140 Americans Flee Yemen as Country Sinks Deeper Into Chaos

Families are exhausted and getting food, water and services, authorities said.

ByMOLLY HUNTER
April 13, 2015, 7:56 AM
PHOTO: An American citizen is seen smiling, grasping hands with U.S. Embassy Djibouti Consular staff members after fleeing from Yemen, April 8, 2015.
An American citizen is seen smiling, grasping hands with U.S. Embassy Djibouti Consular staff members after fleeing from Yemen, April 8, 2015.
Courtesy US Embassy in Djibouti

DJIBOUTI — -- Some 140 Americans fleeing unrest in Yemen have arrived in Djibouti, officials said, but hundreds of others are believed to still remain behind in Yemen.

The families in Djibouti are exhausted, getting food and water and will receive "full consular services," authorities said.

Americans could be seen smiling, grasping hands with U.S. Embassy staff members in Djibouti after fleeing from Yemen.

Ambassador Tom Kelly shared photos on social medial showing some of the American citizens who've reached Djibouti.

Hundreds of Yemeni refugees are arriving in Djibouti, as well.

The United Nations has said the crisis in Yemen is "getting worse by the hour," with tens of thousands of people trying to escape the rapidly disintegrating nation. The U.N. refugee agency estimates some 130,000 people will flee the country in the next six months.

“The current conflict in Yemen takes place against the backdrop of a humanitarian crisis of a protracted nature and of a size and a complexity which is amongst the largest in the world,” the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Johannes van der Klaauw, told reporters Friday in Geneva.

Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab world, and before the recent conflict, more than 60 percent of the population required humanitarian assistance, according to Oxfam, one of the largest NGOs working on the ground. More than 13 million people do not have access to clean water and nearly nine million people are unable to access basic medical care.

The strengthening Saudi Arabian-led air campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthis now in control is systematically destroying much of the country’s infrastructure. Anything that had been left of basic services, including health care, is all but gone, the U.N. said.

The International Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders have sent supplies and surgical teams into Aden, Yemen, the epicenter of the recent violence, but it’s a dangerous trip.

Last week, more than 50 U.S. citizens filed lawsuits last week against the State Department and Department of Defense for failing to evacuate them. As the situation unraveled, the website www.StuckInYemen.com was launched to help identify those still left behind and #StuckInYemen is gaining momentum on Twitter.

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