IOM Suspends Evacuation Operations in Yemen, Calls on All Parties to Facilitate Evacuation of Foreign Civilians
Yemen - On Monday (20/4), IOM took the decision to temporarily suspend its evacuation of third country nationals (TCNs) from Sana’a, Yemen, due to growing difficulties faced in operating flights out of the city.
Despite multiple requests made to all parties to facilitate such movements, both within Yemen and in the region, IOM continues to experience challenges in evacuating stranded TCNs from Yemen.
“We have suspended the evacuations for a week primarily because of obstacles posed to our operations at Sana’a Airport,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies.
“We call on all parties to the conflict to provide timely clearance for flights; to cease demands to place passengers on humanitarian evacuation flights on the basis of criteria other than the genuine vulnerability of populations of concern; and to guarantee unhindered and safe access for IOM staff in Yemen,” he added.
On 14 April, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2216, reaffirming inter alia the need for all parties to facilitate the evacuation by concerned States and international organizations of their civilians and personnel from Yemen.
To date, operations continue to be hampered by unacceptable demands in regard to the identity of passengers to be evacuated by IOM. Security conditions within and around Sana’a airport have also worsened, affecting the ability of IOM staff to operate on airport grounds.
Despite those challenges, on Sunday 19 April IOM was able to organize its third charter flight from Sana’a to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, via Djibouti, evacuating nearly 140 stranded migrants.
So far IOM has assisted over 400 TCNs from over 20 countries to leave Yemen. Two IOM evacuation flights on 12 and 14 April evacuated nearly 300 people to Khartoum, Sudan. Many of these evacuees have already rejoined their families.
IOM has so far received evacuation requests from 50 countries to help their nationals to leave Yemen. Nationals of countries in East Africa, the Middle East, Europe, North America and Asia represent the bulk of the requests received thus far.
IOM has appealed for funding to support its evacuation operations, which include onward transport to countries of origin, as well as its humanitarian assistance programme inside Yemen. IOM’s initial appeal was for USD 10 million and this amount is expected to increase significantly.