Connect with us

News

Women struggle to get by as Yemen conflict hits six-year mark

As the world’s worst humanitarian crisis rages on, women and children make up three-quarters of the four million people forced from their homes, putting them at greater risk.

Yemen. Internally displaced families in Ibb City

A single mother sits outside her shelter in a settlement for internally displaced people in Ibb city, Yemen. A quarter of all displaced families in the country are headed by women.  © UNHCR/Rakan Al-Badani

On a small patch of land on the outskirts of Hudaydah, Yemen’s main Red Sea port, 38-year-old Nabiha is attempting to rebuild her life brick by brick. Widowed in the early days of the country’s conflict and displaced multiple times by fighting, the mother-of-three is constructing a home she hopes will restore the stability her family has lost.

Originally from Al-Mokha, a city 185 kilometres down the coast famous for its historic coffee trade, Nabiha fled to Hudaydah with her mother, brother, daughter and two sons in 2015, after her husband was killed in an explosion while at work.

“He was rushed to the hospital, but after a week-long battle between life and death, he died,” Nabiha said. “It was a very bad and difficult time for us. I decided to leave. I was worried that my children would die too … if we stayed there.”

After spending most of her savings renting accommodation in Hudaydah, Nabiha again found herself caught up in intense fighting that erupted in the city at the end of 2017. The violence has killed more than 2,900 civilians and damaged more than 6,600 homes, 33 schools and 43 roads and bridges, making Hudaydah one of the worst affected cities in Yemen by six years of conflict.

“Families were killed and injured all around us.”

Without the means to leave and start over again elsewhere, Nabiha had no choice but to stay in the city, moving the family from place to place as the frontlines shifted.

READ  India leaves Nigerians , others, out of stimulus packages programme

“I was living very close to the fighting. I had to move to another area because families were killed and injured all around us. We moved three times from one neighborhood to another to avoid bullets and airstrikes.” Nabiha said.

As Yemen’s conflict enters its seventh year this month, Nabiha’s desperate struggles have become a familiar experience for millions caught up in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Since 2015, more than 20,000 civilian deaths and injuries have been recorded and more than 4 million people have been forced to flee within the country’s borders. Three-quarters of internally displaced Yemenis are women and children, while one-in-four displaced families are headed by women like Nabiha.

In a patriarchal society like Yemen, where socio-cultural norms and practices shape the lives of women, the conflict has increased the risk of exploitation and abuse.

To try to support her family, Nabiha occasionally works as a housekeeper and uses the basic nursing skills she learned from her late husband ­– who was a nurse at a private hospital in Al-Mokha – working shifts at local private health clinics and giving patients injections, basic first aid and taking their blood pressure.

As well as earning her between 250-500 Yemeni Rials (US$2-4) per day, word of her skills also spread quickly among her neighbours, who come to her for help and refer to her affectionately as “doctor”. In a country facing a severe shortage of trained medical personnel and where only half of health facilities are still operational, the few skills Nabiha has go a long way.

READ  JIFORM signs MoU with Institute of Innovation (DII), US for members' training

The little money she is able to earn is often insufficient to cover the family’s basic needs. Their diet consists almost entirely of rice and beans, and frequently they only have enough for one proper meal a day, with Nabiha sometimes skipping even these so her children have more to eat.

Such coping strategies have become common as Yemen’s hunger crisis deepens. Displaced families are four times more likely than other Yemenis to suffer from food insecurity, and according to assessments some 2.6 million displaced people in the country are just a step away from famine.

Nabiha has also received cash assistance from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, as part of its efforts to assist and protect the most vulnerable forcibly displaced families inside the country.

Over the past two years, as people’s needs have increased, UNHCR’s cash assistance programme in the country has grown to become one of the five largest in the world, helping more than a million people annually. Such assistance is even more essential for the two thirds of displaced Yemeni families that, unlike Nabiha’s, have no form of income.

“I want a better life for them.”

It was thanks to the assistance she received, as well as securing a loan and using the last of her savings, that Nabiha was able to buy the land where she is now in the process of building a more permanent home for her family, far from the areas of continued fighting.

“It’s away from the city and close to a garbage dump, but it’s better than renting,” Nabiha said. “Before that, I used to pay rent and sometimes I didn’t have enough money to pay, and the landlord would threaten [to evict] me. Back then, I couldn’t sleep because I was thinking of how to manage the money for rent.”

