Prevented from crossing the country to the Gulf countries, 1800 African migrants are currently parked in a stadium in Aden (yemen), where their living conditions cause great concern.
The Gulf countries still attract thousands of Africans from the Horn of Africa to work there. The problem is that they have to go through Yemen at war. In mid-April, Aden security forces launched a campaign to repatriate all migrants, a police source told AFP. After placing them in makeshift camps across the city, they were gathered in the stadium located in the 22-May district, according to this source.
These migrants come mainly from Ethiopia, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). They were arrested by Aden security services, controlled by pro-government forces. “According to our estimates, there are 1789 migrants on the site,” Olivia Headon, IOM spokesperson in Yemen, told AFP, pointing out that the stadium where they are parked does not have any health standards or of security. They are mostly adult men, but there are also 389 boys and 28 girls under the age of 18, Headon said.
Yemen has been at war for more than four years. Houthi rebels, backed by Iran and masters of the capital Sanaa, stand up to pro-government forces, supported militarily by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The conflict in Yemen has caused the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, according to the United Nations.
Migrants from the Horn of Africa pass through Djibouti before embarking on the perilous sea crossing to Aden. From there, they usually try to go to other Gulf countries, looking for a job.
Some do not survive the crossing because of shipwrecks or because they are forced by traffickers to jump into the water near the Yemeni coast when they can not swim.
In the Aden stadium, they sit in the open air, fighting for pieces of bread, talking to police or trying to protect themselves from the sun. Mohammed Nour, an Ethiopian, landed a few days ago. “I do not want to stay in Yemen, I want to go to Saudi Arabia to look for work,” he told AFP “There is no food, no water, no bathroom, no shower. they are killing us hungry, I told them it’s better to die. “
“I have been here for two days,” said Abdallah Nour, another Ethiopian. “We had problems with the soldiers and the police, there is no shade and we are stuck here under the sun.”
IOM is concerned about their living conditions
“The site is not designed to accommodate anyone, not even one person, let alone thousands of people,” says Headon, “they do not have access to toilets. outside, which is a huge health problem, there is no shelter, there are no blankets. “
“We started transporting water by truck, carrying out medical examinations and distributing food, with the help of local organizations, but access to food remains limited,” she said. lamented.
IOM is currently working with other UN agencies to help migrants return home on a voluntary basis. In January 2019, the Organization announced plans to repatriate some 3,000 Ethiopian migrants by air this year. 140,000 Ethiopians arrived in Yemen in 2018, according to the International Organization for Migration.