Yemeni patients stranded in Jordan

Yemeni patients stranded in Jordan
As the conflict rages on in Yemen, civilians who travelled to Jordan for medical treatment struggle to return to their country after airlines suspend flights.
3 min read
09 April, 2015
Many civilians are concerned about a lack of money as they remain stranded [AFP/Getty]

In a public square in the Jordanian capital city of Amman, a group of Yemeni nationals discuss their concerns about the developments in their home country.

However, they are all now unable to return after airlines suspended flights to Yemen and all roads have been closed.

They came to Jordan for medical treatment with a limited budget. Some of them spent all their money, while others do not have much left, facing eviction from their rented apartments or hotels.

     Will I stay until I get evicted and have to sleep in the street without enough money for food?

Mohammad Said Abdullah arrived in Jordan in early March to receive treatment for his stroke in a private hospital. He had placed a budget of $4,000 for his trip, of which he says he only has enough to cover him for a few more days.

Abdullah was supposed to return to Sanaa a week ago after he finished his treatment, but he was unable to.

"The airline told me there were no more flights to Sanaa" he said. Today, he fears his stay in Jordan will extend until he is unable to afford rent ($49 per night).

"Will I stay until I get evicted and have to sleep in the street without enough money for food?"

Shawei Zayd’s case is not any better. He was to fly out the day the Saudi-led Operation Decisive Storm started, but now he is also stranded in Jordan, with no reason to stay as his treatment is complete.  

During his six week stay, Zayd spent $6,000 for a cataract surgery and cochlear implants, in addition to his accommodation expenses. Today he only has a few Dinars left.

"I want to go home. I am in a very difficult situation right now, I have no money and I fear for my family" Zayd said.

"If I was to die, at least I would be surrounded by my family" he added.

Abdul Wahab al-Alafi, the health officer at the Yemeni Embassy in Amman, told al-Araby al-Jadeed that 1,500 Yemeni nationals had completed their treatment in Jordan over the past two months.

"They are all stranded now, and they are unable to return to Yemen" he said.

"Yemenis who come to Jordan for treatment bring only enough money for medical and living expenses for a maximum of one month in most cases. Today they all suffer from harsh circumstances after running out of money and not being able to go home."

According to Alafi, an average of 30,000 Yemenis come to Jordan every year for treatment.

In an attempt to solve the problem, Alafi said he was making calls with a number of Yemeni investors in Jordan, who own apartment buildings, to host and assist the stranded Yemeni nationals.

However, he said, this would not fully solve the problem, calling on international organisations for additional assistance.