Yemen, despite the ongoing humanitarian crises in the country, continues to be a major transit point along the eastern migration route between the Horn of Africa (HoA) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabic (KSA). IOM’s DTM recorded 27,693 migrant arrivals in Yemen in 2021, through ten flow monitoring points (FMPs) operating at key migrant transit locations along the southern coast in the governorates of Lahj, Shabwah, Hadramawt and Ta’iz. Irregular migrants, mainly from Ethiopia, travel to Yemen via boats, from Djibouti and Somalia, and face severe protection risks, which worsen upon arrival in Yemen.
The main migration route starts from Ethiopia to the seaport city of Obock in Djibouti. Migrants then depart Obock and arrive at Bab Al Mandeb water strait, an area that spans the coasts of Lahj and Ta’iz governorates. A secondary route via Somalia gained traction following increased military patrolling along the main route between Djibouti and Yemen. Migrants departing from Bosaso in Somalia arrive at the coasts of Shabwah and Hadramawt in Yemen, where the journey is longer and precarious.
The majority of migrants intend to reach Saudi Arabia but for most, as DTM field staff have observed, their journey ends in Yemen. Migrants attempt to reach KSA through the Monabih district in Sada governorate, mainly through Al Raq, Al Gar and Al Thabet towns which fall on the northern border.
In pursuit of better economic opportunities, migrants endure heightened inhumane conditions. Migrants are amongst the most underserved, marginalized and at-risk population groups in Yemen. With the deepening of the political and security crisis in Yemen, migration dynamics in the country have remained perilous. Fleeing destitution, poverty and often violence, migrants in Yemen experience aggression, abuse and exploitation. The majority are living in dire conditions with extremely limited-to-no access to essential services such as shelter, food, water and healthcare.