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Yemen: Yemen: ‘hope’ emanating from UN-sponsored talks, as details of peace agreement discussed

2 hours 16 min ago
Source: UN News Service Country: Yemen

26 May 2016 – The United Nations envoy for Yemen said today that hope is emanating from the ongoing peace talks for the country as the warring parties started discussing details of elements that would be included in a comprehensive agreement.

Speaking to reporters in Kuwait, where the UN-mediated Yemeni talks are taking place, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, stressed that Yemen is at a critical stage, with the economy in tatters, its infrastructure ruined, and the country’s social fabric disintegrating.

“The situation on the ground is dire but there is hope emanating from Kuwait,” he said, adding that only the participants in the talks can change the situation.

In brief, he said that the talks are ongoing, the international support is stronger than ever and the UN is determined to achieve a lasting peace and to solidify any agreement reached.

On Monday, a joint plenary session was held in which the leaders of both delegations renewed their commitment to dialogue to reach a political agreement, that is acceptable by all.

The Special Envoy convened a number of bilateral meetings with the delegations over the past few days, and discussed specifically the details and mechanisms of withdrawal, handover of weapons, resumption of political dialogue, restoration of state institutions and other matters that will be included in a comprehensive agreement.

The discussions also covered the importance of guarantees and reassurances to ensure the implementation of an agreement, he said. The parties have started to address specific and sensitive matters in detail based on the agreed reference points.

On the issue of prisoners, it was agreed that the relevant Committee will continue to work separately. Yesterday, representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) came to Kuwait to brief the delegations on the roles and guidelines for prisoners release and exchange processes in war zones as well as the mechanisms of ICRC’s work in this area.

Also yesterday, the Special Envoy briefed the Security Council in a closed-session through video conference, giving an overview of the talks, the preliminary understandings reached and explained the compromises and solutions that are currently being considered. He also gave a summary of the support needed by his Office in order to facilitate the implementation of a peace agreement, including support for interim security arrangements.

The ongoing conflict has destroyed the country’s economic infrastructure and severely disrupted the functioning of state institutions. Last week saw a sharp devaluation of the Yemeni Riyal and an alarming decline of the resources and liquidity held by the country’s treasury.

In this regard, the Special Envoy proposed to the parties the creation of an “Economic Task Force” in the near future. This body would enlist the support of economic experts in order to manage the situation and take the necessary measures to save the economy.

The cessation of hostilities has led to a direct reduction in violence and allowed humanitarian agencies to deliver aid to most areas in Yemen. The delivery of aid, basic medical services, pharmaceutical supplies and drinking water has increased over the last few weeks. UN agencies, in coordination with their partners, are working on providing literacy and math classes for children.

“I am increasingly asked how long the talks will last. There is no time limit and we will stay as long as it takes,” he said, adding that a sustainable and inclusive agreement cannot be rushed.

Djibouti: Djibouti: Inter-agency update for the response to the Yemeni situation #41 (25 April - 09 May 2016)

3 hours 6 min ago
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen

HIGHLIGHTS

  • According to the latest available statistics from IOM and the Djibouti government, 35,562 persons of mixed nationalities have arrived in Djibouti as of 31 March 2016 (since 26 March 2015). Of those, 19,636 persons (56 per cent) are Yemeni nationals, 13,962 (38 per cent) are transiting migrants and 1,964 persons (6 per cent) are Djiboutian returnees.
  • As of 09 May 2016, UNHCR and ONARS registered 6,260 refugees of whom 6,008 are Yemeni nationals. Most refugees are sheltered in Markazi refugee camp; the remaining refugees live in Obock and Djibouti city.
  • As at 09 May, a total of 873 refugees returned spontaneously home from Obock (Markazi camp and Obock town).

KEY FIGURES

  • 6,260 Refugees registered since the outbreak of the crisis
  • 2,551 Registered females.
  • 2,327 Registered children and adolescents.

PRIORITIES

  • Ensure protection of refugees and asylum seekers and provide assistance.
    - Provide documents to refugees.
  • Work with the government to ensure access to territory and feedom of movement.
  • Continue to develop the infrastructure at Markazi camp.
  • Continue border monitoring activities.

