Yemen: ICRC and YRCS help people displaced by fighting in the south
01-10-2010 Operational Update
The fighting that erupted recently in southern Yemen has forced thousands out of their homes. In the north of the country, thousands more remain dependent on humanitarian aid. The ICRC is working with the Yemen Red Crescent Society (YRCS) to supplying urgently needed assistance.
In Yemen's south-eastern governorate of Shabwa, thousands fled the city of al-Hota in search of a safe haven as fighting involving government forces and armed groups intensified last week, leaving their homes, belongings and livestock behind.
"In no time at all, thousands of men, women and children found themselves leaving their homes with no idea where to go," said Myriam El Kholi, head of the ICRC's Aden sub-delegation. Although many joined their relatives in nearby areas, others had no relatives to help them. Seeing that the displaced had no one to turn to, local people took them into their homes, even though they had little themselves.
Fighting seems to have calmed down now. Some of those who fled are starting to return home, but many others hesitate, not knowing what the future holds.
"ICRC staff, working with the Yemen Red Crescent Society's Shabwa branch, have been able to reach the town of Azzan and are supplying hundreds of displaced persons with urgently needed water," said Ms. El Kholi.
The ICRC has been following the situation in the governorate of Shabwa with great concern. The organization will continue to monitor the situation in close cooperation with the Yemen Red Crescent Society, to get a clearer picture of potential needs.
Meanwhile, in the northern governorates of Sa'ada and Amran, thousands of displaced persons affected by fighting over a number of years are also reluctant to return to their homes. Not knowing whether their houses are still intact, some have decided to continue living with relatives and friends, or in camps managed by the Yemen Red Crescent Society in Sa'ada governorate. The fasting month of Ramadan and the Eid festivities that followed were particularly tough for them as it was often difficult to find a decent meal to break the fast.
Most of the families who had fled the old city of Sa'ada have returned, although some are still living in tents or with relatives. A number of these "returnees" have lost their sources of revenue and most of their belongings, and remain dependent on humanitarian assistance from the ICRC and the Yemen Red Crescent Society.
In the governorate of Sa'ada, the ICRC and the Yemen Red Crescent Society are continuing to help displaced persons in six camps and elsewhere in the governorate. In the northern part of Amran governorate, the two organizations have distributed food to thousands of displaced persons in the areas of Houth, Bani Sureym, Khamer, Rayda and Khaiwan al-Hamra, to tide them over until they are able to support themselves again.
Supplying clean water
supplied a total of 89,000 litres of water per day (more than 20 litres per person per day) to over 4,300 displaced persons through 16 newly constructed water points in Azzan, Shabwa governorate, in the south west of the country;
finished repairing a rural water network in Aal Hamati, Sa'ada governorate, ensuring that 1,500 residents have clean water;
finished building a pump room and installing a pump at Al-Jumhury Hospital in Sa'ada city;
started to repair the water network of the old city of Sa'ada;
is supplying diesel to the Sa'ada Water Board, providing 80,000 residents and returnees with clean water;
continued to supply the 10,000-strong camp population in Sa'ada governorate with clean drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities;
continued delivering water to more than 2,800 displaced persons located in the area of Aal Thabet (Qataber district, north-west of Sa'ada city) who are living in precarious conditions;
finished building six water points in Hawazat and Harf Sufyan (Amran governorate), which are presently supplying 7,400 displaced persons and residents with water;
continued to provide clean water for 8,200 displaced persons and residents living in Khaiwan al-Hamra, Khaiwan al-Medina, Houth and Khamer.
Food and other essential items
The ICRC and the Yemen Red Crescent:
distributed one-month food rations – wheat, rice, beans, oil, sugar and salt – to 16,000 displaced persons and residents in the governorate of Sa'ada;
supplied basic household items – blankets, mattresses, kitchen sets and other essentials – to over 8,000 displaced persons and residents in Sa'ada and Amran governorates;
ensured that nearly 11,500 internally displaced persons and residents in Houth, Bani Sureym, Khamer, Rayda and Khaiwan al-Hamra (in the northern part of Amran governorate) received one-month food rations.
donated sufficient medical supplies to al-Jumhuiya Hospital in Aden City to treat 50 casualties;
continued to support 11 Yemen Red Crescent Society health-care facilities in Sa'ada governorate, which between them held over 6,000 consultations;
supported Khaiwan al-Hamra and Khaiwan al-Medina medical facilities (Amran governorate), which together held more than 1,200 consultations;
assessed the surgical capabilities of two hospitals, one in the governorate of al-Dhale' and another in the governorate of Abyan, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Population;
working in cooperation with the Yemen Red Crescent Society and the Ministry of Health and Population, started first-aid training for 40 ambulance drivers and paramedics from Aden's Ministry of Health and from surrounding governorates in the south of the country;
completed a fourth train-the-trainers' course for over 20 Yemen Red Crescent Society first-aid personnel in Sana'a, who will now be able to train fellow volunteers to respond effectively to emergencies.
Rabab Al-Rifaï, ICRC Sana'a: tel: +967 1 213 844 or +967 711 94 43 43
Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva: tel: +41 22 730 25 90 or +41 79 251 93 18