YEMEN: IDP/refugee camps - facts and figures

SANAA, 21 September 2010 (IRIN) - IRIN takes a look at the camps for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Yemen, their locations, capacity, needs and gaps. There are 10 IDP camps (six in Saada, three in Hajjah and one in Amran Governorate) and one refugee camp.

Kharaz refugee camp

Location: Lahj Governorate, 150km northwest of Aden city

Purpose: Hosting Somali refugees and a small group of Ethiopian Oromo refugees

Capacity: Around 14,000 refugees as of August 2010

Established: 2000, following the closure of Al Gahin camp in neighbouring Abyan Governorate Run by: the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in coordination with other UN agencies and a number of local and international implementing partners such as INTERSOS, Adventist Development and Relief Agency International (ADRA), Danish Refugee Council (DRC), CARE International, Save the Children, Society for Humanitarian Solidarity (SHS) and Charitable Society for Social Welfare (CSSW).

Needs/gaps: More shelters required, according to Rocco Nuri, a UNHCR external relations officer.

"Land disputes with host communities are also impacting on shelter construction," he said.

He said security remained a concern in the area and impacts on the delivery of assistance and protection response of UNHCR.

The only refugee camp in Yemen is in a remote area of Yemen's Lahaj region with few opportunities for employment or self-reliance, according to Nuri.

IDP camps Mazraq I and III

Location: Camp I is 35km and Camp III 32km northeast of Haradh town in the northern governorate of Hajjah

Purpose: Hosting Yemenis displaced by conflict in neighbouring Saada Governorate

Capacity: Camp I hosted 8,906 and Camp III 3,440 IDPs as of 31 August 2010

Established: Camp I on 20 August 2009 and Camp III on 27 January 2010 Both are run by: UNHCR through its implementing partner Islamic Relief Yemen (camp managing partner). Other contributors are: the Yemeni government, World Food Programme (WFP), UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), Save the Children, local NGO Al Amal Society, Médecins Sans Frontières-Spain and Oxfam.

Needs in the two camps: UNHCR, as lead agency supporting camp management, shelter/non-food items and protection, continues to face a funding shortfall of around 44 percent of the total requirement for 2010, according to the agency's deputy representative in Yemen, Nabil Othman.

"In view of funding shortfalls, it would be difficult to respond to the needs of IDPs, which include some self-reliance activities to sustain and support their livelihoods, the replenishment of shelter and NFIs, summerization of tents, and overhauling the camp to prevent floods," he said.

Other problems include the lack of privacy for families, especially women, during the cooking of food or the performance of other outdoor domestic chores; the lack of maintenance of camp facilities; the need for more support for persons with specific needs; and the need for capacity-building of government institutions to enable them to assume their responsibilities.

IDP camp Mazraq II

Location: 28km northeast of Haradh, Hajjah Governorate

Purpose: To serve IDPs displaced by the Saada conflict

Capacity: 6,400 IDPs as of August 2010

Established: 15 November 2009

Run by: United Arab Emirates (UAE) Red Crescent with Al-Saleh Social Foundation for Development (SFD) as an implementing partner

Needs: The camp population is happy with the services provided. [ ] Funded by the UAE government, it is the only camp not facing a funding shortfall. IDP tent s are equipped with fans and have electricity 24/7. The only concern of IDPs is that they are not allowed to keep their animals with them.

"The camp management bans entry of cattle and sheep to create a healthy environment for the population," said camp superviser Hamid al-Shamsi of UAE Red Crescent.

IDP camp Khaiwan

Location: Khaiwan District, Amran Governorate, some 100km north of Amran city

Purpose: To host IDPs displaced by the Saada conflict. Most of them came from Amran's Harf Sufyan District, one of the worst battlegrounds

Capacity: 1,731 IDPs as of August 2010

Established: 20 October 2009

Run by: UNHCR with CSSW as an implementing partner. It also receives assistance from WFP, UNICEF, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Save the Children and the Health Ministry

Needs/gaps: Aid delivery to IDPs is hampered by insecurity and carjackings. The camp faces a shortage of medical supplies, according to camp supervisor Nabil Khamis.

"IDPs with chronic diseases have been waiting for medicine since June 2010," he said.

The camp is in an area where there has been intermittent violence between Houthis and pro-government tribesmen. Access to the camp for assessment purposes is therefore difficult, according to Khamis.

He said the camp was located at an inappropriate site, with tents too close to each other. "It needs to be reconstructed because it doesn't comply with the internationally-recognized standards of camp establishment."

Saada IDP camps: There are six IDP camps in Saada Governorate, five of which - al-Ehsaa, al-Bugallat, al-Jabbana, al-Salam and Sam - are in Saada city. The sixth, Mandaba, is in Baqim District, in the northwestern part of the governorate

Purpose: Hosting people displaced by the Saada conflict

Capacity: The six camps hosted over 18,500 IDPs as of July 2010

Established: The oldest one (al-Ehsaa) three years ago; the newest one

(al-Jabbana) 10 months ago

Run by: Yemen Red Crescent Society (YRC), with ICRC support.

Needs: Basic IDP needs are met in terms of survival and the preservation of dignity, said Rabab al-Rifai, ICRC spokesperson in Yemen, adding that ICRC and YRC policies do not allow staff to give specific details on each camp separately.