In 2014, estimated 91,000 migrants arrived in Yemen from the Horn of Africa, among them, 80% were Ethiopian nationals who transited through Djibouti. In the same year, 245 migrant deaths were recorded in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
Since March 26th 2015, Yemen has been targeted by Saudi air raids in a campaign aimed at restoring power to fugitive former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. The Saudi-led military campaign has claimed the lives of 2,600 people, and led to significant internal displacement within Yemen as well as severe shortage of fuel, food, and other basic commodities.
Additionally, Third Country Nationals, asylum seekers and registered Somali refugees have fled from Yemen by sea, arriving in Djibouti, Somaliland, and Puntland. Women, children, and other vulnerable individuals are included in those that have been displaced. The conflict in Yemen has pushed prices up, including the fee for boat crossings from the Horn of Africa to Yemen.
Smugglers have been reported to have demanded more money from migrants during the escalation of the Yemen Conflict in March. Migrants who end up stranded on this route in Obock, Hargeisa or Bosasso have sought assistance from IOM’s Migration Response Centre (MRC). The center tends to immediate needs of migrants as well as assisted voluntary return to their home countries.
As of 4 May, an estimated 14,529 people have arrived at the ports in Somaliland, Puntland and Djibouti from Yemen. In Djibouti IOM staff has registered 9,703 people who arrived through boats and charter flights since 26 March. 51% of the arrivals are transiting Third Country Nationals (TCNs), 33% are Yemenis and 16% Djiboutians. IOM’s Migration Response Center in Obock, Djibouti is currently hosting 87 Ethiopian migrants, who are scheduled to return to Addis Ababa with IOM.
In Puntland 3,276 migrants have been registered. IOM staff at the Migration Response Centre in Bosasso continue to provide water and biscuits/dates to arrivals at the sea port, supporting immigration with registration and, in coordination with Puntland authorities, arranging for transport of those passengers who require further assistance, and their luggage, to a transit centre.
In Somaliland the total numbers of migrants that have been registered are at 1,550. IOM has expanded its health assistance in Berbera, training hospital staff in fitness for travel examinations and providing improved referral services to new arrivals. To date, IOM has conducted medical checks and treatment at the transit centre for 166 individuals, and has referred 10 persons to Berbera hospital.
The humanitarian situation in Yemen is rapidly deteriorating as Yemenis are facing a shortage of essential food stuffs, water, fuel and vital drugs. Thousands of migrants are expected to continue to arrive into the Horn of Africa.