Marib is a centrally located governorate that was a pocket of relative stability from 2015 to 2019. However, it saw increasing levels of conflict when the Houthis launched a new offensive towards Al Jawf Governorate and Majzar district in Marib on 18 January 2020. Marib holds important natural resources (oil and gas). It is also the last stronghold of the IRG in the north of the country and hosts around 800,000 Internally Displaced People (IDPs), the largest number in Yemen. As of 11 February 2021, the Houthis control Majzar, Harib Al Qaramish, Bidbidah and Mahliyah districts and parts of Rahabah, Raghwan, Sirwah and Madghal. Marib city and Marib Al Wadi, which host 70% of the IDPs in the governorate, is still under the IRG control along with Al Jubah, Jabal Murad Al Abdiah and Harib districts (AP 14/02/2021; Sana’a Center 05/09/2020).
Flash flooding and conflict caused widespread displacement in Marib in the past 12 months. Over 106,500 people were displaced to and within Marib governorate between January 2020 and January 2021. Conflict intensified again on 9 February 2021 as the Houthi announced a new offensive towards Marib city. Fighting is concentrated in the Al Mukhaddarah mountain range to the south of Al Jawf junction towards Marib city, and in Sirwah district. Hundreds of IDPs living in settlements sites in Sirwah have been forced to flee eastward to Marib City (MEMO 13/11/2020;ISWNews 10/02/2021; CIMP daily update 17/02/2020; IOM 16/02/2021; AP 14/02/2021).
The conflict poses particular risks for IDPs who are forced to move from one district to another looking for safety. IDPs are in need of shelter, WASH and protection assistance. In this report, we will look in depth at six districts in Marib governorate – Majzar, Madghal, Sirwah, Raghwan, Rahabah and Al Jubah – to understand the increasing humanitarian needs as IDPs continue to arrive daily, putting pressure on host community, public services and stretching the capacity of humanitarian organisations to respond.