316 Somalis Arrive Home from Yemen in Past Four Days

Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration, Migrant Assistance

Yemen - After nearly a five-month ordeal, 316 Somali migrants have reached Somalia, transported by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, overland through Yemen and across the Arabian Sea.  

In February 2017, a smugglers boat, carrying more than 150 Somalis hoping to reach Europe, headed north up the Red Sea on the western coast of Yemen. The boat had originated in Somalia and had docked once in the South of Yemen. A few kilometers out from Yemen's Al Hudaydah port, the boat was hit, killing 40 persons and severely injuring another 13.  

IOM moved 90 Somali survivors of this boat tragedy, who were fit to travel, from Al Hudaydah to Sana’a, Yemen's capital. They traveled safely overland, bisecting war-torn Yemen. On 12 July 2017, three buses and an ambulance departed Sana’a to bring the Somali migrants to Aden, where IOM teams in Aden were on standby to receive the group. After a night's rest, IOM helped the group board a passenger boat that sailed from the Aden seaport. Crossing the Arabian Sea in 15 hours on 14 July, the group of Somalis – 57 men, 25 women, 5 boys and 3 girls – arrived at the Port of Berbera, Somalia.  

An additional group of Somali migrants left Aden on 15 July 2017 - a total of 103 persons (23 men, 22 women, 30 boys and 28 girls). 

IOM organized the departure of a third group with another 123 Somalis, mainly families with children, on 18 July 2017 from the Aden harbour.   

Over the last five months, while the migrants were waiting to leave, IOM helped ensure that the injured received medical care, that they all received food and clothing, and that the most vulnerable women, children, and medical cases received temporary shelter. In order to guarantee a smooth arrival and appropriate reintegration at home, IOM's team in Somalia welcomed the returnees.  

The evacuations from Yemen to Somalia are made possible through a USD 10 million project funded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the King Salman Center for Humanitarian Aid and Relief. The 14-months project is implemented by IOM and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, in close coordination with regional and local authorities in Somalia, Somaliland and Yemen. The IOM operation has successfully assisted a total number of 1,306 Somalis since November 2016. 

For more information, please contact Rabih Sarieddine, IOM Aden, Tel. +967 736 088 839, Email rsarieddine@iom.int, or Saba Malme, IOM Sana’a, Tel: + 967 736 800 329, Email: smalme@iom.int 

  • A little girl is helped by IOM staff to board one of the boats in Yemen, headed for Somalia. Photo: IOM 2017