Yemen – No Home, No Hope for Entire Populations


Human Wrongs Watch

Yemen has been facing a new wave of internal displacement, with tens of thousands of civilians fleeing tribal clashes in the north and fresh fighting between Government troops and militants in the country’s south.

Credit:UN

Credit:UN

The situation is particularly difficult in the Haradh governorate, north of the capital, Sana’a, where, according to Yemeni authorities, sporadic tribal clashes have displaced some 52,000 people over the past three months, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Adrian Edwards, said in Geneva.

“That figure is in addition to the estimated 314,000 Yemenis already displaced in the country’s north and unable to return to their homes in the Sa’ada governorate.”

Despite the peace agreement signed between the Government and Al-Houti armed groups in June 2010, the situation in northern Yemen remains volatile, according to UNHCR. “Insecurity has hindered large-scale return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and severely restricted humanitarian access.”

IDPs from the town of Ja’ar have joined more than 150,000 others in the south, including nearly the entire populations of the towns of Zinjibar, Khanfar and Al-Kud, displaced since the beginning of the conflict last May, according to a UN report

Half a Million Children Could Die

This dramatic situation adds more sufferance to Yemeni population, specially the most vulnerable.

In fact, on January 25, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that half a million children in Yemen could die or suffer physical and mental damage as a result of malnutrition, unless sufficient resources are made available to alleviate the effects of conflict, chronic poverty and drought.

“Malnutrition is preventable… therefore, inaction is unconscionable,” Maria Calivis, UNICEF’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement after a visit to Yemen.

“Conflict, poverty and drought, compounded by the unrest of the previous year, the high food and fuel prices, and the breakdown of social services, are putting children’s health at great risks and threatening their very survival,” she said. Malnutrition is preventable… therefore, inaction is unconscionable.

The Second Highest Rate of Chronic Malnutrition in the World

With 58 per cent of children stunted, Yemen has the second highest rate of chronic malnutrition among children in the world after Afghanistan.

Acute malnutrition affects as many as 30 per cent of children in some parts of the country, close to the levels observed in south Somalia, and twice as high as the internationally recognized emergency threshold.

The country also has one of the highest rates of death among children under the age of five in the Middle East and North African region, at 77 per 1,000 live births, which means that some 69,000 children die every year before their fifth birthday.

Read also:

Millions of Yemenis Facing Severe Humanitarian Crisis

Refugees: From Famine Hell in Somalia to Death ‘Haven’ in Yemen… and Back

Silence on Yemen!

2102 Human Wrongs Watch

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