UN agency shocked as displaced Yemenis come under attack

30 October 2009
Displaced Yemenis clamour for information as aid worker explains registration process for  distribution of relief/food items

The United Nations refugee agency said it is shocked and saddened at reports that an unknown number of displaced Yemeni civilians have been killed and wounded during an exchange of fire in the strife-torn northern part of the country yesterday.

The victims belong to a group of some 500 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who found shelter in Al Sam camp on the outskirts of Sa’ada city, one of the two remaining camps in the embattled area, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a news release.

Some 150,000 people have been driven from their homes by sporadic fighting between Government forces and Al Houthi rebels in northern Yemen that resumed in mid-August.

According to UNHCR, civilians, including some 35,000 IDPs, in and around the city of Sa’ada remain trapped by the fighting and are unable to reach safer parts of the country.

“They live in dire conditions, facing extreme hardship as food and other commodities are running out and water is available only sporadically,” the agency stated.

The UN has been calling for a ceasefire and the opening of humanitarian corridors in northern Yemen to allow civilians to leave the conflict zone and enable aid workers to deliver much needed assistance to thousands of IDPs.

UNHCR is also calling on Saudi authorities to offer safe shelter and assistance to vulnerable displaced Yemenis who may seek refuge across the border as they flee the heavy fighting.


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