UNHCR extremely concerned about escalation of conflict in Yemen's Hudaydah

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Shabia Mantoo to whom quoted text may be attributed at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Yemen. Al Hudaydah's displaced children

A displaced Yemeni mother and daughter sit in a makeshift shelter in Hudaydah City, Yemen, May 2017.  © UNHCR/Shabia Mantoo

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is extremely concerned about the recent intensification of conflict in Yemen’s Al Hudaydah governorate and its impact on the civilian population as well as on humanitarian aid operations.

Conflict has escalated significantly around Hudaydah City and eastern and southern areas of the Governorate. Fierce clashes, air strikes and shelling inflicted scores of civilian casualties. In October alone, 94 civilians were killed and 95 injured in Al Hudaydah governorate. There is also damage to civilian infrastructure including health facilities and houses.

As testament to how dire the situation is, some 445,000 people from Al Hudaydah Governorate have been forced to flee since June, according to UN data.

While the number of those remaining in Hudaydah City is difficult to gauge, UNHCR is worried that people needing to flee for safety are unable to do so, trapped by military operations, which are increasingly confining populations and cutting off exit routes.  

The fighting has also resulted in the closure of ‘Kilo 16’, the main road inland towards the capital, Sana’a, choking the lifeline for aid operations and commercial markets for the governorate and its surrounding regions.

UNHCR is also especially concerned that fighting is blocking access to our humanitarian supplies in Hudaydah. A UNHCR warehouse stocked with emergency shelter and essential aid items for conflict affected and displaced Yemenis has been cut off by an active front line, even as the need for these items grows.

UNHCR is urgently appealing to parties to the conflict to protect civilians and humanitarian personnel; and to secure humanitarian relief items stored in Al Hudaydah.

UNHCR exhorts all parties to the conflict to allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for civilians in need and ensure the protection of humanitarian infrastructure in accordance with international humanitarian law.

UNHCR reiterates its appeal for an urgent cessation of hostilities in Yemen. Almost four years of conflict have resulted in the world’s largest humanitarian crisis with 22 million people, or 75 per cent of the country’s entire population, now requiring assistance or protection. Two million Yemenis have also been displaced across the country.

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