Concern grows for local man's family stranded in war-torn Yemen

Yemen is on the verge of a civil war. There is fighting in streets and several Americans are trapped and in danger.  

It is a horrible reality to those involved, including to one local man who says his family is stranded there.

This Novi man does not want to reveal his identity, but he says his sister and several other family members have been stranded in Yemen for months after going there to visit family. 

"Devastating, devastating news," the man said. "My sister does not want to be in Yemen."

The man's family is among thousands of U.S. citizens longing to return to U.S. soil. But for now there is no way out of the war-torn country because airports and ports are closed.

According up the United Nations, the humanitarian situation in Yemen is getting worse by the hour and the escalating conflict has put millions of people at risk.

Everyday they hear a bomb," the man said. "Everyday they see people dying."

But activists say since the US government is not taking action - they're taking legal action.

The Michigan Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, also known as CAIR, filed a lawsuit this week against several parties including President Barak Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.

"We're seeking an emergency order that compels the government to fulfill obligation it already has," said Lena Masri, an attorney for CAIR. "And that is to evacuate Yemeni Americans from Yemen."

Other organizations across the country have taken similar action. 

The State Department says it does not comment on continuing litigation, but had this to say about the evacuations on Friday. 

"We are unfortunately in a situation where access to Yemen is extremely difficult," said Jeff Rathke of the U.S. Department of State. "And to do so with U.S. government assets would put other lives at risk and so we're doing the best in circumstances that exist."

As this Novi man continues to wait for answers, he says he hears less and less from his family. Now his concerns are growing about their safety.

"Once in awhile we get a text message that they're okay," he said. "It's scary news. It really is."

Activists say they just hope the U.S. government does the right thing.

"Their lives are at stake," Masri said. "By not evacuating these U.S. citizens, the government has essentially said that their lives are not worth saving."
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