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Yemen: facts and figures January–December 2012

30-01-2013 Facts and Figures

Despite a difficult year marked by an escalation in armed conflict and other violence in different parts of Yemen, and by the tragic loss of a much-loved ICRC staff member and the kidnapping of another, the ICRC maintained its activities through its delegation in Sana’a, sub-delegations in Sa’ada, Amran and Aden, and its office in Taiz remained operational.

The year ended with a high-level conference organized by the ICRC in Sana’a on the need to protect medical personnel, facilities and transport during armed conflict, an event that was attended by representatives of the government and the military as well as by leading academics, religious leaders, medical staff, aid agencies, Yemen Red Crescent staff and volunteers, and the media. Prior to the conference, the Yemeni minister for human rights signed a declaration on the government's behalf pledging to promote safe access to medical care for the sick and the wounded, in line with international humanitarian law and human rights law and standards.


ICRC staff worked regularly with community representatives to deliver humanitarian assistance in conflict-affected parts of the country. This included food, shelter material, blankets, jerrycans, kitchen utensils and other items. Displaced people returning home were given support to begin income-generating activities. Seed, fertilizer and tools were provided to farmers. Herders' animals were vaccinated and de-wormed.

  • Over 317,000 displaced people and residents in Abyan, Shabwa, Lahj, Sana'a Sa'ada and Amran governorates received cooking oil, rice, flour and other foods.
  • Household items, including bedding, kitchen utensils and hygiene supplies, were provided to 278,000 displaced people in Abyan, Shabwa, Lahj, Sa'ada and Amran.
  • Shelter materials were distributed to over 600 returnee families in Sa'ada.
  • Over 900 returnee families in Sa'ada started income-generating initiatives with ICRC support.
  • In Hajja, 182 tents were provided for victims of a landslide in Kohlan Afar.
  • Seed, fertilizer and tools were distributed to over 28,600 farmers in Harf Safiyan, Amran.
  • Fifty female-headed households in Amran received pregnant cows and a further 55 female-headed households in Arhab benefited from various income-generating initiatives.
  • More than 158,000 sheep, goats, camels and cows were vaccinated and de-wormed in Sa'ada governorate, benefiting over 48,600 farmers.

Health care

The ICRC provided medicines and medical supplies for more than 20 hospitals, clinics and health posts across the country. An ICRC surgical team helped Yemeni medical staff in Aden care for patients wounded during fighting in the south, and then supported Yemeni medical staff in Al Razi hospital in Abyan. A high-level conference in Sana’a on the need to protect medical personnel, facilities and transport during conflict brought together representatives of the government, the main medical facilities in Sana'a, the military, religious leaders, aid agencies and the media.

  • Drugs, wound-dressing materials, equipment and furniture were supplied to hospitals and health centres in Sana’a, Arhab, Damaj, Sa’ada, Al-Jawf, Aden, Abyan, Al Dhalea and Lahj. Nine health facilities in Amran, Sa'ada, Al-Jawf and Abyan received regular monthly support and their staff received on-the-job training.
  • Incentives were provided for 56 medical personnel working in health centres in Harf Safian and Sa'ada.
  • Following a measles outbreak, 500,000 doses of vaccine were given to the Ministry of Public Health and Population.
  • First-aid training and first-aid instructor training were organized for volunteers from the Yemen Red Crescent, the Aden civil defence, the Southern Movement party (Hirak) and two groups of medical staff in hospitals in Lahj governorate.
  • A mass-casualty workshop was organized by the ICRC in the Military Hospital in Sana'a. The ICRC also participated in a mass-casualty workshop organized by the Ministry of Public Health and Population and the World Health Organization, also in Sana'a.
  • A total of 3,000 mosquito nets were provided for a malaria programme in Sana'a governorate.
  • A surgeon and an operating-theatre nurse from the ICRC provided support for three hospitals in Aden during the fighting in Abyan and the clashes in Aden. They then provided support for Al Razi hospital in Abyan following the re-opening of its surgical department. They took part in 70 of the 284 operations that were carried out before the end of the year. They also provided training for surgical department staff and ensured monitoring and supervision of the activities.