Yemen: UNHCR Regional Update - Yemen Situation #38 (April 2016)

3 hours 32 min ago
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen

KEY FIGURES

  • 3,201,633 People affected by the conflict (in Yemen and adjacent countries), including refugees and internally displaced persons prior to and as a result of the current conflict.
  • 2,755,916 Persons internally displaced prior to and as a result of the current conflict.
  • 177,620 Arrivals to Djibouti, Ethiopia Oman, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Sudan mainly by sea or overland since late March 2015.
  • 268,097 Refugees in Yemen assisted with protection assistance and life sustaining interventions and items.
  • 457,224 Internally displaced Yemenis reached in Yemen with emergency relief items since the onset of the crisis by UNHCR and partners.

FUNDING

USD 172.2 Million Requested by UNHCR for the situation

HIGHLIGHTS

Yemen:

  • From 10 to 13 April 2016, UNDSS and UNHCR conducted a security assessment in Aden. In mid-April 2016, floods and landslides affected over 49,000 individuals across Yemen, damaging houses, crops and vital infrastructure. UNHCR coordinated the shelter and relief items response for nearly 15,000 persons.

Djibouti:

  • Almost 830 Yemeni refugees, originating mainly from Bab Al Mandab, spontaneously returned from Obock (Djibouti) to Yemen as of the end of April 2016.

Ethiopia:

  • The seventh relocation of Somali refugees from Jijiga to Melkadida camps was completed on 15 April 2016. A total of 672 Somali refugees have now been relocated.

Somalia:

  • UNHCR monitors spontaneous returns of Yemenis from the port of Berbera and learned of 40 individuals who returned to Yemen on 23 March, despite unsafe conditions.

New Arrivals to Yemen

In April 2016, 11,245 people arrived in Yemen, representing an eight per cent increase compared to March 2016. Most of the new arrivals, about 9,300 individuals, occurred along the Arabian Sea coast. Ethiopians continue to represent the majority of new arrivals, 10,227 individuals, followed by 1,016 Somalis and two Djiboutian nationals. The 2016 yearly total of new arrivals so far is 39,962 persons, compared to 44,098 over the last four months of 2015.

Despite the high arrival figures, the sea journey remains dangerous. Five individuals drowned in deep water off the Yemeni coast in April (three in the Arabian Sea and two in the Red Sea). So far in 2016, 32 individuals went missing or have died at sea in Yemeni waters.

UPDATE ON ACHIEVEMENTS

Operational Context

The cessation of hostilities in Yemen took effect on 11 April 2016 and the UN-led peace talks began in Kuwait on 21 April following the delayed arrival of delegates representing the Houthis and former President Saleh. By late April, the talks’ most tangible result was the creation of a De-escalation and Coordination Committee and Local Committees to work on compliance with the cessation of hostilities, leading to improvements despite reported occasional clashes (e.g. in Al Jawf, Marib, Hajjah, Al Bayda and Taizz). On 25 April, a UN Security Council Presidential Statement supported the peace talks, urged all parties to comply fully with the truce and called on Yemeni parties to restore state institutions and political dialogue.

In mid-April, floods and landslides affected over 49,000 individuals across Yemen, damaging houses, crops, vital infrastructure and killing 24 persons. UNHCR coordinated the shelter and relief items response reaching about 15,000 persons.

Meanwhile, Coalition-affiliated forces continued an offensive against extremist elements in the southern governorates. Reportedly suffering many losses, Al-Qaeda militants left the port city of Mukalla on 24 April and moved west into Shabwah. Against this background, a UNDSS-UNHCR security assessment was conducted in Aden between 10 and 13 April. The aim was to ensure security mitigating measures at office premises in the UN enclave, at accommodations and mobile security support are in line with an effort to re-launch a scheme of short duration missions by international staff.

On 6 April 2016, UNHCR in Djibouti received a delegation of officials headed by Mr. Abdul Raqeb Saif Fateh, Chairman of the High Relief Committee (HRC) and Yemeni Minister of Local Administration. They were accompanied by the Executive Secretary of the Djiboutian Office national d’assistance aux réfugiés et sinistrés (ONARS). The mission aimed at visiting the camp facilities, discussing urgent needs and return options to Yemen with refugees.

According to immigration police in Obock, Djibouti, over 500 Yemeni nationals originating from Aden arrived in Djibouti from 11 to 24 April 2016. Rather than seeking asylum, they transited through Djibouti before travelling onwards to other countries. Moreover, some spontaneous returns of Yemeni refugees to Yemen continue to be observed. Almost 830 Yemeni refugees originating mainly from Bab Al Mandab spontaneously returned from Obock as of late April 2016. The conditions of return continue to be assessed as unsafe, both at the departure point because of rough seas and upon arrival in Yemen because of insecurity. In early April 2016, a few vessels were not allowed to leave Obock port by the Djiboutian coast guard. Refugees waited for two days before making the trip to Bab Al Mandab and Al Mokha in Yemen.

Syrian Arab Republic: Syria the world's most dangerous place for health workers: WHO

7 hours 20 min ago
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Iraq, occupied Palestinian territory, Syrian Arab Republic, World, Yemen

Geneva, Switzerland | AFP | Thursday 5/26/2016 - 10:14 GMT

by Nina LARSON

Syria was the most dangerous place for health care workers to operate last year, ahead of other conflict zones like the Palestinian territories, and Yemen, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

For the first time, the UN health agency provided comprehensive statistics on attacks on health care facilities and other violence directed at health workers in major conflict areas over the past two years.

The findings were bleak: nearly 600 attacks directed at medical structures, personnel and ambulances were carried out across the 19 countries and territories included in the study in 2014 and 2015.

Almost 1,000 people, including health workers, patients and bystanders, were killed, the WHO report said.

"One of the most concerning findings is that two thirds (of the attacks) have been deliberate," Rick Brennan, WHO's chief of emergency risk management, told reporters.

Assaults intentionally targeting health care facilities, health workers, the sick and injured "represent gross violations of international humanitarian law," he said. "If proven (they) can be considered war crimes."

WHO chief Margaret Chan denounced the violence against people simply trying to save lives often in horrific circumstances.

"We need those facilities and we need those valuable human resources to help people from both sides," she told delegates attending WHO's main annual assembly this week.

  • 'Slaughtered in their beds' -

Syria, ravaged by a devastating five-year conflict, in 2015 counted 135 attacks on health facilities and workers, resulting in 173 deaths.

That is more than half of the 256 attacks registered across 19 conflict areas last year, which together left 434 people dead.

Joanna Liu, head of medical charity Doctors Without Borders, warned that "the act of providing healthcare itself is under attack".

"From Yemen to Syria, from Central African Republic to Niger, health facilities are looted, burned and bombed," she told the WHO gathering.

"Patients are slaughtered in their beds. Health workers are abducted, assaulted and killed."

She said that last year alone, 75 hospitals managed or supported by the charity, which goes by its French acronym MSF, were attacked.

"Medicine should not be a deadly occupation," she said.

Other areas that are particularly dangerous for health workers include the Palestinian territories, where there were 34 attacks in 2015 that killed three people, Pakistan, with 16 attacks resulting in 45 deaths and Libya with 14 attacks that left 39 dead.

War-torn Yemen and Iraq also figured high on the list.

The WHO report said that 2014 was even deadlier on a global scale, with 525 people killed in 338 attacks.

Statistics for 2016 were not available, Brennan said, although he warned that the trend was continuing, with numerous attacks so far this year, including on hospitals in Syria.

apo-nl/bs/txw

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

Yemen: Statement by the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed

7 hours 51 min ago
Source: UN Secretary-General Country: Yemen

Kuwait, 26 May 2016

I wanted to meet you today in order to update you on the latest developments in the talks. It has been a long week of sessions, in which we discussed a wide range of issues. Some sessions were promising and others tense. In spite of all of the challenges we are facing, the United Nations remains deeply committed to finding a peaceful solution.

