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Yemen: aid still not reaching all who need it

22-10-2009 Operational Update

Aid from the ICRC and the Yemen Red Crescent has reached around 140,000 people over the past three months, but tens of thousands of others trapped in conflict areas or forced to flee must fend for themselves as winter approaches.

Map: ICRC activities in Sa'ada and Amran. 
  Download full map - PDF 480 kb    
©Andrew Roy 
These children received treatment at an ICRC-supported clinic in Wadi Khaiwan. 
©Yemen Red Crescent Society/ICRC 
Al-Azgool, west of Sa'ada city. A doctor attends to a patient in an ICRC-supported health unit. 
©Yemen Red Crescent Society/ICRC 
The ICRC improved water supply to civilians in Al-Azgool, west of Sa'ada city.  

While people in northern Yemen are primarily concerned about safety, they must also struggle to obtain food, water, health care and shelter. More and more, the conflict is putting their lives at risk. Tens of thousands in urgent need of aid are receiving nothing at all. In the area of Al-Buqa', north of Sa'ada governorate, for example, between 10,000 and 17,000 people are reportedly stranded and still cannot be safely reached.

Increasing numbers of people are seeking refuge in three camps – Al-Ihsa', Sam and Al-Talh – managed by the Yemen Red Crescent Society and the ICRC in and around Sa’ada city. Many others have no choice but to live in abandoned buildings, schools, damaged houses or even in the open air. Ha'ila, a woman who had to flee from Harf Sufyan, in Amran governorate, with her husband and eight children, had no choice but to take refuge in a damaged house with no roof. " It gets very cold at night, and we wouldn't be here if our own house had not been completely destroyed, " she said. Read more about Ha'ila and other Yemeni women displaced by the fighting.  

In recent days, the ICRC and the Yemen Red Crescent have provided urgently needed assistance for thousands of people affected by the fighting in parts of Sa'ada governorate, including Baqem, near the border with Saudi Arabia, and Al-Mahader, Al-Azgool and Bani Mu'ath, west of Sa'ada city. Since the renewed outbreak of armed confrontations on 12 August, around 140,000 displaced people (IDPs) and residents, including host families sheltering those driven from their homes, have receive d aid from the ICRC and the Yemen Red Crescent.

" Tens of thousands of people remain out of reach, however, because of intense fighting and poor security. Women, children and elderly people are among those left without vital aid in areas where fighting is taking place, " said Jean-Nicolas Marti, the ICRC’s head of delegation in Yemen. " Unless more is done to protect civilians and enable them to receive life-saving aid, the situation will worsen further. "

  Water, food and shelter  

" The scarcity of water has been a long-standing problem in Yemen. It has worsened over the years owing to the ongoing conflict in the north of the country, " said Andres Casal, the ICRC’s water and habitat coordinator in the country. " The price of potable water, like that of many other items, is on the rise. We are doing our best to fix up damaged water networks and boreholes. If there is no other solution, we supply water by truck. " The ICRC has been providing more than 140,000 people with water since the renewed hostilities broke out.

In Sa'ada city and nearby areas alone, the Yemen Red Crescent and the ICRC have been providing food and water for more than 18,000 people. In Amran governorate, they have provided some 15,000 people with food over the past two weeks, and thousands of others with such items as blankets, mattresses, jerrycans and soap.

Over the past two weeks, the ICRC and the Yemen Red Crescent have:

  • restored the water supply in Sa’ada, providing some 85,000 residents with urgently needed water;

  • upgraded three pumps in Al-Mahader and Al-Azgool, south of Sa'ada city, supplying more than 17,500 displaced people and residents with potable water; an d supplied around 4,500 displaced people in Bani Mu'ath, west of Sa'ada city, and in Baqem, north-west of Sa'ada city, with drinking water, either by trucking or by carrying out repair work on boreholes;

  • organized water trucking or repaired boreholes in Wadi Khaiwan, Bani Sureym and Khamer, in Amran governorate, for more than 5,000 displaced people and some 4,200 residents;

  • provided some 12,000 people in and around Sa'ada city with rations of wheat flour, rice, beans, oil, sugar and salt;

  • provided more than 15,000 displaced people and residents with wheat flour, rice, beans, oil, sugar and salt in Bani Sureym, Wadi Khaiwan and Hawazat Hashed, in Amran governorate;

  • provided some 5,000 displaced people in and around Sa'ada city with blankets, mattresses, jerrycans, soap and washing powder, and with tents and kitchen sets where needed;

  • delivered 400 tents to shelter around 2,500 displaced people in the remote area of Baqem, near the border with Saudi Arabia, and built 20 latrines to improve sanitation.

  Health care  

In cooperation with the Yemen Red Crescent, the ICRC has:

  • continued to run the health units in the three camps for displaced people in and around Sa'ada city, which are currently hosting approximately 6,500 people, and completed a campaign to immunize some 4,000 children;

  • assisted the Ministry of Health and Population in clinical consultations at Quzha, Al-Hadab, Al-Gharbi, Al-Azgool and Al-Husn, south of Sa'ada city;

  • continued to support the Yemen Red Crescent emergency clinic in Sa'ada town, which provides displaced people with free treatment around the clock;

  • continued to supply two health-care centres in Wadi Khaiwan, in Amran governorate, with basic medicine covering the needs of an aver age of 200 patients per day;

  • helped transfer nine wounded patients to Al-Salam Hospital in Sa'ada for urgent surgical treatment.

  For further information, please contact:
  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 9318

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