Urgent Need to Assist Yemen's Displaced

Our staff deploying countrywide to assist vulnerable population
photo
Photo courtesy ACF France

Caught between air attacks and rebel movements, Yemen's already poverty-stricken population is suffering the disastrous effects of extremely violent conflict. Massive population displacement has occurred in recent hours in the nation's south.  

Amplification of the civil war since the intervention of an international coalition threatens the lives and livelihoods of civilians in Yemen. The parties to the conflict and the States involved must respect international humanitarian law: the protection of civilians is an obligation and must be a priority.  

"In recent months, the country had a near civil war state that has created a special insecurity and instability. The latest developments and international intervention now add to this already tense situation," said Vincent Taillandier, Director of Operations.  

In the city of Aden and its surroundings, clashes between different factions have promoted a climate of violence. Households are unable to stock items needed for survival, and that insecurity is pushing people to leave. Our teams are observing massive population movements from Aden to Lahij, where people are dispersed in different villages.

There is a scarcity of food in the markets and fuel at stations. The region remains heavily affected by bombing and ground fighting in Al Hawta, northeast of Aden. Care centers are almost entirely closed, and regional hospitals are devoid of personnel and equipment. Currently over 2,000 children receive nutritional therapeutic treatment in one of the centers Action Against Hunger runs. Mothers are now afraid to take their children to the center for their medical care, and our teams are not able to care for them because of insecurity.  

Lack of water, access to health care, and food shortages require a strong response to support the most vulnerable--including children. As time passes, families are becoming more isolated and impoverished, and as such their needs are increasing. Locating and identifying the people fleeing is essential so that the humanitarian community can provide assistance to the most vulnerable. Pregnant and nursing women, the elderly, and children are most at risk of undernutrition in the coming days.  

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) should be assisted immediately, otherwise living conditions will deteriorate an already dire humanitarian situation. A major humanitarian crisis is brewing here, in one of the world's poorest countries--a country that already had more than 350,000 IDPs before the intervention of an international coalition, and where five million people are already severely food insecure.  

People should have access to humanitarian assistance. We caution that people's access to assistance is crucial to their survival and call the warring parties to respect the neutrality and impartiality of humanitarian actors. The parties to the conflict must allow free and direct access to all those in need.  

We maintain ongoing programs in western and southern Yemen, working specifically to provide a continuity of therapeutic feeding activities wherever families are accessible. According to our Yemen Country Director Hajir Maalim, 133 of our staff have been mobilized across the country to respond to the crisis--77 in Hodeida, 34 in Aden, and 22 in Sanaa.  

"Our humanitarian experience in conflict leads us to react very quickly. We need to adapt our procedures to continue essential activities such as treatment of malnutrition and  prepare to help thousands of people who will or have already been forced to flee the combat zones. Safety and respect for the integrity of civilians and humanitarian personnel are imperative, "says Vincent Taillandier.  

Present in Yemen since 2012, we caution that people's access to assistance is crucial to their survival and call the warring parties to respect the neutrality and impartiality of humanitarian actors who support them. The parties to the conflict must allow free and direct access to all those in need.  

For more information and interview requests, contact: Leslie Sepuka, Associate Director, Communications - 917-803-1139 | lsepuka@actionagainsthunger.org

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About Elisabeth Anderson Rapport

Elisabeth Anderson Rapport, Senior Communications Officer

Elisabeth is Action Against Hunger's senior communications officer, reporting on our impact and current events around the world.