UNHCR: Conditions deteriorating in Yemen, humanitarian catastrophe looms
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
Ongoing hostilities in Yemen have forced more than 3 million from their homes in search of safety. More than 2.1 million people are still displaced across the country and home is now an informal settlement for around 200 displaced families that live in Dharwan. ; The 20-month conflict in Yemen has displaced more than three million people, and 21 million are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance.
In Yemen, fighting in coastal districts (Al Mokha and Dhubab) in the western governorate of Taizz is spreading inland (into the districts of Al Wazi’iyah and Mawza). A result is that more than 34,000 people have fled their homes. Some 28,000 have been displaced to other districts of Taizz, while another 2,600 individuals have fled to the neighboring governorate of Al Hudaydah. A few have also been displaced eastwards (to Lahj and Ibb governorates).
UNHCR has mobilized assessment teams across displacement sites in Hudaydah, Ibb and the district of Maqbanah in Taizz, where recently displaced people are being hosted and began deliveries of emergency assistance, including basic relief items and emergency shelter.
In Hudaydah, UNHCR distributions of relief items, including mattresses, sleeping mats, blankets, kitchen sets, buckets and emergency shelter are ongoing for 3,633 displaced individuals. Further distributions for newly displaced people in other districts across Hudaydah governorate are also planned to cover the needs of 5,131 individuals, subject to access permits and security considerations. UNHCR is also delivering assistance to 301 individuals in Ibb, who have been displaced from Al Mokha and Dhubab.
UNHCR is also currently negotiating deliveries of emergency assistance to 6,342 individuals in Maqbanah in Taizz. Owing to ongoing military operations, humanitarian access remains a key challenge but UNHCR has been engaged in intense negotiations with relevant authorities to deliver assistance in hard-to-reach areas.
As hostilities intensify, the situation on the ground has also become increasingly hazardous for UNHCR field staff. On Tuesday, two of our staff narrowly escaped a missile that fell close to their vehicle in Az Zaydiyah, less than 60 kilometres away from Hudaydah city. Our colleagues were unharmed, though badly shaken by the incident.
In addition to the situation in Taizz governorate, the conflict is resulting in a deterioration of conditions all across Yemen. Despite the fact that the country is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe, the necessary financial support to respond to the crisis in Yemen remains woefully inadequate.
We are appealing for urgent international support to respond to critical and prioritized needs as our operations in Yemen face a critical shortfall in funding. Though already two months into the year, we have received less than one per cent of the resources we need for our operations in Yemen and the lack of support is severely restricting our capacity to respond.
As of 1 February 2017, UNHCR had received only US$738,303 of the US$99.6 million we need for our operational response in Yemen this year.