Sending Help or Talking to Your Family: Difficult for Yemeni Canadians


Radio-Canada\Gabriel Nikundana- The escalation in the Red Sea, which comes on top of Yemen's nearly decade-long civil war, is making it even more difficult to send aid to vulnerable Yemeni families, while nearly 70% of Yemenis live in precarious conditions.

Many Canadians of Yemeni descent find it difficult to help and even contact their families back home.


According to Kais-Al-Iriani, president of the Friends of Yemen in Canada, many Yemenis depend on the help of their family members living outside the country:

We have tried several times to send a small amount of less than $1,000, they tell us that we are not allowed to send more than $1000.”

For his part, Abdul Nasser Atef, former president of the Yemeni community in the Federal Capital Region, notes with bitterness that his family cannot immediately access funds when there is an emergency:

For example, when sending an amount of more than $1000, the agent must verify the origin and destination of the funds. They are afraid of the terrorism financing.”

Based on Abdul Nasser Atef, people are struggling with famine, diseases such as cholera, and lack of drinking water:

The money we send is used to buy food, medicine, and necessities, among other things.”

The UN has described the situation in Yemen as one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.

According to the UN, 17.8 million Yemenis are food insecure, including 8.4 million who do not know how or when they will eat next time.

Impossible bank transfers 

When people of Yemeni descent try to send money from Canada through banks, the experience could be better.

It's even worse because banks charge transfer fees, and the money is returned to us later.” Al-Iriani confirmed.

Kais Al-Iriani says he has received several calls from US banks asking him to explain the origin and destination of the funds he transfers to his relatives in Yemen.
Abdul Nasser Atef notes that most Canadian banks still need branches in Yemeni cities.

Locked communication channels

According to Al-Iriani, the WhatsApp mobile app, the most accessible for communicating in Yemen, has not been in operation for almost a year.

Unfortunately, Yemeni authorities have imposed restrictions on some of WhatsApp's features, including voice calls.” Al-Iriani confirmed. “People are scared. They can't chat freely because their calls are monitored.” he says.

A forgotten country

According to Rahul Singh, chairman of GlobalMedic, Yemen is returning to the world stage due to the internationalization of the conflict in the Red Sea.

According to Rahul Singh, it is very difficult to deliver aid to the millions of displaced Yemenis due to the internalization of the conflict in the Red Sea. PHOTO: EPA / ALANNA MARCHESE

His organization had managed to send medical supplies, among other things, at the beginning of the year, but the ongoing conflict is complicating the task.

We used to be able to provide assistance to vulnerable populations in the south of the country, but now it is more difficult to reach the north of the country.” Singh said.

He says the situation in Yemen is less terrible than in Gaza.

Civilians can not go out. Gaza lacks everything and the population is concentrated in a small area.”Rahul Singh, President of GlobalMedic

According to Rahul Singh, Yemeni citizens can move from one place to another.

Last January, the UN called on the warring parties not to escalate the conflict in the region.

This report was originally published on Radio-Canada in French and republished here in English.



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