MANILA, Apr 6 (Mabuhay) – Ninety-nine Filipinos may soon be on their way home from strife-torn Yemen after availing of the government’s mandatory repatriation program on Easter Sunday, the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh said.
In a news release, the embassy, which has consular juriscition over Filipinos in Yemen, said the 99 included 54 males and 43 females, along with two infants.
Philippine ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ezzedin Tago and embassy personnel and the Philippine consulate in Jeddah evacuated the 99.
The 99 traveled in a two-bus convoy, leaving Hodeidah City in Yemen and arriving at the Tuwal border crossing of Saudi Arabia 215 km away. The trip was relatively safe, the embassy said.
“Embassy and consulate personnel are now assisting the evacuees in Jizan, providing them food and accommodations, as well as arranging their onward air travel to the Philippines,” it added.
Meanwhile, the crisis management team was to undertake another evacuation Monday from Sana’a. It urged Filipinos to join the evacuation by calling the team via +967-73-0914-165 and +967-73-742-6292, or emailing it at email@example.com.
Recent reports from Yemen indicated that Houthi fighters and allied army units had clashed with local militias in the southern city of Aden on Sunday, and eyewitnesses said gun battles and heavy shelling ripped through a downtown district near the city’s port.
The Houthi forces have been battling to take Aden, a last foothold of fighters loyal to Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, advancing to the city center despite 11 days of air strikes by a Saudi-led coalition of mainly Gulf air forces.
Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia launched the air strikes on March 26 in an attempt to turn back the Iran-allied Shi’ite Houthis, who already control Yemen’s capital Sanaa, and restore some of Hadi’s crumbling authority.
The air and sea campaign has targeted Houthi convoys, missiles and weapons stores and cut off any possible outside reinforcements – although the Houthis deny Saudi accusations that they are armed by Tehran.
The fighting has failed so far to inflict any decisive defeat on the Houthis, or the supporters of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh who are fighting alongside them, but the growing death toll and humanitarian suffering has alarmed aid groups.(MNS)