Yemen — Annual Flow Monitoring Registry (FMR) Report (2022)




DTM Yemen,
Period Covered
Jan 01 2022
Dec 31 2022
  • Flow Monitoring

Yemen, despite the ongoing humanitarian crises in the country, continues to be a major transit point along the eastern migration route between the Horn of Africa (HoA) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabic (KSA). IOM’s DTM recorded 73,233 migrant arrivals in Yemen in 2022, through operating at key migrant landing locations along the southern coast in the governorates of Lahj, Shabwah, and Hadramawt. Irregular migrants, mainly from Ethiopia, travel to Yemen via boats, from Djibouti and Somalia, and face severe protection risks, which worsen upon arrival in Yemen. 

The main migration route starts from Ethiopia to the seaport city of Obock in Djibouti. Migrants then depart Obock and arrive at Bab Al Mandeb Strait, an area that spans the coasts of Lahj and Ta’iz governorates. A secondary route via Somalia gained traction during increased military patrolling along the main route between Djibouti and Yemen. More migrants departed from Bossaso in Somalia arriving at the coasts of Shabwah and Hadramawt than from Djibouti during six non-consecutive months of the year (January, March, June-September). The journey along this route is said to be longer and more precarious.

The majority of migrants intend to reach Saudi Arabia (97%) but for most, as DTM field staff have observed, their transit in Yemen can last months to years. Migrants attempt to reach KSA through the Monabih district in Sa’dah governorate, mainly through Al Raq, Al Gar and Al Thabet towns which fall on the northern border. 

In pursuit of better economic opportunities, migrants endure heightened inhumane conditions. Migrants are amongst the most underserved, marginalized and at-risk population groups in Yemen. With the deepening of the political and security crisis in Yemen, migration dynamics in the country have remained perilous. Migration trends seemed unaffected by the conflict as the influx of migrants was the lowest during the time of truce in 2022 (April to October). Many migrants DTM staff talked to were not aware of the war. Trends seem more related to seasonal and otherwise changing weather conditions at sea as well as security measures on Djiboutian or even Sudi Arabian borders.
Fleeing destitution, poverty and often violence, migrants in Yemen experience aggression, abuse and exploitation. The majority are living in dire conditions with extremely limited-to-no access to essential services such as shelter, food, water and healthcare.