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

US Gives Malaysia Questionable Upgrade in Human Trafficking Ranks

Malaysia’s upgrade seen as removing barrier to country’s participation in the US-led 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership More

Turkey, US Try to Establish Buffer Despite Differences

Coalition airstrikes in proposed zone would aim to drive out Islamic extremists, allowing targeted area to come under sway of anti-Assad rebels More

Video US: Millions Exploited by Vast Fortunes of Human Trafficking

State Department's annual report calls exploitation 'modern slavery,' brutalizing girls, women into prostitution and forcing men, women and children into low-wage jobs across the globe 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.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs