News / Middle East

Many Internally Displaced Yemenis Returning Home

A Yemeni man, right, uses his mobile phone to take photos of his friend as they gather near the historical site of Bab al-Yemen in the the old city of Sana'a, Yemen, Nov. 14, 2012.
A Yemeni man, right, uses his mobile phone to take photos of his friend as they gather near the historical site of Bab al-Yemen in the the old city of Sana'a, Yemen, Nov. 14, 2012.
Lisa Schlein
The United Nations refugee agency says it is seeing growing numbers of internally displaced people in southern Yemen return to their homes.  The UNHCR says this is the first time since violence and civil strife broke out in early 2011 that so many people are deciding it is safe for them to go back to the homes they fled.  
 
U.N. refugee spokesman, Adrian Edwards, says the UNHCR, together with the Yemeni authorities, has helped more than 80,000 internally displaced people go home over the past few months.  And, he says the returns are ongoing.
 
“This is the first significant displacement decline since May of 2011 when fighting between government troops and militants erupted in this part of Yemen.  It also follows the re-establishing of government authority in the southern province of Abyan in July.  Initially, the returns were slow because of widespread presence of landmines and unexploded ordinance, as well as extensive damage to infrastructure in several areas.  And, in many cases, people simply wanted to see more evidence of improvements before making the decision to return," said Edwards.
 
Inspired by the Arab Spring, violent protests broke out against the autocratic rule of Yemen’s former President, Ali Abdullah Saleh in January 2011.  This turmoil later spread to the southern part of the country.   A new president, Abed Rabbo Manoor Hadi was elected February 2012.  However, ousted President Saleh reportedly is believed to still wield considerable influence in Yemen.  
 
The UNHCR reports most of the 25,000 internally displaced who had been sheltering in schools and other public buildings in the port city of Aden have returned to Abyan.  It notes the government is covering transportation costs for people returning there.  And, security personnel are manning checkpoints along the route to ensure safe passage.
 
Edwards says the UNHCR and other agencies are providing further support.  He says his agency in particular is distributing shelter repair kits to more than 30,000 people, as well as other relief items such as mattresses, blankets and kitchen sets.
 
“We plan to help 180,000 persons in Abyan with shelter and non-food relief kits.  Currently, the challenges include widespread damage to property and infrastructure, a still fragile security situation, and patchiness in provision of public services.  Continuing international support and stable security will be essential if these returns are to become sustainable, and particularly if internal displacement in southern Yemen is to be brought to an end during 2013," he said.
 
In the meantime, Edwards says the current situation for hundreds of thousands of homeless people in northern Yemen remains bleak.  He says more than 300,000 people still are displaced from the conflict that has been running on and off since 2004 between the Yemeni government  and Shi'ite al Houthi rebels.
 
He notes the situation in the north remains volatile and people feel too insecure to return home.   Indeed, earlier this year, he says tribal clashes in the northern governorates forced more than 6,000 people to flee their homes.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs