1,50,000 Displaced in Yemen, UN Calls For USD 274 Mn Aid

Shreerupa Mitra-Jha/Geneva
1,50,000 Displaced in Yemen, UN Calls For USD 274 Mn Aid

About 1,50,000 civilians have been displaced in the fierce fighting in Yemen in the past few weeks, the UN said today as it made an urgent appeal for USD 274 million to provide emergency assistance to the millions of people affected in the war-torn country.

"The number of civilians displaced by the escalation of violence in Yemen in the last few weeks is provisionally estimated at between 1,20,000 and 1,50,000," said Adrian Edwards, spokesperson for UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

This figure is expected to rise significantly if violence continues, and is in addition to more than 3,00,000 Yemenis already displaced by previous violence, Edwards said.

The fighting as well as air strikes by a Saudi-led coalition against Shiite rebels had forced thousands of families to flee their homes and they are struggling to access health care, water, food and other basic requirements for survival.

"The United Nations and our partners in Yemen have just released a humanitarian Flash Appeal calling for USD 274 million to urgently meet the life-saving and protection needs of 7.5 million people affected by the escalating crisis in Yemen," said UNHCR.

The WHO has appealed for USD 25.2 million for increasing health needs in Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition launched airstrikes on March 26 against the Shiite rebels known as Huthis who overran much of Yemen and forced President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to flee the country.

Hospitals, schools, airports and mosques have been damaged and destroyed across the country and there are numerous reports of serious violations of human rights and International Humanitarian Law, the UN Refugee Agency said.

"In the south of the country, the conflict continues to intensify, particularly in Aden, where we have seen widespread fighting including in residential neighbourhoods," it said

The airstrikes that have now affected 18 out of the 22 governorates in one of the poorest countries of the Middle East is getting worse, according to aid agencies.

Describing the situation as "volatile" and "very complicated" Cederic Schweizer, head of the delegation of ICRC to Yemen, said, "In Sanaa we had air strikes last night and this morning so its not improving. A lot of airstrikes in the north as well in Sadaa."

The ICRC head in Yemen said that there were not only airstrikes but street fighting and heavy confrontation on the ground.

There have been conflicting reports of the death tolls and the number of casualties in the southern Arabian peninsula.

While the WHO reported that from March 19 till April 14, there have been 767 deaths and 2906 casualties, the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) reported 405 deaths, including 26 women and 86 children and 785 injured.

However, the ICRC said that it had "heard" of more than 1,000 deaths though it could not confirm the number.

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