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In Yemen, New US Travel Warning, "Humanitarian Pause" Raised to UNSC

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 3, with video -- Amid complaints by Doctors Without Borders and the Red Cross that they can't get medical aid into Yemen, an urgent UN Security Council meeting has been scheduled for Saturday, April 4 at 11 am, on proposal for "humanitarian pauses."

   Beyond aid getting in, how might this impact people's desire and need to get out?

   Back on March 30  Inner City Press asked the US State Department if any steps are being taken to evacuated Yemeni Americans.

  On March 31 a State Department official provided Inner City Press on background with this answer:

"We have no current plans to evacuate private U.S. citizens from Yemen. We continue to watch the situation closely. The protection and safety of U.S. citizens overseas are among our top priorities."

  Some of those impacted, including Yemeni Americans, pointed out to Inner City Press that other countries, as simply one example Pakistan which is part of the Saudi-led coalition, have done evacuations. This has been followed by India, China and others.

  Now on April 3 the US has issued this Travel Warning:

"The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the high  security threat level in Yemen due to terrorist activities and civil unrest. On February 11, 2015 due to the deteriorating security situation in Sanaa, the Department of State suspended embassy operations and U.S. Embassy Sanaa American staff have been relocated out of the country. All consular services, routine and/or emergency, have been suspended until further notice. The Department urges U.S. citizens to defer travel to Yemen and those U.S. citizens currently living in Yemen to depart when you are able to safely do so. This supersedes the Travel Warning for Yemen issued on February 11, 2015.

"The level of instability and ongoing threats in Yemen remain severe.  There are no plans for a U.S. government-coordinated evacuation of U.S. citizens at this time. We encourage all U.S. citizens to shelter in a secure location until they are able to depart safely. U.S. citizens wishing to depart should do so via commercial transportation options when they become available. Keep vital records and travel documents close at hand; U.S. citizens should be prepared to depart at a momentís notice.  The airports are currently closed, but may open unexpectedly; other unforeseen opportunities to depart may also suddenly arise.

"Additionally, some foreign governments may arrange transportation for their nationals and may be willing to offer assistance to others.  There is no guarantee that foreign governments will assist U.S. citizens in leaving Yemen.  U.S. citizens who choose to seek foreign government assistance in leaving Yemen should only do so if they can safely make their way to the point of embarkation and have received confirmation that there is space available.  Even if assured there is space aboard transportation, U.S. citizens should be aware that there is no guarantee that they will be permitted to board the transport, or may have to wait an indefinite period until they can do so.  There is also no guarantee of where travelers will go."

  Some continue to wonder: how could the US not do an evacuation when others have? We'll have more on this.


 

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