Despite the escalation of conflict in alHudaydah not yet engulfing the city, recent months in Yemen have nevertheless exacted a brutal toll on civilians, who continue to be threatened by indiscriminate attacks, whether near conflict frontlines or in their homes, at markets or while fleeing to places of safety. Ongoing conflict, cholera, risk of famine and the depreciating currency have increased the protection needs of an already vulnerable population. In this context, ensuring protection of civilians remains paramount, as does addressing the growing protection needs for the conflict-affected and displaced population of Yemen.
Protection of Civilians
Conflict in Yemen reached a peak in August 2018, with the highest number of civilian casualties reported in any month of the year. As documented by OHCHR, the governorates most affected by casualties in the first nine months of 2018 were Hudaydah (29%), Sa’ada (19%) and Taizz (12%), as well as Hajjah (9%) and Amanat al Asimah (7%). According to the Protection Cluster’s Civilian Impact Monitoring Project, which expanded to nationwide coverage in August, there were more than 480 incidents of armed violence in August and September. Most incidents were airstrikes (41%) and shelling (41%), but landmines, IEDs and UXOs (7%), small arms fire (4%) and snipers (4%) were also significant. Women and children were estimated to comprise one-third of the civilian casualties monitored in August and September. While most incidents struck civilian homes and farms, 6% of incidents struck health, education, water, food and other protected sites, while more than 7% struck civilians while in their vehicles.
Conflict on the western coast continues to be the main driver of new internal displacement in Yemen.
According to the latest report of the Task Force on Population Movement, as of June 2018 there were 2.3 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Yemen, along with some 1 million IDP returnees, with the largest populations in Taizz, Hajjah, Amanat al Asimah, followed by Ibb, Sana’a, Sa’ada, al-Hudaydah and Amran. Based on emergency tracking, more than 425,000 people are estimated to have been displaced fro al Hudaydah since June, with the majority displaced within Hudaydah (33%) or to Amanat al Asimah (33%), with other significant locations of new displacement being Hajjah, Raymah and Taizz. Together with other humanitarian response partners and in coordination with the Rapid Response Mechanism, Protection Cluster partners are working to identify vulnerable and persons with specific needs and follow-up with emergency protection assistance and services at humanitarian service and distribution points.