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UNHCR seeks $3 million to respond to displacement in Yemen

Briefing notes

UNHCR seeks $3 million to respond to displacement in Yemen

22 April 2008

The UN refugee agency is launching an appeal for nearly US$3 million to provide protection and assistance to an estimated 77,000 people affected by a local conflict in northern Yemen.

UNHCR said funds raised in the supplementary appeal would ensure enhanced support for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees affected by a conflict which erupted in 2004 between a rebel group and government forces in the Sa'adah Governorate.

About half of the displaced people returned to their home villages after the signature of a ceasefire in August 2007. But new displacements took place due to renewed fighting. Despite a peace agreement signed in January 2008, the situation remains volatile. New IDPs continue to arrive in Sa'adah city, including more than 200 families for the past week alone.

Both returnees and IDPs are in need of assistance and protection. In 2008, UNHCR plans to improve their living conditions with the distribution of non-food items, such as blankets, stoves and mattresses, and with a special focus on shelter issues though the provision of tents and reconstruction material and assistance to the construction of mud shelter for 400 vulnerable returnees. This assistance will also help relieve the burden on local communities, which host 90 percent of the IDP population. In the three existing IDP camps in and outside Sa'adah city, UNHCR will continue to provide its expertise in camp management and planning.

In addition, UNHCR will seek to promote the self-sufficiency of IDPs and returnees through training programmes. UNHCR also plans to raise awareness on IDP rights and address the specific problems faced by landless IDPs. The provision of social counselling services and the implementation of projects to prevent sexual-based violence will also contribute to answering the protection challenges identified last year.

UNHCR programmes are funded through voluntary contributions.