Of the over 32,000 people who have to date fled to Somalia from war-torn Yemen, almost 20,000 will receive protection and emergency assistance through a USD 10 million project funded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KS-RELIEF), and implemented by IOM and UNHCR, in close coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, regional and local authorities.
This joint response will benefit Somali returnees, Yemeni refugees, migrants and host communities. The project aims to support the capacity of local authorities to manage migration in a safe, orderly, and humane manner. It also aims to make it easier for people seeking protection and return assistance to address their needs and access these services. Families fleeing the Yemen crisis will also benefit from improved access to durable solutions that will enable them to become increasingly self-reliant and resilient.
The intervention will be rolled out in close coordination with the Somalia Task Force on the Yemen Situation, a country-level response and coordination mechanism established by IOM and UNHCR on 1 April 2015 to plan for and respond to the crisis. The Task Force comprises all relevant UN humanitarian agencies and the NGO members of the Somalia Humanitarian Country Team.
Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s Director of Operations and Emergencies, said: “This is a hugely important contribution that will go a long in ensuring we provide much needed assistance to very vulnerable Somali returnees, migrants and refugees fleeing from the Yemen conflict. This significant and generous gesture from the Saudi government and people, further emphasizes and underlines their humanitarian commitment to supporting the Somali people and the international agencies aiding them.”
“The majority of arrivals have indicated regions in South Central Somalia as their final destination. Reintegration of Somali returnees poses additional challenges, as the widespread conflict and political strife have crippled essential infrastructure and more than three quarters of the population lack access to health care, proper sanitation and safe drinking water,” said Gerry Waite, IOM Somalia’s Chief of Mission.
“The reintegration of Somali returnees and the integration of Yemeni refugees are critical elements to addressing Somalia’s comprehensive humanitarian and displacement needs and to the long-term development prospects of the country as a whole,” added Caroline Van Buren, UNHCR Representative to Somalia.
IOM, UNHCR and partners from the Somalia Task Force on the Yemen Situation have appealed to the international community for USD 39.3 million to support the continued provision of post arrival humanitarian assistance to the thousands of individuals who have arrived, and are still arriving, from Yemen.