IOM Ghana welcomes close to 300 migrants back home
Accra- On 8 and 24 March 2022, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) assisted 292 migrants (including 24 female and 246 male adults, 14 children and 8 infants) to return to Ghana from Libya. A representative from the European Delegation to Ghana joined the IOM team to welcome the returnees on the 24th March charter at Kotoka International Airport in Accra. To ensure a smooth reception process, IOM worked closely with all key stakeholders of the Government of Ghana.
The charter flights were made possible through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration Project funded by the European Union (EU) Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Launched in May 2017, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative is a comprehensive programme created to save lives, and to protect and assist migrants along key migration routes in Africa.
“I migrated to Libya hoping for a better life. But living in fear and uncertainty is bad torture and not good for your mental health. You can’t even walk freely and have your peace of mind, so coming home is a great relief. If I do not have anything at all, I will get my peace of mind here”, one of the returnees shared with an IOM staff. “In Libya, life is not easy at all, I am grateful to you and the others like IOM for supporting us to come back home and I do not take it for granted at all! Thank you very much and I’m happy to be back home. My immediate plans are not so clear, but I want to get home and have some rest and I can think of starting a business” said another returnee in a conversation with Emmanuel Soubiran, Programme Officer / Governance Section, from the European Union Delegation to Ghana.
Upon arrival, returnees were tested for COVID-19, and provided either their 1st or 2nd dosage of Covid-19 vaccination, 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, and provided cash assistance for their immediate needs, as well as food, water, and hygiene kits. In the coming weeks, once settled, the returnees will start their reintegration processes. This assistance may include economic, social, and psychosocial services. Psychological screenings were conducted for all returnees in collaboration with NADMO, Port Health and the University of Ghana Social Welfare department. Individual cases were identified for one-on-one follow ups and information on how to access Psychosocial support services were provided.
A total of 200 returnees were surveyed on COVID and pre-departure assistance using the COVID Specific Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) Compact Survey, upon arrival. 38 returnees with medical conditions were provided with necessary treatment and referrals to health facilities in their communities of return with the help of IOM Ghana Medical Health Assessment Centre in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service (Port Health).
Emmanuel Soubiran, Programme Officer / Governance Section, European Union Delegation to Ghana, joined the IOM team at the airport to welcome the returnees. He shared some words of encouragement with the arriving returnees: “We understand the struggles and issues of irregular migration and that is why we support IOM to help facilitate in bringing you back home safely. We do hope that you reintegrate into society and can get back to your normal lives soon again but most important of all, we are happy that you are back home safe and sound”.
For more information, please contact Pooja Bhalla, Project Manager at IOM Ghana, at email@example.com