Yemen: Rapid Increase in Casualties, Displacement and Scale of Destruction Flash Update 38 | 4 June 2015 (1000hrs)
Continued conflict in Yemen has now led to the displacement of more than one million people. Over 2,200 people have lost their lives, and nearly 10,000 have been injured. Parties to the conflict must respect their obligations under humanitarian law to protect civilians and ensure rapid access for humanitarian actors. Significant damage to vital civilian infrastructure has taken place in Yemen since the escalation of hostilities. All parties to the conflict must respect their obligations under International Humanitarian Law (IHL) to ensure that civilians and civilian objects are respected and protected.
Casualties continue to mount as a result of the conflict in Yemen. According to new Government casualty figures based on health care facilities as reported by WHO between 19 March and 31 May, 2,288 people were killed as a result of the conflict in Yemen. An additional 9,755 people were injured. OHCHR reports that over half of those killed (1,160 persons) and over 2,800 of those injured were civilians.
A new assessment has concluded that 1,019,762 people have been internally displaced as a result of the escalated conflict in Yemen as of 28 May 2015 (see map).
This figure represents IDPs registered since 26 March 2015 and IDPs registered before the escalation of the conflict have not been added. However, it is expected that a substantial proportion of pre-crisis IDPs have been re-displaced and may be reflected in this figure.
The number of displaced is expected to increase further over the coming weeks as conflict displaces more people from their homes and more information becomes available. Current estimates are still considered low for some areas. In Aden, Sana’a and Sa’ada governorates, limited telecommunications and lack of access in some areas continue to prevent partners from conducting comprehensive assessments.
Displaced people are in urgent need of protection and assistance. However the aid delivery is severely constrained by insecurity, restrictions on movement, and a lack of incoming supplies and fuel. While conditions vary across districts and governorates, IDPs have significant needs in the area of food, shelter and non-food items, water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH). People are currently sheltering in public facilities and with host families, whose resources are already significantly strained as a result of the conflict.
The displaced are among over 20 million people in need of some form of humanitarian assistance in Yemen.
New UNOSAT Analysis Shows Increased Scale of Destruction
Analysis released on 3 June by UNOSAT, compares satellite imagery from 15 May with imagery before the escalation of the conflict (31 December 2014). Approximately 92 structures in Sana’a City and the area surrounding the airport have been destroyed, 138 severely damaged, and 280 moderately damaged in Sana'a City. Similar analysis conducted of Sa’adah City showed that as of 17 May, 272 structures had been destroyed, 271 severely damaged and 627 moderately damaged. In Aden City, as of 10 May, 327 structures were destroyed, 153 severely damaged and 162 moderately damaged. UNOSAT notes that these are preliminary analyses and have not yet been validated in the field.
Damage to Ministry of Health Operations Room
The Operations Room of the Ministry of Health in Sana’a, which manages all emergency operations for the entire country, was damaged on 3 June. The Operations Room played a critical role in emergency health response throughout Yemen and the damage incurred is expected to further cripple already strained emergency health relief operations in a country where close to 15 million people are in urgent need of medical assistance. Humanitarian partners have supported the Ministry of Health in ensuring effective emergency health response, including equipping and building the capacity of the Operations Room.
Damage to Health Facilities in Yemen
The 3 June incident follows at least 53 incidents of health facilities being attacked or damaged by fighting, shelling, and airstrikes in Yemen since the escalation of the conflict on 26 March. In addition, ten health care workers have been killed or injured while carrying out their duties 26 March.
On 27 May, WHO appealed for protection of health facilities, staff and patients. The agency highlighted the widespread violations of international humanitarian law that have accompanied the violence, with attacks reported on hospitals and ambulances, a medical warehouse, an oxygen factory, and a blood transfusion centre.