5,000 stranded Yemenis return home from Egypt

5,000 stranded Yemenis return home from Egypt
Thousands of Yemenis have braved the war in their country to return home from Egypt.
2 min read
10 June, 2015
Yemenis trapped abroad have begun trickling home as flights resume [AFP]

Their country is a warzone, yet more than 5,000 Yemenis have returned home from Cairo over the past few days, after regular flights resumed.

Speaking to the Egyptian news site Youm7, the head of Yemenia airways at Cairo Airport, Sadeq Abdel Aziz, said that 5,490 Yemenis had flown to Yemen on 32 flights.

The flights headed from Cairo Airport to Bisha Airport in Saudi Arabia, and then on to Mukalla Airport in eastern Yemen.

Yemenis have been stuck in Egypt and elsewhere since Saudi-led coalition airstrikes on the country began on March 26. The coalition prevented flights from entering Yemeni airspace and bombed Sanaa airport frequently.

Flights began to trickle in again at the end of May, but have been irregular.

Saudi Arabia appears to have relented to calls to allow flights in to Yemen, and Yemen's vice-president Khalid Bahah announced at a press conference in Riyadh on Monday that his government would be doing all it could to help those trapped abroad.

Many Yemenis had been in Egypt for medical treatment, only to find themselves stranded in the country and rapidly running out of money, or struggling to find accommodation.

Hundreds of Yemenis have been going to their country's embassy in Cairo in an attempt to get help, yet often found that the embassy was unable to aid them.

With wire transfers from inside Yemen stopped, many Yemenis trapped abroad have struggled to survive, with only NGOs attempting to support them.

"My parents live in Egypt," a Yemeni, Abeer al-Sulaihi, told al-Araby al-Jadeed in April. "They asked me to transfer some money to them to cover their living costs but I couldn't because transfers are not allowed."

By and large Yemenis have chosen the option of risking the return home, despite the ongoing war.

"I want to die next to my children, I want to die in my country," an elderly Yemeni man returning to Sanaa told al-Hurra TV. "I don't want anything else."