Yemen: Military operations in Abyan and Shabwah - Situation Report No. 1 as of 21 May 2014

Situation Report
Originally published



  • On 29 April, the Government launched military operations against elements of Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Abyan, Shabwah and Al Bayda Governorates in south-central Yemen.

  • Estimates indicate that up to 24,500 people have been displaced in Abyan and Shabwah. This includes 21,000 IDPs who have been verified, the vast majority of whom (18,760) are in Shabwah.
    An additional 3,500 people are reportedly displaced in Abyan, but insecurity is hindering efforts to verify this information.

  • The scale of the humanitarian consequences of the offensive remains unclear, but appears limited.
    Immediate needs are in food, access to health care, support with non-food items and access to safe water. Clearer estimates of the level of needs are expected to become available as access improves and humanitarian assessments are completed.

Situation Overview

On 29 April, the Government began major military operations against strongholds of Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Abyan, Shabwah and Al Bayda Governorates. Approximately 980,000 people live in the most conflict-affected districts. Military operations continue in Abyan Governorate (Al Mahfad District) and Shabwah Governorate (Mayfa’a District south of Jol Ar Raida village). Most markets, roads and schools reportedly remain closed in conflict areas, but health facilities are mostly open. Reports also indicate that some residential buildings have been damaged.

Preliminary estimates indicate that up to 24,500 people (3,500 households) have been displaced by the recent fighting, including 21,000 verified IDPs. The humanitarian impact on the wider civilian population appears limited – especially compared to the 2012 offensive in Abyan against Al Qaida. Partners are working to verify the extent of needs, and clearer estimates are expected as access improves and initial assessments are finalized. In Abyan, major fighting occurred in Mahfad District (Al Ahmar and Al Ma’ajala villages and Al Matheeq valley), displacing people to surrounding areas in Mahfad, Mudiyah and Ahwar Districts. In Shabwah, the heaviest fighting was in Ataq, Rudum, Ar Rawdah, Mayfa'a and Habban Districts. All displacement figures come from the Government’s Executive Unit and are verified by UNHCR. Local authorities in Shabwah and Abyan expect IDPs to return home once conflict has subsided.

The main immediate needs for affected people are reported to be assistance in health, food, non-food items, and access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation facilities. Current response efforts focus on providing quick emergency relief to IDPs in displacement areas, and activities will be adjusted in line with assessment findings.

Partners are mostly confident of their ability to meet these needs with existing resources, although concerns over potential shortages in the non-food items (NFI) and shelter pipeline may require additional support. Beyond unconfirmed media reports, no information is currently available on the situation in Al Bayda Governorate.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit