Sana'a, 31 January 2017
I am extremely concerned about the safety and well-being of civilians in the Dhubab and Al Mokha districts of Taizz Governorate. Information from the field indicates that military operations in the coastal region have forced most residents of Dhubab to flee the area, while in Mokha an estimated 20,000-30,000 people, almost one third of the population, are trapped in the town and require immediate protection and relief assistance. Repeated airstrikes, shelling and sniper attacks in and around the town of Al Mokha have killed and injured scores of civilians and have ground most services to a halt, including the main market and the water supply system.
Tens of thousands of civilians have been forced to flee their homes, some having to pass through mined roads to reach safety in neighboring areas. Many of the displaced families were already victims of the conflict, with lost livelihoods and previous displacement. Now they are in desperate need of protection.
Humanitarian partners are mobilizing much needed water, food, shelter and medical assistance to those in need. However, the intense fighting is impeding safe access to the town of Al Mokha, with conflict and insecurity also restricting access to other neighboring districts in Taizz. A halt to the fighting is required to facilitate the delivery of assistance to Al Mokha and enable the free movement of civilians.
I am equally concerned over reports that roads and bridges connecting the port city of Al Hudaydah with other governorates have been damaged and destroyed by airstrikes in recent days. This infrastructure is vital for the movement of humanitarian and commercial supplies in the country. I deplore such actions as they risk further isolating Yemeni communities and aggravate the already alarming food security situation.
Under international humanitarian law, the parties to the conflict have an obligation to protect civilians, facilitate their safe passage and avoid damaging civilian infrastructure, including schools, hospitals and water stations that are critical to sustaining life.
Thus, I call on all parties to the conflict to meet their obligations under the international humanitarian law. I further call on all parties to urgently ensure humanitarian organizations have rapid, safe and unimpeded access to reach the people in need in the town of Al Mokha and the wider affected region.
I also continue to urge all the parties to return to the negotiation table. A sustained peace is the only solution that will help end the suffering in Yemen.
For further information, please contact:
George Khoury, Head of OCHA Yemen, email@example.com, Tel +967 712 222 207
Zaid Al Alayaa, Information Officer OCHA Yemen, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel. +967 2222 835
Jessica J. Jordan, Head of Communication (OIC), email@example.com, Tel. +962 79867 4617
OCHA press releases are available at www.unocha.org or www.reliefweb.int.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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