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IOM starts evacuating foreign nationals out of Yemen

Press Trust of India  |  Geneva 

Geneva-based International Organisation for Migration (IOM) today sent its first flight to evacuate foreign nationals out of war-torn Yemen's capital Sanaa to Khartoum in Sudan.

IOM plans to create a humanitarian bridge between Yemen and Sudan and Yemen and Ethiopia.

"With this launching of the humanitarian bridge between Sanaa and Khartoum, the Sudanese government has helped IOM in a very complicated humanitarian operation," said Mario Lito Malanca, IOM's Sudan Chief of Mission.

The passenger roster includes nationals from Sudan, Ethiopia, US, Nigeria, South Korea, Syria, Iraq, Indonesia and several European nations.

The global inter-governmental organisation for migration expects to fly several rotations daily between Khartoum and Sanaa and also start another round of rotations between Sanaa and Addis-Ababa.

The evacuation efforts that needed "multiple and complex approvals" and "logistical arrangements" has about 16,000 persons who urgently need international travel assistance.

"Hopefully we'll be a little more organised tomorrow, when we do our next flight," said Saba Malme, Operations Coordinator for IOM Yemen.

Yemen, a country of 25 million which is one of the poorest in West Asia, has been bombarded by one of the richest countries in the Arab world, Saudi Arabia with a coalition of Egypt and other Gulf countries, supported by the US in an effort to ward off Shia Houthi rebels who deposed Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

UN officials and aid workers say that the country is heading towards a humanitarian catastrophe.

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) sent more than 30 tonnes of medical equipment after days of negotiations to allow them to fly their planes which landed in Sanaa.

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First Published: Sun, April 12 2015. 22:42 IST