Photo by Yahya Arhab/EPA
MANILA, Philippines – At least 99 Filipinos – including 54 men, 43 women, and two infants – are now out of strife-torn Yemen, said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday, April 6.
Another 243 are on the way out of the country that is in the south and south-west of the Arabian peninsula.
The 99 Filipinos who were evacuated rode a convoy of two buses from Hodeidah in western Yemen at 7 am on Sunday, April 5, and set foot on the Tuwal border crossing of Saudi Arabia after 4 hours.
"The journey was generally safe even though the group had to pass through several checkpoints along the 215 kilometer route," read a DFA statement.
Another land evacuation from the capital city of Sana'a via Hodeidah is set on Monday, April 6, due to the volatile security in the area.
A Saudi-led coalition had launched a series of air strikes on Huthi rebel camps in Yemen, including the rebel-seized airport in the troubled state, making it harder to evacuate civilians.
War planes of an anti-Huthi coalition of Arab states started bombing key areas in Yemen on March 27 in a bid to quell the alleged Iran-backed Shiite rebellion and keep Yemen President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi in power.
As early as February 19, the Philippine DFA placed Yemen under Alert Level 4 due to volatile security. Alert Level 4 means a mandatory pull-out of all Filipino workers there and a deployment ban on new ones.
Filipinos who are still in Yemen must contact the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh for their return through the following numbers: 730187540, 737426292, 733844958, 730194165.
They can also email the embassy at email@example.com.
Filipinos in Yemen
The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah subsidized the food and accommodation of the 99 already evacuated Filipinos.
They are "arranging their onward travel to the Philippines," the DFA said.
Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ezzedin Tago led the crisis management team which assisted the Filipinos.
DFA spokesman Charles Jose on Monday said an additional 243 Filipinos are onboard 5 buses headed to Saudi Arabia, DZMM reported.
Another 20 is set to be evacuated, the report said.
A total of 400 Filipinos have undergone mandatory repatriation since Alert Level 4 was raised in the southern Arab country and another 400 Filipinos mostly professionals remain there, it added.
Yemen is host to a number of overseas Filipino workers, with the nurses as the largest occupational group.
Other Filipinos work as welders and flame cutters, mechanical engineers, electrical wiring workers, production supervisors, riggers and cable splicers, midwives, geodetic surveyors, machine fitters and assemblers, automotive technicians, machine tool operators, and construction workers.
In 2014 alone, at least 4,326 Filipino migrant workers were deployed to Yemen. Of the Yemen-based Filipino workers in 2014, 1,503 were new hires and 2,823 were re-hires.
Some 77 Filipinos are permanent residents in Yemen and 75 are irregular workers, according to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.
Countries like India and Pakistan have airlifted their citizens from the affected areas of the southern Arab state. – Rappler.com