GENEVA, Switzerland, June 19, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM, together with the Puntland Government, UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies in Somalia, last week evacuated 2,103 people from Yemen, most of whom were Somali nationals and included 10 Ethiopian and 220 Yemeni nationals.
These latest arrivals came in three boats at the Bossaso sea port on 13 June. The evacuation was also facilitated by the Somali business community who sent a cargo boat to Mukulla in Yemen.
“The IOM team on the ground together with other humanitarian agencies will continue providing assistance to the returnees fleeing Yemen conflict despite funding constrains,” said Feisal Mohamud, IOM Somalia Response Coordinator.
Among those who arrived was Safia Ali Ni’man, a 40-year-old mother of four.
“I left Somalia with my family, for Yemen, when I was only 12 years old and I had never returned. I lived in Sana’a for almost 28 years,” Safia said. “Before the conflict I worked for a shoe factory in Sana’a and my four children were in schools in Sana’a. Now, I have left my husband and one of my children behind in Yemen. I am very worried about their safety since the situation is only getting worse,” she added.
“I don’t know anyone in Mogadishu, so I want to stay in Bossaso and find out how I can start a new life with my children,” she said.
Many Somali returnees face an uphill challenge once they are back in Somalia. Often times many end up in the settlements for internally displaced persons since they are unable to return to their areas of origin for various reasons.
On arrival in Bossaso, IOM provides snacks and water and assists returnees with transportation from the port to the reception centre.
IOM also financially supports the Ministry of Health to provide emergency medical checks for arriving returnees. From the group of 2,103, some 25 returnees were referred to Bossaso Hospital by the Puntland Ministry of Health.
In the past, IOM, working with the Somali authorities, has assisted with the evacuation of Somali and other third country nationals by air.
Once at the reception centre, IOM assisted the vulnerable returnees with onward transportation for those who are fit to travel and returning to South Central Somalia.
The conflict in Yemen has seen over one million people displaced inside Yemen and approximately 15,500 Somalis who had previously earlier fled the war in their country are now seeking to return to Somalia.