In this issue
- Displacement continues to increase P.1
- Import restrictions eased P.3
- Achievements of the pooled fund 2015 P.4
- New RC/HC for Yemen P.5
- Over 2.5 million internally displaced people in Yemen.
- Import restrictions eased, yet access to essential commodities still challenging.
- Jamie McGoldrick takes up RC/HC role for Yemen.
Over 2.5 million people displaced
Displacement figures continue to rise across the country
The conflict in Yemen continues to force families to flee their homes, with 2.5 million Yemenis now internally displaced. This figure is eight times December 2014 numbers, when there were approximately 334,000 displaced people in Yemen. The main drivers for displacement in Yemen are conflict related: ongoing air strikes, ground attacks and an increasingly volatile security environment.
The sixth report of the Task Force on Population Movement, led by UNHCR and IOM, was released on 10 December. It indicates that over 2.5 million people, or almost one tenth of the population, are now displaced across the country, an increase of more than 200,000 since mid-October. The majority of the displaced are women and children (67per cent). The increase in the number of displaced is due in part to improved tracking and profiling methodologies used to identify displaced people and an extended geographic reach of field teams to 82 per cent of the country.
Taizz Governorate hosts the largest number of displaced people (392,429), followed by Amran (288,437), Hajjah (228,453), Sana’a (191,786) and Abyan (186,983) governorates. These five governorates host 51 per cent of the displaced population. Fighting in Taizz Governorate displaced many families to neighbouring governorates in the past few months, including Ibb (+9,579 to 129,810) and Lahj (+11,004 to 44,886). Similarly, bombing in Sana’a Governorate caused a spike in displacement internally and to neighbouring Dhamar Governorate (+78,500 to 137,736). Today, nearly half of all displaced people originate from the governorates of Sa’ada, Taizz, and Amanat Al Asimah (Sana’a city).
In some regions, mainly in the south, people have chosen to return to their homes. However, many remain extremely vulnerable. In Aden, as ground clashes and air strikes shifted from parts of the south, the number of displaced people began dropping in mid-October from about 380,000 to approximately 12,000 in December. Yet many returnees desperately need assistance to rebuild their homes and restart their lives. They lack food, essential household items, water and sanitation services and shelter. However, in most parts of the country, it is too early to talk about returns, as the security environment remains extremely unpredictable. Obstacles to return include lack of livelihood opportunities, unexploded ordnance and landmines and, to a lesser extent, damage sustained to their homes.
Emergency shelter without sanitation facilities
Many displaced people have used their life savings to travel to safer areas. Some have found shelter with host communities, including with relatives and friends, but about half of all displaced people live in schools, public and abandoned buildings, tents, temporary structures, makeshift shelters or in the open. Some 42 per cent of displaced families live in rented houses, further depleting their limited resources.
Often, however, their accommodation offers little protection from the elements, is overcrowded, and lacks space for cooking and storing food. Many displaced people do not have access to functioning sanitation or bathing facilities, forcing them to use open areas where there is no separation between men and women. These living conditions expose displaced communities to additional health and security risks. At the end of November, some 20,627 displaced people (3,387 households) were living in 212 collective centres across the country. The Governorate of Taizz has 149 centres alone. In addition to collective centres, more than 14,338 displaced people (2,340 households) are living in 20 settlements in Al Jawf, Amran, Marib and Sana’a govern orates.
About 8 per cent of displaced people live with host communities. The arrival of displaced people places additional pressure on already deteriorating public services in many parts of the country.
Humanitarian partners have distributed essential household items to over 362,000 displaced people, tents to nearly 15,000 displaced people and emergency shelter materials to over 126,000 displaced people. Approximately 13,000 displaced people have received cash for rental subsidies.
With temperatures dropping to 0°C in parts of Yemen, an estimated 146,000 families need support to prepare for winter. Thirty per cent of these people require urgent assistance. Humanitarian partners estimate that $16 million is required to address the clothing needs of 43,850 families and to improve emergency shelter for 23,387 families.
Finding alternative housing to schools
The new academic year, delayed by two months, resumed on 1 November. Humanitarian partners have been working to find alternative accommodation for displaced families living in schools. These efforts have reduced the number of schools accommodating the displaced from over 400 to 238 as of 1 December. In Aden, UNHCR has been coordinating with local education authorities to ensure that displaced people living in schools receive shelter solutions.
In northern and central governorates,2 the protection; shelter/non-food items; education; water, hygiene and sanitation; and early recovery clusters worked closely with local authorities and displacement committees to find alternative shelter. In November, some displaced families were relocated to alternative accommodation while others received cash assistance and food rations for six months.
Community centres operated by UNHCR partners have provided a range of services to displaced communities in Sa’ada, Hajjah and Amanat Al Asimah governorates. This includes psychosocial support, legal advice and cash assistance.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.