Yemen: Escalating Conflict Situation Report No. 2 (as of 3 April 2015)
Extremely heavy clashes were reported in Aden over the last 24 hours. On Friday, fighting was reportedly continuing in Maala District as of mid-day. Overnight and into 3 April, air strikes were also reported in parts of Sana’a, Sa’ada and Taizz, Marib, Hudaydah and Aden Governorates. To date, 14 of Yemen’s 22 Governorates have been affected.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), violence has killed 550 people and injured 1,746 – including many civilians – since 19 March. Casualty reports are often underestimates of true number of casualties, as people may not have the means to seek treatment in hospitals, and families may bury their dead before reports are collected. Displacement is also rising. Overall displacement estimates could not be verified.
Conflict is affecting civilian infrastructure and facilities. In the last 24 hours, partners reported the occupation of two health facilities and five schools by parties to the conflict. In Aden, six ambulances have also reportedly been seized by parties to conflict – four of which were then used in hostilities. Four health workers – two ambulance drivers and two volunteers – were killed in these incidents.
Immediate humanitarian needs continue to be mass casualty management, protection and WASH services. Needs for shelter, non-food items (NFIs) and food are also intensifying, particularly for vulnerable internally displaced persons (IDPs). Food prices are reportedly increasing rapidly in some areas, particularly in the south. In the south, reported fuel shortages are threatening people’s access to water. An agreement from the Aden Oil Refinery to supply diesel and fuel to hospitals will could ease concerns about services in those facilities. Access remains severely constrained by ongoing clashes in the south and the unpredictability of air strikes in the north. Difficulties bringing critical relief supplies into Yemen are hampering humanitarian operations.
Air strikes and armed conflict have continued since yesterday’s Flash Update. Air strikes were reported in different parts of Sana’a, Sa’ada, Taizz, Marib, Hudaydah and Aden. As of mid-day Friday, heavy clashes continued to be reported in Maala District of Aden, and the airport was also reportedly coming under aerial attacks. Diesel shortages continue to threaten the water network serving the city. The Aden Health Office has reportedly concluded an agreement with the Aden Oil Refinery to supply fuel to Aden hospitals. A curfew remains in place in Aden from 19.00 to 07.00.
As of late 1 April, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that violence in Yemen had killed 550 people and injured 1,746 since 19 March – including many civilians. According to international humanitarian law (IHL), all parties to conflict are legally obligated to do everything in their power to avoid civilian casualties.
Reports from local sources indicate that civilian infrastructure continues to be affected by the conflict. Reports in the last 24 hours indicate conflict parties had occupied two health facilities (Marib and Al Mahwit) and five schools (Taizz and Ibb). Six ambulances have also reportedly been seized by parties to conflict – four of which were then used in hostilities. Four health workers – two ambulance drivers and two volunteers – were killed in these incidents.
Hospital officials in Aden are now reportedly more apprehensive about sending ambulances out in light of these risks. All parties to conflict are legally obligated under IHL to do everything in their power to refrain from targeting or impacting civilian infrastructure, and must not commandeer civilian infrastructure for military purposes.
Local partners continue to report increasing levels of displacement. Displacement estimates are extremely fluid. Most IDPs are reportedly staying with relatives near their areas of origin. The current overall estimate – about 100,000 – is based only on unconfirmed reports. A breakdown is available in the previous Situation Report. These estimates do not include most movements from Aden or Sana’a to the countryside. Displacement estimates are certain to change – perhaps significantly – over the coming days and weeks. Displacement alone is not a reliable indicator of humanitarian need.
Priority humanitarian needs
Immediate crisis needs remain mainly concentrated in the health, WASH and protection sectors, with the most urgent priority being mass casualty management. The summary presented in the last Situation Report remains valid. Several additional nationwide priorities have been identified in the Health Cluster:
Disease surveillance and epidemic reporting through the electronic Disease Early Warning System (eDEWS) is endangered and could be disrupted
Medicine for chronic diseases is needed
Laboratory and blood bank reagents are needed.
Access and humanitarian response
Response efforts to date remain mainly focused on support for mass casualty management. Humanitarian access remains severely constrained by recent insecurity, including air strikes. The most serious constraints persist in Aden, Lahj and Al Dhale’e, the three governorates most affected by widespread violent conflict. Closure of airports hinders international procurement and delivery of essential aid supplies and deployment of medical teams.