UNHCR Sana’a branch office is concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian and health situation of the largely Oromo and Eritrean refugees camping in front of the office, especially the women and children. The sit-in has also become a public order issue and of growing concern to the office neighbours.
The refugees have been camping in front of the office since May 28 to protest the price hike of commodities and the general insecurity amid the current political unrest. Throughout this period, UNHCR has made all possible efforts to discuss with protesters on available services to support them, cooperating closely with Yemen authorities and UNHCR implementing partners. The refugees have unambiguously demanded for a safe place; resettlement to a third country.
Although refugees often find it hard to believe, resettlement to third countries is only an option for a few vulnerable cases and at the discretion of the resettlement countries themselves – not UNHCR. Since resettlement is not a realistic option, the protesting refugees were instead advised to choose on the immediately available options- transfer to a camp, a transit shelter on outskirts of Sana’a or financial support to vulnerable families so they can afford to pay rent and put food on table.
In the last two months 220 refugee families were financially supported as exceptionally vulnerable cases due to the joblessness and displacement caused by the current political instability. Up to 150 refugee families were transferred to Kharaz camp.