Yemen: Sa'ada Emergency Situation Report No. 12


This report was issued by the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Yemen. It covers the period from 21 October to 04 November 2009. The next report will be issued on or around 19 November 2009.


A United Nations cross-border assessment mission, facilitated by the Governments of Yemen and Saudi Arabia, took place in northern Sa'ada (Al-Mandaba, Alb) between 26 and 29 October.

The security situation in Sa'ada and neighbouring governorates is deteriorating, causing serious constraints to humanitarian assistance. Tens of thousands of displaced people have been on the move, and the winter season is fast approaching.

In Al-Jawf Governorate, access remains limited to only one district (Al-Matammah).

Discussions are ongoing over the location for a new camp in Amran. Local authorities have allowed the UN and INGOs to assist IDPs in host communities outside the existing government camp in Khaiwan, which hosts some 50 families.

The draft 2010 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan (YHRP) is under review.

II. Situation Overview

A United Nations cross-border assessment to Al-Mandaba, Alb from 26-29 October has provided a clearer picture of humanitarian needs in the immediate border region. The situation for people living in this region is particularly precarious. Based on the findings of the United Nations rapid assessment, it is estimated that 8,000-10,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are sheltered in the area, with 140-210 new persons arriving daily. The assessment mission confirmed the feasibility of launching an immediate humanitarian response to provide life-saving support to compliment assistance delivered by the government and other agencies. Contingency planning will now begin, in case of a further deterioration of the situation.

The situation in Sa'ada and its neighbouring governorates remains tense and volatile, with frequent operational obstructions delaying the provision of humanitarian assistance. The supply route to Sa'ada town through Al Jawf into Kittaf Al-Boqa'a, which had been closed for nearly three weeks in October, blocking twelve trucks with relief items from WFP and UNHCR, opened again on 31 October. Provisions have been sent to replenish depleted stocks; however, the situation remains unpredictable, and the potential for using an alternative side road to provide assistance is being explored.

Access in Al-Jawf Governorate remains limited to only one district (Al-Matammah), impeding humanitarian assistance to several hundreds of IDPs stranded in the northern part of the governorate.

Since 26 October, the Yemeni Government, at the central and local levels, has allowed the provision of humanitarian assistance to IDPs living in host communities in Amran Governorate, after an initial suspension of aid. The distribution of assistance is ongoing. United Nations agencies immediately made use of this humanitarian access by launching food and noon-food item (NFI) distributions in three different districts, reaching more than 4300 people. However, serious security concerns remain given that WFP trucks carrying food commodities for 370 IDPs and two trucks carrying UNHCR NFIs were blocked en route by armed tribesmen, but later released. Again, on 3 November a UNHCR and UNICEF convoy was blocked by tribal forces, and has not yet been released. United Nations agencies are assessing if the security situation will allow distributions in the area to continue as planned.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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