Yemen clashes kill two refugees and displace thousands
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at the press briefing, on 3 June 2011, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
UNHCR is alarmed by the deteriorating situation in Yemen. Among victims have been two Somali refugees who were killed in clashes last week between armed tribesmen and security forces near the capital Sana'a. We're also seeing Yemeni families fleeing in the south and renewed displacement to the north.
The two refugees were a 14-year-old boy and a young woman who had fled the violence in Somalia to seek refuge in Yemen. Dozens of refugee families have fled the al-Hasaba area near Sana'a. UNHCR and our partners are encouraging them to move in with relatives and friends until the situation calms. So far we've provided 150 refugee families with emergency funds to relocate, as well as water and relief supplies. For those with no support network, we are exploring other shelter possibilities, such as renting a building for temporary accommodation.
The violence is also affecting internally displaced people (IDPs) from a previous conflict in Sa'ada in the north. More than 80 of these IDP families have fled the fighting in al-Hasaba and returned to Sa'ada city and the surrounding areas. So far, we have managed to locate 43 IDP families and are providing aid in the form of shelter and basic supplies.
Meanwhile in the south of Yemen, ongoing clashes between government forces and gunmen in Abyan governorate have displaced an estimated 20,000 people. Hundreds of Yemeni families have fled the city of Zunjubar to the surrounding areas. UNHCR, our partners and local authorities are also helping 982 families hosted in seven schools in Aden city. The majority of IDPs are being hosted in small villages near Zunjubar. Aid agencies are working with the local authorities to assess the situation and provide urgent help to these newly displaced people.
In addition to the new IDPs, the UN refugee agency also cares for nearly 200,000 refugees and over 300,000 IDPs in northern Yemen. The escalating conflict is affecting UNHCR's ability to protect and assist these vulnerable people.
For further information on this topic, please contact:
In Geneva: Vivian Tan on mobile +41 79 881 91 74