Surge in Horn of Africa arrivals as more than 12,000 flee Yemen crisis

Humanitarian Emergencies

Djibouti- The crisis in Yemen has sent a wave of migrants and Third Country Nationals into the Horn of Africa who are fleeing mostly by boat. So far more than 12,000 people have fled into Djibouti and Somalia.

There has been a noticeable exodus of Somali migrants and refugees coming back to Somalia in recent days.

IOM Programme Officer in Bossaso, Puntland, Abdikadir Abdow says “most of the boats that bring people from Yemen are cargo vessels, the majority of the children and the elderly arrive when they are severely dehydrated and sick. IOM is providing emergency medical assistance.”

The increasing numbers of people arriving on different ports across the vast coasts of Djibouti and Somalia are stretching humanitarian response in the region. In Djibouti, over 8,900 migrants have arrived to date. Of this number, the majority consist of Third Country Nationals (4,700) which represent 53% of arrivals.

So far Somaliland has registered a total of 1,125 while Puntland has received 2,285, bringing the total arrivals into Somalia to 3,410.

“IOM and partners are working with limited funding for the onset of the Yemen Crisis in the Horn of Africa,” said T. Craig Murphy, IOM Regional Project Coordinator for Mixed Migration

“Staff and resources have been diverted from existing programmes to respond to the emergency. Long term planning and significant resource mobilization is required to keep pace with the humanitarian needs on the ground in Djibouti and Somalia.”

On 26 April, a single boat carrying 1,153 arrived in Puntland. Of the 1,153 who arrived on one boat, 710 were Somali refugee returnees, 417 were Somali migrants and 15 Yemenis. Only 12 Third Country Nationals arrived on this boat. From this boat, IOM team in Somalia also noticed that the majority were female at 735.

“I left my husband in Al Mukalla and have no information about him. I do not know if or when he is coming back,” says Halima, one of the many waiting for onward transportation assistance to Baidoa in South Central Somalia with her 4 children.

About 520 were taken into a reception center where water, hygiene and sanitation facilities are provided by IOM in addition to food, health care and other services provided by other agencies. IOM also verifies the migrants, Third Country Nationals and provides onward transportation.

With the latest arrivals the reception centre is reaching its capacity limit.

“The reception center that was meant for 200 people is now overcrowded with more than 500 people and there is urgent need to expand to accommodate more people as arrivals continue,” said Abdow.

For further information please contact:

T.Craig Murphy, Regional Project Coordinator for Mixed Migration in Djibouti Email:

Feisal Muhamud, IOM Somalia Email: