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Yemen: ICRC concerned about humanitarian situation

15-08-2009 News Release 09/164

Sana'a (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is alarmed about the intensification of armed confrontations in the north of Yemen that has taken place over the past two weeks.

As a result of the fighting, thousands of people fled their homes to take temporary refuge in Sa'ada and Amran governorates. The ICRC is worried about the safety of internally displaced people (IDPs), particularly those sheltered in camps in Sa'ada located near the fighting.

As a neutral and independent humanitarian organization, the ICRC calls upon all parties to the armed confrontations to respect the rules and principles of international humanitarian law. In particular, it reminds them of their obligation to take all measures necessary to spare the lives of civilians and their property, to allow the wounded and the sick to receive medical treatment, and to do everything possible to ensure that medical personnel, facilities and vehicles are spared the effects of the fighting.

Humanitarian workers must be protected and given safe passage to provide emergency aid. According to international humanitarian law, the red crescent emblem must be respected at all times, and Red Crescent staff, vehicles and installations must be spared.

The ICRC remains committed to assisting the victims of the fighting. A total of 45 ICRC staff, including five international staff, are currently in Sa'ada city. In close cooperation with the Yemen Red Crescent Society, they are assessing the humanitarian situation and responding to needs whenever possible.

The ICRC has been working in Yemen since 1962 and in the northern governorate of Sa'ada since 2004. Its activities focus on helping people adversely affected by the conflict in Sa'ada and in nearby areas . In cooperation with the Yemen Red Crescent, the ICRC endeavours to meet the most urgent needs of the population and to provide humanitarian assistance on an impartial basis.

  For further information, please contact:
  Rabab Al-Rifaï, ICRC Sana'a, tel: +967 1 213 844 or +967 711 94 43 43
  Florian Westphal, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 22 82 or +41 79 217 32 80