Yemen: Sa'ada Emergency Situation Report No. 3


This report was issued by the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Yemen. It covers the period 28 August to 04 September 2009. The next report will be issued on 07 September 2009


- The Yemen Flash Appeal was launched on Wednesday 2 September in Geneva by Sir John Holmes, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator.

- Humanitarian agencies are concerned over the humanitarian situation in the Sa'ada Governorate, nsecurity and lack of access continue to hamper basic services and humanitarian assistance activities.

- The Yemeni Ministry of Public Health and Population (MoPH&H) sent a shipment of medical on 2 September. Organized with the support of WHO, the shipment will allow for basic medical care to be provided to 30,000 people for one month.

- The authorities of Amran Governorate indicated their intention to establish a camp for internally displaced persons (IDP) in Khaiwan. Humanitarian organizations have been in discussion with the authorities in order to ensure that camp conditions are consistent with relevant guiding principles and standards.

- A mission composed of international non-governmental organizations (INGO) was able to travel to Al Jawf Governorate on 30 August in order to assess the humanitarian situation.

II. Situation Overview

Fighting between the Government of Yemen and Al Houthi tribal groups in Sa'ada has been last consecutive three weeks, with no indication that confrontations will subside in the near future. Humanitarian organisations estimate that some 150,000 persons are displaced in the Governorates of Sa'ada, Amran, Al Jawf and persons displaced by previous rounds of fighting,Hajjah. This number includes many of whom have been forced into second or third displacement. Registration of IDPs has been underway in the areas of displacement for the past weeks. In total, as many as 58,000 IDPs were registered as of 2 September, with the largest townnumbers in (23,500), Baqim (17,500)Sa'ada in northern Sa'ada Governorate, Haradh and Al Mazrak (12,500) in Hajjah Governorate, and Khaiwan (4,500) in Amran Governorate.

Insecurity and the lack of humanitarian access continue to hamper humanitarian assistance activities in Sa'ada Governorate . The situation in Sa'ada town is of growing concern. There is a severe fuel shortage, with reports of there being no electricity. Several sources indicate that local traders are increasing food prices, as food commodities cannot reach the governorate. Certain commodities are reportedly being rationed. Many health facilities are not functioning and public health services are not being delivered to populations, which raises concerns over the risk of disease outbreaks.

During the reporting period, some progress was achieved in terms of getting access to populations affected by the conflict. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that a first shipment of medical supplies organized by the MOPH&P reached Sa'ada town on 2 September. Reports also indicate that the MOPH&P dispatched medical supplies to Baqim District in the northern part of reportedly reached the district through the Saudi territory following an agreement between the Yemeni and Saudi governments. While Al Jawf Governorate has long been a no go area for UN agencies as a result of tribal conflict, a mission composed of international non-governmental organizations (MSF Spain, Islamic Relief, and Médicos del Mundo) was able to travel to the governorate on 30 August in order to assess the humanitarian situation. A report will be available shortly.

III. Humanitarian Needs and Response


In Sa'ada Governorate, humanitarian agencies estimate that as many as 35,000 displaced persons have arrived in Sa'ada town since the onset of the local population, asthe fighting a result of incessant fighting. Humanitarian agencies have so far registered 23,500 displaced persons. Out of these, 2,500 live in Al Ihsa and Sam camps. Registration activities in a third camp, Al Talh, are underway. In addition, as many as 17,500 IDPs have been registered by the Yemeni Red Crescent Society in Baqim, in the north of Governorate. The majority reportedly requires assistance. Sa'ada

In Amran Governorate, the total displaced population is estimated at 28,000 persons (4,000 families). Humanitarian agencies estimate that as many as 9,100 IDPs live in the following six locations: Khaiwan, Khaiwan Al-Hamra, Huth, Bani Suram, Khamir, and Amran town. The majority are hosted by families, some are occupying public buildings as well as living in unfinished buildings. Interviews conducted by humanitarian agencies indicate that IDPs require protection, shelter, food and others basic assistance. The authorities indicated their intention of establishing a camp in Khaiwan, 90 km north of Amran. Insecurity and land property issues are delaying the identification of a site. Concerns were expressed by humanitarian organizations that the site, which was initially proposed, was too close to the conflict area. Disagreement from the local communities is hampering the identification of a more appropriate location. Humanitarian organizations have been negotiating with the authorities in order to ensure respect of relevant guiding principles and standards.

In Hajjah Governorate, humanitarian agencies have registered 12,500 displaced persons in Haradh and Al Mazrak, although some estimate that as many as 14,000 IDPs may be living in the area. More than 320 displaced families are living in Al Mazrak camp, where they were registered and received assistance. It was found that around 30 percent of the displaced families, who are moving to Haradh, are in possession of cattle. Many families prefer not to settle in a camp, due to their possession of a large number of cattle or because they want to prevent their family members from living in closed environment and close to others.

Emergency Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFIs)

In Amran Governorate, recent assessments of the conditions of IDPs living in Khaiwan suggest that the families hosting IDPs require shelter material in order to expand their living space and avoid overcrowdedness. For those who indicated that they would move in the camp proposed by the authorities, NFIs and emergency shelters are ready to be provided as soon as the camp is established. In Hajjah Governorate, where 12,500 IDPs have so far been registered, distribution of non-food items is underway. UNHCR has so far distributed NFIs for 1,050 families in and outside the camp areas. In Sa'ada, UNHCR has so 2,200 families, who require non-food items.

