African migrants gathering at a UNHCR-run Kharaz refugee camp in the southern province of Lahj, Yemen. | Credit: EPA
African migrants gathering at a UNHCR-run Kharaz refugee camp in the southern province of Lahj, Yemen. | Credit: EPA

The IOM has launched an appeal asking for the protection of migrants affected, together with the local population, by military operations in the Yemeni port city of Hodeida.

The UN agency International Organization for Migration (IOM) issued a statement denounced the military offensive in the Yemeni port city of Hodeida. The IOM said it is endangering the lives of 600,000 people and that the conflict is having a drastic impact on migrants and on humanitarian access to all the communities affected by the conflict. The organization called for moderation and the respect of international humanitarian laws, in particular regarding the protection of civilians, including migrants.

Concern for migrants involved in fighting

"Three years of ceaseless conflict have devastated Yemen and now this military operation is restricting humanitarian operations, causing further loss of life, internal displacement and suffering for the Yemeni people," said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies. "We are concerned about the migrants caught up in the deadly fighting either living in or attempting to transit through the country," he added. To evacuate the stranded or displaced families that want to leave areas of active conflict, IOM is coordinating with transportation service providers to move the families to safety, the organization said in a statement.

Stop to voluntary return of fighters

IOM has identified 12,766 internally displaced households, over 89,000 individuals, in Hodeida as of June 13. Al-Khawkhah (3,732 households), Al-Garrahi (2,990 households) and Al-Hali (1,107 households) districts have the highest number of displaced people in the governorate. The UN agency uses the city's port to help migrants stranded in the country return home through its program of voluntary repatriations. The organization has helped over 350 migrants return home so far this year through the port of Hodeida. But the IOM has been forced to postpone new trips due to intense fighting. "Many migrants are stranded in or near the frontlines. Our Migrant Response Point in Hodeida is currently running with skeletal staff, impacting how much we can help conflict-affected migrants. And with our voluntary humanitarian return operations on hold for moment, the situations for migrants in Hodeida is bleak," said Abdiker.


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