Deported migrants arriving from Yemen are swelling the population of Djibouti camps, as officials with the International Organization for Migration warn that 3,000 more may arrive in the next few days.
Djibouti has become “the epicenter,” says IOM official Jeffrey Labovitz, for complicated flows of migrant crossings over the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden routes. There are about 500 such crossings each day, adds Labovitz, the agency’s director for the East and Horn of Africa.
Deportations have swelled the number of new arrivals in Djibouti, against a backdrop of an estimated 10,000 migrants, mostly Ethiopians, arriving each month. They add to the total number of arrivals fleeing the escalating conflict between the government and Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The largest groups are from the Oromia and Tigray regions, and include many unaccompanied minors. Children account for almost 30 percent of the migrant flows into Djibouti, Labovitz said.
At least 600 Ethiopians deported from southern Yemen are stranded at the Migration Response Center in Obock, with more than 300 new arrivals in tents who came in early October. The center is at capacity, and disease outbreaks have heightened the need for humanitarian assistance, the agency said.
The IOM also monitors the condition of migrants in detention in Yemen, and believes that over 4,000 migrants – primarily Ethiopian – are being held in overcrowded facilities.