More than four years of conflict in Yemen have led to the suffering of millions and the collapse of already underdeveloped public systems. The largest humanitarian crisis in the world was worsened in the third quarter of 2019 as a result of continued conflict and rising regional tensions. Hostilities on well-established frontlines in governorates such as Al Dhale, Taizz and Al Hudaydah led to the increased displacement of Yemenis and access constraints for humanitarians trying to reach communities in need. Throughout the quarter, many displaced and host communities in governorates such as Aden, Hajjah, Lahj, Ibb, Shawbah, Al Hudaydah and Hadramout continued to deal with the fall out of heavy rains and floods, which destroyed many families' temporary shelters. Of the thousands impacted by the floods, some of the worst affected were displaced communities. The situation in southern governorates deteriorated in August due to an escalation of fighting in Aden. The unstable security situation not only posed risks for displaced communities, but also led to access constraints for IOM teams and service providers. Despite this, IOM continued to operate throughout this “crisis within a crisis”. Additionally Yemen continues to be a major country of transit and destination for irregular migrants predominantly from the Horn of Africa. From July to September, 23,403 migrants arrived in Yemen, making the total number of arrivals recorded by IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) since the start of 2019 to be 107,781.
OPERATIONAL ENHANCEMENT UPDATE
Since the end of 2018, IOM has put enormous focus on enhancing its response capacity in Yemen. This effort continued in the third quarter of 2019 through the development of sub-offices and ongoing human resource expansion. Earlier in 2019, IOM established a new sub-office in Marib - a city and governorate hosting a high number of displaced people - to improve the Organization’s reach across Yemen. The Mission continues to work on the development of the Marib office, an IOM guesthouse and an IOM-managed humanitarian hub, which will support partners’ interventions in Marib and surrounding previously hard-to-reach governorates. IOM currently has eight international team members based in Marib. who have been focusing on assessments and community meetings as preparation for an effective humanitarian response. IOM is also constructing guesthouses for its Aden and Al Hudaydah suboffices and, during this quarter, finished the construction of its new guesthouse in Sana’a. With increased accommodation, IOM has been able to continue to grow its international staff presence in Yemen. In December of 2018, IOM had nine international team members working inside Yemen and, as of the end of September 2019, the number of internationals was 57. This enhanced capacity is also reflected in the national team, which grew from 400 in December 2018 to nearly 600 by the end of September 2019. With a bigger team, following the IOM global model of large strong national teams, IOM has been able to increase the frontline nature of its programming and is prepared to stay and deliver during any escalation of the crisis. In July with all expert programme managers and coordinators now on board, the Yemen team hosted a strategic retreat in Sana’a, which brought together operational staff from across the country. The discussions and outcomes of the retreat focused on harmonizing, consolidating and increasing impact as well as finding opportunities to support community resilience; a key focus of IOM’s work currently and looking toward 2020.