Yemen: head of UN agency voices concern at lack of access to conflict displaced

24 November 2009
Thousands of people in Sa'ada, Yemen, are in need of humanitarian aid

The Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today highlighted her continued concern about safe humanitarian access to civilians displaced by fighting in northern Yemen.

The Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today highlighted her continued concern about safe humanitarian access to civilians displaced by fighting in northern Yemen.

“We are still worried about the situation in Sa’ada town, which has been virtually cut off from the rest of the world for more than three months now, and we are calling for localized humanitarian ceasefires and humanitarian corridors to allow for safe and uninterrupted access to families who remain trapped by the conflicts so that further displacement and suffering can be avoided,” Josette Sheeran said in a statement.

WFP spokesperson Emilia Casella told reporters in Geneva that as of yesterday, the agency and its partners have managed to get food assistance to 118,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs).

An estimated 175,000 people have been affected by the conflict in Yemen since 2004, including those displaced by the latest surge in fighting between Government forces and Al Houthi rebels that began in August.

WFP has also been able to open a corridor through Saudi Arabia, and so far one convoy had reached 10,000 people in that area and another convoy had just crossed over the border yesterday with food for 15,000 people.

Ms. Casella added that WFP is planning a blanket supplementary feeding programme for children under five beginning in December for about 30,000 children in the internally displaced population. These children had already been receiving high energy biscuits along with their regular rations.

Plans were underway to broaden that out to the entire vulnerable population of under-five children in Yemen, upwards of 900,000 children in the coming year, she said.

 

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