ERITREA: New wave of deportees arrives from Ethiopia
Nairobi, 20 July 1999 (IRIN) - Thousands of Eritrean deportees from Ethiopia have arrived in Assab and Massawa since the start of July, with many disorientated, shocked or in poor condition after difficult sea passages and complaining to aid workers of their harsh treatment, humanitarian sources have reported. Close to 3,000 people were said to have arrived in Eritrea on 5 and 6 July, mostly from Addis Ababa, with many having lost virtually all their possessions. The deportees are understood to have been received a small cash allocation, kitchen utensils and blankets from the Eritrean Relief and Rehabilitation Committee (ERREC) and offered the choice of settling in either Asmara or Dekemhare, accommodated in unoccupied schools.
A diplomatic source in Addis Ababa told IRIN of "substantial deportations" from Addis Ababa on the weekend of 10-11 July, mostly involving family members of Eritreans previously deported as "security risks". He said there was a view that Ethiopia had decided to put pressure on the Eritrean economy by stepping up on deportations. Meanwhile, humanitarian sources have spoken of fears that thousands of Eritreans still face deportation in
the coming weeks. They said there were real concerns about Eritrea's ability to cope with deportees' immediate needs and ERREC had appealed for cash support from donors to help it cope. There were also worries about the absorption capacity of Eritrean society in the long run, they added.
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]