Somalia: Sharp increase in number of refugees arriving from Yemen

Over 1000 Somali refugees arrived in Somalia’a semi-autonomous region on Sunday, making it the highest number of refugees escaping the violence in the middle-eastern country to arrive in Puntland in a single day.

 Authorities said that 1200 Somali refugees with other nationalities crossed the sea between Somalia and Yemen after a 12-hour journey by boat to reach the port town of Bossaso. They were received by the local officials at the harbour.

Later on they were transferred to makeshift camps.

People displaced by the civil war in Yemen are taking speedboats and ferries across the Gulf of Aden to reach neighbouring African countries where refugee camps are already stretched thin, raising fears that prolonged fighting could strain humanitarian resources.

The influx of refugees is likely only to grow. In a report, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies predicted that as many a million people now in Yemen could be expected to flee and that their most likely path out is by sea to Djibouti or nearby Somalia in the Horn of Africa.

But recently, Somalia’s semi-autonomous region officials said that they are struggling to cope with the influx of refugees, appealing to the International organisations for humanitarian assistance.

The U.N. refugee agency said weeks ago it was making contingency plans to support 30,000 Yemeni refugees in Djibouti and 100,000 in Somalia.

Back in Yemen, Tens of thousands of Somali citizens are still stuck in the violence, many in conflict-zones. Somalia’s federal government has failed to implement its evacuation program pledge other countries have scrambled to evacuate their nationals.

For two decades, Somalis fleeing their failed state found in Yemen a safe haven, a place to work, and a gateway to wealthier Gulf States.

Meanwhile, Links between Somali Islamist insurgency al-Shabaab and Yemen-based Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have raised fears that terror groups may take advantage of new migration flows.

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