Djibouti: Inter-agency operational update; response to the Yemen situation, September 2018
The past few months saw intensified conflict in Yemen, especially in the western port city of Hudaydah, which is key for taking in basic resources to Yemenis. The situation remains unpredictable—some episodes of escalated warfare have triggered arrivals coming from Yemen, while others have not. Steady amounts of new arrivals continue continue coming, but not at emergency levels. UNHCR monitors the borders closely with the Djiboutian Coast Guard, ready to assist new individuals seeking refuge. Some settle in Obock at the Markazi settlement, while others may head toward the capital to join family who had come ahead. There is also the possibility that Yemenis use Djibouti as a transit point before moving onward to other countries. Hence the reason why we have recorded over 38,000 Yemeni refugees coming to Djibouti, when only more than 4,000 currently remain. UNHCR is closely monitoring the situation and is prepared to mobilize assistance along with the government and partners.
38,000 Number of Yemenis who have come to Djibouti since the start of the conflict in March 2015
4,398 Current population of Yemeni refugees in Djibouti—of which, 2,078 live at the Markazi settlement in Obock and 2,320 in the capital city, Djibouti.
48% Percentage of youth (18 and under)
More than three years since conflict and fighting broke out in Yemen, hundreds of Yemenis continue to flee the country in search for safety and protection. People in Yemen are contending with a worsening situation and the insufferable combination of conflict, famine, and disease. Djibouti is among the handful of countries taking in refugees escaping the conflict.
The settlement at Markazi, outside of the town of Obock in the north of the country, is entirely comprised of Yemenis. The total population as of August 2018 stands at 2,078. UNHCR and its partners strive to provide them with the basics like food, shelter, and healthcare, but also pave paths to durable solutions with livelihoods activities, education, and vocational training. Meanwhile, there are 2,320 Yemeni refugees in the capital city, Djibouti. Most have come with adequate means and assets, developed self-sufficiency, and managed to be independent of aid, allowing them to thrive outside of the settlements. Refugees from Yemen are recognized prima facie upon arrival at the settlement of Markazi. Freedom of movement allows them to move onward to other areas like the capital, Djibouti, or even to other countries.
UNHCR Djibouti stands committed to working together with its partners to effectively respond to the Yemen situation and protect the individuals fleeing for safety. The operation gathers and mobilizes resources, expertise, and manpower to bolster progress in establishing long-lasting solutions. Moreover, in seeking to empower refugees into crafting their own independence and putting themselves on paths to self-reliance, the ideals of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) impart guidance on aspirations to also leverage a level of local integration that also produces advantages for the host communities.