At least $4.3 million (D200 million dalasis) has been given to Gambian authorities to help with the return, reintegration, and support of some 1,500 migrants that aborted a deadly Mediterranean crossing into Europe.
The EU, which has dropped its mass deportation plan for African migrants hopes the fund and Gambia’s launching of a draft National Migration Policy will with managing the exodus, which has taken a nosedive since former President Yahya Jammeh’s ouster.
The EU in February placed at least $12 million with the Gambia’s Trade and Commerce Ministry to give as grants to young entrepreneurs to create jobs and keep its young people for searching for better economic opportunities in Europe.
“Irregular migration, especially by the youths, continues to pose significant challenges for The Gambia,” said IOM’s Fumiko Nagano.
“Reintegration is often a lengthy and complex process. It requires holistic, multidimensional support that focuses not just on economic aspects but also social and psychosocial elements.”
The EU has a $2 billion Trust Fund that Gambia and other migrant-exporting countries, including its neighbor Senegal, are benefiting from.
The recent $4.3 million is from the EU’s Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and authorities in the Western African nation will partner with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), which has been playing a leading role in repatriating Gambians, to help returnees.
Most Gambian returnees have been stranded in deplorable conditions in Libyan jails, most of them operated by militias that are part of a criminal network targeting migrants.
Gambian migrants have been killed, forced into slavery and subjected to torture and other cruel and inhumane treatment. At least 160 of them recently returned from Western Libya, where they decried their treatment, even in the hands of authorities.
The migrant crisis is forcing the advancement of new psychological therapies that go beyond existing treatments to help victims not of one traumatic event, but of multiple traumas such as rape, war, and torture.
Among thousands of people leaving Gambia, significant numbers are likely to have severe psychiatric illnesses, including complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), according to studies in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
PTSD plagues sufferers with flashbacks and panic attacks and can render them sleepless, emotionally volatile and less likely to be able to settle into a new home.