Humanitarian Coordinator’s statement on the situation in northern Yemen

Report
from UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen
Published on 27 Nov 2013

Sana’a, 27 November 2013: The Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, Mr. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, visited Sa’ada city in northern Yemen on Monday, and met with the Governor, Presidential and Parliamentary committees, local leaders and humanitarian partners.

The visit came as armed conflict in northern Yemen, particularly in Dammaj and Kitaf, entered its sixth week. There has only been limited access that enabled the evacuation of some 126 war-wounded people for treatment, but many more people are in urgent need of immediate humanitarian assistance.

“I am alarmed that humanitarian workers cannot reach thousands of civilians in Dammaj and Kitaf who are in need of urgent assistance,” Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed said. “During my visit to Sa’ada, I urged all parties to this conflict to allow humanitarian workers to reach those affected by conflict. I also urged all parties to observe their duty to protect civilians.”

A blockade of the main roads going into Sa’ada is preventing fuel, food, medical supplies and other necessities from reaching the people there. The blockade has prevented humanitarian workers from accessing Al Mazraq IDP camps in Hajjah Governorate. As a result, humanitarian workers are currently unable to deliver humanitarian assistance to about 14,500 IDPs who live in these camps.

The conflict is also affecting up to 29,000 people living in and around Dammaj, as well as thousands of other people in Kitaf. Already, Sa’ada is facing acute fuel shortages. Many people in the city rely on water pumps for their daily water. There is also a concern that rapidly increasing food prices will affect the most vulnerable people in the area. The situation could trigger a new humanitarian crisis in northern Yemen.

“I encourage the parties to the fighting in northern Yemen to seek a peaceful resolution to their ongoing conflict, respect the right to protection of civilians and observe their legal obligations in situations of conflict,” the Humanitarian Coordinator added. “Humanitarian partners stand ready to respond quickly to the evolving crisis there, but cannot do so until they are granted immediate, unrestricted and unconditional access.”

For further information, please contact:
Trond Jensen, Head of Office, OCHA Yemen, jensen8@un.org, Tel. (+967) 712222207
Erich Ogoso, Public Information and Advocacy Officer, ogoso@un.org, Tel. (+967) 712222831