The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is calling for urgent humanitarian access to migrants injured in Sunday’s deadly fire at an immigration holding facility in Sana’a, Yemen, the release of all migrants from detention in the country and a renewed commitment to providing safe, predictable movement options for migrants.
The total number of migrants who died in the fire at the Immigration, Passports and Naturalization Authority (IPNA) Immigration Holding Facility remains unconfirmed, as official records have yet to be released. Over 170 people have been treated for injuries, with many remaining in critical condition.
IOM personnel were present at the site when the fire broke out in a hangar next to the main building. Nearly 900 migrants, predominantly Ethiopian, were in the overcrowded holding facility at the time of the fire. More than 350 were in the hangar area.
Teams of IOM health workers and ambulances, and over 23,000 medical items including intravenous fluid, trauma kits and other essentials, were immediately dispatched to the facility and to major hospitals to provide urgent life-saving assistance alongside the Ministry of Public Health and Population.
“While the cause of the fire is still unconfirmed, its impact is clearly horrific,” said Carmela Godeau, IOM’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“Our thoughts are with the families of those affected and the community as a whole. Now, the migrant community in Sana’a needs to be given the space to respectfully mourn and bury their dead in a dignified manner. IOM and partners are standing ready to provide additional medical assistance and to support family tracing efforts for the dead and injured.”
“As many migrants are in a critical condition, meeting their health needs must be an urgent priority. We are facing challenges accessing the injured due to an increased security presence in the hospitals. Humanitarians and health workers must be given access to support the treatment of those affected by the fire and others who have been receiving long-term care from IOM and partners,” added Godeau.
Yemen remains a transit country for tens of thousands of migrants travelling between the Horn of Africa and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. All people throughout Yemen, including migrants, should be afforded protection and safety, the responsibility for which lies with the authorities of the territory.