September 2, 2015
When it comes to refugees, the focus of Western media in recent months has been on the desperate people trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe and those trying to cross the Indian Ocean to reach Indonesia and Malaysia. However, refugees from Yemen are also taking on the perilous journey across the Gulf of Aden in an attempt to reach the Republic of Djibouti, one of the world's poorest countries. Qantara.de presents impressions of Markazi refugee camp in Djibouti. All photos by Andreas Stahl
Aiham Ehab Makyam, 21, and Gofran Hussein Mohammed, 22, arrived in Djibouti by boat from Aden in late May. Today, Djibouti is the only neighbouring country that is accepting refugees from Yemen. Crossing the Gulf of Aden is the only way to get there.
Yemeni boat people: many of the Yemeni refugees who arrive by boat in the nation's capital (also called Djibouti) are told to take the ferry to the small town of Obock where Markazi refugee camp is located. Two thirds of the national population live in the city of Djibouti, where the unemployment rate is 50 per cent.
Searching for a better future: Aiham Ehab Makyam, 21, sits in his tent in the UNCHR-hosted refugee camp near Obock in Djibouti. He left his family in Aden after his father told him that he still has a chance of a better future. In Yemen, says Aiham, that is impossible.
Tent city: the UNHCR has provided tents for Markazi refugee camp (pictured here). As of 20 May, the camp was home to 1,055 refugees, but that number is expected to continue to grow rapidly as the conflict in Yemen shows no sign of abating.
Lost childhoods: this photo shows one of the many child refugees in Markazi refugee camp. Many parents have fled to Djibouti with their children. How their childhood will develop is uncertain, but at least they are safe here: after all, the conflict in Yemen has killed over 1,900 people, including 149 children.
Refugee children from Yemen play football in Markazi refugee camp as the sun goes down. According to UNICEF, almost 8 million children in Yemen are suffering from the effects of the conflict and are in need of humanitarian assistance. In Yemen, there is an acute lack of food and drinking water.
Unbearable heat: because of the extreme heat in the tents, many Yemeni refugees in the camp sleep outside. During the day, the temperatures can soar above 40 °C. At night, however, things are little better: temperatures rarely drop below 30 °C. Pictured here: a UNHCR refugee tent in Markazi refugee camp.
Aiham Ehab Makyam sleeps outside his tent. "It is too hot to sleep inside the tent, and as soon the sun starts to go up in the morning, you need to find a place with shadows", he says.
A refugee from Yemen prays outside his tent in Markazi refugee camp near Obock, Djibouti. As of 2 June, the UN estimated that around 16 million people in Yemen were in need of humanitarian assistance.
At night, 21-year-old Aiham Ehab Makyam makes a fire to bring some light to the night-time refugee camp.