Lone children fleeing war in Yemen, seek safety in Somaliland

Report by UNHCR:

Yemeni teen Khayria Abdel Wahab was making the beds in the home where she was a housekeeper when a shattering blast signalled a heavy bombardment.

Panicked by the explosion, the 17-year-old ran out into the crowds fleeing towards the port in her hometown, all the while searching for her mother and her seven brothers and sisters. For three days, Abdel Wahab tried to find her family.

"I sat with strangers all desperately looking for someone," she says, remembering the moment in early November. "Mobile phones were not reachable, the network was down. Nobody could give me any hope."

She was warned that staying in Yemen was not safe. "I had no alternative," Abdel Wahab says. "I had to flee to Somalia."

The unaccompanied minor is among more than 168,000 people who have fled violence in Yemen since March, when years of political instability, economic hardship and sectarian tensions erupted into civil war. More than 9,500 of those who fled went to Somaliland, an autonomous region of Somalia across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen.

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