More than 150 Ghanaian migrants have been brought back from Libya through the first charter flight of its kind since COVID-19-related border closures, the International Organization of Migration (IOM) announced on Friday.
The 150 Ghanaians travelled from Libya to their homeland on November 24, and arrived at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), in Accra, according to an IOM statement.
“Upon arrival, migrants were tested for COVID-19 and provided with onward transportation cash assistance for their immediate needs, including travel to their home communities. The most vulnerable received medical and psychosocial assistance,” the statement said.
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic poses additional challenges to vulnerable migrants, a more coordinated and efficient support system with Government and partners needed to make sure no migrant is left behind in the COVID-19 response,” Abibatou Wane-Fall, IOM Ghana’s chief of mission, said.
Out of over 584,500 migrants identified in Libya by the IOM, more than 27,200 are Ghanaians.
“Libya accounts for 63.5 percent of the returns to Ghana under the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. Other major countries of return include Niger, Mali, and Mauritania,” the IOM statement said.
Hundreds of Africans have died in recent years trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea through Libya in search of better opportunities in Europe.