Families plea for help while forced to live in bomb shelter
The Journal and Gazette has received an urgent plea for assistance in helping evacuate a former Linlithgow family to safety from a war zone.
Heather Henderson said her sister Louise, along with her two youngest children, Miriam (11) and Ayesha (9) were living in fear in their basement which is doubling as a bomb shelter.
Heather, who moved to the Yemen in 1986 after marrying her husband Wahab, is in a Catch 22 situation.
Trying to get out of Yemen’s conflict alive presents some stark choices. Airports are closed. Consulates are shut. Roads are impassible and then there’s the bombings.
Louise and her children’s passports have expired but she managed to get them to the UK. The problem now is how to get them back to the Yemen - and would they actually be of any use now?
The family has been assured by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that if they manage to get to a British Embassy or Consulate they will be supplied with emergency documents. Another major concern is finance as people in Yemen no longer have access to their bank accounts.
Currently, it appears that the Saudi-led coalition has ended its “Operation Decisive Storm” - a near monthlong airstrike campaign in Yemen. Saudi Arabia had launched airstrikes on Houthi positions across Yemen, hoping to wipe out the Iranian-allied rebel group that has seized power.
Louise’s sister, Heather, told us: “We are at our wits end trying to get my sister and her two young girls to a place of safety. They could have got a flight just after the bombing campaign started but the flights which managed to leave were forced to run the gauntlet of surface-to-air missiles.’’
The Internation Organization for Migration took the decision to temporarily suspend its evacuation of third country nationals from the Yemen, due to difficulties faced in operating flights out of the city.
Despite requests made to facilitate such movements, IOM continues to experience challenges in getting people out of Yemen.
As we went to press the Journal and Gazette learnt Louise, Miriam and Ayesha have been offered seats on what may be one of the last repatriation flights out of the country which will take them to Khartoum in the Sudan.