Calls for an international investigation into the fire at the Sana’a detention center | Houthis News
A fire that ravaged a migrant detention center in Yemen’s capital last week killed dozens of people, most of them Ethiopians.
A leader of the Ethiopian community in Yemen’s capital has called for an international investigation into a fire that has killed at least 44 people, most of them Ethiopian migrants, as it tore up a detention center last week.
During a press conference in Sanaa, Othman Gilto on Saturday accused the “negligence” of the Houthi rebels who control the capital, as well as the United Nations, which has aid agencies present in Yemen. The blaze also injured more than 200 people, he said.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), some 900 migrants, mostly from Ethiopia, were being held at the facility – 350 of them inside a warehouse – when the fire broke out on Sunday. It was three times the capacity of the facility, he added.
At least 43 of the dead were buried in a cemetery in Sana’a on Friday amid heightened security and fear the death toll will rise. Women from the migrant community were seen screaming and crying as ambulances, carrying the bodies, arrived from a funeral service at a large mosque.
Abdallah al-Leithi, leader of the Sudanese community in Sana’a, said many dead did not have identity papers and could not be identified, adding that most “had not given their real names. On the documents before the fire.
There was no immediate comment from the Houthis, who have been locked in a protracted war with the country’s internationally recognized government and backed by a Saudi-led military coalition.
According to the Associated Press news agency, survivors and local rights activists say the blaze broke out when guards fired tear gas at the crowded warehouse, trying to end a protest against abuse and alleged ill-treatment in the establishment.
The Houthis did not state the cause of the fire, did not mention a protest or give a final toll. They said an investigation had been opened but no findings had been announced. The Houthis have also blocked the United Nations Migration Agency from accessing injured migrants in hospitals, according to IOM.
“As many migrants are in critical condition, meeting their health needs must be an urgent priority. We face challenges in accessing the wounded due to increased security presence in hospitals, ”said Carmela Godeau, IOM Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa on Tuesday.
“Humanitarians and health workers must have access to support the treatment of those affected by the fire and others who have received long-term care from IOM and its partners,” Godeau added.
The six-year war in Yemen did not prevent people from entering the country, desperate to travel to neighboring Saudi Arabia to find jobs as housekeepers and construction workers.
Some 138,000 people embarked on the arduous journey from the Horn of Africa to Yemen in 2019, but that number fell to 37,000 last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. More than 2,500 migrants arrived in Yemen from Djibouti in January, according to IOM.
The agency said it was working with the Ethiopian government to revive its “voluntary humanitarian return [VHR] country program ”.
So far, in Aden alone, more than 6,000 people have been registered to return; 1,100 are expected to do so in the coming weeks, IOM said. He also discussed the resumption of a “humane voluntary return process with the authorities in Sana’a”.