Yemen + 3 more

UNHCR Yemen Factsheet - February 2016 [EN/AR]

Situation Report
Originally published



  • Nearly one in every ten persons in Yemen is internally displaced. Faced with the consequences of conflict, Yemenis continue to flee from their homes, often without many possessions in desperate search of safety and means of survival. The Task Force on Population Movement (TFPM), under the Protection Cluster and led by UNHCR and IOM in collaboration with several operational partners has determined in its 7th report released on 17 February that there are 2,430,178 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Yemen as of 31 January 2016.

  • The UNHCR Representative led a mission to Taizz on 14 February, during which he oversaw the delivery of blankets, mattresses, and other emergency relief aid to 1,000 conflict-affected families largely isolated by months of intense fighting in three locations in the embattled centre of Taizz city: Al Qahirah, Salh and Al Mudhaffar districts. This is the first time UNHCR has been able to access the city after months of trying to bring in much needed humanitarian assistance.

  • UNHCR wrote to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) expressing concern about recent arrests and detention of foreign nationals including refugees and asylum seekers. UNHCR also expressed concern about reports of forced recruitment of foreign nationals including refugees and asylum seekers by the various armed groups involved in the conflict. MoFA confirmed that persons holding a refugee or an asylum seeker document should not be arrested nor detained. MoFA denied any involvement of the authorities in forced recruitment of foreigners. UNHCR committed to reaching out to local authorities and law enforcement officials about the value of UNHCR refugee and asylum seeker documents, including temporary protection documents (Syrians).

  • Smugglers transporting 54 Ethiopians and one Somali on a small boat from Obock, Djibouti on 6 February began to forcibly throw off the passengers as the ship came in sight of the Red Sea coast of Yemen. Only 34 persons made it safely to shore, while 20 were left unaccounted for and presumably drowned. The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) patrol along the Red Sea coast to assist new arrivals, found 23 of the survivors a few kilometres east of Bab-al-Mandab, and contacted the Yemen Red Crescent (YRC) to come, collect and transport them to Kharaz refugee camp.

  • As a boat carrying 100 passengers that had disembarked from Obock, Djibouti, was beginning to make land near Bab-al-Mandab on the Red Sea coast of Yemen on 28 February, local armed groups opened fire in the air to chase away the boat. The crew immediately returned to sea and then sailed to another point near the coast and forced the passengers out about 100 meters from the shore, where one reportedly drowned. Armed traffickers were waiting at the coast and took 36 of the Ethiopians. The DRC patrol found those who had gotten away and provided them with assistance.


Yemen is a historic transit hub for mixed migratory movements of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants from the Horn of Africa to the Arabian Peninsula and beyond.
Although Yemen is the poorest of the Gulf countries, it stands out in the region for its generosity towards refugees. It is the only country in the Arabian Peninsula that is a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol.

Nearly a year into the conflict, the already precarious humanitarian and socio-economic conditions coupled with the security situation has substantially deteriorated. Some 21.2 million people (82% of the population) require some form of humanitarian or protection assistance. WHO has reported on the basis of data collected from health facilities from 26 March 2015 to 29 February 2016 that 6,259 people have been killed and 29,852 wounded as a result of the hostilities. According to OHCHR there have been 3,218 civilians killed and a further 5,778 civilians injured (from 26 March 2015 to 17 March 2016).

With the ongoing conflict, loss of livelihood and internal displacement has come a range of concerns for protection and basic needs for the internally displaced and the hosting communities across the country. Lack of water and sanitation and in some cases overcrowded shelters, expose people to serious risks of disease and gender-based violence.

Basic services across the country are on the verge of collapse. Around 14 million Yemenis do not have sufficient access to healthcare services. At least 7.6 million people are severely food insecure. Over 1,170 schools are now unfit for use due to conflict-related damage, presence of internally displaced people, or occupation by armed groups.

UNHCR and partners address critical needs including shelter, non-food items, protection services, cash assistance, livelihood opportunities, food, health care and education support.