Mixed Migration in the Horn of Africa & Yemen Region, May 2016
Regional mixed migration summary for May 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 fourteenth 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.
Yemeni peace talks continue: The cessation of hostilities agreement that was signed on 10th April continues to hold in large parts of Yemen. According to the UN Special Envoy on Yemen, the cessation holds in around 80-90% of the country. Nonetheless violence and armed clashed flared in select parts of the country, with violations to the cessation being reported through the launch of airstrikes, ballistic missiles and the use of other heavy weapons.
The UN Secretary General has put pressure on the warring faction “to show flexibility and wisdom needed to reach agreement”.
Internal displacement: The 9th report of the Task Force of Population Movement confirmed that at the end of May 2016, there were 2,818,072 individuals internally displaced within Yemen. Over 2 million IDPs continue to be displaced across 21 governorates, and nearly 800,000 IDPs have been tracked as having returned to or within 19 governorates.
Continued arrivals from the Horn of Africa: A total of at least 9,835 migrants and asylum seekers (86% Ethiopians and 14% Somalis) (85% male, 15% female) arrived from the Horn of Africa to Yemen via the Red Sea,
Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden aboard 102 boats in May 2016. This represents a 12% decrease on arrivals recorded in April 2016.
At least 1,509 (1,483 Ethiopians and 26 Somalis) migrants and asylum seekers were recorded to have arrived on the Red Sea coast of Yemen in May 2016, a 21% decrease on arrivals in April. The migrants arrived aboard 20 boats which departed from Obock, Djibouti landing in various towns in Ta’iz and Lahj governorates and in Al Hodeida port. Due to the reduction of monitoring missions along Yemen’s coast, it is likely that actual number of arrivals from the Horn of Africa to Yemen was higher during the period.
Some Somali migrants and refugees travelled through Hargeisa to Loya-Ade, before crossing into Djibouti with the support of brokers, who charged them USD 400 for the entire journey to Yemen. Others relied on a migrant who had taken the journey before to guide them through the mountains into Djibouti, paying USD 150 for the boat crossing to Yemen. Ethiopian migrants reported paying a fee of 8,000 Ethiopian Birr (approx. USD 365) for the journey from Ethiopia to Yemen, consistent with reports of higher than average fees quoted over the past two months.
As in previous months, 98% of Ethiopian arrivals cited difficult living conditions, drought and limited work opportunities as the main reasons for their migration, with Somali nationals citing poverty, instability and a lack of work opportunities. 57% of Ethiopian economic migrants expressed their intention to proceed through Yemen and into Saudi Arabia, with the remaining 43% indicating that they would stay in Yemen. Typically a larger proportion, if not all, Ethiopian migrants indicate an intention to move onwards to Saudi Arabia. No particular reasons were given for the drop in intentions this month, but this may be attributed to an increased patrols by Saudi security forces on the border with Yemen.
An additional 8,326 migrants and asylum seekers (84% Ethiopian, 16% Somali) arrived on Arabian Sea coasts of Yemen aboard 80 boats in April 2016, representing an 11% decrease on arrivals recorded in April
Migrant vulnerability: Migrants, asylum seekers and refugees arriving in Yemen on the Red Sea coasts in May continued to report witnessing or being victim to numerous violations along their journeys. New arrivals reported an increased security presence on the Ethiopia-Djibouti border, with some migrants being detained by Ethiopian border guards for two days and being extorted for money and valuables before being released. Migrants also reported being stopped by security personnel at checkpoints in Djibouti and paying bribes before they could pass 24 Ethiopian migrants reported being intercepted by Afar tribal men who robbed them of their belongings and bea them. They further reported that 10 Ethiopian women were raped by Afari brokers and that about 40 Ethiopian females were abducted by Afari brokers in Obock and taken to the nearby mountain range. Nothing is known abou what happened to the women. According to the new arrivals, there are a large number of migrants and refugees waiting in Obock to make the crossing to Yemen. A screening of Ethiopian migrants arriving in Yemen showed tha 86% had been in Djibouti for up to a month, and a further 9% had been waiting in Djibouti between 1 month and 6 months before making the crossing.
Upon arrival in Yemen on the Red Sea coast, smuggling networks continued to abduct newly arriving migrants and refugees upon arrival. New arrivals reported the abduction of 27 migrants in Yemen.
Departures from Yemen: As of 31st May 2016, the number of people fleeing Yemen to the Horn of Africa (Djibouti Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan) had totalled 87,121 persons (35,562 in Djibouti, 32,405 in Somalia, 12,780 in Ethiopia, and 6,374 in Sudan). Yemenis and Somalis represent the largest proportion of people moving out o Yemen, accounting for 30% and 35% of movements respectively. Djibouti remained as the primary destination fo Yemeni nationals, with 75% of those moving opting to travel to Djibouti.
N.B. The figures for Djibouti arrivals in May were not received in time to update this report. The figures represented 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.