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War Torn Country: Refugees Leave and Migrants Arrive

March 17, 2016
Plain English Version
OBOCK, DJIBOUTI Photo by Mehmet Kemal Firik/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

OBOCK, DJIBOUTI Photo by Mehmet Kemal Firik/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Refugees stream out of dangerous places. They are searching for safety and a chance at a new life. There is conflict in Yemen between Houthi rebels and the Saudi-backed government.

Refugees from the war in Yemen often land in Obock, Djibouti. Djibouti is a tiny and poor African country.  It is a hot, barren former French colony of 900,000. Its people live in poverty. It is on the trade route between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. It houses U.S. and French military bases.

Obock is a crossroad. In Obock refugee camps, the refugees are fleeing the war in Yemen. At the same time, thousands of African migrants are going to Yemen. Most of the migrants are Ethiopians. They are seeking jobs cleaning houses or driving taxis. If they are lucky, they make it to Saudi Arabia.

The migrants in are fleeing poverty and drought. The refugees out are fleeing war. Obock is a crossroads.

The American Ambassador said, “It is extraordinary that a lot of people are trying to flee Yemen. And a lot of people are trying to get into Yemen at the same time.”

Some of the refugees are good for Obock‘s  economy. Many came with savings. They were able to rent houses and open shops and restaurants. Some young Yemeni men rent motorized rickshaws. They ferry people between the camp and the center of town for a small fee.

The refugees and migrants are straining the resources of Djibouti. The exodus flows into and out of places of poverty and war. It is a symbol of our times.

Source: The Wall Street Journal March 11, 2016

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