Local family desperately trying to get loved ones home from Yemen

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A local family has been working tirelessly to get their relatives out of Yemen.

They’re among thousands of Americans trying to escape the chaos there.

Recently the family got good news, their relatives were able to flee the war-torn country.

Muna Munassar of Buffalo spoke with CNN while she was traveling to Djibouti.

She said in Yemen, “It was just bombs all the time. Gunshots. People running down the street.”

For two weeks, Muna told her family she waited at the Port of Aden for nearly 10 hours every day trying to get out.

“We ran out of money. We ran out of food. We ran out of shelter,” she said.

On Saturday, she and nine members of her family were able to escape. They paid $3,000 to board a ship to Djibouti. Her son, Adel told News 4 that it’s tough being in Buffalo, watching his family go through this.

“It was very hurtful. They’re in the middle of nowhere and there’s nothing you can do for them,” Adel Munassar said.

Adel added that even though his mother is safe, she’s still stuck overseas. She’s traveling with family members that aren’t U.S. citizens. They are the spouses and children of citizens, however some have their visa’s and others don’t.

Adel thinks it could be three to nine months before she returns home. “I don’t think she’ll be back until they’re all safe and sound and they can get through,” he said.

The United Nations said thousands of people are still trying to escape Yemen. Many, like Muna say the U.S. Government is not helping them.

“How come we are third class citizens? How come our country did not come and rescue us?” she said.

The State Department said it is too risky to conduct an evacuation of citizens from the area. Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti, Christina Higgins said it’s a very difficult situation in Yemen.

“We have one of the branches of Al Qaeda that’s especially active. There’s the Houthis, neither of these two groups are friendly to U.S. citizens. We’ve had to weigh very, very carefully what is the safest way, the best way for us to help them,” Higgins said.

She also stated that officials are working to get information to Americans in Yemen to help them find safe ways to flee.

As the days pass by, Adel explains that he’s grateful his mother and family are safe, but he can’t wait till they’re home.

“I just want to hug her and kiss her,” he said.

Family friend and the Chairman of the Board for Access of Western New York Mohamed Albanna said dozens of families from Western New York have come to him, saying their family is stranded in Yemen.

Albanna hopes to continue working to get information to people, so everyone can get home safe.

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