The UN Migration agency says it has resumed its humanitarian operation to voluntarily repatriate migrants through the Yemeni seaport of Hodeida after a three-week interruption due to escalating fighting between the Saudi-led coalition and Houthi rebels.
The fighting still goes on. But, the International Organization for Migration says it has carefully assessed the situation and, with the expert help from others, has been able to create a safe corridor to move a first group of migrants from Hodeida Seaport.
IOM Spokesman Joel Millman says on Thursday a ship transported 53 Ethiopian migrants out of war-torn Yemen to Djibouti, from where staff will ensure their journey back to their homes of origin.
“Meanwhile, IOM Yemen is continuing its humanitarian assistance to fleeing and displaced populations from Hodeida at its Migrant Response Point, which is now serving displaced Yemenis in addition to migrants,” Millman said. “With the support of other UN agencies, IOM has been providing the migrants with food, transportation out of Hodeida, health care assistance, psychosocial support and cash assistance.”
Millman tells VOA his organization hopes to continue its repatriation operation on a more or less regular basis. But, he notes Yemen is an unstable country and outbursts of fighting can upend the best of plans.
“Our best intention is yes, to continue these evacuations and repatriations whenever possible, but, obviously Yemen is a real war situation and that is going to impact what we can do and when we can do it,” Millman said.
To date, Millman says IOM has assisted more than 480 Ethiopian migrants to return home out of Hodeida, and more than 1,200 Somali refugees have been voluntarily repatriated out of Aden Seaport.
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