BY SILAS NKALA
OVER 174 000 migrants have returned to Zimbabwe since the onset of COVID-19 due to loss of employment and deportation.
This was revealed by the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) in its latest report.
Most of the returnees were drawn from South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique and Europe.
“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 174 291 migrants have returned to Zimbabwe… With Zimbabwe’s COVID-19 restrictions gradually relaxed, IOM continues to promote safe and orderly migration as well as to protect the rights and dignity of migrants in Zimbabwe,” the United Nations agency said.
“Two update meetings were held between regional IOM focal persons and the team of donor representatives in southern Africa to share updates among participating countries, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe and the donor on the project progress and the challenges as a result of COVID-19 lockdown measures in the region,” it said.
The organisation said it assisted 881 individuals with emergency lifesaving assistance, mental health and psychosocial support services, medical attention, emergency shelter, and legal representation.
The UN agency said monitoring activities took place at Chirundu, Forbes, Beitbridge and Plumtree border posts.
It said it provided toiletries and cash assistance to migrant returnees who lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
IOM added that said it would ensure the protection of frontline employees at the country’s border posts, including IOM staff and nurses involved in the registration and screening process as well as manning the isolation facilities.
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