For decades Somalis have been fleeing the conflict inside Somalia, risking their lives on overcrowded boats crossing the Gulf of Aden to find refuge in Yemen. However, the escalating conflict in the neighboring country is reversing the migration trend as Yemeni families continue to arrive in the Somali ports of Bossaso and Berbera, fleeing the violence that has flared up in their country.
Reverse migration - Somali's returning home
Over eighteen thousand people from Yemen have arrived in Somalia, the majority of whom are Somalis returning home. The World Food Programme (WFP) is providing humanitarian assistance to Yemeni nationals as well as vulnerable Somalis.
Gardo, a small a city in the northeastern Bari region of Somalia is now home to over 200 Yemeni nationals fleeing the conflict in their country and seeking refuge in Somalia.
WFP card programme allows food purchases throughout the country
At the ports, vulnerable Somalis and Yemenis participate in a biometric registration before receiving electronic transfer cards known as SCOPE cards which have a cash value that can be redeemed in different shops across regions in Somalia. The biometric data acts as their personal signature, validating each transaction.
Once in Somalia, many Somalis prefer to return to their home region. WFP’s network of retailers means they can continue to use their SCOPE cards in different locations to purchase food.
The SCOPE cards will also enable vulnerable people to be enrolled in WFP’s existing programmes in their respective regions, once their needs have been assessed.
SCOPE cards are used to support a range of WFP’s programmes, including in-kind transfers and nutrition interventions.
Food assistance for newly arrived vulnerable people
WFP is also providing nutrition support to children under five, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers to prevent malnutrition. At the Bossaso port, WFP is providing three cooked meals daily to all vulnerable people who arrive on the boats and pass through the transit centers.
“WFP and its partners are closely monitoring the situation and stand ready to assist more people if needs increase and resources are available,” said Laurent Bukera, WFP Country Director.