Fighting continues in Ma’rib governorate on a daily basis, with the situation remaining volatile. Areas in Sirwah district to the west of Ma’rib city have been the worst affected, and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are being forced to move numerous times. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that since February 2021 when hostilities surged once again, more than 2,625 IDP households (18,375 individuals) have been displaced. This means that, in total, close to 21,000 households (HHs) have been displaced since the start of the escalation on the Ma’rib front in January 2020.
While in 2020, a majority of IDPs moved to Ma’rib city and Ma’rib Al Wadi, this year, IOM is seeing IDPs being displaced within their districts of origin. In Sirwah, IDPs are mostly staying within the district but moving into areas in Arak and more recently, Kasarah, closer to Ma’rib city. Although there have not been any significant changes to frontlines in the reporting period, civilian and displacement sites have been severely impacted by the fighting; 14 civilian casualties have been reported so far in April alone, and IDPs have been forced to move from eight IDP hosting sites, with at least four being completely emptied.
Across the board, the situation is extremely concerning. Continued fighting threatens to displace hundreds of thousands more people—at least 55,000 HHs according to humanitarian contingency plans—while also constraining humanitarian access. Local authorities and humanitarian partners, who were already grappling with limited resources while responding to the needs of some 1 million IDPs across the governorate, are now struggling even more to meet the growing needs.
The chronic overcrowded nature of IDP hosting sites in Ma’rib was illustrated by a fire in Al Jufainah Camp on 3 April that led to the death of a child and the severe injury of others.
Those affected by the crisis in Ma’rib are some of the most vulnerable, repeatedly losing access to basic services and livelihoods. A political solution to the crisis is urgently needed to avert a humanitarian catastrophe.