Almost 20,000 people who have fled from war-torn Yemen will receive protection and emergency assistance through a USD 10 million project funded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief), and implemented by IOM and UNHCR, in close coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, regional and local authorities.
The one-year project, which started on 1 June 2016, aims to contribute to increased access to safe, orderly and humane returns from Yemen to Somalia; improved access of persons of concern to protection and assistance; improved access of refugees, returnees and migrants to durable solutions; and strengthened partnerships at the national and regional level.
The Regional Governor of Somaliland’s Sahil Region, Jama Yusuf Ahmed, hosted a delegation from UNHCR, IOM and KSrelief at the Berbera Reception Centre on 15 August. At the Centre, UNHCR and IOM, through an implementing partner, the Danish Refugee Council, offer reception assistance, overnight accommodation, onward transportation assistance, medical assistance, and distribution of food and relief items to the most vulnerable returnees.
“Through this project, the Saudi government and people clearly demonstrate their commitment to supporting the pressing humanitarian needs of those fleeing the Yemeni crisis and the host community. With support from KSrelief, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the local government, UNHCR and IOM, we are now in a better position to provide much needed assistance to very vulnerable returnees, refugees and migrants fleeing from the Yemen conflict,” Governor Ahmed noted.
The project is being rolled out in close coordination with the Somalia Task Force on the Yemen Situation, a country-level response and coordination mechanism established by UNHCR and IOM on 1 April 2015 to plan for and respond to the crisis. The Task Force comprises relevant UN agencies and NGO members of the Somalia Humanitarian Country Team.
The Head of UNHCR in Hargeisa, Xhemil Shahu, noted that UNHCR is working closely with the local authorities, IOM and other partners to ensure protection and emergency services are available to new arrivals coming from Yemen. He expressed his gratitude to the local authorities and KSrelief.
Despite the achievements of this project, the needs on the ground continue to outstrip available resources – an issue that both UNHCR and IOM continue to struggle with. The situation is further compounded as the majority of arrivals have indicated conflict-prone regions in South Central Somalia as their final destination, posing security challenges.
Head of the Ksrelief delegation Fahad Alosaimi said that the Somalia project is one of various humanitarian projects funded by KSrelief inside and outside Yemen to assist the refugees and returnees.
UNHCR, IOM and partners from the Somalia Task Force on the Yemen Situation have appealed to the international community for USD 39.3 million to support the continued provision of post arrival humanitarian assistance to the thousands of individuals who have arrived, and are still arriving, from Yemen.