IOM: Yemenis and Migrants Caught Up in Crisis Need Urgent Assistance

Posted: 
01/27/17
Themes: 
Humanitarian Emergencies, Internally Displaced Persons

Yemen - IOM is preparing to receive up to several hundreds of migrants in Al Hudaydah governorate, Yemen, trying to get out of harm’s way and escape the conflict. 

Since late March 2015, when the conflict first erupted, IOM has been responding to the needs of vulnerable and stranded migrants in Yemen. The conflict’s frontlines remained relatively unchanged throughout 2016, resulting in more than 40,000 causalities and 3 million displaced Yemenis.  This year the conflict has already shifted in a way that affects the popular routes that migrants from the Horn of Africa use to pass through Yemen headed for a Gulf country.

While the focus of IOM’s in-country partners remains on the growing number of vulnerable Yemenis internally displaced from Taizz to Al Hudaydah, migrants like Mohammed – a 14 year old from Ethiopia – are injured or killed alongside Yemenis, as the conflict enters its third year.

Mohammed’s Story

Mohammed wanted to travel to Saudi Arabia to work and save money. He left home with some friends – not telling his relatives. He covered several hundred miles, while hungry and thirsty.  He risked drowning in the sea as he crossed from Djibouti to Yemen. 

Upon arrival in Yemen, Mohammed and his friends were abducted by a thriving smuggling network based near Mokha in Taizz, a governorate on the west coast, which has been a conflict hotspot for more than a year. The smugglers abused Mohammad physically and only released him once they had extorted money from him and his friends.

Still in the vicinity of Mokha, which has recently become a major point of clashes, Mohammed and his friends were seriously injured by a violent explosion. An ambulance brought six of them, including Mohammed, to a hospital in Al Hudaydah.

According to Mohammed, two female migrants died and the other migrants from his group are still missing. While two migrants needed to stay in the hospital, a recovered Mohammed and three others were transferred to the prison in Al Hudaydah, which is where IOM met him and provided him with assistance. 

Following this near-death experience at such a young age, Mohammed asked IOM to help him return home to Ethiopia. IOM is currently working to ensure that Mohammed and the migrants are part of an upcoming evacuation boat in early February.

In 2016, IOM evacuated 2,562 migrants caught up in the conflict in Yemen, brought them back home to Ethiopia. IOM also provided a range of life-saving assistance to more than 21,000 vulnerable migrants in several Yemeni governorates. 

IOM migrant assistance activities in Yemen are supported by the European Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), German Humanitarian Assistance, Swedish International Development Agency, UK Department for International Development and US Department of State’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration.

For further information, please contact Saba Malme at IOM Yemen, Tel: + 967 736 800 329, Email: smalme@iom.int

Ethiopian migrants evacuated from Yemen to Djibouti. File Photo: IOM