IOM welcomes home 164 Ghanaians from Libya
Accra (Ghana) - On 19 April 2023, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in close collaboration with the Government of Ghana, assisted 164 migrants (134 male, 15 female, and 15 children out of which four were infants) to voluntarily return to Ghana from Libya through IOM’s Voluntary Humanitarian Return Assistance Programme. The charter flight was made possible through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.
Upon arrival at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, the returnees were tested for COVID-19 and received vaccinations as needed by Port Health staff. They were guided through national processing by the Ghana Immigration Service, the National Investigation Bureau, and Ghana Police Service.
Following this, trained staff from IOM Ghana and the National Disaster Management Organization offered psychological first aid and provided mental health screenings and referrals.
Among the returnees were two migrants with severe medical conditions, one of which required a medical escort onboard the flight. The individuals received necessary treatment after their arrival and were moved to a hospital in Accra. Their ambulance transportation was provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and the National Ambulance Service. The individuals have since been transferred to their respective regions where they receive care from their local hospitals. Ghana Health Service will continue to take care of their medical needs moving forward along with assistance provided by IOM.
“I was grateful to survive the difficult route to Libya and find work there. After working for two months as a mason, I fell from a three-story building and suffered a spinal cord injury leaving me paralyzed. I thank God that I was able to return home to Ghana and I pray that I can walk again,” remarked one returnee who received medical attention.
Additionally, returnees were taken through a registration procedure by IOM staff to ensure adequate follow-up during their reintegration process.
“Life in Libya was not always easy. It was hard for me to find work and when I did work, I would not always be paid. I thank God my family is safe, and we are back in Ghana. I’m so grateful to be home,” remarked one returnee.
The migrants were provided with food, water, hygiene kits and received cash assistance for their immediate needs. In addition, each returnee received a package containing a month’s supply of food staples. Onward transportation to the main areas of return, Kumasi, Sunyani, Techiman, and within Accra, were also provided.
“Under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative, IOM Ghana works closely with the Government and other migration stakeholders to establish solid structures for return and reintegration in Ghana, to build the capacities of governmental and non-governmental migration stakeholders, to assist returning migrants to restart their lives, and to collaborate with communities of origin to mitigate some of the drivers of irregular migration. We are proud to have supported over 3383 Ghanaians (3092 male, 291 female) who have voluntarily returned under the programme since 2017,” said Ms. Pooja Bhalla, Project Manager, IOM Ghana.
Going forward, returnees will start their reintegration process which may involve further economic, social, and psychosocial assistance.
For more information, please contact Pooja Bhalla, Project Manager, IOM Ghana, at firstname.lastname@example.org