Yemen + 13 more

Mixed Migration in the Horn of Africa & Yemen Region, June 2016

Situation Report
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Regional mixed migration summary for June 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 fifteenth 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 are currently 2.8 million persons internally displaced within Yemen.
Continued arrivals from the Horn of Africa: A total of at least 14,373 migrants and asylum seekers (84% Ethiopians and 16% Somalis) arrived from the Horn of Africa to Yemen via the Red Sea, Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden in June 2016. This represents a 46% increase on arrivals reported in May, and is the highest monthly arrival figure registered in Yemen since records began in 2006. A possible reason for this increase is a perception amongst migrants and asylum seekers that the border crossing between Yemen and Saudi Arabia would be easier during the month of Ramadan.

At least 2,091 (2,079 Ethiopians and 12 Somalis) migrants and asylum seekers were recorded to have arrived on the Red Sea coast of Yemen in June 2016, a 39% increase on arrivals in May. The migrants arrived aboard 25 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.

Some Somali migrants and refugees travelled from Mogadishu, traversing several towns north to Hargeisa and Loya-Ade before crossing into Djibouti with the support of brokers. Others originated from Hargeisa, travelling towards Djibouti. All Somalis paid an average fee of USD 400 for the journey, including the sea crossing to Yemen.

Ethiopian migrants mainly travelled through Dawalle, Dikhil and Tadjoura before reaching Obock. Ethiopians paid an average of 5,000-11,000 Ethiopian Birr (approx. USD 230 – 500) for the entire journey to Yemen.

In a continuing trend, 98% of Ethiopian arrivals cited difficult living conditions, drought and limited work opportunities as the main reasons for their migration, with Somali nationals citing a lack of livelihoods and general insecurity. In a return to normal patterns, 97% of Ethiopian nationals reported an intention to cross Yemen and travel to Saudi Arabia to look for work opportunities.

An additional 12,228 migrants and asylum seekers (82% Ethiopian, 18% Somali) arrived on Arabian Sea coasts of Yemen in June 2016, representing a 47% increase on arrivals in May.

Migrant vulnerability: Migrants, asylum seekers and refugees arriving in Yemen on the Red Sea coasts in June reported witnessing or being victim to numerous violations along their journeys and on arrival in Yemen. Violations ranged from physical abuse, robbery and interception. Specifically, new arrivals reported the detention and subsequent deportation of around 200 Ethiopian migrants by Djiboutian soldiers back to Ethiopia. In other reports, 10 male migrants were kidnapped by Afari brokers in Obock and are believed to have been sold to Yemeni groups who would transport them to Yemen before handing them over to trafficking gangs in Yemen. Migrants also frequently reported suffering from a lack of food and water during their stay in Obock. New arrivals reported witnessing one dead body in Obock, which they believe was cause by hunger and thirst.

Upon arrival in Yemen on the Red Sea coast, migrants continued to face the risk of abduction by criminal networks and possible trafficking elements. New arrivals reported the abduction of 287 persons in June, a significant climb from the 27 abductions reported in May. Monthly figures on abductions vary from month to month, with similar high evels being reported in January (296) and March (218) this year. Some of the abducted migrants were reportedly later released after their families paid a ransom fee to secure their freedom.

Departures from Yemen: As of 30th June 2016, the number of people fleeing Yemen to the Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan) had totalled 87,417 persons (35,562 in Djibouti, 32,624 in Somalia, 12,808 in Ethiopia, and 6,420 in Sudan). Yemenis and Somalis 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 in May and June 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.