Migrants Leaving Yemen for Horn of Africa Top 10,000

Posted: 
04/24/15

Kenya - IOM is continuing its humanitarian assistance to migrants, refugees and Third Country Nationals (TCNs) arriving in the Horn of Africa, fleeing the crisis in Yemen.

This week the total arrivals in the Horn of Africa, including Djibouti, Somaliland and Puntland, since the start of the conflict, are approximately 10,263.

Djibouti is receiving the bulk of the people, with arrivals increasing to 8,344 this week. Of these, over 60 per cent are TCNs in need of assistance to return home.

“Djibouti has the biggest burden with 5,104 TCNs, 2,151 Yemenis, and 1,089 Djibouti nationals having arrived in the country,” said Craig Murphy, IOM’s Mixed Migration Project Coordinator.

“Most of the people escape Yemen by boat, crossing the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea from Aden, and finally arriving in Djibouti at Obock Port or Djibouti Port.”

On April 23, one boat arrived at the Djibouti Port carrying some 145 people. Most of the passengers on the boat were Yemeni nationals, but there were also American and British citizens. 

A 29-year-old Yemeni, who asked not to be named, said: “We decided to leave because the situation in Yemen got so hard. We saw people injured and dying in our neighborhood in Aden. There were many snipers on the buildings and it was too dangerous.”

Yesterday he decided to escape by boat with his mother and two siblings, and they endured a 14-hour boat crossing to Djibouti. He said: “Thank God, the sea was calm, so we didn’t have problems.”  

At the time of their escape, his father was in a different city looking after other family members. They got separated and he was not able to join them due to road blocks.

He said: “I want to go to another country because I have many ideas, but my country [Yemen] cannot support me.”

Another 66-year-old Yemeni, who arrived on the same boat, also did not want his name to be used. He was working as a security guard at the port in Aden.

He said: “Snipers were shooting everywhere. They were shooting at us. They want to kick us out from our country, but they cannot!”

He arrived with only the clothes he was wearing. The price for the boat trip from Aden to Djibouti is usually about USD 50 per person. Now the price has gone up to USD 200 as more people continue to flee Yemen. However, since he had no money, the operators of the boat let him on board without payment and other passengers gave him food and water.

IOM Djibouti has so far assisted 156 TCNs with visa support, transfer, transit accommodation, booking and onward air and ground transportation. Some 98 Ethiopian migrants were transferred back to Ethiopia in an IOM operation on 23 April.

On the outskirts of Obock, IOM is running a Migration Response Center which provides temporary accommodation for migrants and TCNs. UNHCR is also constructing a refugee camp in Obock for Yemeni refugees.

In the rest of the region, Puntland, Somalia has so far received 1,132 people. Many of them arrive at Bossaso. In Berbera, Somaliland 787 people have so far arrived. There were no registered arrivals this week in Somalia.

For further information please contact T. Craig Murphy at IOM Kenya, Tel; +254 717 711 822, Email:cmurphy@iom.int

Migrants from Yemen arrive in Djibouti on 23 April. IOM continues its humanitarian assistance to migrants, refugees and Third Country Nationals arriving in the Horn of Africa. © IOM/Craig Murphy 2015