UNHCR launches US$3 million appeal to help displaced in Yemen
GENEVA, April 22 (UNHCR) - The UN refugee agency on Tuesday launched 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.
Chief UNHCR spokesman, Ron Redmond, told journalists in Geneva that funds raised in the supplementary appeal would ensure enhanced support for the internally displaced people 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 this year, the situation remains volatile. New internally displaced people (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," Redmond said, adding that during the course of this year 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 shelters 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 expertise in camp management and planning.
In addition, UNHCR will seek to promote the self-sufficiency of IDPs and returnees through training programmes. The UN refugee agency also plans to raise awareness on the rights of the displaced 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.