As fighting escalates in Yemen, UN agency repeats call for humanitarian access

10 November 2009
A scene in Al Mazraq camp, Yemen

The United Nations refugee agency said today it is extremely concerned about the recent escalation of the conflict between Government forces and rebels in northern Yemen, and once again appealed for access to those displaced by the fighting.

“We again appeal for the protection of civilians and secure and unhindered access for humanitarian workers to deliver much needed assistance,” Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva.

UNHCR now estimates that some 175,000 people have been affected by the conflict with Al Houthi rebels since 2004, including those displaced by the latest fighting which began in August.

Some 2,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) arrived from embattled Sa'ada governorate to the Al Mazrak camp in Hajja governorate over the past few days, the agency reported.

The Al Mazrak camp, now hosting some 8,700 IDPs, has been reorganized and extended to accommodate the new arrivals, while another 11,000 IDPs are sheltered by host families and communities.

Over the weekend, UNHCR airlifted a shipment of emergency relief items from its central emergency stockpile in Dubai, including large tents and prefabricated warehouses that will help to improve aid delivery.

Meanwhile, the agency’s office in Riyadh was informed yesterday by the Saudi authorities that the situation at the Alp border is stable, allowing UNHCR to continue its cross-border aid activities.

“We are hopeful that we will receive the security clearances from the Saudi authorities for the next aid convoy in the coming days,” said Mr. Mahecic.


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