Migrant Response Plan for the Horn of Africa and Yemen 2023

Regional Plan
Last updated: December 15 2022
Funding required
People Targeted

IOM Vision

The Regional Migrant Response Plan (MRP) for the Horn of Africa and Yemen includes urgent life-saving humanitarian and protection interventions to improve safe and dignified access to basic services for migrants in transit, destination as well as host communities, ensuring medium to long-term actions aimed at addressing the drivers of migration; as well as building evidence, partnerships and coordination to enhance the humanitarian response and migration management throughout the migration route. Within the broader inter-agency framework developed by IOM in coordination with 40 partners, including regional and country-level non-governmental (NGOs), UN Agencies and intergovernmental partners, IOM will support governments and other partners by strengthening their capacities for better migration management to support communities of origin, transit and destination.

Save lives and respond to needs through humanitarian assistance and protection

Funding required
People Targeted
Entities Targeted
International migrant, Local population / community
Primary target groups
Description of People and Entities Targeted

The beneficiaries within this objective, include migrants and host communities assisted with life-saving assistance and protection, and government officials benefiting from training and technical assistance related to humanitarian assistance and protection. The migrants require assistance at key transit points and in the communities they settle, as they transit often on foot and in remote desert areas, with minimal economic resources. In Ethiopia the considerable caseload of returning migrants, including forcibly returned migrants from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as well as migrants assisted by voluntary humanitarian return (VHR) from Yemen arriving in Addis Ababa, has resulted in overcrowding and delayed returns to places of origin; resulting in dire need for life-saving assistance and tailored protection assistance.

Basic needs, including food

IOM will provide basic humanitarian assistance to vulnerable migrants, including stranded migrants, UMCs, GBV survivors and victims of human trafficking, and this assistance will be provided in the Migration Response Centres (MRCs), Migration Response Points, Ethiopian Community Centres (ECC), government shelters, way stations and other centres providing services to migrants. IOM will provide food and/or nutrition assistance to vulnerable migrants in coordination with the World Food Programme (WFP), a key MRP partner. Specifically, IOM will:

  • Provide and distribute food for vulnerable migrants and host communities.
  • Provide multipurpose cash assistance (MPCA) to migrants in transit to respond to their basic needs. The MPCA will be given to the most vulnerable returnees such as UMCs, vulnerable pregnant and lactating women, women with small children, girls, persons with medical conditions, victims of trafficking, migrants vulnerable to violence, exploitation and abuse, older persons, and persons with disabilities.
  • Train government representatives from the Ethiopian Disaster Risk Management Commission (EDRMC), the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI), the Ministry of Health (MoH), the Ministry of Women and Social Affairs (MoWSA), the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), the Immigration Nationality and Vital Events Agency (INVEA), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on the provision of life-saving assistance.
  • Provide services such as non-food item (NFI) kits, food, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), temporary shelter and counselling.
  • Provide life-saving transportation and rescue assistance in a safe, humane and dignified manner to migrants.
Funding required
Plan types

Direct health support

IOM will provide integrated essential health and nutrition services to migrants and crisis-affected populations along the Eastern Route. IOM will also refer migrants to primary health care or secondary health care (including specialist clinics/services such as cardiology, physiotherapy, etc.) along the Eastern Route. Key activities will include:

  • Providing primary health care to vulnerable migrants via static and mobile health clinics including:
    • Medical screening
    • First aid response
    • Emergency health support
    • COVID-19 related assistance
    • Vaccination
    • Treatment and referrals for Tuberculosis, Hepatitis, HIV/AIDS and other non-communicable diseases
  • Providing medical screening and provision of essential treatment (as above) for returnees at IOM assistance points and conducting mobile medical outreaches targeting migrants and host communities (e.g. transit points, points of entry, etc.).
    • Deployment of medical staff such as nurses and doctors as well as administrative staff in the shelters proving temporary accommodation to returned migrants.
  • Providing secondary medical assistance and referrals.
  • Enhancing the capacity of the medical staff at MRC clinics through training personnel and strengthening referral mechanisms to support the provision of primary health care as well as secondary health care in a timely and quality manner.
Funding required
Plan types

