Yemen – Evacuation, Temporary accommodation and Resettlement
In April 2015 The World Federation evacuated 467 desperate individuals from Yemen and temporarily housed them in Djibouti. It all started in March 2015 when the leaders of The World Federation started receiving calls from our community members in Yemen saying that the situation on the ground was getting worse and they feared for their lives. Immediately The World Federation started putting measures in place in case of a rescue operation. In a couple of weeks, the situation in Yemen deteriorated to such an extent that there was no option but to rescue our community members who were prime targets because of their faith and their reluctance to take sides in this conflict.
As we prepared for this massive undertaking, what started out with just 3 people ended up with having 200 volunteers from our communities all over the world. Community members from all over the world flew into Djibouti, to set up camp for the refugees, to ensure that they had all basic necessities but more so to assure them of our support. There were doctors, nurses and psychiatrists among them, all having left their families, jobs and the comfort of their homes to serve those who needed their assistance the most. By 16th April, 252 victimised and destitute individuals had reached Hodeida and were kept in temporary accommodation. On the 21st of April 2015, the first Sambuk left the shores of Djibouti, with a team of 6 volunteers equipped with life jackets, food, water and medicines. After 30 hours at sea, they reached the port of Hodeida where 252 people fleeing persecution were waiting for them. After the success of the first mission, a second evacuation was conducted beginning 10th May 2015 where a further 204 community members were evacuated from different cities in Yemen and transported to Hodeida. On 20th May, the Sambuk once again left Djibouti with a team of 7 volunteers and managed to bring these refugees to safety on 24th May.
After months of relentless persecution, having been robbed of every material possession and their dignity in shreds, they dreamt of building a new life in the West; in Europe and America. In spite of inexorable efforts by the World Federation, resettlement in the West was not an option, since the Syrian Migrant Crisis had just erupted on Europe’s seas. The World Federation worked closely with UNHCR and managed to obtain Prima Facie Refugee Status for all of these individuals who are now housed in various parts of the world.
As of December 2016, over 2.8 million Yemenis have been forced to leave their homes; almost 180,000 have already fled the country.