As you know, I visited Doha on Sunday, to take part in the 16th Doha Forum and participate in several meetings on Yemen. I was honoured to join a meeting between the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, His Excellency President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar. The Secretary-General told them that peace negotiations were rarely smooth and there was a need for commitment and perseverance by all sides. The Secretary-General said that, in parallel to the peace talks, all parties needed to redouble their efforts to provide and facilitate unhindered humanitarian access to alleviate the appalling living conditions of millions of Yemeni citizens. President Hadi reaffirmed his government’s readiness to work for peace and overcome the obstacles on the path to a peaceful solution. The Emir expressed his country’s eagerness to support the Yemeni talks to achieve a sustainable peace. During the meeting, I highlighted the need to provide a conducive environment by strengthening the commitment from all sides to the Cessation of Hostilities and by undertaking measure to build confidence between the parties.

The efforts of the leadership of Kuwait, Qatar and the UN Secretary-General had a positive impact and led to the return of the Government of Yemen’s delegation to the joint sessions. On Monday, a joint plenary session was held in which the leaders of both delegations renewed their commitment to dialogue to reach a political agreement, that is acceptable by all.

I convened a number of bilateral meetings with the delegations over the past few days. We discussed specifically the details and mechanisms of withdrawal, handover of weapons, resumption of political dialogue, restoration of state institutions and other matters that will be included in a comprehensive agreement. The discussions also covered the importance of guarantees and reassurances to ensure the implementation of an agreement.

At this juncture of the talks, the parties have started to address specific and sensitive matters in detail based on the agreed reference points. It was agreed that the prisoners’ committee will continue to work separately. The committee was reinforced by human rights experts from both sides. Yesterday, representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) came to Kuwait at the invitation of my office. They met bilaterally with the delegations to brief them on the roles and guidelines for prisoners release and exchange processes in war zones and the mechanisms of ICRC’s work in this area.

Yesterday, I briefed the Security Council in a closed-session through video conference. During the session, I gave an overview of the talks, the preliminary understandings reached and I explained the compromises and solutions that are currently being considered. I also gave a summary of the support needed by my Office in order to facilitate the implementation of a peace agreement including support for interim security arrangements.

The representatives of Ansarullah and the General People’s Congress (GPC) in the De-escalation and Coordination Committee (DCC), have returned to their duties after a one-day suspension. The DCC continues to work with dedication, are we are working with the team to provide additional technical support.

In brief, the talks are ongoing, the international support is stronger than ever and the United Nations is determined to achieve a lasting peace and to solidify any agreement reached.

Economic Situation The ongoing conflict has destroyed the country’s economic infrastructure and severely disrupted the functioning of state institutions, causing the suffering of many civilians. Failure to address the issue will lead to further deterioration of the economic situation. Last week witnessed a sharp devaluation of the Yemeni Riyal and an alarming decline of the resources and liquidity held by the country’s treasury. The continuation of this trend will lead to a rapid increase in inflation and negatively affect the humanitarian and social situation. In this regard, I proposed to the parties the creation of an “Economic Task Force” in the near future. The committee would enlist the support of economic experts in order to manage the situation and take the necessary measures to save the economy. As an urgent first step, I call on the Yemeni parties and the international community to support the Social Welfare Fund. The fund would include direct financial support to the most affected segments of society, inject liquidity into the country, ease the pressure on the Central Bank, and help alleviate suffering.

The cessation of hostilities has led to a direct reduction in violence and allowed humanitarian agencies to deliver aid to most areas in Yemen. The delivery of aid, basic medical services, pharmaceutical supplies and drinking water have increased over the last few weeks. UN agencies, in coordination with their partners, are working on providing literacy and math classes for children.

The parties must assume their responsibility towards the nation. We are at a dangerous crossroads. One path leads us to stability. If the parties do not provide the required concessions, the situation on the ground would significantly worsen. As we are approaching Ramadan, we hope that the parties will undertake tangible steps towards alleviating the economic suffering of the people, the release of prisoners and detainees, and the implementation of the cessation of hostilities.

