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'Where are you King Salman?' A Yemeni's desperate plea from a sandstorm

Thousands of Yemenis say they are stranded in the desert in a refugee camp in Djibouti after fleeing across the Gulf of Aden by boat
A Yemeni refugee describes the harsh conditions in Obock refugee camp in Djibouti (YouTube screen grab)

"These are tents of Yemeni refugees in Djibouti. This is Obock, in the desert. It’s like this every day."

For someone caught in the middle of a sandstorm - his home at risk of blowing away - the man addressing the camera is remarkably collected.

"Every day these sandstorms come down from above. God help us," he says dragging on a cigarette as a panicked group of children cling to their possessions next to a tent behind him.

The man with the white hair (he does not introduce himself) is one of thousands who have escaped snipers and aerial bombardment back home in Yemen, only to find themselves facing a new struggle: surviving as refugees in a rudimentary camp in Djibouti, a tiny, former French colony in the Horn of Africa.

The recent fighting in Yemen has forced almost half a million Yemenis to flee their homes, according to the United Nations. Most have remained inside the country, internally displaced, often trapped.

But about 30,000 people have fled, many in boats across the Bab al-Mandeb strait - "Gate of Tears" in Arabic - to Djibouti, since a Saudi-led bombing campaign against Houthi militants challenging the Yemeni government began in March.

About 1,000 of those refugees live in Obock, a tent-filled refugee camp in the desert four-hours drive from the capital, Djibouti City.

Those in the camp have been provided with mosquito nets and blankets, and they get a daily ration of food and water, but there is no wall around the camp and refugees say they have seen hyenas and snakes.

If they need other supplies, the Yemenis must walk five kilometers to the nearest city.

Towards the end of the clip, as he turns to look at a tent behind him being blown away, the man's frustration boils over: "Where are you King Salman? Where are you?!" he says, referring to Saudi Arabia's newly anointed king. "Look at this. We're here in this desert, in this sand. This is the fourth day I haven't been able to sleep. There's no words for this."

A young Yemeni girl holds a metal-basin as she heads to her chores on April 13, 2015 at a refugee camp at Obock, a small port town in Djibouti (AFP)