Why are African men and women still fleeing to Yemen?

Awareness doesn't change decisions

The Ethiopian state of emergency that was declared October 2016 continues to fuel outward displacement, and Ethiopian asylum seekers interviewed in Yemen, are increasingly referring to the unrest as a key reason for their migration out of the country.

Somalis cited a number of reasons for migrating including economic opportunities, tribal conflict, poverty and hardship and conflict between the government and al-Shabab.

Two reasons for attempting the journey that most people from the Horn share are a sense of responsibility to their families and positive perceptions of migration.

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The most common smuggling route to Yemen starts from Djibouti's coast. Most of the asylum seekers, especially Ethiopians, arriving in Djibouti are aware of the ongoing conflict in Yemen, but think it will not affect them. Some think the ongoing conflict and resulting lack of rule of law, will allow them to disembark and transit through Yemen, more easily and without being stopped by local authorities.

A mix of misinformation by brokers and smugglers, political reasons and migration success stories seen on social media and heard through the community grapevine were all significant drivers of migration, even when migrants have some information on the conflict in Yemen.

Once they arrive in Djibouti, many face shortages of water and food and have to resort to begging or working menial jobs to pay for the journey to Yemen.

These are perilous routes run by well-coordinated networks of smugglers. The smuggler networks between the point of embarkation in Djibouti and disembarkation in Yemen are often coordinated in terms of sharing information on when boats would set off and arrive.





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