READ  Nigerian priest leaves German parish after receiving death threat

For now, the basic brick structure consists of only one room with a temporary roof which leaks when it rains. But in spite of their continuing hardships and the challenge of building a home on a shoestring, Nabiha hopes to provide her children with a proper education and with it the chance to achieve their dreams.

“My daughter wants to be a pharmacist … one of my boys wants to be a doctor and the second one wants to work in media,” Nabiha said. “I want my children to be independent. They are excellent in their studies. I want them to rely on themselves when I die. I want a better life for them; better than mine.”

Jean-Nicolas Beuze is UNHCR’s Representative in Yemen

Support Voice for African Migrants


Support VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS journalism of integrity and credibility.

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
* are compulsory
cardlogos
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Solve : *
29 − 16 =


News

Netherlands, IOM launch Global Migration Initiative to protect people on the move

COMPASS will provide vulnerable migrants including victims of trafficking and unaccompanied or separated children access to a broad range of protection and assistance services.

 The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands launched the Cooperation on Migration and Partnerships for Sustainable Solutions initiative (COMPASS) at the beginning of 2021. COMPASS is a global initiative, in partnership with 12 countries, designed to protect people on the move, combat human trafficking and smuggling, and support dignified return while promoting sustainable reintegration.

The initiative is centred on a whole-of-society approach which, in addition to assisting individuals, will work across all levels – households, communities, and the wider communities – and encompasses the following partner countries: Afghanistan, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, and Tunisia.

“We want to mobilize families, peers and communities to encourage informed and safe migration decisions, protect migrants, and help those returning home reintegrate successfully,” said Monica Goracci, Director of the Department of Migration Management at IOM.

READ  COVID 19: NIgerians stranded in African countries accuse govt of excluding them from evacuation exercise

“One key component is also undermining the trafficking and smuggling business models through the promotion of safe alternatives and information sharing to reduce the risks of exploitation and abuse by these criminal networks.” Vulnerable migrants, including victims of trafficking and unaccompanied or separated children, will have access to a broad range of protection and assistance services such as mental health and psychosocial support, while migrants in transit who wish to return home will be supported with dignified return and reintegration.

Community level interventions will focus on improving community-led efforts to address trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, and support sustainable reintegration of returning migrants. COMPASS will work with national and local governments to enable a conducive environment for migrant protection, migration management and international cooperation on these issues.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is pleased to launch the COMPASS programme in cooperation with IOM, an important and longstanding partner on migration cooperation,” said Marriët Schuurman, Director for Stability and Humanitarian Aid of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

READ  Total number of Nigerians returned from Saudi Arabia hits 1,071

“The programme is a part of the Dutch comprehensive approach to migration with activities that contribute to protection and decreasing irregular migration. Research and data gathering are also important components, and we hope that the insights that will be gained under COMPASS will contribute to broader knowledge sharing on migration and better-informed migration policies.”, added Schuurman. The initiative has a strong learning component, designed to increase knowledge and the uptake of lessons learned, both within the programme and beyond its parameters. COMPASS will actively contribute to global knowledge that supports countries in managing migration flows and protecting vulnerable migrants such as victims of trafficking. The implementation of COMPASS is set to start soon.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, as the donor to the COMPASS initiative, pledges its active support to partner countries to improve migration cooperation mechanisms within its long-term vision. 

IOM, the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration, contributes its expertise as the technical implementation partner to the initiative. IOM works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners in its dedication to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. 

READ  Migrant Women in Greece and in Libya: Leaders in a COVID-19 World

Support Voice for African Migrants


Support VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS journalism of integrity and credibility.

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
* are compulsory
cardlogos
Continue Reading

News

A child, 40 others drown in shipwreck off Tunisia

Photo: Mediterranean Sea

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are deeply saddened by reports of a shipwreck off the coast of Sidi Mansour, in southeast Tunisia, yesterday evening. The bodies of 41 people, including at least one child, have so far been retrieved.

According to reports from local UNHCR and IOM teams, three survivors were rescued by the Tunisian National Coast Guard. The search effort was still underway on Friday. Based on initial information, all those who perished were from Sub-Saharan Africa.

