Fears for family stranded abroad

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The mother of a Sheffield woman stranded in Yemen has called on the government to offer support to British citizens stuck in the violence-hit country.

Nageeba Hassan, aged 51, has been trying to get her 21-year-old daughter, Iqbel Saleh, back home to Pitsmoor since March 16, as the situation worsens in the Middle Eastern country.

Ms Saleh is currently in Aden, Yemen, visiting her father, who is suffering from cancer.

She had not seen him for six years before she made the trip with her husband, Muneer Kareem, and her one-year-old daughter.

Violence has erupted between Sunni and Shia Muslims in the Middle East’s poorest nation following initial clashes between the two factions.

Last week Saudi Arabia waded into the war by launching air strikes against Shia Houthi rebels, who are backed by Iran, in the south of the country, threatening to escalate the unrest further and engulf the region in violence.

Ms Hassan said her daughter and other residents have been without a reliable electricity supply for some time, making communication difficult.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has urged UK citizens to leave the country immediately, and has advised against all travel to Yemen.

But Ms Saleh missed a boat out of the country - which would have taken them to the East African country Djibouti - by half an hour.

Her mum claims places on boats are awarded on a first come, first served basis and said an increasing number of people are attempting to flee.

“I think it’s incredible that the British embassy haven’t been able to do anything,” said Ms Hassan.

She said her son-in-law, who is Italian, has spoken to his embassy and believes they will eventually escape the country, but Ms Hassan said that it was taking too long.

“It’s not just my family who are stuck there, there are countless British citizens stuck and without help from the British embassy,” she said.

“I’m fearful, of course, but I’m also full of belief that my daughter will be home soon, and that she will be able to tell her own story of the issues she has had in Yemen.”

She continued: “The Italian embassy has made us feel positive about the situation, and I’m confident that it’s a case of when, rather than if, my daughter will arrive home.”