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Yemen: Humanitarian crisis continues

Briefing notes

Yemen: Humanitarian crisis continues

9 October 2009

The situation in the north of Yemen remains tense and volatile. An increasing number of displaced Yemeni civilians from the northern Sa'ada governorate continues to flee to the neighbouring provinces as the fighting between the government troops and Al Houti forces enters the third month of conflict.

Sa'ada governorate remains out of reach and access in the adjacent Al Jawf governorate has been restricted to just one district. According to new arrivals in Al Mazrak camp in Hajjah governorate the fighting in Sa'ada has spread to southern districts. More and more internally displaced people (IDPs) are fleeing from these parts, particularly from the Haidan district. Almost 200 people are arriving to Al Mazrak camp every day. In Amran governorate, we estimate that more than 70 new arrivals reach the aid distribution areas daily. More IDPs are also arriving to the capital Sana'a.

The civilian population continues to bear the brunt of the ongoing conflict and humanitarian situation is dire. Most of the IDPs left their homes and farms in a rush and made the risky journey to wherever they thought they can find shelter and safety. Many of them walk, sometimes for four to five days, and arrive exhausted and in a state of desperation.

In response to the increasing number of IDPs arriving to Hajjah governorate, the local authorities have identified a second site for a new camp, some five kilometres from the Al Mazrak camp. The search for the second camp site in Amran governorate is continuing.

Our cross border operation to deliver assistance from Saudi Arabia to the IDPs stranded near the border is scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday, 10 October). Arrangements have been made by the Yemeni authorities for reception of the relief items at Alp. UNHCR's partner in the area, the AMAL foundation, will be in charge of receiving and distributing the aid to the IDPs inside Yemen. UNHCR has earlier positioned tents, mattresses, blankets and other aid items for more than 2,000 people on the Saudi side of the border.

UNHCR's emergency US$ 5 million appeal for operation in Yemen is still US$ 2.6 million short. Timely contributions would allow UNHCR to organise the management of the camps, expand registration and protection of IDPs and provide tents and other humanitarian assistance until the end of this year.