IOM, UNHCR Work Together to Aid Migrants and Refugees Fleeing Yemen

Tue. Oct-06-2015

Kenya – Representatives from IOM and UNHCR have presented a Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RRMRP) to respond to the crisis in Yemen at a donor meeting held in Nairobi on October 5th. The plan will cost USD 36 million from October to December 2015 and may cost a further USD 119 million in 2016.

The RRMRP covering the period of October-December 2015 is the outcome of an inter-agency planning process coordinated by IOM, UNHCR and partner agencies in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan.

It aims to deliver protection and humanitarian assistance to an estimated 103,000 people fleeing the conflict in Yemen to neighboring countries by the end of 2015. This figure could rise to 202,000 by the end of 2016.

It also provides preliminary estimates for 2016, including population planning figures and an indicative budget. The 2016 plan will be revised and updated later this year.

March 2015 marked an escalation of the conflict in Yemen, triggering the flight of thousands of Yemenis, refugees (mainly Somalis), and third country nationals. To date, close to 70,000 people fleeing the crisis have arrived in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan. Up to 44,080 people are reported to have arrived in Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Speaking at the Nairobi meeting, IOM Permanent Observer to the UN in New York Ashraf El Nour emphasized the importance of a coordinated and strategic approach in addressing the needs of affected people.

“The needs of individuals coming to Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti are multiple. Refugees and migrants arrive after many hours at sea often traumatized and exhausted, with few personal belongings, and in urgent need of food, water and emergency healthcare.  The most pressing response therefore is to address their basic needs and to register and provide documentation to enable access to essential services,” he said.

Countries around Yemen have shown great solidarity by welcoming people fleeing the crisis. Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan have granted prima facie refugee status to Yemenis arriving on their soil, while also allowing people of other nationalities fleeing Yemen to stay.

Somalis are now returning home, hoping to rebuild their lives in their own country. Saudi Arabia has also regularized the status of hundreds of thousands of Yemeni migrants.

IOM has helped irregular Ethiopian migrants who were in Yemen to return to Ethiopia. It has also helped other third country nationals stranded in Yemen to return to their home countries.

UNHCR’s Regional Refugee Coordinator for the Yemen situation Claire Bourgeois said: “Today, more than ever before, governments, humanitarian, development and other actors have the duty to ensure that people in need are not neglected. They must be able to restore dignity to their lives as efforts are made to find lasting solutions to their plight.”

An interactive Refugee and Migrants Response Plan web portal that provides in-depth information on the situation in Yemen and the resultant outflow of migrants and refugees was launched in September 2015.

The portal (http://data.unhcr.org/yemen/) allows public users to access the RRMRP, together with statistics, situation reports and other related information. IOM and UNHCR have called on the public and media to use the portal to keep abreast of the humanitarian situation in Yemen.

For further information, please contact Craig Murphy at IOM Kenya, Tel: +254 717711822, Email: cmurphy@iom.int or Dorothy Lusweti at UNHCR Djibouti, Tel: +253 77 22 79 14, Email: lusweti@unhcr.org