Monday, September 14, 2015

21 of over 200 Pinoys in strife-torn Yemen heed evacuation calls

JEDDAH—Only 21 of over 200 Filipinos in Yemen are now being evacuated to safety but are having difficult time crossing the Yemen-Saudi Arabia border as fierce fighting between Yemeni forces and Houthi rebels continued.

Philippine Honorary Consul in Yemen Mohammad Saleh Al Jamal said that out of the more than 200 Filipinos in Yemen, only 21 are confirmed to have joined the evacuation efforts.

Two of them were wives of Yemeni nationals and the rest are Overseas Filipino Workers, he said.

Al Jamal said that despite calls for Filipinos to join the evacuation effort, most of them prefer to stay.

He said the situation in Yemen is worsening as bomb attacks have become frequent and widespread.

But efforts at convincing Filipinos to leave Yemen continue and that evacuation and repatriation plans have been in place.

He noted that airports in Yemen are closed and the only way out is by land transportation normally lasting 13 hours to get to Saudi Arabia.

But because of the situation, the journey to Saudi Arabia border may take more than three days, he added.

Officials and staff members of the Philippine Embassy and Consulate are in Sharurah, Najran to welcome and the Filipinos once they successfully cross the border.

Sharurah is one of the provinces in the Western Region of Saudi Arabia. It is approximately 1,233 kilometers away from Philippine Consulate in Jeddah. — LBG, GMA News 

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