Mental health and psychosocial support in humanitarian response

Many migrants suffer from mild to severe psychosocial trauma and require Psychological First Aid (PFA) upon arrival, as well as assessments and referrals for the most severe cases to specialized service providers for MHPSS. In 2023, IOM will provide MHPSS activities in line with the IOM Manual on Community-Based MHPSS in Emergencies and Displacement to maintain their mental health, improve their psychosocial well-being and strengthen the protection environment for migrants and affected communities. MHPSS activities will include skills training, MHPSS training for officials and actors involved in the Eastern Route, training of trainers for migrants on peer counselling and information-sharing, and establishing a buddy system for returnees (Ethiopia). The buddy system leverages well-integrated returnees in hotspots of return to create peer-to-peer support systems for incoming returnees. The focus will include the following activities:

  • Provide psychosocial and psychological support for migrants with MHPSS needs. Provide tailored child protection services for UMCs at the MRCs and other protection centres across the country, per the established minimum standards.
  • Provide skills training for vulnerable migrants.
  • Enhance capacity-building for government volunteers, paraprofessionals and different stakeholders on the following topics:
    • MHPSS
      • Basic understanding of MHPSS
      • Psychosocial and other needs of migrants and displaced persons
      • PFA
    • Humanitarian intervention guide
    • Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP)
      • This programme, led by the World Health Organisation (WHO), aims at scaling up services for mental, neurological, and substance use disorders especially for low- and middle-income countries. The programme asserts that with proper care, psychosocial assistance and medication, tens of millions of people could be treated for depression, schizophrenia, and epilepsy, prevented from suicide, and begin to lead normal lives– even where resources are scarce.
Funding required
Plan types

Movement assistance

Transiting migrants face increased barriers to accessing essential services, deteriorating living conditions, the harsh climate, exposure to human rights violations including but not limited to monetary extortion, physical assault, torture, sexual violence and abuse by smugglers as well as being exposed to risks of human trafficking. Migrants end up stranded in countries of transit and destination as they lack the financial means to either continue their journey and/or return home. As such, VHR constitutes an immediate life-saving option to assist migrants with voluntary and dignified returns to their countries of origin for those who wish to return and have no means to do so. To enable migrants, stranded in vulnerable situations in Yemen, Djibouti and Somalia, to reach their communities of origin safely movement assistance activities that will be undertaken by IOM are set out below:

  • Provide onward transportation assistance (OTA) to migrants in Ethiopia and Somalia, respectively. (OTA is provided as a cash allowance calculated to cover public transportation and subsistence-related costs from the point of departure to beneficiaries’ areas of origin, and is provided to the most vulnerable adults and UMCs).
  • Provide VHR support to transiting migrants in Djibouti, Somalia, and Yemen.
  • Provide post-arrival return assistance to forcibly returned migrants in Addis Ababa and Somalia, including;
    • Registration
    • Food
    • NFIs
    • Multi-purpose cash assistance
    • Primary and secondary healthcare
    • WASH
    • Temporary accommodation.
  • Provide pre-departure assistance to migrants supported with VHR to Ethiopia and Somalia.
    • The assistance includes registration, family tracing for UMCs (coordinated with UNICEF, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and UNHCR through referral mechanisms), individual counselling, provided with the necessary information to make an informed decision in line with their needs, initial assessments of any risks of ill-treatment, persecution, or other human rights violations that the migrant could suffer should they return to their country of origin, movement logistics, nationality verifications, fitness to travel medical screenings, and issuance of emergency travel documents in coordination with officials from the Government of Yemen and the country of origin.​​​​​​​
Funding required
Plan types


The portfolio of protection activities will cover MRCs, health clinics, mobile teams, way stations and child protection desks in each country. In addition, IOM will provide specialized protection and GBV services to victims of trafficking, at-risk migrants, protection services for victims of human rights violations, rape survivors, and UMCs; family tracing and reunification; and hotlines to provide information on protection services (Yemen). In terms of rape survivors, IOM will target migrant survivors and aim to provide clinical services or rape services within 72 hours of an incident or exposure. IOM will also conduct protection monitoring and vulnerability assessments, and document cases of migrant deaths or disappearances. In addition, IOM will provide training to government officials, front-line actors, partners and border management officials on child protection, GBV, counter-trafficking, identification of special needs, referral mechanisms for vulnerable migrants, and human rights. In Yemen, IOM will continue to engage and include de-facto authorities in the aforementioned capacity-building initiatives despite being unrecognized internationally to reach the most vulnerable migrants. In summary, IOM activities under the activity area will include:

