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Yemen: ICRC and Red Crescent aid thousands as fighting continues

03-09-2009 Operational Update

The current armed clashes in northern Yemen have continued for almost three weeks, and the humanitarian situation is deteriorating.

Thousands have fled, taking refuge with relatives or host families. Makeshift shelters have been set up in neighbouring areas, but some people have fled as far as the capital Sana'a, more than 300 km to the south.

The ICRC and the Yemen Red Crescent Society have registered over 25,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in the provinces of Sa'ada and Amran and staff of the two organizations are working around the clock to respond to the most urgent needs.

" The dire humanitarian situation is hitting women and children especially hard,” said Daniel Gagnon, the ICRC's acting head of sub-delegation in Sa'ada. But ICRC and Yemen Red Crescent aid is making a difference. " Some of us have already received mattresses, gas bottles and food, " said a displaced woman in Wadi Khaiwan. She and her family had to flee Al-Harf city in the north of Amran province. " This helps us get along and makes us less of a burden to our host families and neighbours, who have very little themselves. "

    

In and around Sa'ada city, over 4,200 people are living in Al-Ihsa', Sam and Al-Talh camps, which are run by the ICRC and the Yemen Red Crescent. But as Daniel Gagnon points out, " there are thousands more in Sa’ada governorate who need our help.”

Over 5,500 people are staying with host families in Sa'ada city. As the influx continues, the ICRC is looking for ways of accommodating more. " What the people need most is clean water, food and shelter,” said Daniel Gagnon. " With commercial traffic paralyzed because of the fighting, people fi nd it difficult to get supplies.”

The conflict makes it difficult to deliver urgently needed humanitarian aid, with fighting in parts of Sa'ada and Amran provinces hampering operations. Despite the obstacles, ICRC and Yemen Red Crescent staff continue to bring help whenever the situation allows them to move safely.

  How displaced people have benefited from ICRC activities in recent days

 
Medical supplies
 
  • A health centre in Wadi Khaiwan (Amran province) received basic medicines and a tent to act as a “waiting room”.

  • Yemen Red Crescent staff in Baqim (Sa'ada province) received ICRC support in the form of medicines for the treatment 400 patients.

  • The Yemen Red Crescent doctor based in Al-Azgoul received medicines.

    

  Food and water
 
  • In Sa'ada province, 5,000 displaced people in the Al-Talh area received flour, rice and cooking oil, while more than 250 people in the Qataber area received flour.

  • 5,500 people living with host families in Sa'ada city received flour, rice and beans.

  • Several dozen displaced families in Baqim and Al-Mahader (Sa'ada province) received daily water deliveries.

  • 850 displaced people in Wadi Khaiwan (Amran province) received drinking water.

    

  Shelter and other essential items
 
  • Over 3,500 families who fled to Sa'ada city are receiving basic household items.

  • ICRC and YRCS teams have been distributing blankets, mattresses, tarpaulins, jerrycans, soap, stoves, gas cylinders and other items to 2,500 people in the Wadi Khaiwan, Amran province.

  • Over 1,900 people from Al-Mahader, west of Sa'ada city, and more than 560 people in Sa'ada city itself received such essential household items as blankets, mattresses, tarpaulins, jerrycans, soap, stoves and gas cylinders.

  • 7,000 people registered in the Baqim area should be receiving shelter and other essential items in the next few days. The ICRC and the Yemen Red Crescent are working on accommodating 3,000 people as soon as possible.

The ICRC has been working in Yemen since 1962 and in Sa'ada governorate since 2004. Its workforce has been increasing steadily since the beginning of the year; the organization currently has 111 staff based in the country – 69 in the capital Sana'a, including 19 expatriates, and 42 in Sa'ada, including five expatriates.

 
For more information, please contact:
  Hicham Hassan, ICRC Sana'a, tel: +967 1 213 844 or +967 712 666 536
  Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 227 346 001 or +41 792 519 318