Ethiopians are fleeing the country each month, crossing through Yemen, unaware of the war and the danger
Ethiopian people are leaving Ethiopia by passing through Yemen wanting to get to Saudi Arabia to work and send money back to their families. About 20,000 migrants leave Ethiopia crossing through Yemen’s war zone each month, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
In Obock, a small fishing village on the northern shores of the Gulf of Tadjoura, Yemeni refugees arrive after fleeing Saudi attacks. Meanwhile, Ethiopians migrate passing through the same village for a better life in Saudi Arabia. However, migrants are unaware of the Yemen war, they say they are taking the same journey their families have a few years ago, before the war.
But most Ethiopians are forced to leave their country, some of them come from the Oromia region belonging to an ethnic group known to be at odds with the central government. They have been displaced due to political violence, while some have been forced to by severed floods and droughts.
The UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) has been running a public awareness campaign in Ethiopia about the Yemen war since 2017, they are running music videos and billboards in five languages, but it seems they haven’t made it to Obock.
Yemen has been shattered by war between the Saudi-led coalition and Iranian-backed Houthi fighters since early 2015. Airstrikes have destroyed homes, schools, and mosques, and have forced many Yemen people to flee their country. Almost 40,000 Yemenis have fled to Djibouti since 2015, according to UNHCR, out of which about 15,000 moved to the US and nearly 1,300 are still currently residing in the Markazi Refugee Camp.