  • Registration and vulnerability screening of migrants in MRCs, health clinics, mobile teams, way stations and child protection desks.
  • Provision of direct specialized protection to vulnerable migrants.
  • Capacity development of actors through training, equipment, partnerships, and sub-grants.
Funding required
Plan types

Provision of water, sanitation and hygiene in emergencies

IOM will implement WASH activities, including providing services and rehabilitation of infrastructure. Specific activities will encompass the following:

  • Refurbishment of WASH infrastructure at points of entry and interim migrant reception facilities in Ethiopia run by the government, which will mainly benefit returnees.
  • WASH services at transit centres and through the MRCs, targeting transiting migrants and migrants living in Djibouti.
Funding required
Plan types

Shelter, settlements and non-food items

IOM will provide safe and dignified accommodation assistance (through transit centres, MRCs, and provision of transitional shelters) and shelters offering specialized protection services. IOM will provide NFIs in the Eastern Route countries, targeting returning migrants in Ethiopia and Somalia and transiting migrants in the other MRP countries. IOM will:

  • Provide NFIs to vulnerable migrants;
    • Includes clothing, bedding material, basic hygiene items and other essential commodities;
  • Provide shelter to migrants in need;
  • Ensure management of transit centres for migrants;
  • Support local partners’ shelters to increase their intake capacity and improve service provision;
    • Construction of added sleeping quarters and other community areas within the shelters;
  • Assist returnees from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Banadir, Somalia with temporary accommodation before reaching their final destination; and
  • Establish and strengthen shelters offering specialized services in Yemen.
Funding required
Plan types

Humanitarian border management and emergency consular assistance

Under Humanitarian Border Management, IOM will:

  • Establish or improve national or cross-border referral mechanisms for vulnerable migrants, as well as improve border and migration management processes, harmonize policies and procedures and bolster the advocacy, coordination, development, and implementation of action plans to address the needs of migrants along the eastern route and other migratory routes.
  • Partnership and coordination at regional, national, and local levels is a cross-cutting theme underpinning all proposed measures to enhance the complementarity of action between different actors and ensure consistency and predictability in operationalizing responses against agreed milestones. This may include, but is not limited to, cross-border referral mechanisms for UMCs and GBV survivors between MRP partners and agencies mandated to protect people in mixed flows.
  • Pilot a border pass system at two selected border crossing areas in Ethiopia.
  • Strengthen the structures and procedures for enhanced humanitarian border and immigration management, such as through the provision of trainings for border officials on rights based and humanitarian approach to border management, operationalization of context specific SOPs, the promotion of migrants’ human rights at borders, the donation of equipment and materials, and the rehabilitation of border posts.
Funding required
Plan types
Migrants transiting in Djibouti, 2022. IOM Djibouti
Migrants transiting in Djibouti, 2022. IOM Djibouti

Address the drivers and longer term impacts of crises and displacement through investments in recovery and crisis prevention

Funding required
People Targeted
International migrant, Local population / community
Primary target groups
Description of People and Entities Targeted

Target beneficiaries within this objective include mainly migrants and host communities in countries comprising the Eastern Route. In Ethiopia, as the main departure country for migrants, communities with high levels of emigration and returns remain the priority for awareness-raising campaigns to provide information on the risks of irregular migration. In Somalia and Yemen, vulnerable and returnee migrants are the focus of this objective to mitigate considerable protection risks due to the protracted conflicts. In Somalia, this will include community stabilization and community reintegration initiatives. In Yemen, this will consist of awareness-raising campaigns, and establishing and strengthening community-based protection structures. Similarly, communities involved in the conflict in Northern Ethiopia will be targeted for community stabilization activities to bolster the truce recently established between conflict actors. Lastly, host community members and migrants within communities affected by the Horn of Africa drought and other climate-related impacts will be targeted with sustainable livelihoods to address the longer-term implications of displacement. IOM's drought-related response is outlined in the regional drought response plan.

Community stabilization

Along the Eastern Route, the drivers for irregular migration continue to be primarily economic, and areas of outward migration are often marked by communities with weak social cohesion, poor service delivery and weak governance.  Stranded migrants and returnees need more sustainable solutions to mitigate the risk of unsafe and irregular migration or further marginalization. This includes community-based initiatives that foster stabilization and resilience through access to quality basic services, sustainable and climate-resilient livelihoods, and other initiatives that address the needs of at-risk, vulnerable groups.  The community stabilization activities will seek to assist governments, civil society and affected communities to reduce the drivers of forced and irregular migration, strengthening community cohesion efforts, finding durable solutions for stranded migrants and facilitating safe return options to Ethiopia and Somalia. Following are the other key community stabilization activities:

  • Facilitate community dialogues, mobile outreach activities, awareness-raising and sensitization campaigns about the dangers of irregular migration, amongst other topics, in origin, transit and return areas.
  • Establish/strengthen community-based protection structures that support vulnerable and returnee migrants in Yemen.
  • Provide tailored and sustainable reintegration assistance and economic empowerment opportunities (such as livelihoods, trainings, education, etc.) for returnees in Ethiopia and Somalia. IOM will specifically: 
    • Set up/strengthen pilot livelihood projects for migrants at destination and host communities. 
    • Provide tailored individual reintegration support to returnees and community-based reintegration in countries of origin
    • Support communities to sustain climate-conscious conflict mitigation strategies by investing in physical infrastructure such as rehabilitation of groundwater-based water supply systems and establishing local water catchment systems.
Funding required
Plan types

Contribute to an Evidence Based and Efficient Crisis Response System

Funding required
At risk communities
People Targeted
Entities Targeted
International migrant, Local population / community
Primary target groups
Description of People and Entities Targeted

Key entities and people targeted within this category include humanitarian and development actors, regional and sub-regional governing bodies, national government ministries, and other entities involved in migration management, including border management officials and healthcare entities. IOM aims to contribute to an evidence base covering migration dynamics along the Eastern Route. Examples of the governing bodies covered under this objective include Ethiopia’s NPC, and federal and regional law enforcement government officials. Facilitating meetings with and among governing bodies aims to improve policies impacting migration. In addition, communication products under this objective also target the above audience to advocate for Eastern Route migrants.

Displacement tracking

Displacement tracking activities will include flow monitoring registry reports (FMR), flow monitoring surveys (FMS) and needs assessments in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Yemen. Flow monitoring reports in 2023 will be formulated with data collected from Flow Monitoring Points (FMP) monthly through the registration of migrants crossing border points and surveys (FMR and FMS). The reports will include information about the volumes of migrants, their nationalities, sex and age disaggregated information, their origins, their planned destinations, COVID-19 monitoring indicators and key vulnerabilities, among others. More specifically, IOM will:

  • Produce monthly flow monitoring and survey reports covering areas along the Eastern Route;
  • Produce FMR reports along the existing five monitoring points; and
  • Produce needs assessments to identify the gaps across the Eastern Route.
Funding required
Plan types

Support services for response actors

IOM will focus on enhancing the capacities of local actors to respond through capacity development, including training and operational support to local NGOs and other responders. Specific support services for response actors will include:

  • Train government officials and stakeholders on migration, international legal and policy frameworks, and bilateral/regional labour agreements in Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia.
  • Support government entities with equipment and infrastructure enhancements after conducting an organizational capacity assessment for the regional partnership coalitions on migration(12 regions) in Ethiopia.
  • Hold MRP meetings, trainings, and workshops with regional, sub-regional, and national representatives and support regional or bilateral government dialogue initiatives related to migration along the Eastern Route.
  • Produce research studies, policy and advocacy documents, and communication products.
  • Strengthen ongoing regional and country efforts to enhance effective coordination, advocacy and information-sharing between the partners.
  • Implement inter-agency capacity-building initiatives on the MRP thematic areas.
  • Support inter-state/bilateral and inter-regional dialogues to advance the development of relevant policies and improve migration management along the Eastern Route.
Funding required
Plan types
Operational presence in

Yemen, Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia

The map used here is for illustration purposes only. Names and boundaries do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by IOM.

Figures are as of 31 December 2022. For more details of IOM's operational capacity in country, please see the IOM Capacity section.

With thanks to our current donors