Yemen’s refugees pose a threat to Somalia.


Yemen’s refugees pose a threat to Somalia.

NCRI-Washintonpost, 25 Aug 2015

As if Somalia wasn’t faced with enough challenges as of late, a new crisis is brewing on the horizon.

Some brief background: The fragile country of 10 million continues to be plagued by the terrorism of the Islamist group al-Shabab, is facing a serious threat to its financial lifeline due to banks shutting down the servicing of remittance flows from Somalis abroad, and is still facing endemic poverty — one in seven children die before their first birthday. Somalia, which suffered from civil strife and a total political collapse in the early 1990s, endured a catastrophic famine only a few years ago that killed 260,000 people.

But right now, according to Somali Foreign Minister Abdusalam Omer, “The biggest challenge is Yemen.”

Saudi Arabia’s airstrikes in March against Houthi rebels in Yemen have caused many civilians to start fleeing the country, with many traveling by sea to the breakaway region of Somaliland and the Puntland region. According to UNHCR, nearly a thousand people have arrived in Somalia from Yemen, including Yemenis. The agency is making contingency plans to to receive up to 100,000 refugees to Somalia in the next six months and 30,000 in Djibouti.