In a gesture well appreciated here, Indian businessmen and the Indian community here have come to the aid of hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian returnees from Saudi Arabia.
Sanjay Verma, newly-appointed Ambassador of India to Ethiopia, accompanied by Mayur Kothari, the convener of the Indian Business Forum (IBF) and Rajeev Sharma, Deputy Convener of IBF along with leading Indian businessmen, presented a cheque of half a million birr ($26,182) to Ethiopian returnees from Saudi Arabia.
"The embassy as well as IBF and the community will support the Government of Ethiopia and its people for any other assistance they may require," Verma told IANS.
The ambassador presented the cheque to Ethiopia's State Minister of Agriculture Mitiku Kassa, who said that the support made by the IBF and the Indian community is very well acknowledged. The team visited the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) officer and thereafter visited the returnee transit camp at the airport.
When Ethiopia started repatriating its citizens living illegally in Saudi Arabia last month, 30,000 people were expected to return. Today, four times that number have been repatriated - with numbers still swelling daily - straining agencies to support one of the largest human airlift operations in recent history.