United Nations migration agency staff in Yemen say the key port city of Hudaydah remains “a difficult environment” for the delivery of aid to thousands of people displaced by heavy fighting this week.
“The situation is very bad and we’re doing our best to provide them with temporary shelter and support for the time being,” said Stefano Pes, IOM Yemen’s Officer in Charge, noting that agency staff and partners are working in a difficult environment to deliver food, and non-food items, shelter kits and good quality tents.
Hudaydah – the primary gateway for food and humanitarian aid for a population on the verge of starvation – has been racked by fighting between Houthi rebels, who control the port, and government forces backed by a Saudi-led military coalition.
Civilian casualties and mass displacements continue to mount amidst intense fighting that began on 12 June.
It has caused further damage to public services which are stretched to the limit, affecting water supplies, forcing shops to close and resulting in shortages in essential commodities. This has complicated the delivery of humanitarian assistance and resulted in the closure of a temporary feeding centre in Zabid.
The fortunate few who are able to leave, are traveling to the relative safely of Sana’a, Aden and Thamar but the majority of the population have already exhausted their reserves, forcing them to seek protection wherever they can, said the agency.
About 50 IOM staff are working in various locations to assist migrants and an estimated 50,000 newly displaced Yemenis in Hudaydah. IOM has also provided 7,830 meals to children in three Hudaydah schools.
The crisis in Yemen has its genesis in the 2011 Arab Spring uprising, which swept across the country amid ongoing rebel insurgency. Although anti-Government protests led to the ouster of the then President, the transfer of power to Mr. Hadi, his deputy, led to further instability and conflict.