(Medeshi)- IOM’s second evacuation flight from Yemen to Somalia arrived in Mogadishu at 07.45 on July 27, 2015. It had 272 passengers on board, of whom 196 requested further assistance and have been taken to an IOM transit / reception centre.
The flight, which left Sana’a international airport on 26 July was coordinated by IOM offices in Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Geneva. IOM also worked in close coordination with the relevant national authorities and the Somali Consulate in Sana’a.
“This successful evacuation is the result of over a month of coordination between IOM offices, including their protection, operations and medical units,” said IOM Yemen Operations Officer Lilian Ambuso.
The Somali evacuees had been living in Yemen for years, but opted to return home to Somalia due to the escalation of the armed conflict and deteriorating living conditions.
“I used to work in a restaurant in Sana’a, but it was closed after the conflict began in March. I have no choice but to go back home, though the situation is not much different from Yemen,” said Amina, 25, a mother of four.
“After having been up for 48 hours since leaving Sana’a and then to Djibouti, where we took a flight to Mogadishu, we are thankful for IOM’s help and a place to sleep,” said Ali Salim Naaji, who was accompanied by his wife and a sick grandchild.
Following medical screening by IOM doctors, the evacuees, who included 68 children, 18 infants and six people with disabilities, left Sana’a on a special IOM humanitarian flight. International air travel in and out of Yemen is practically non-existent at this point.
The flight had to undergo several transits for refuelling and security, including an overnight in Khartoum, Sudan. Their arrival in Mogadishu had to be during daylight hours, due to the lack of lighting at the airport.
Seven of the evacuees were referred to hospitals for further medical assistance, after being checked by IOM’s health team at the Mogadishu transit / reception centre.
The evacuation operation prioritized vulnerable people, the elderly, people with disabilities and medical conditions, and families with children.
A total of 217 returnees will remain in Mogadishu; 19 will travel to Baidoa, eight to the Galgadud Region; 10 to the Hiraan Region, nine to Jowhar and six to Galka’yo.
“The situation in Yemen continues to deteriorate rapidly, and our capacity to respond to this emergency is only challenged by a lack of funds,” said Gerard Waite, IOM Somalia Chief of Mission.
- News Hour