I am increasingly asked how long will the talks last. There is no time limit and we will stay as long as it takes. The crisis in Yemen has to end as soon as possible; as soon as possible. We urge the participants in the talks to re-double their efforts to reach a peace agreement. It takes time to end conflict. A sustainable and inclusive agreement cannot be rushed. It is now up to the parties to decide. I want to take this opportunity to thank again the Emir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah al Ahmed al Jaber Al-Sabah, for Kuwait’s role in hosting the talks. I also applaud the efforts of the international community who consistently demonstrate unprecedented unity and endless support for the efforts of the UN.

Yemen is at a critical stage. The economy is in tatters, its infrastructure ruined, and the country’s social fabric is disintegrating. The situation on the ground is dire but there is hope emanating from Kuwait. Only a political settlement will restore hope. The participants in the talks are the only ones who can change the situation in Yemen.

Yemen: UN envoy calls for economic rescue plan for Yemen

7 hours 51 min ago
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Yemen

Kuwait City, Kuwait | AFP | Thursday 5/26/2016 - 14:41 GMT | 259 words

The UN special envoy to Yemen on Thursday called for an economic rescue plan for the war-battered and impoverished Arab nation.

"I propose the establishment of an economic rescue authority as soon as possible to save the Yemeni economy from further deterioration," Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed told a press conference.

He said the body would comprise experts proposed by Yemen's warring parties which are locked in five-week-old peace talks in Kuwait.

It would be consultative in nature and have the full backing of the United Nations and its agencies as well as the World Bank among others, Ould Cheikh Ahmed said.

"The Yemeni economy requires an urgent intervention ... Economic deterioration is expected to boost inflation and price rises," he said.

Even before the war escalated in 2015, Yemen was one of the poorest nations on earth with unemployment of more than 40 percent and over half its 25-million population living under the poverty line.

Ould Cheikh Ahmed said the peace talks had started discussing "security arrangements and specific details" regarding withdrawals and the surrender of weapons.

On Wednesday, he said the two sides were moving "toward a general understanding that encompasses the expectations and visions of the parties".

The main sticking point has been reaching agreement on a transitional government.

Shiite Huthi rebels and their allies are demanding a unity government, while the government delegation insists that President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi's legitimacy be respected.

A Western diplomat told AFP in Kuwait that the UN envoy had proposed a "national salvation government" that would be "consensual and inclusive".

oh/hc

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

Yemen: Yemen Situation: Yemeni and Somali Arrivals from Yemen into the Horn of Africa - as of 02 May 2016

10 hours 51 min ago
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen

Yemen: Yemen Situation: Regional Refugee and Migrant Response – Population movement out of Yemen (as of 02 May 2016)

11 hours 10 min ago
Source: International Organization for Migration, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen

World: Attacks on Health Care: Prevent • Protect • Provide

12 hours 10 min ago
Source: World Health Organization Country: Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Iraq, Liberia, Libya, Myanmar, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, World, Yemen

Attacks on Health Care

Attacks on health care in emergency situations disrupt the delivery of essential health services, endanger care providers, deprive people of urgently needed medical attention, and undermine our long term health development goals.

WHO collaborates closely with others to better understand the problem, bring attention to the issue, and find solutions that can prevent attacks; protect health facilities, workers, transport and supplies; and ensure the continued provision of health care despite such attacks.

WHO releases new report on attacks on health

Currently there is no publicly available source of consolidated information on attacks on health care in emergencies. This report is a first attempt to consolidate and analyse the data that is available from open sources. While the data are not comprehensive, the findings shed light on the severity and frequency of the problem.

Over the two-year period from January 2014 to December 2015, there were 594 reported attacks on health care that resulted in 959 deaths and 1561 injuries in 19 countries with emergencies. More than half of the attacks were against health care facilities and another quarter of the attacks were against health care workers. Sixty-two per cent of the attacks were reported to have intentionally targeted health care.

Read the full report

Yemen: UN's Ban wants to ramp up Yemen peace effort

25 May 2016 - 10:33pm
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Yemen

United Nations, United States | Wednesday 5/25/2016 - 16:15 GMT

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to beef up the UN mediation in Yemen to overcome deep differences in peace talks, according to a letter obtained by AFP on Wednesday.

