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A girl in Yemen waits to go home -- others are not so lucky

March 22, 2012 |  4:19 pm


Every day on World Now, we choose a striking photo from around the world. Today we were arrested by this shot of a little girl waiting to be evacuated from Yemen and taken back to her home country, Ethiopia.

Others may not get that chance. The International Organization for Migration says it is short on funding to help stranded Ethiopian migrants return home, forcing it to stop unless new money is found.

Ethiopians and other East African migrants pass through the town of Haradh, where this girl was photographed Wednesday, as a stepping stone to Saudi Arabia, the group said. Many end up being stranded in Yemen or deported back there from Saudi Arabia or other Arab destination countries.

The Times reported on the flight of Somali and Ethiopian refugees to Yemen two years ago:

The roughly 200-mile passage to Yemen from port cities and fishing villages in Somalia and the shorter voyage from Djibouti are treacherous. For two days, refugees are crammed shoulder to shoulder in creaking boats -- nothing more than 30-foot wooden dinghies.

Along the way, they face high winds, deadly storms, pirates and possible detention by the Yemeni coast guard or international anti-piracy patrols. Many are women and children. Some are raped, beaten or thrown overboard by smugglers wary of being caught if they deliver their human cargo too close to shore. Untold numbers disappear at sea.

Some African migrants have been kidnapped and tortured in Yemen until their families send money, the humanitarian news network IRIN recently reported. A local Yemeni news website published some photographs of the victims earlier this month. (Warning: These images are graphic.)

The migration group says that more than 400 people are now packed into a transit center for migrants who want to go home. The shelter was built for 150. It estimates that 12,000 stranded migrants, mostly from the Horn of Africa, remain in Yemen, suffering diseases and wounds inflicted by smugglers.


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-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles

Photo: An Ethiopian girl waits Wednesday with her family to be evacuated at a departure center in the western Yemeni town of Haradh, on the border with Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Credit: Hani Mohammed / Associated Press