Yemen UNHCR Flash Update, 4 February 2017

Report
from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 04 Feb 2017

KEY FIGURES

25,000 – 30,000 people estimated to have fled Al Mokha

2,592 people have fled to neighbouring governorate of Al Hudaydah

2,007,216 Internally displaced persons (IDPs) since onset of hostilities in March 2015.

1,027,674 IDP returnees since March 2015

SITUATION UPDATE

UNHCR is deeply concerned about the plight of thousands of Yemeni civilians fleeing or caught up in heavy confrontation between the warring parties in the Red Sea districts of Al Mokha and Dhubab in Taizz governorate. Thousands of civilians are being caught in the crossfire, worsening the situation for an already vulnerable population. UNHCR is mobilizing rapid assistance together with partners to help those displaced. Challenges in response include heavy fighting and ongoing military operations which are impeding humanitarian access, and comprehensive displacement data is currently difficult to verify.

POPULATION MOVEMENT

Mass Displacement in Taizz: Reports from a range of sources, including recently arrived internally displaced people from Al Mokha who met with UNHCR field teams in Al Hudaydah, estimate that between 25,000 -30,000 people have fled the fighting. Displaced families also reported to be moving between various locations within Taizz.

Al Mokha: The situation inside Mokha city is of serious concern, along with the security and logistics in providing much needed assistance to those trapped inside the city. There are conflicting reports as to the number of people that remain within the city of Al Mokha, with some estimations putting the figure at up to 20,000 people. Fighting is affecting essential services including medical, fuel delivery and water supply.

Al Dhubab: Fighting in Taizz has prompted the majority of the town to flee, with an estimated 1,000 families remaining in the town.

Al Hudaydah: Whilst others caught up by the violence remain trapped inside Al Mokha and Dhubab, intensified hostilities in Al Hudaydah are also making it difficult for those attempting to escape to safety. The area north of Al Mokha which includes the coastal road to Al Hudaydah remains subject to attack, placing those trying to flee at great risk during flight. Current estimates from various sources indicate that approximately 2,592 individuals have fled Al Mokha to districts in the neighboring governorate of Al Hudaydah, namely Jabal Ra’s, Hays, Al Garrahi, Al Khawkhah and At Tuhayat. Many are being hosted by local families but remain in precarious conditions and in urgent need of aid.

UNHCR RESPONSE UPDATE

Assessments are underway and UNHCR partner Al Amal has sent shelter and NFI teams to assess areas in Al Hudaydah, with initial findings of 519 families in need of emergency shelter and NFI assistance. UNHCR has pre-positioned emergency stocks in Al Hudaydah, comprising of emergency shelter kits and household items including mattresses, sleeping mats, blankets, and wash buckets. Distributions will commence once needs are ascertained and along with numbers of those displaced. OCHA has initiated contact with parties to the conflict to request safe access to Mokha city, with the view of mobilising an inter-agency convoy to provide life-saving assistance to the families who are still inside. However, ongoing security challenges and resulting lack of safe passage is impacting the ability to reach Mokha. UNHCR and partners will participate in the emergency inter-agency assessment mission to affected districts in Taizz. UNHCR is already pre-positioning emergency items and is ready to respond as according to specific assessment findings. As lead of the Shelter/CCCM and Protection Clusters, UNHCR is mobilising cluster member agencies and formulating coordinated response plans.