Ban outlined his proposal in a letter to the Security Council just before UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed delivered a report to the council's 15 members on the peace talks he is leading in Kuwait.

"While both sides have committed to reaching agreements in Kuwait, there remain deep differences between the two sides which will need to be overcome in order to achieve a successful outcome," Ban wrote.

He proposed expanding the staff of the UN peace mission to Yemen and moving it to Amman from New York to intensify the mediation.

The bigger UN team would provide technical expertise to the Yemeni parties on a range of issues, especially shoring up a ceasefire in force since April 10 that has led to a decrease but not a halt in attacks.

"The nationwide cessation of hostilities remains extremely fragile, and requires urgent additional support from the United Nations," Ban wrote.

An upsurge in violence could "undermine the Kuwait talks and derail the progress towards greater stability and security," he added.

'Moving in the right direction'

Egyptian Ambassador Amr Aboulatta, who chairs the council this month, told reporters that council members agreed on the need to bolster the mediation effort.

"Things are moving in the right direction," he said following a closed meeting on Yemen.

"There was an agreement to help the office and Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed."

Speaking to the council by video-conference from Kuwait, Ould Cheikh Ahmed said progress was slow but steady in the talks, according to a diplomat at the closed session.

Ramadan beginning on June 6 is not a deadline for a breakthrough and the parties must stay at the talks as long as it takes, the envoy said.

The latest round of peace talks began in Kuwait on April 21 but has been clouded by repeated walkouts by the government delegation.

Face-to-face meetings resumed on Monday for the first time in nearly a week.

The UN envoy said in a statement on Wednesday that the sides were moving "toward a general understanding that encompasses the expectations and visions of the parties."

The main sticking point in the talks has been reaching agreement on a transitional government.

Huthi Shiite rebels and their allies have demanded a unity government.

But the government delegation insists that President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi's legitimacy must be respected.

A western diplomat told AFP in Kuwait that the UN envoy had proposed a "national salvation government" that would be "consensual and inclusive."

cml/grf

Yemen: Yemen: Emergency Dashboard, April 2016

25 May 2016 - 12:52pm
Source: World Food Programme Country: Yemen

Yemen: Coalition raid kills six Yemeni civilians 'by mistake'

25 May 2016 - 9:55am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Yemen

Aden, Yemen | AFP | Wednesday 5/25/2016 - 13:35 GMT

An air strike by the Saudi-led coalition fighting opponents of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi killed six civilians from the same family by mistake on Wednesday, a provincial official said.

Warplanes targeted the home of a suspected member of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in Huta, the capital of southern Lahj province, but missed and hit an adjacent house, the official told AFP.

The Arab coalition carried out raids Wednesday on several positions in Huta suspected of being used by jihadists, including an abandoned water bottling plant and an arms depot, another official said.

Coalition air strikes in Yemen dropped significantly after a UN-brokered ceasefire was agreed in April by the government and Iran-backed Huthi Shiite rebels who control the capital, paving the way for talks in Kuwait.

While most of the raids have targeted the Huthis, in recent weeks the coalition has also used its fire power to support pro-government forces fighting jihadists.

Al-Qaeda and rival IS have sought to exploit the power vacuum caused by the war between the Huthis and the government to strengthen their presence in the south and southeast.

Pro-Hadi forces supported by the coalition managed last year to drive the Huthis out of Lahj and four other southern provinces.

Huta has since been the scene of frequent clashes between jihadists and government forces struggling to tighten their grip on the city.

Loyalists recently ejected Al-Qaeda from parts of the main southern city of Aden, as well as Huta and Mukalla in the southeastern province of Hadramawt.

bur-faw/tm/ak/dr

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

Yemen: Yemen - Ibb province - Base map

25 May 2016 - 9:19am
Source: Médecins Sans Frontières Country: Yemen

World: Documenting the United States’ Commitment to Conventional Weapons Destruction: To Walk the Earth in Safety (2015/FY2014)

25 May 2016 - 6:06am
Source: Government of the United States of America Country: Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cambodia, Colombia, Croatia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Georgia, Honduras, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Lebanon, Marshall Islands, Mozambique, Myanmar, occupied Palestinian territory, Palau, Rwanda, Serbia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United States of America, Viet Nam, World, Yemen, Zimbabwe

