Update on Yemen situation

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Karin de Gruijl to whom quoted text may be attributed at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Refugee outflows

Refugees continue to arrive in Djibouti and Somalia from Yemen, with a total of 1,260 people arriving by boat to both countries over the past two weeks. In Djibouti, most of those arriving are Yemeni nationals, while three are Syrians. The latest new arrivals have fled the intense violence in Aden, whereas earlier waves came mostly from Bab el-Mandeb.

In Djibouti, refugees receive shelter at the transit centre in Al-Rhama or at a nearby sports centre where they are registered and receive medical checks and vaccinations before being transferred to the new camp at Markazi. Construction of a new camp is underway with 70 tents in place so far and latrines under construction.

A total of 915 people (including 156 Yemenis) have arrived in Somaliland and Puntland. Recent arrivals to Bossaso port in Puntland departed from Al Mukalla port in Yemen, and included women and children who arrived extremely thirsty and asking for water. One woman was heavily pregnant and taken to the Bossaso health centre to deliver her baby. Recent arrivals to Berbera port in Somliland left Mukha port in Yemen, as other ports are closed. The refugees say they paid $50 per person and that many more people were waiting to depart.

UNHCR and partners are making contingency plans to receive up to 30,000 refugees in Djibouti and 100,000 in Somali over the next six months.

Inside Yemen

The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate as conflict spreads further throughout the country. There are now 18 out of 22 governorates affected by conflict, an increase from 14 over the past 5 days.

Many of the 250,000 (mainly Somali) refugees in Yemen are also affected by the conflict and we continue to see an increase in people moving from urban areas around Aden to the Kharaz refugee camp, which normally hosts 18,000 people. In recent days, more than 2,000 refugees have moved into the camp where UNHCR and partners are continuing to provide services despite being affected by power shortages like the rest of the country. We are having to reorganise electricity in the camp, reducing supply from 16 hours to 8 hours per day to ensure power to the emergency and outpatient clinic.

Meanwhile boats continue to arrive to Yemen. On Sunday (April 12) 251 people (mainly Ethiopians but also Somalis) arrived at Mayfa'a. UNHCR partners and staff are registering new arrivals.

Both telephone land lines and cell phone networks in parts of Aden city and Abyan are reported to be no longer working. Power outages get worse. Local media reports the Yemeni Electricity Corporation is running short on fuel and the national electricity supply might be discontinued in the coming days.

For further information on this topic:

  • In Geneva: Ariane Rummery, + 41 79 200 7617
  • In Geneva: Karin de Gruijl, +41 79 255-9213
  • In Yemen: Mogib Abdullah, +967 222 5065
  • In Djibouti: Frederic van Hammer, +253 77 14 06
  • In Somalia: Carlotta Wolf, +254 734628053 (Kenya) and +252 617340259 (Somalia)