Yemen

Yemen: Sa'ada Emergency Situation Report No. 7

Attachments

This report was issued by the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Yemen. It covers the period from 14 September to 22 September 2009. The next report will be issued on or around 29 September 2009.

I. HIGHLIGHTS/KEY PRIORITIES

- Aerial raids allegedly killed over 80 civilians on 16 September. Investigations into the incident and the need for urgent assistance are ongoing.

- On 18 September, following a statement by the UN Secretary-General, the President of Yemen called for a conditional ceasefire, which never materialised given the clashes that occurred over the following days in several areas of Sa'ada.

- The Yemen Flash Appeal, launched on 2 September for US$23.7 million, has still not received any funding. Agencies are using dwindling reserve funds to finance their activities, while a few pledges outside the Appeal framework have been recorded.

- Food distribution to IDPs in Sa'ada town was finalized. While some INGOs were denied access to IDPs in Al-Jawf governorate, the Ministry of Health/WHO mobile teams managed to continue delivery of essential health care services to displaced persons in the area.

- The OCHA New York Director completed his 4-day fact-finding mission to Yemen on 16 September. He briefed both local and international media on the outcomes of his mission to Al-Mazrak camp, Hajjah and discussions with Government and aid agencies in-country

II. Situation Overview

The situation in Sa'ada and the surrounding governorates continues to worsen as a result of ongoing clashes between Al-Houthi groups and Yemeni security forces. Several unconfirmed news reports stated that aerial raids undertaken by Yemeni security forces on 16 September in Adi, east of the town of Harf Suyan in Amran governorate, resulted in the deaths of over 80 civilians and injured dozens of others. Before the incident some aid agencies managed to reach Sa'ada to carry out a food distribution to civilians displaced as a result of the conflict. However, humanitarian access remains very limited and of grave concern. Aid agencies that tried to reach the displaced population in Al-Jawf governorate have so far been unable to do due to insecurity.

Given the access restrictions and the geographical spread of the internally displaced populations (IDPs) in all four affected governorates, it has been very difficult to assess the full scope of displacement up to now and to provide sufficient relief to those in need. Food rations have been prepositioned at strategic points throughout northern Yemen and are sufficient to provide 60,000 beneficiaries with a monthly ration.

Humanitarian relief response teams from Islamic Relief Yemen and MSF Spain managed to reach Al-Hazem, the capital of Al-Jawf governorate, with the aim of establishing an operation site in Al-Marashi. However, on 16 September, the Governor of Al-Jawf, citing security concerns, denied clearance to the teams for onward travel to Al-Marashi, which lies on the border with Amran and Sada'a governorates where the aid agencies were planning to provide food and non-food items (NFIs) to the newly displaced population that has so far not received any assistance. In the end, the teams were requested to return back to Sana'a.

The Director of OCHA New York, Mr. Rashid Khalikov, briefed members of the international humanitarian community in Sana'a on 16 September, the final day of his four-day fact-finding mission to Yemen. He noted that despite the deep vulnerability of the tens of thousands of people who have fled the conflict in northern Yemen, this humanitarian emergency has been largely neglected by the international community, as well as by the media. He stressed the need to work more closely to highlight the needs of civilians whose lives have been disrupted by the recent events. During his four-day mission, he visited Al-Mazrak camp in Hajjah governorate, one of five camps established for IDPs, where approximately 2,000 IDPs are taking shelter. His findings highlight the urgent need for food, water and sanitation, shelter and health care. In the hot weather conditions, the current lack of potable water is a real and serious concern. The humanitarian community has extended its reach into some areas through strategic partnerships, and continues to push for humanitarian corridors and zones of tranquillity so that vital assistance can get through.

Disclaimer

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.