IOM Ethiopia says that it deeply regrets the death of two refugees in a tragic highway accident that occurred on Wednesday (27/1) afternoon near Mekele in Ethiopia.
The accident happened when a group of 57 Tigrinya-speaking refugees from Eritrea was being transported by bus from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to Shire, a refugee camp in northern Ethiopia.
Besides the two people killed, three were seriously injured and four more suffered minor injuries and were taken to a local hospital for monitoring. The seriously injured passengers were evacuated to a hospital in Maicho, about 80 kilometers from the crash site.
The group had come to Addis Ababa with an IOM escort to complete medical assessments required for resettlement in Canada and were returning to the refugee camp when the accident occurred.
Eyewitnesses said that the accident occurred when a tire burst on a wet highway, causing the 45-seater bus to roll over.
Gabriel Okutoi, an operations official for IOM in Addis Ababa, said that a second bus in the two-bus convoy was not involved in the crash and that no IOM staff were injured.
The Shire refugee camp has a population of 110,956 and many refugees living there have been waiting years for resettlement abroad.