The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has revealed that it has assisted about 10 000 deportees from South Africa passing through its support centre at the Beitbridge Border Post since October last year.
In a statement, IOM said it was prepared to assist as many as 4 000 returnees a month.
“Since the deportations resumed in October last year, the IOM has helped nearly 10 000 deportees passing through our reception and support centre at the Beitbridge Border Post with food, medical care and free transport home,” the statement reads.
“The bigger problem for both the government and the donor community will be finding ways to provide longer-term assistance to poor households that depended on remittances from breadwinners who had sought economic refuge in South Africa,” the organisation said.
A 2010 Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe report indicated that Zimbabweans in the Diaspora remitted more than $263 million through formal means.
It was, however, noted that most migrants in nearby countries opted to send money through informal channels such as friends and relatives.
The report said IOM would work in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP) to provide food to deportees.
“WFP will also include deportees and their dependants in its ongoing programme targeting vulnerable households with food during periods of severe hunger.”
Between May 5 2009 and July 31 2011, the South African government gave Zimbabweans living in that country temporary deportation reprieve while it engaged in a process to regularise their stay.
During that period, Zimbabweans with passports were encouraged to apply for four-year work, study and living permits.
The South African Home Affairs department said it managed to process 275 000 permits out of an estimated two million Zimbabweans living in that country.
The South African government began deporting Zimbabweans on October 7 last year.