Stranded migrants in Yemen return to Djibouti

Thousands of African migrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia have been forced to return from Yemen to Djibouti, after failing to reach Saudi Arabia due to COVID-19 movement restrictions and border closures.

More than 2,000 migrants, including children as young as eight-years-old, have arrived from Yemen during the first three weeks of September 2020, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Djibouti.

After being stranded and left vulnerable in Yemen, the migrants were forced to make the treacherous boat journey back across the Gulf of Aden and walk through the Djiboutian desert where temperatures reach 40C.

 According to IOM, the migrants arrived hungry, tired and in need of medical assistance. Many were forced to pay smugglers who often abandon them in the desert without food and water. Some migrants died on route due to dehydration. 

At present, the migrants are receiving basic assistance from IOM-Djibouti. IOM believes another 14,000 African migrants are currently stranded in Yemen, stressing that others are still trying to make the dangerous journey to Yemen underestimating the threats posed by COVID-19.

TMP – 05/10/2020

Photo credit: Twitter(@AbdikerM). Photo caption: Stranded migrants return to Djibouti.