Yemen: humanitarian situation dire as ceasefire fails

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

The situation in Yemen's northern Sa'ada province remains volatile despite an announced two-week suspension of military operations on the occasion of the Eid al Fitr at the end of Ramadan and in response to appeals to allow humanitarian aid to reach the displaced and stranded civilians.

This is the second failed ceasefire in less than a month. Relative calm was reported in the city of Sa'ada at the end of last week, but renewed clashes erupted over the weekend in several neighbourhoods. During the brief lull in fighting some 1,600 people in the city of Sa'ada received assistance through UNHCR's local NGO partner. Our stocks in Sa'ada are diminishing and establishment of humanitarian corridors for delivery of aid to this area remains a top priority for UNHCR.

In neighbouring provinces, UNHCR is assisting IDPs both inside and outside the camps. Every day new families arrive in the Al Mazraq camp in Hajjah province, which is now sheltering some 5,000 IDPs. Some walk for days before reaching the site. People in the camp are struggling to survive daily hardships as well as brutal weather. Heavy rain damaged more than 50 tents at the camp over the weekend, leaving hundreds of families without shelter. A UNHCR team has rushed to repair or replace tents. To provide better assistance, UNHCR entered into a new partnership with Islamic Relief - Yemen (IRY).

Pending finalization of the layout of the newly identified camp site in Khaiwan in Amran province, UNHCR and our partners continue to register IDPs outside the camp, especially those who sought shelter in schools and with host families. UNHCR is also distributing aid to some 2,100 IDPs registered in the cities of Amran and Khamir.