Djibouti Prepares for More Refugees as Conflict in Yemen Simmers

Djibouti is preparing for a further influx of Yemeni refugees after receiving reports that the conflict may escalate in regions bordering the busy sea lane of Bab el-Mandeb, according to a statement from the presidency.

The United Nations estimates more than 10,000 refugees have arrived in Djibouti since March, when a Saudi-led coalition began air strikes against Houthi rebels who drove out President Abdurabuh Mansur Hadi two months earlier.

Bab el-Mandeb is the fourth-busiest oil and fuel shipping bottleneck in the world by volume. It’s located between Yemen, Djibouti and Eritrea, and gives crude tankers access to the Red Sea as well as the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.

Djibouti’s Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf said in April that Houthi rebels had strengthened their positions on at least two islands in Bab el-Mandeb, deploying heavy weapons.