Yemen: pressing humanitarian needs amid continuing fighting

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Since mid-August, armed confrontations affecting the civilian population have intensified in the already volatile governorate of Sa’ada, in the north of the country, and spilled over into parts of Amran governorate. According to initial estimates, thousands of people have been displaced in the two governorates.

“Thousands of people have fled the fighting to seek refuge in Sa’ada city and surrounding areas.

They probably could not take much with them, and many are now left stranded without even a roof to protect them from the rain,” said the ICRC’s head of delegation in Yemen, Jean-Nicolas Marti.

“Their most important immediate needs are shelter, water, food and access to medical care.” ICRC and Yemen Red Crescent Society staff have so far registered more than 12,000 displaced people (IDPs) in Sa’ada governorate and more than 4,000 in Amran governorate while also meeting vital needs, for example by providing support for medical facilities.

As people keep pouring into Sa’ada city, the capacities of existing camps for displaced people, jointly managed by the ICRC and the Yemen Red Crescent, are being strained to the limit.

Over 4,200 people are currently accommodated in the three camps run jointly by the ICRC and the Yemen Red Crescent in Sa’ada city (Al-Ihsa’ and Sam) and outside the city (Al-Talh), with yet more displaced people staying with host families in Sa’ada city.

In cooperation with the Yemen Red Crescent, the ICRC helped relocate more than 5,000 people from Anad camp, which was caught in the line of fire, to safer places in Sa’ada city – some in one of the three camps, others elsewhere in the city.

However, the delivery of humanitarian aid is complicated by the ongoing fighting, which has restricted the movements of ICRC and Yemen Red Crescent personnel.

Humanitarian workers must be protected and given safe passage to provide emergency aid.

According to international humanitarian law, the red crescent emblem must be respected at all times, and Red Crescent staff, vehicles and installations must be spared.

The ICRC reiterates its call upon all parties involved in the fighting to respect the rules and principles of international humanitarian law, which require them to take all measures necessary to spare the lives of civilians and their property, to allow the wounded and sick to receive medical treatment, and to do everything possible to ensure that medical personnel, facilities and vehicles are spared the effects of the fighting.

Providing medical supplies to health facilities Over the two past weeks, the ICRC: supplied two health centres in Al-Malaheet (west of Sa’ada city) with dressing materials and 1,800 doses of oral rehydration salts; provided basic medical supplies to the Yemen Red Crescent clinic in Sa’ada and donated a vehicle to be used for medical purposes to the Yemen Red Crescent branch in Sa’ada; supplied two health units in Wadi Khaiwan (Harf Sufyan district) of Amran governorate with medical and dressing kits to cover the needs of some 1,000 patients over a three-month period; supplied the hospital of Hajjah governorate’s district of Harad with items for treating war-wounded patients; donated 100 body bags to the Ministry of Health and Population in Sana’a to help it cope with the management of human remains.

Helping displaced and otherwise vulnerable people by providing water and basic food supplies The ICRC supplies clean water on a daily basis to the three camps for the displaced in Sa’ada city (Al-Ihsa’, Sam and Al-Talh), covering the needs of more than 4,200 people.

More than 200 vulnerable people benefited from an initial distribution of wheat flour in Baqim district, in the north-west of Sa’ada governorate.

Providing shelter and other essential items Some 2,000 people from Al-Mahader (west of Sa’ada city) are currently being given blankets, mattresses, tarpaulins, jerrycans, soap, stoves, gas cylinders and other essential household items.

Around 350 displaced people who arrived in Sa’ada city over the past couple of days also received essential household items.

More than 100 tents were distributed to newly displaced people in Al-Talh camp in Sa’ada city.

The ICRC has been working in Yemen since 1962 and in Sa’ada governorate since 2004.

Its workforce has been increasing steadily since the beginning of the year; it currently has 111 staff based in the country – 69 in the capital Sana’a, including 19 expatriates, and 42 in Sa’ada, including five expatriates.

For further information, please contact:
Rabab Al-Rifaï, ICRC Sana’a: tel: +967 1 213 844 or +967 711 94 43 43
Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva: tel: +41 22 730 25 90 or +41 79 251 93 18

See also ICRC media contacts

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