Task Force on Population Movement, 7th Report, February 2016
This is the 7th Report of the Task Force on Population Movement (TFPM). The TFPM was established in April 2015 in response to the events of March 2015, which marked the commencement of international armed conflict in Yemen that has resulted in a major humanitarian crisis with mass displacement. The TFPM is a technical working group (TWIG) of the Protection Cluster and is co-led by IOM and UNHCR.
The TFPM convenes on a regular basis to coordinate and systematize the collection of displacement statistics by operational partners for the purpose of analysis and triangulation of the data with an effort to, in coordination with the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), facilitate the humanitarian response in Yemen as well as provide a basis for planning. The purpose of each report is to provide an up to date and accurate snapshot on displaced populations, their locations and displacement trends across Yemen. This information is essential as the basis on which prioritized and coordinated humanitarian response, across clusters, is founded.
Despite efforts for a political transition in Yemen over recent years, the situation in the country has steadily deteriorated as a result of political instability and increased fighting between different groups. This culminated in conflict primarily between Ansar Allah (Al-Houthis), allied with former President Saleh’s forces, and forces loyal to the previous government of Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. The current conflict expanded significantly on 26 March 2015 with the start of airstrikes conducted by a Saudi-led coalition in support of Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. In addition, there are various other armed groups fighting throughout Yemen with a variety of interests and degrees of control on the ground.
The 7th report, released in February 2016, based on data up until the 31 January 2015, reaffirms the continuation of the humanitarian impact of the conflict and validates a total number of 2,430,178 internally displaced persons (IDPs), displaced due to the current conflict in Yemen, as compared to 2,501,658 IDPs in the 6th report (published on 10 December 2015). While the latest figure represents a drop in the total number of IDPs, it represents a relative stabilization in the displacement figure compared to previous TFPM reports in which an increase was documented in each report.
From the onset of the crisis, mass displacement has been a common occurrence triggered by the conflict and a fear of continued violence throughout the country. Within the first two months of the crisis, the TFPM had identified a population of approximately 550,000 IDPs, with the understanding at the time that this figure was an underestimate due to operational constraints and issues of capacity in adequately capturing displacement accurately. By 31 May 2015, the TFPM reported an IDP population of some one million individuals who had primarily fled the governorates of Sana’a, Al Dhalee and Aden. By August 2015, just under 1.45 million IDPs had been identified with Hajjah, Al Dhalee and Aden hosting the highest displaced populations.
From August 2015 onwards, a shift in the frontlines and hotspots of the conflict resulted in violence shifting and reaching new areas of the country. In October 2015, the TFPM reported an increased IDP population of 2.3 million individuals. Aden, Taizz and Hajjah were noted as hosting the highest IDP populations. The main reason for the increase in figures was due to the increased consistency of the methodology used by the TFPM and because the geographic coverage of assessment was continually and significantly improved.
By December 2015, in its 6th report, the TFPM had identified approximately 2.5 million IDPs, documenting a decrease in the IDP population in the southern governorates with increases in IDP populations within the northern governorates, consistent with situational developments on the ground. 51 per cent of IDPs identified were hosted in the governorates of Taizz, Amran, Hajjah, Sana’a and Abyan.
Since the release of its 6th report, the TPFM has observed an increasing shift in the geographic distribution of the IDP population. Although overall the number of IDPs recorded has remained relatively stable, significant regional differences can be identified. There has been a general increase of the IDP population in the North and North West areas and a decrease in the South and South East areas. This analysis reflects the increasing number of households identified to have returned in some of the southern areas of Yemen.
An additional component that has contributed to the shift in the displacement statistics is that the methodology used for the tracking and profiling of displaced people has continued to improve. The TFPM, with its operational partners, continues to harmonize data collection and establish and implement a unified methodology for dedicated displacement tracking.1 This has been particularly achieved where operational limitations have not impeded the work of the TFPM.
The number of credible operational partners providing data has stabilized as a consequence of the training and ongoing support that has been provided to them. This has generated a more consistent and methodical approach. In consequence, the number of districts covered by the TFPM has increased to 290 of the 333 districts of Yemen with over 1,000 data updates received for the 7th report cycle. Furthermore, the training of two UNHCR implementing partners and 120 IOM enumerators has supported the TFPM’s efforts to standardize the assessment methodology.