Regional mixed migration summary for March 2013
New Arrivals: In March 2013, an estimated 8,568 migrants arrived on Yemen’s shores via Djibouti, a 12% increase from February. Numbers of Ethiopians crossing the Red sea in March 2013 were 40% more than those who crossed in January. A total of 21,658 migrants crossed into Yemen via the Red Sea in the first quarter of 2013, 16% less than the first quarter of 2012. 90% of the first quarter totals crossing from Djibouti were Ethiopian. The rest were Somali.
Boats: A total of 100 vessels left via the Red Sea for Yemen carrying an average of 85 passengers per trip in the month of March.
Migrant vulnerability: Cases of migrants thrown overboard continue to be reported. An Ethiopian man was thrown overboard by smugglers because he did not have an additional USD 50 demanded by smugglers. An unknown number of migrants, some of whom could not swim, jumped overboard, frightened by a fierce gun battle between community members off the Lahj coast and an inland smuggling gang. The community members had denied the smuggling vessel an opportunity to land on the coast. Some of those who jumped, mostly Ethiopian, remain unaccounted for and it is feared that they are drowned. Two Somali men reportedly passed away in Loya Ade after falling sick, they were either previously ailing or succumbed to exhaustion. Reports indicate that the gang rape of females is rife during the boat journey from Obock to Yemen. Almost every female encountered confirmed being the victim of or witnessing a rape during the boat journey. In addition, young females face possible abduction while awaiting departure to Yemen in Obock. It was reported that seven females, including minors, were held hostage in the house of a smuggler in Obock.
Arrest and Deportation: In January 2013, 40 Ethiopian refugees and asylum seekers were deported from Djibouti to Ethiopia. The deportation sparked the movement of seven Ethiopians who had previously sought Djibouti asylum in Djibouti to travel to Yemen in March.
Response: In the first quarter of 2013, IOM assited 161 Ethiopians to return home from Djibouti, up from 10 in the first quarter quarter of 2012 and 69 for the entire year. In March 2013, 20 migrants were awaiting assisted voluntary return to Ethiopia at the MRC in Obock.