Mixed Migration in the Horn of Africa & Yemen Region, July 2016
Regional mixed migration summary for July 2016 covering mixed migration events, trends and data for Djibouti, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Puntland, Somalia, Somaliland and Yemen.
Terminology: Throughout this report the term migrant/refugee is used to cover all those involved in the mixed migration flows (including asylum seekers, trafficked persons, smuggled economic migrants, refugees). If the caseload mentioned refers only to refugees or asylum seekers or trafficked persons it will be clearly stated.
The conflict in Yemen entered its sixteenth month with escalation of shelling and fighting putting civilians at risk. As previously reported, due to the conflict, monitoring and data collection activities along the Red Sea and Arabian sea coasts continued to be affected, with a majority of monitoring exercises suspended. The data presented in this report on arrivals in Yemen is therefore not conclusive of the actual number of arrivals during this period.
Internal displacement: There were approximately 2.8 million persons internally displaced within Yemen as of 31st July 2016.
Continued arrivals from the Horn of Africa: A total of at least 12,750 migrants and asylum seekers (86% Ethiopians and 14% Somalis) arrived from the Horn of Africa to Yemen via the Red Sea, Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden in July 2016. This is the second highest arrival figure recorded this year and is in keeping with the record figures in June.
An estimated 1,122 (1,108 Ethiopians, 12 Somalis and 2 Djiboutians) migrants and asylum seekers arrived on the Red Sea coast of Yemen in July 2016, a 46% decrease on arrivals in June, but back on par with monthly arrival figures along this route so far this year. The migrants arrived aboard 19 boats which departed from Obock, Djibouti landing in various towns in Ta’iz and Lahj governorates. Due to the reduction of monitoring missions along Yemen’s coast, it is likely that the actual number of arrivals from the Horn of Africa to Yemen was higher during the period.
The majority (96%) of Ethiopian nationals were of Oromo ethnicity, and with the exception of one asylum seeker who cited persecution, all Ethiopians reported drought and a lack of opportunities as they key reasons for leaving their country. They entered Djibouti through Dawalle, and travelled through Dikhil and Tadjoura before arriving in Obock. Ethiopians spent between 3,000-8,000 Ethiopian Birr (approx. USD 135 – 360) for their entire journey to Yemen. The cost of the journey to Yemen appears to have returned to more typical levels, following a spike that was first noted in March 2016. All Ethiopian nationals encountered by monitoring teams in Yemen indicated an intention to find work in opportunities in Aden or Rada, before travelling onwards to Saudi Arabia as their final destination.
Somali nationals originated from Hargeysa, Boromo and Kismayo and travelled north and east, crossing into Djibouti via Loya-Ade and travelling to Obock with the facilitation of brokers. All Somali arrivals this month reported a lack of livelihoods as their reasons for migrating, with the intention of finding employment opportunities in Yemen and/or further afield in Saudi Arabia.
An additional 11,628 migrants and asylum seekers (85% Ethiopian, 15% Somali) arrived on Arabian Sea coasts of Yemen in July 2016, the second highest figures recorded on this route this year.
Migrant vulnerability: During transit to Yemen, migrants reported that they heard about a capsized boat carrying approximately 100 migrants in Djiboutian waters shortly after it departed from Obock. The fate of these migrants is unknown. In another report, Djiboutian army and coast guard personnel intercepted a number of boats departing from Obock, carrying around 200 Ethiopian migrants, who were deported to Ethiopia.
Upon arrival in Yemen, migrants reported attempts by smugglers and possible trafficking elements to abduct the new arrivals. An unknown number of migrants accepted an offer for transportation to Aden by an anonymous vehicle. It is not clear whether they would be transported to Aden or to another location. During a patrolling mission, a Danish Refugee Council team encountered the dead body of a young Ethiopian migrant near Ras-Alara.
Protection issues reported by migrants transiting through Djibouti on their way to Yemen are reported in the Djibouti country section below.
Departures from Yemen: The pace of arrivals from Yemen into the Horn of Africa has decreased significantly from the high numbers witnessed in 2015. As of 31st July 2016, the number of people fleeing Yemen to the Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan) had totalled 88,774 persons (36,162 in Djibouti, 32,857 in Somalia, 13,262 in Ethiopia, and 6,493 in Sudan), a slight 2% climb from numbers in June. Yemenis and Somalis continue to represent the largest proportion of people moving out of Yemen, accounting for 30% and 35% of movements respectively. Djibouti remained as the primary destination for Yemeni nationals, with 75% of those moving opting to travel to Djibouti.
N.B. The figures for Djibouti arrivals between May and July were not received in time to update this report. The figures for Djibouti therefore reflect arrivals at the end of April 2016.
The latest statistics and overview of the displacement situation arising out of the Yemen crisis can be found on the UNHCR data sharing and information portal.