The Philippine government evacuated hundreds of Filipinos in Yemen on Monday as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) warned that the window of opportunity to leave the war-torn country is getting smaller.
The DFA said five buses with 243 Filipinos onboard made their way to the Yemeni border. Hours before, 99 Filipinos were evacuated, while a separate group of 20 Filipinos was also set to travel from Hodeidah to the Yemeni border.
Citing reports from the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, the DFA said the convoy of 99 Filipinos left the western Yemeni city of Hodeidah at 7 a.m. (Saudi time) on Easter Sunday and arrived at the Tuwal border crossing of Saudi Arabia at 11 a.m. also on Sunday.
“Filipinos who are still undecided about leaving the country are strongly urged to do so and join the land evacuation,” the department said.
DFA spokesman Charles Jose said the second batch of Filipino repatriates that left Sana’a yesterday could be the last because routes exiting Yemen are becoming more dangerous.
“It’s getting impossible and more difficult to evacuate them,” he said in a press briefing.
“Once again, due to the deteriorating security situation in Yemen, we reiterate our appeal to our remaining kababayans to take advantage of the Philippine government’s repatriation offer while there is still time and opportunity to be repatriated,” the official said.
The situation in Yemen is “really bad,” Jose said, noting the constant bombardment of Saudi forces against Yemeni rebels.
“The window to take them [Filipinos] out is getting smaller and smaller as the days pass, so we could get to the point where it is already difficult, if not impossible for us, to take them out. We don’t want to reach that point, so we are appealing to them not to wait anymore,” Jose said.