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Survivors of Al Hudaydah attack among 316 Somalis evacuated from Yemen this week

Storyline:National News


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

A total of 316 Somalis from the war torn Yemen among them survivors of the Al Hudaydah attack arrived in the country this week after a five month struggle to leave the Arabian Peninsula nation which has been the epicenter of a two year civil war.

The UN migration agency IOM said Wednesday it had facilitated the evacuation of the migrants who had been stuck in Yemen as the war ensued.

“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,” IOM said in a statement.

The first group of 90 returnees who were survivors of the February gunship attack in Al Hudaydah off the cost of Yemen arrived at the port of Berbera this past week after a 15 hour journey crossing the Arabian Sea, IOM said. The group which included 57 men, 25 women and 8 children had earlier been moved from Al Hudaydah to the capital Sana’a by bus before boarding a passenger boat.

A further 226 people arrived in the country this week, IOM said noting it had provided medical support and temporary shelter to the migrants during the five month period.

“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.”

At least 42 Somalis who were heading to Europe passing by the western coast of Yemen were gunned down March in a gunship attack. Both factions in the Yemen conflict (Saudi led coalition and Houthi rebels) denied responsibility for the attack even as the UN and other groups called for an enquiry.

Yemen is estimated to host over 250,000 Somali refugees most of them who arrived into the country since the 1990s when the civil war broke out. However the outbreak of civil war in Yemen which is now crossing into the third year has forced several refugees to return to Somalia. Some Yemenis have also been forced to seek refuge in Somalia.