IOM Evacuates 250 Most Vulnerable Ethiopian Migrants from Yemen
IOM in Yemen resumed humanitarian evacuations of stranded Ethiopian migrants on 15 March, assisting a group of 250 most vulnerable individuals, including 129 women, 94 unaccompanied minors, and 24 persons with medical cases.
Since mid-September (2015), IOM had paused the operations that evacuated 4,222 migrants from Yemen due to lack of funding. Having recently received new financial pledges, IOM and government partners in Yemen — including Ethiopia's embassy — and throughout the region have been working continuously to relaunch the much-needed evacuation operation.
“The operational plan for 2016 starting this month — during its initial phase — aims to evacuate 1,250 migrants stranded in Yemen,” said Chissey Mueller, IOM Yemen's Migrant Assistance and Protection Officer. She added: “They are caught between the conflict's front lines and unable to move forward or turn back.”
Since the escalation of Yemen's conflict, migrants have been part of the civilian population affected by airstrikes, ground shelling and street fighting. Despite difficulties in reaching conflict-affected locations, IOM during the last two months has assisted more than 1,000 stranded and destitute migrants, mainly at the Migrant Response Points in Aden and Hodeidah, with medical care, non-food items, and temporary shelter for the most vulnerable cases.
Despite challenges posed by conflict context, IOM assisted over 13,000 vulnerable and stranded migrants in Yemen in 2015.
The evacuation will be carried out by using boat from Hodeidah, Yemen to Obock, Djibouti and by using land transportation from Obock to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In Ethiopia the returnees will be provided with post arrival assistance including post return medical treatment, temporary accommodation and family tracing and reunification for Unaccompanied Migrant Children.
“We thought that we are going to die here and I am very happy and I admit that nothing is better than returning back home,” said 20-year-old Tamria, a migrant from Ethiopia.
According to IOM estimates, there are several thousand more stranded migrants seeking to escape from Yemen's conflict. IOM intends to operate both sea and air evacuations in the coming months, aiming to benefit 6,900 migrants.
The resumption of the evacuation operation from Hodeidah seaport was supported by IOM emergency funds while the IOM's migrant assistance and protection operations are supported by the DFID, ECHO, US Department of State, Sida, UN-CERF, and USAIM.