Salah Mohamed Abdala: We Lived In Fear of Attacks

I am 40 years old, and the father of two children aged nine and seven. I worked in Yemen as a tailor for 25 years. This job helped me provide for my family. Like other people living in Yemen, the war changed my working and living conditions. It got to a point where I could no longer work, and my family constantly lived in fear of attacks. The war made our lives miserable.

When I had run out of all my money, I moved my family to a camp that was set up for displaced people. There, we received shelter and food in a relatively safe environment. I thought we would only be there for a short time before we moved back to our home, but as the war escalated, I decided that it was no longer safe enough for my family to stay in Yemen. It was clear that I should bring my family back to Somalia, but unfortunately, I had run out of all my money. I could not afford to pay for the cost of transport.

By God’s grace, I heard from my friends that a ship had been hired to help bring back Somalis who were trying to escape the war in Yemen. I was told that the ship was completely free. I immediately registered my family for the trip.

On the ship and also upon arrival in Hargeisa, we were treated so well. We got medical care, food, warm clothing, and even a warm reception by senior government officials.

My girls and I are now heading to Mogadishu where we will remain for the rest of our lives, God willing.

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: 40 year-old Salah Mohamed Abdala is one of the 127 Somalis who IOM evacuated from war-torn Yemen on 7 November 2016. The men, women and children arrived in Berbera, Somaliland, from Aden, Yemen on a boat organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with financial support from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief). This is the first evacuation under the one-year USD 10 million KSrelief-funded project implemented by IOM and UNHCR: "Increased Access to Safe Movement, Protection and Durable Solutions for Returnees, Refugees and Migrants Fleeing the Yemen Crisis." The successful operation paves the way for the planned evacuation of 2,500 Somali nationals who are still stranded in Yemen, which will be carried out over the next 7 months. IOM will organize evacuations by air to Mogadishu and by sea to Berbera. For further information visit: