Posted: 5:27 pm EDT
The State Department suspended embassy operations at the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen and American staff were relocated out of the country on February 11, 2015. This followed the previously announced suspension of all consular services on February 8 (see State Dept Suspends US Embassy Yemen Operations, Relocates Staff Until Further Notice). There was no USG-sponsored evacuation for U.S. citizens residing in the country. At that time, and many times previously, the State Department urged U.S. citizens to defer travel to Yemen and those U.S. citizens living in Yemen to depart the country (see here, here, here, here, and here).
On March 25, Saudi Arabia launched military operations in Yemen in a coalition with reportedly 10 other countries. (see New Front in Regional Chaos: Saudi Arabia Launches Air Strikes Against Houthis in Yemen). As the situation deteriorated, the following countries have evacuated their citizens from Yemen:
— The National-World (@TheNationalROAM) April 4, 2015
A frigate belonging to Pakistan Navy left for the Gulf of Aden to aid evacuation of Pakistanis in Yemen http://t.co/3putTKd04i
— Dawn.com (@dawn_com) March 29, 2015
China, India, Pakistan, Somalia have evacuated its citizens from Yemen. But US has no plans for stranded Americans. http://t.co/sRkWDj9sra
— Morgan Winsor (@MorganWinsorIBT) March 31, 2015
26 Countries Requested Evacuation Assistance from India
Whatabout the Amcits in Yemen?
On April 3, the State Department issued an updated Travel Warning for Yemen that says in part:
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.
Yemen is unsafe for US soldiers, spies, diplomats, but “US citizens are encouraged to shelter in place.” http://t.co/ORb6dhH5Kx
— Micah Zenko (@MicahZenko) April 6, 2015
Meanwhile, a new website and a new hashtag just showed up online for U.S. citizens in Yemen:
Today, April, 6, the US Embassy Sana’a issued an Emergency Message advising U.S. citizens in Yemen that the Indian Government has offered to evacuate U.S. citizens from Yemen to Djibouti:
The Indian government has offered to assist U.S. citizens who want to depart Yemen for Djibouti. This potentially includes flights out of Sana’a and ships from Aden. U.S. citizens wishing to take advantage of this opportunity should contact First Secretary Raj Kopal at the Indian Embassy in Sana’a at 00967 734 000 657; you may be required to present a valid U.S. passport for boarding. The next flights from Sana’a are scheduled to depart early on April 7. The Department of State cautions that U.S. citizens should consider carefully the risks of traveling to or within Sana’a and Aden in order to board evacuation transport given security conditions in both cities.
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 were relocated out of the country. All consular services, routine and emergency, continue to be suspended until further notice. The Department notified the public of this move, and its impact on consular services, and urged U.S. citizens in Yemen to depart while commercial transportation was available.
The level of instability and ongoing threats in Yemen remain extremely concerning. There are no plans for a U.S. government-coordinated evacuation of U.S. citizens at this time. If you wish to depart Yemen, you should stay alert for other opportunities to leave the country. U.S. citizens who are able to depart Yemen for another country and are in need of emergency assistance upon arrival may contact a U.S. embassy or consulate in that country.
U.S. Embassy Djibouti is a small post with a low consular workload. At least, until 2010, the consular section there consisted of one entry-level officer (who occupied an FS-03 position) assisted by three local employees (source-pdf).
We don’t know what is the current US citizen population in Yemen. A State/OIG report from June 2010 estimated that the U.S.-Yemeni community there numbered at least 55,000. The report also noted that the serious threat of terrorism in Yemen has put “Sanaa’s visa and passport services in the homeland security cross-hairs.”
We have reached out to Consular Affairs but have not heard anything back.