Published On: Thu, Apr 23rd, 2015

Yemeni refugees fleeing Saudi air strikes find peace but little else in Somaliland

yemn refugees in somaliland

Yemeni refugees in Somalialand. Two women waiting to be transported to Hargeisa at a compound in Berbera where they spent the night after arriving from Yemen. Photograph: Johnny Magdaleno for the Guardian

Hargeisa(ANN) ‘It is driving people crazy,’ says one of hundreds arriving across the Gulf of Aden in Berbera. ‘The air raids are destroying more houses than the fighting’

It was just after midnight when the livestock ship carrying nearly 200 people fleeing Yemen’s civil war docked at the port in the Somaliland city of Berbera.

As aid workers set up registration tables in the light of Red Crescent ambulance headlights, the migrants slowly filed on to land across a plank the size of a door. Families sat in circles on the gravel, attending to crying children or staring blankly at the stacks of cargo containers surrounding them. They looked dazed and exhausted, but they were happy to be alive.

This was the fourth – and most crowded – shipload of refugees fleeing Yemen to reach Berbera since late March, when a Saudi Arabia-led coalition began a bombing campaign against Shia Houthi rebels who forced President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi into exile.
It is an exodus that seems unlikely to end any time soon, despite Saudi Arabia’s announcement on Tuesday night that it had ended its bombing campaign. Saudi warplanes launched new air strikes against rebel positions in Aden and Taez on Wednesday and aid workers have warned that the humanitarian situation in Yemen remains “catastrophic” after months of fighting.

International airports such as the one in Sana’a have been demolished, and fleeing overland is risky as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula continues to control swaths of territory in the east.

So far more than 2,000 people have made the journey across the Gulf of Aden to the coast of Somaliland, and the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, expects that over the next six months as many as 100,000 more will follow.

“The reason people are coming here is because of the planes,” said Mohammed, 21, one of the boat’s passengers. “It is driving people crazy. The air raids are destroying more houses than the fighting.”

Another man pulled out his mobile phone and showed pictures of the destruction. One showed the body of a man lying on the street – charred beyond recognition except for its leg, which was just a stretch of clean white bone.
The current flow of refugees reverses an earlier migration across the Gulf of Aden which began in the late 1980s when civil war forced hundreds of thousands to flee Somalia. Reed more


Source: The

Araweelo News Network
Somaliland Office
Twitter: Arraale M Jama @Araweelonews.

About the Author

- #Arraale Mohamoud Jama is a freelance journalist and human rights activist with more than 20 years of experience as a professional journalist and human rights activist, as well as a writer and investigative journalist on a wide range of topics related to social issues, human rights, politics and security, economics, democracy, and good governance. He has written extensively on regional and international events, and has worked Somaliland newspapers, and Human rights organization. In 2008, he created the website #Araweelo #News #Network, and is based in Somaliland and is currently managing it; #Arraale is a specialist in investigating and reporting on human rights, democracy, security, and good governance issues. Contact: Send an SMS or MMS to + 252 63 442 5380 + 252 63 442 5380 /

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