From The Yemen Times:

Yemen’s close proximity to the Horn of Africa means that there are long established commercial, cultural and family ties. When the situation in Somalia was at its nadir it was to Yemen that many Somalis fled and found sanctuary, now as much of Yemen appears close to imploding these same Somalis are in a desperate situation and naturally yearn to return to their homeland. Precise numbers remain decidedly unclear, that said, recent estimates put the numbers of ethnic Somalis in Yemen at over 1 million, with the vast majority residing in Sana’a and Aden – the areas of greatest danger.

AL ABTHI BUILDING, IBB CITY, YEMEN – 21 APRIL 2017. Children peer out of a window in a former government building in the suburbs of Ibb. The building was provided by local authorities to house 53 families, among the many thousands of people who fled here from Taizz region after heavy fighting flared up in the summer of 2015. The building in which they now live has no electricity or running water. The displaced families installed solar panels on the roof of the building, which provide enough power for rudimentary lighting at night. Many of the children help their parents by collecting water and tending to the younger children in the building.

The UNHCR has estimated that over two and a quarter million people are displaced internally in Yemen.  Socotra, Yemen’s equivalent of the Galapagos Island, remains remarkably tranquil, apart that is for rumours that various Arab governments have designs on it with a view to “developing” the tourist industry.

Around 1,200 Somali refugees returned home on Sunday through the northeastern Bosaso Port after fleeing crisis-hit Yemen, in Bosaso, Somalia on April 26, 2015.

 

Should Yemen remain unstable the situation for the Horn will remain problematic. It is imperative that any policy towards the Horn of Africa factors in Yemen with a view to normalising the situation. Until this is done it is extremely unlikely that any meaningful peace will be established, one that allows cordial interaction across the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.

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