Food Aid

In food distribution took place during a lull in fighting on 26 August for 2,513 persons living in Al Sam and Al Ihsa Camps. Families received a full basket of wheat, pulses, oil, sugar, salt, and dates, totaling 46 metric tons of food. Al Talh Camp remains inaccessible due to insecurity. Food distribution for displaced families resettled within the town is pending completion of registration and appropriate security conditions.

In Hajjah Governorate, food distribution has taken place in Haradh and Al Mazrak camp, amid challenges to control the crowd and some isolated security incidents. As of 1 September, 93 metric tons of wheat, pulses, oil, sugar, salt, dates, and high-energy biscuits had been distributed to 8,274 IDPs out of 12,500 registered. Local authorities were instrumental in securing the area and managing the crowd.

WFP visited Amran Governorate during the reporting period in order to identify a location for a field office and initiate preparations for assisting an estimated 9,100 IDPs, who are living in the six above mentioned locations between Amran town and Khaiwan. WFP is also preparing to dispatch ready-to-eat food as well as wheat, pulses, oil, sugar, and salt to Al Jawf Governorate, pending the results from an assessment conducted by INGOs in the same governorate.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

The WASH cluster is involved in on-going inter-agency assessments of the humanitarian situation. Oxfam is expanding its in-country capacity by deploying two WASH experts to Yemen. They will participate in the efforts, which are currently underway in Amran Governorate to establish an IDP camp in Khaiwan. CARE has provided transport and communication support for the rapid needs assessment that has taken place in Al Jawf Governorate on 30 August. Save the Children, UNICEF and UNHCR are considering ways to improve water supply in Haradh and Al Mazrak (Hajjah Governorate), where as many as 12,500 IDPs have arrived. ICRC has been the only agency able to operate water, sanitation and hygiene activities in Sa'ada town. They reportedly providing water supply for some 2,000 people.


WHO provided ten tons of medical supplies to the MOPH&P, which were eventually dispatched to Sa'ada on 2 September. The medical supplies will allow for basic medical care to be provided to 30,000 people for one month. They also include treatment for 500 severe diarrhea cases and 200 surgical interventions for people with trauma injuries.

According to the WHO surveillance system, there has been no outbreak of communicable diseases occurring amongst the IDPS and the host community in Amran and Hajjah to date. WHO epidemiologists are making plans to establish disease early warning systems in Hajjaf and Amran Governorates. The risk of communicable disease outbreaks, such as measles and diarrhea, remains high in Sa'ada many of the health facilities are non-functional, and public health activities, including immunization services are no longer delivered to populations.

To date, MSF France is running a health facility in Baqim District in the north of Sa'ada he hospital of Razih District in the western part of Sa'ada Governorate is still running with assistance from MSF despite the ongoing conflict. MSF-F and ICRC are the only two international organizations currently operating health programs in the Sa'ada Governorate.

On 1 September, the MoPH&P and WHO dispatched two mobile health units to Al Jawf Governorate, which included medical staff, medicines and other supplies, and a rented vehicle for the mobile units. Supervisors and surveillance officers Al Jawf on 2 September to assess and monitor thefrom Sana'a were also sent health situation.


UNICEF pre-positioned nutrition supplies and equipment in Hajjah Governorate, which include 1,600 cartons of ready-to-use food (plumpy nut), one TFC OXFAM therapeutic kit for hospital, anthropometric tools, seven cartons of F-75 and F-100 therapeutic milk, three cartons of rehydration solution for malnourished children (RESOMAL), and other items for treating severe acute malnutrition. UNICEF will support a rapid nutrition

assessment among displaced families by the Yemeni authorities on 7-9 September and is currently training 57 health workers for this purpose.


On 31 August, the Minister of Health, who chairs the National Technical Relief Committee, announced to representatives of the humanitarian community that the Government of Yemen is negotiating an agreement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in order to facilitate the transit of relief workers and commodities through Saudi Arabia.

A Logistics Response Team (LRT) mandated by the Global Logistics Cluster cell has arrived in Yemen and is assessing the logistics gaps and bottlenecks faced by the humanitarian community. An assessment report will be issued in approximately two weeks, which will outline critical logistical requirements and provide recommendations to the Humanitarian Country Team on the need to activate the Logistics Cluster and on the formulation of a logistics operational plan. An ICT support team has also arrived to identify the needs and gaps at the country level.

A WFP Logistics Team traveled to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in order to evaluate the possibility of establishing supply corridors to the Sa'ada Governorate from Saudi Arabia.

IV. Coordination

The Government established a High-Level Inter-Ministerial Committee for Relief Operations on Tuesday 18 August, which is chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister for Internal Security and Minister of Local Administration. A Technical Relief Committee meets under the umbrella of the high-level committee, and is chaired by the Minister of Health. The government is in the process of establishing Relief Coordination Committees in the governorates.

International support to the Government is coordinated by the UN Resident Coordinator, who chairs the Humanitarian Country Team, with the assistance of OCHA. The WFP Country Representative chairs the UN Emergency Preparedness and Response Team, which facilitates operational coordination. International NGOs are participants in all coordination mechanisms.

Many international non-governmental organisations coordinate their activities through the Yemen INGO Forum. The forum, which is an informal body, consists of 24 member NGOs who, collectively, operates in all governorates of Yemen.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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