Yemen: Migration Destination, Refugee Trap

Today, Yemen faces the worlds worst humanitarian crisis in the last 100 years. With a war that started in 2015 by the Saudi-led coalition, the country’s situation has been dire. Figures estimate that almost 5 million children are facing famine, whilst food supplies have increased by 500% in price. This sad situation is further enhanced when the distribution of aid and/or humanitarian assistance is prevented by local authorities. Yemenis, denied asylum in neighbouring countries such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan, have thus fled to the closest ally, the Horn of Africa. According to the UN, 3 million Yemenis have been internally displaced, whilst 280,000 have fled to Dijbouti and Somalia.


Surprisingly, the number of migrants fleeing from the Horn of Africa into Yemen far exceeds those migrating from Yemen. As of last year, 100,000 migrants have travelled from Somalia and Ethiopia into Yemen, equating to 300 a day, the majority under the age of 25. This wave of fluctuating youth have Saudi Arabia as an ends to their means, with hope of attaining financial security in the Gulf. However, these busy migration routes can be life-threatening. Many reach to be taken to detention centres.  This year alone, at least 8 individuals have fallen victim to the inhumane conditions according to U.Ns migration agency. As of May 2019, IOM confirms that 2,473 migrants are being held in Aden, 873 of whom are children.


If not risking detention centres, migrants may fall into the hands of smugglers and traffickers. IOM reports 14-year old Mohammed and his friends, reaching the Gulf of Aden in Yemen, only to be abducted and abused by smugglers. Smugglers then released them after receiving money from their families.


Then attempting to reach Saudi Arabia, Mohammed and his group of friends were injured by an explosion en route, killing 2 of his female friends and injuring 5 others. The remaining are still unfound. This is one of many cases. The idea of leaving for a better life might compel migrants to enter a war zone, but the consequent instability and danger in the country is underestimated. Though many may consider Yemen a stop on their longer journey to safety, it may be where the route ends.

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