home 135 Ghanaians from Libya

Published Date: 
Tue, 08/17/2021 - 00:30
Country: 
Ghana

 

Accra (Ghana) – on 29 July 2021, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) assisted 135 stranded Ghanaian migrants to return to their families from Libya, through the Voluntary Humanitarian Return Assistance Programme.

To ensure a smooth reception and welcome of the returnees upon arrival at Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana, IOM worked closely with the Government of Ghana.

The charter flight was made possible through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, the first comprehensive programme of its kind launched in May 2017 to save lives, protect and assist migrants along key migration routes in Africa.

Upon arrival all returnees were tested for COVID-19, an obligatory measure for all arriving international passengers at the airport, introduced by Government last year to curb the spread of the virus in the country.

Subsequently, IOM staff registered the returnees, to ensure adequate follow-up during their reintegration process. Returnees were provided with cash assistance for their immediate needs, including for travel to their destination.

“I am happy to be back after nine years stay in Libya. One cannot put into words what I experienced there. Libya is not safe. I was always looking for an opportunity to come back home. Thanks to the support from IOM, I was able to return together with my family and I am looking forward to restarting my life,” said Kwesi, one of the migrants who returned with the charter flight.

A dedicated screening from a psychosocial perspective was conducted for all returnees to evaluate the need for psychosocial assistance as well as to inform the returnees of that available service. This was done in close collaboration with Government and officers from NADMO who had previously been trained by IOM’s Psychosocial Assistant and Clinical Psychologist. The most vulnerable received needed assistance including follow up on medical cases and psychosocial first aid. Among the returnees were 25 migrants with medical conditions, including one with wheelchair, who were provided with necessary treatment and medical escorts onboard.

“Over the past year, we have worked closely with Government to establish solid structures for return and reintegration, and to build the capacities of governmental and non-governmental migration stakeholders, including on the provision of psychosocial support. Today, we are happy to see that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Reintegration of Returnees in Ghana are effectively being implemented,” said Abibatou Wane-Fall, IOM Ghana’s Chief of Mission.

Upon return, migrants are eligible for reintegration assistance, which includes economic, social and psychosocial services.

Since 2017, IOM has assisted over 1800 Ghanaians with their voluntarily return home, more than 90% of them from Libya. So far, over 800 returnees have completed their reintegration process; an additional 1000 are in the process of their reintegration assistance and are receiving counselling.

For more information, please contact Juliane Reissig, Public Information Officer at IOM Ghana, JREISSIG@iom.int