Yemen: Protection Cluster Update (August 2017)
The ongoing conflict in Yemen, compounded with cholera and pockets of famine, continues to increase the protection needs of an already vulnerable population. With the increasing impact of the armed conflict, a critical priority remains ensuring the protection of civilians and accountability by all state and non-state actors to comply with international humanitarian and human rights law. At the same time, the stress and loss on the conflict-affected and displaced population continues to mount, particularly on the most vulnerable segments of the population, necessitating urgent and immediate protection and assistance to those in need.
Protection of Civilians
The volatile security situation and military operations along conflict lines continues to impact civilians throughout Yemen. According to UN and open source reporting, through the first half of 2017, the number of reported airstrikes has already exceeded the total for all of 2016, with the monthly average almost three times higher in 2017. The pace of reported armed clashes in 2017 is also 56% higher per month in 2017 compared to 2016. Taizz, Sa’ada, Hajjah, Sana’a, Al Jawf and Marib remain the most affected by military operations, clashes and airstrikes, while major incidents resulting in civilian casualties have occurred recently in Taizz (July) and Sa’ada (June and August).
As of June 2017, there were 2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 946,000 IDP returnees in Yemen, representing 10.4% of the population either displaced or facing the immediate challenges of return.1 Since the beginning of 2017, conflict has resulted in 104,658 IDPs newly displaced, mostly from Taizz (46%) and Sa’ada (25%), while other governorates with new displacement include Al Hudaydah, Al Bayda and Al Jawf. New internal displacement surged early in 2017 during the escalation of conflict in Mokha, declining in the months thereafter but increasing again in May. Among IDPs, some 23% reside in collective centres or spontaneous shelters, for which a baseline assessment is currently being conducted by the Shelter-NFI-CCCM Cluster to identify inter-cluster needs, including protection.
Vulnerability and Persons with Specific Needs
Conflict and displacement, compounded now with cholera and famine, have created new vulnerabilities as a result of, among others, loss of heads of households, family separation and the breakdown of community structures, increasing resort to adverse coping mechanisms as well as increasing the mental health and psycho social support needs of the population. The most recent multi-cluster location assessment identified more than 1 million IDPs and host community members with specific needs, including malnourished children (27%), elderly (22%), pregnant / breastfeeding women (18%), chronically ill (8%), female heads of households (6%), minor heads of households (6%), persons with disabilities (7%) and separated and unaccompanied children (3%). An updated multi-cluster location assessment is currently underway.