Since 3 June 2011, when hostilities between government forces and tribal gunmen briefly escalated in the neighbourhood of Haddah in the Yemeni capital and the Presidential Palace was bombed by heretofore unidentified actors, the security situation in Sana’a has been relatively stable.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh was injured in the palace attack and is now receiving medical treatment in Saudi Arabia. Vice-President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi has assumed control of government. A ceasefire is in force and holding, despite some skirmishes.
The violence in Hassaba (a central neighbourhood in Sana’a) resulted in some 4,000 at-risk Ethiopian and Somali refugees having to be evacuated to Al-Mazrak Camp II in Harad governorate. This operation is being overseen by UNHCR.
The situation in Taiz remains tense. Daily confrontations are taking place between armed anti-government protesters and Republican Guard units.
In Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan governorate, conflict between government forces and jihadists allegedly linked to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have forced the exodus of some 95% of the city’s residents. As of 21 June 2011, approximately 25,000 IDPs had been registered in neighbouring Aden and Lahj governorates.
Another 15,000 IDPs are reportedly dispersed throughout Abyan.
Meanwhile, the Yemeni economy continues to deteriorate. As of 17 June 2011, the Yemeni riyal was valued at 232 to the US dollar in the black market (while the official rate is 218). It has been suggested that if the riyal were to plunge below 300 to the dollar, an additional 15% of Yemenis would be thrust below the poverty line and forced to live on less than US $2 per day.
The price of bread in Yemen has increased by 50% since the beginning of February.
Because many food insecure Yemenis already spend between 30-35% of their daily income on bread, rapidly inflating bread costs could have significant repercussions.
The country’s fuel crisis continues to grow ever more severe. Fuel is no longer available to most Yemenis, irrespective of the price one is willing to pay. Queues at gas stations now stretch for kilometres and are blocking main streets in Sana’a.