Physical rehabilitation

The ICRC supports four government-run physical-rehabilitation centres that provide amputees and others with disabilities with prostheses and orthoses made from raw materials provided by the ICRC or produced locally. Children and adults with congenital and other disabilities are also treated. The ICRC’s support includes the training of staff.

  • Over 37,000 people with disabilities were treated in the ICRC-supported centres in Mukalla, Aden, Sana'a and Taiz. Nearly 12,000 patients were seen for the first time.
  • 49 orthopaedic technicians and physiotherapists received on-the-spot training. Eight orthopaedic technicians were sent to India for training.

Water and sanitation

ICRC water engineers worked closely with government ministries, water boards and local communities to improve access to clean water for people living in conflict-affected areas. Projects were implemented in both urban areas and rural settings. Medical and detention facilities were among the places where repairs and upgrades were carried out.

  • Existing sources of water were improved and conflict-damaged or neglected water storage facilities were restored to working order, as were transmission and distribution lines, thus helping almost 400,000 people to have access to safe drinking water in Abyan, Aden, and Lahj governorates in the south, in Taiz, as well as in Amran and Sa'ada governorates in the north.
  • Water was delivered by truck to over 30,000 displaced people and residents affected by violence in Amran and Sa’ada governorates.
  • Repairing structures in places of detention in Sana'a and Aden improved living conditions for more than 5,000 detainees.
  • Renovations or repairs of health facilities damaged or partially destroyed by conflict (e.g., Al Rawdah hospital in Taiz city, Marran health centre in Sa'ada governorate and Al Razi hospital in Abyan governorate) resulted in approximately 735 more beds being made available to patients.

Detainee welfare

ICRC staff made regular visits to detainees to monitor the conditions in which they were being held and the treatment they were receiving, and to make sure they had access to suitable health care. Confidential discussions were held with the detaining authorities and recommendations were made where improvements were needed. Follow-up visits ensured that recommendations had been acted upon. Support for the renovation of prison premises, improvements to water supplies and other humanitarian assistance were offered as appropriate in situations where the detaining authorities were unable to undertake such work themselves.

Yemeni detainees in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, and asylum seekers, refugees, and migrant workers held in detention in Sana’a, kept in touch with their families through Red Cross messages and phone or video calls. People searched for missing relatives through the ICRC tracing service.

  • ICRC staff visited nearly 5,400 detainees in Sa’ada, Sana’a, Taiz, Ibb, Aden and Abyan.
  • Bedding, water filters and recreational items were distributed to 1,780 detainees in Sana'a, Taiz, Ibb and Aden.
  • Food and hygiene items were provided on a monthly basis to around 150 detainees in the Sana'a Deportation Centre.
  • Over 4,300 Red Cross messages were processed through the network of national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies and the ICRC delegation.
  • Over 360 tracing requests were processed, including 156 new requests received in 2012. Nearly 100 missing people were traced and had contact restored with their families.
  • Detainees in Guantanamo and Afghanistan kept in touch with their families via 162 phone calls and 232 video calls arranged by the ICRC.

International humanitarian law

The ICRC has a mandate to promote compliance with international humanitarian law among military forces, the police and other weapon bearers, and to spread knowledge of the law within civil society. International humanitarian law aims to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and to ensure that those not, or no longer, taking part in hostilities are spared harm.

  • Over 30 information sessions were held with the army, the police, and other weapon bearers. Formal meetings and discussions on international humanitarian law were organized with academics, religious leaders, students and the media in universities and other venues in Sana’a, Aden and Taiz. Reference books and scholarly publications on international humanitarian law and other legal topics were donated to military and university libraries.

Cooperation with the Yemen Red Crescent Society

The ICRC helped Yemen Red Crescent staff and volunteers enhance their ability to provide humanitarian services. During 2012, the Yemen Red Crescent provided training in first aid, support for detained migrants awaiting deportation, and information about the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to school children and other audiences. Yemen Red Crescent volunteers were on duty during demonstrations in Aden, Sana'a and Taiz to administer first aid and take the injured to hospital.

Yemen is one of the ICRC’s biggest operations worldwide, with more than 250 staff including over 50 expatriates based in the main delegation in Sana’a, the sub-delegations in Sa’ada, Aden and Amran, and the office in Taiz.

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