Regular Press Briefing by the Information Service, 7 August 2018 - Yemen
Tarik Jasarevic of the World Health Organization, updating on what Dr. Salama said on oral cholera vaccination in three districts in Yemen last Friday, said very preliminarily, as they still expected full figures to come, in the first two days, more than 3,000 local health workers had reached more than 200,000 people wither oral cholera vaccine in the three districts. These three districts had been chosen because they were assessed to be the most vulnerable to an escalation of cholera. The figures for the third day of the campaign, yesterday, were now being collected. Oral cholera vaccination normally involved two doses, with the second dose being administered in about six weeks. Some 32 tonnes of vaccines came from the Global Oral Cholera Vaccine stockpile, funded by GAVI, had reached Sanaa in mid-July in response to Yemen facing the worse cholera outbreak with more than 1.1 million cases and more than 2,000 deaths. They wanted to pre-empt a possible new wave to cholera. In response to a question, Mr. Jasarevic said he did not have information on the military situation but the fact was that vaccination teams went into these three districts and administered the vaccinations.
Joel Millman of the International Organization for Migration said that yesterday, IOM and partners launched a regional migrant response plan for the Horn of Africa and Yemen, through which they are appealing to the international community for $ 45 million to support migrants on the move in the Horn of Africa and Yemen from 2018 to 2020. The response plan, developed in coordination with regional and country level non-governmental and intergovernmental partners, was a migrant-focused humanitarian and development strategy for vulnerable migrants from the Horn of Africa, specifically those from Somalia, Djibouti and Ethiopia, moving to and from Yemen. The plan targeted some 81,000 persons.
Irregular migration from the Horn of Africa to the Gulf countries had been steadily increasing over the past few years, with approximately 100,000 people entering Yemen, a major transit point on this route, in 2017. The plan estimated that, like in 2017, up to 100,000 new arrivals from the Horn of Africa would reach Yemen in 2018, while 200,000 migrants and refugees would return from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Yemen to the Horn of Africa countries in the same period. Of these, 150,000 and 50,000 would return to Ethiopia and Somalia, respectively. This issue involved displacement and the conflict in Yemen itself, but also parallel and somewhat related programmes of encouraging citizens of those two nations to come home from Saudi Arabia. Over the weekend, Mr. Millman said IOM assisted both Ethiopian and Somali refugees leaving Yemen to go home, 132 Ethiopian migrants left from Hodeidah and 116 Somalis left from Aden. There were more statistics in the notes.
William Spindler of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said there had been another movement of 160 Somali refugees who travelled by boat from Aden on Sunday and arrived yesterday in Somalia. This was the latest assisted spontaneous return facilitated by UNHCR, in cooperation with IOM and the authorities of both Yemen and Somalia. With this group, the number of refugees to have returned to Somalia since the programme started in 2017 had surpassed 2,000. So far this year, 1,321 Somalis, including the 116 who left on Sunday, had returned to their places of origin in Somalia. For the past two months, weather conditions had prevented the boats from sailing. Among the refugees were female heads of household looking forward to joining their extended families. Several students were hoping to resume their education. The assisted spontaneous return programme was initiated in 2017 in response to the demand from refugees for UNHCR help in returning home. Yemen currently hosted 270,000 refugees, the vast majority of whom were Somalis. The ongoing conflict in Yemen has affected not just Yemenis but also refugees living among them. There were more details in the briefing notes.