Yemen, in its seventh year of conflict, continues to face multiple factors that drive displacement and growing humanitarian needs, thereby exacerbating the vulnerability of both mobile populations and host communities. IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) estimates that since the beginning of the year, over 39,000 individuals have been displaced at least once, with more than 5,000 people in the month of June alone. As the economic difficulties, conflict, COVID-19 and severe food insecurity continues to contribute to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, affected populations in Yemen are in critical need of shelter, food and financial support. The continued fuel crisis has also meant that people already facing decreased access to basic services grapple with inflated prices of food, water and basic goods.
Since February 2021, the conflict in Ma’rib has been progressively escalating. In June, the frontlines were more active with the intensified hostilities raising critical protection and humanitarian concerns. Since January 2020 when the conflict first started along the Ma’rib-Al Jawf axis, IOM and its partner's rapid response teams have registered 22,068 internally displaced person (IDP) households or 154,476 individuals. Of those, a total of 3,353 people were displaced in June, similar to trends from the month before. The majority of IDPs have been displaced more than once and 79 per cent are women and children.
As civilian casualties and tensions continue to rise, it is expected that the number of displacements will increase in the coming months. Considering that affected populations in Ma’rib remain among the most vulnerable due to repeated displacement, humanitarian actors and local authorities are scaling up their humanitarian response. To meet the growing needs, IOM plans to expand its camp coordination and camp management (CCCM), cash assistance, shelter and non-food items (SNFI), Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), protection and health activities to 10 additional displacement sites. Nonetheless, 84 IDP sites in the governorate are without a dedicated partner presence and support.
Migrants desperately in search of work opportunities continue to travel through dangerous, irregular routes with smuggler networks to arrive to Yemen in hopes to reach neighboring Saudi Arabia. In mid-June, media outlets reported a boat originating from Djibouti sunk with upwards of 200 Ethiopian migrants near the Bab-al-Mandab strait. Although the number of victims could not be confirmed, IOM’s Mobile Medical Teams (MMTs) recovered at least one body and local fisherman reported the recovery and burial of over 30 victims. IOM’s DTM flow monitoring points observed the arrivals of over 3,545 migrants in June, which marks a significant increase compared to the 489 arrivals in May.
Many stranded migrants are also attempting the perilous journey from Yemen, as frustration grows over the limited options for return. IOM’s DTM teams observed multiple boats departing for Djibouti from the Lahj coast during the month. During interviews with departing migrants, many said that they wanted to return home to Ethiopia after being stranded in Aden longer than expected without any work opportunities or path to Saudi Arabia. IOM has been working with the Government of Ethiopia to launch another round of nationality verification exercises for over 7,600 migrants registered for participation in IOM’s Voluntary Humanitarian Return programme. IOM is also working with authorities in Sana’a to launch VHR registrations there.