This tragic loss of life underscores once again the need to enhance and expand State-led search and rescue operations across the Central Mediterranean, where some 290 people have lost their lives so far this year. Solidarity across the region and support to national authorities in their efforts to prevent loss of life and prosecute smugglers and traffickers should be a priority.

Prior to yesterday’s incident, 39 refugees and migrants had perished off the coast near the Tunisian city of Sfax in early March. So far this year, sea departures from Tunisia to Europe have more than tripled compared to the same period in 2020.

READ  Migrant Women in Greece and in Libya: Leaders in a COVID-19 World

UNHCR and IOM continue to monitor developments closely. They continue to stand ready to work with the national authorities to assist and support the survivors, and the family members of those lost.

Support Voice for African Migrants


Support VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS journalism of integrity and credibility.

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
* are compulsory
cardlogos
Continue Reading

News

Ethiopian migrants return home from Yemen with IOM support in wake of tragic boat sinking

Yemen: Stranded Ethiopian migrants prepare to board an IOM-facilitated flight from Aden, Yemen, to fly home to Addis Ababa. Photo: IOM/Majed Mohammed 2021

One hundred and sixty Ethiopian migrants have returned home safely from Yemen today with the assistance of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), just one day after a perilous journey across the Gulf of Aden claimed the lives of dozens of people, including at least 16 children.

More than 32,000 migrants, predominantly from Ethiopia, remain stranded across Yemen in dire, often deadly, circumstances.

“The conditions of migrants stranded in Yemen has become so tragic that many feel they have no option but to rely on smugglers to return home,” said Jeffrey Labovitz, IOM’s Director for Operations and Emergencies.

At least 42 people returning from Yemen are believed to have died on Monday when their vessel sank off the coast of Djibouti. Last month, at least 20 people had also drowned on the same route according to survivors. IOM believes that, since May 2020, over 11,000 migrants have returned to the Horn of Africa on dangerous boat journeys, aided by unscrupulous smugglers.

READ  IOM releases results of largest survey on drivers of migration in Bangladesh

“Our Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme provides a lifeline for those stranded in a country now experiencing its seventh year of conflict and crisis. We call on all governments along the route to come together and support our efforts to allow migrants safe and dignified opportunities to travel home,” added Labovitz.

COVID-19 has had a major impact on global migration. The route from the Horn of Africa to Gulf countries has been particularly affected. Tens of thousands of migrants, hoping to work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), now find themselves unable to complete their journeys, stranded across Djibouti, Somalia and Yemen.

While the pandemic has also caused the number of migrants arriving to Yemen to decrease from 138,000 in 2019 to just over 37,500 in 2020, the risks they face continue to rise. Many of these migrants are stranded in precarious situations, sleeping rough without shelter or access to services. Many others are in detention or being held by smugglers.

READ  IDPs contribution will be needed after pandemic-Vatican

“We cannot find jobs or food here; Yemen is a problem for us,” said Gamal, a 22-year-old migrant returning on the VHR flight. “I used to sleep in the street on cardboard. I could only eat because of the charity people would give me and sometimes we were given leftovers from restaurants. I never had much to eat.”

Since October 2020, in Aden alone, IOM has registered over 6,000 migrants who need support to safely return home. Today’s flight to Addis Ababa was the second transporting an initial group of 1,100 Ethiopians who have been approved for VHR to Ethiopia. Thousands of other undocumented migrants are waiting for their nationality to be verified and travel documents to be provided.

Prior to departure on the VHR flight, IOM carried out medical and protection screenings to ensure that returnees are fit to travel and are voluntarily consenting to return. Those with special needs are identified and receive specialized counselling and support.

In Ethiopia, IOM supports government-run COVID-19 quarantine facilities to accommodate the returnees on arrival and provides cash assistance, essential items and onward transportation to their homes. The Organization also supports family tracing for unaccompanied migrant children.

READ  Migrant Women in Greece and in Libya: Leaders in a COVID-19 World

Across the Horn of Africa and Yemen, IOM provides life-saving support to migrants through health care, food, water and other vital assistance.

Today’s flight was funded by the US State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). Post-arrival assistance in Addis Ababa is supported by EU Humanitarian Aid and PRM.

Support Voice for African Migrants


Support VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS journalism of integrity and credibility.

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
* are compulsory
cardlogos
Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2019 Voice for African Migrants. Site Design: Semasir Connect