Aden, Yemen, August 9, 2019 — The IRC is deeply concerned by violent clashes between the Southern Transitional Council and Saudi-led coalition supported government of President Hadi in Aden, Yemen. The violence, arbitrary arrests and forced displacement has forced the IRC to suspend our life-saving work and shelter in place to avoid the insecurity. The rhetoric coming from some parties inciting violence is unacceptable. Already there are reports of an unconfirmed number of people killed and injured, including civilians and children. This violence could have dire implications for Yemeni civilians and their access to vital humanitarian assistance, and puts the fragile peace process at serious risk. An inclusive political process is critical to end the violence in Aden and country wide.
Frank McManus, IRC’s Yemen Country Director, said:
With the conflict in Yemen continuing across numerous frontlines, including in the vital port city of Hodeidah, more conflict is the last thing Yemen needs. Aden has been spared from the impact of the most recent fierce fighting that has caused so much suffering and trauma elsewhere, including in Al Dhale governorate where 60,000 have been displaced due to fighting since December 2018. The relative calm, up to now, in Aden had allowed for the expansion of humanitarian service delivery and the reestablishment of some basic services. However, this spike in violence and instability is damaging vital infrastructure, including water supply, and will complicate aid efforts.
In fact, the fighting in Aden is already constraining the ability of agencies like IRC to operate and damage to critical infrastructure in these areas could be devastating. While the port city of Hodeidah remains critical to Yemen’s economy, the port of Aden still provides a critical entry point for humanitarian and commercial supplies. And the Aden airport, which is closed today, is the key route into and out of the country, especially as the airport in Sana’a remains closed to international flights and particularly for Yemenis in need of urgent medical treatment abroad. Damage to or restrictions on the operations of these critical ports of entry will therefore have implications for vulnerable Yemenis across the country.
It is now incumbent on the Government of Yemen, the Southern Transitional Council and their international partners to ensure a resolution to the fighting through peaceful dialogue. Armed conflict in Aden will only serve to increase divisions and prolong this devastating conflict and the humanitarian crisis it has caused. Ultimately only an inclusive peace process and political resolution, building on much needed progress in the implementation of the Stockholm agreement, will end the suffering of the Yemeni people.
The IRC has been working in Yemen since 2012 and rapidly scaled our programming in 2015 to address greater humanitarian need caused by the conflict. While the ongoing conflict and restrictions of air and seaports create challenges to our operations, the IRC has maintained access to affected populations and continues to provide life-saving healthcare, economic empowerment, women’s protection and empowerment, and education programming.