A Message From Assistant Secretary Puneet Talwar

For more than two decades, the United States has been at the forefront of international efforts to reduce the worldwide threat to civilians from landmines, unexploded ordnance (UXO), and other conventional weapons of war. Just 15 years ago, landmines and other explosive remnants of war killed or injured nearly 10,000 men, women, and children every year—more than 25 every day. Thanks to the concerted efforts of the United States, partner nations, international nongovernmental organizations, and host nations, that figure has now dropped by more than 60%.

The 14th edition of To Walk the Earth in Safety documents the United States’ efforts to combat these threats, the progress we have made, and the work still to be done.

In last year’s report, I highlighted our June 2014 announcement that the United States would no longer produce or otherwise acquire anti-personnel landmines. In September 2014, President Obama took another major step forward, announcing that the United States would not use anti-personnel landmines outside the Korean Peninsula and that the United States would start to destroy anti-personnel landmine stockpiles not required for the defense of the Republic of Korea. These historic policy changes represent another step to advance the humanitarian aims of the Ottawa Convention.

Since 1993, the United States has invested nearly $2.5 billion to clear or destroy landmines, unexploded ordnance, and other dangerous conventional weapons. In Fiscal Year 2014, the Department of State allocated approximately $140 million to CWD programs in more than 40 countries, helping post-conflict communities and countries recover and rebuild. These programs touch thousands of lives all over the world, from children in Sri Lanka who can now safely walk to school, to farmers in Vietnam who can now tend to their crops without fear. Our efforts have cleared aging and unstable ammunition in Kyrgyzstan, and provided medical rehabilitation and vocational training for survivors of landmine incidents who currently reside in Syrian refugee camps.

I’d like to highlight four important milestones from FY2014:

• Comprehensive Survey and Clearance Project in Quang Tri, Vietnam: As part of our increased commitment to removing UXO from Vietnam, we launched a five-year initiative to make Quang Tri Province—home to 700,000 people—free from the impact of UXO. Our ten-fold funding increase for efforts in Quang Tri Province in FY2014 is a clear sign of this continued commitment.

• First Mine Clearance Operation in West Bank: In FY2014, The HALO Trust (HALO), funded by the U.S. government and other international donors, began the first-ever humanitarian mine clearance operation in the West Bank. They cleared and excavated 26,600 square meters and destroyed 344 mines in a single minefield. The Department of State continues to support HALO’s close collaboration with both Israeli and Palestinian mine action authorities, and we share the goal of clearing the remaining minefields that endanger the lives of Palestinian civilians.

• Gender Advancements Among Demining Teams: Reflecting our firm commitment to gender equality and advancing the rights of women and girls, in 2014 the Department of State funded an all-female demining team in Tajikistan, the first and only female demining team in Central Asia. Zimbabwe’s first all-female demining team became operational in January 2015. In Sri Lanka, female deminers are assuming greater leadership roles in integrated male and female demining teams.

• Destruction of Illicitly Proliferated or At-Risk Stockpiles: The Department of State works diligently to ensure that dangerous weapons, including MANPADS, do not fall into the wrong hands. That is why last year, in Chad, our support allowed MAG (Mines Advisory Group) to assess, refurbish, and better secure armories and ammunition stores throughout the country. In Niger, we and our partners destroyed more than 1,000 small arms and light weapons at risk for illicit proliferation. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, our support has enabled Sterling Global to send technical advisors to assist the Bosnian Armed Forces in reducing massive stockpiles of conventional munitions, including destruction oversight and capital improvements to the Bosnia and Herzegovina demilitarization facilities.

Thanks to the tremendous support of Congress and the American people, we will continue to prioritize these efforts because they are in our interests and reflect the very best of our values. As Secretary Kerry said last year, “President Kennedy set for our nation the goal of sending a man to walk on the moon. We did that. Today, we reaffirm our resolve to help all people everywhere to be able to walk safely, right here on Earth.”

Puneet Talwar Assistant Secretary Department of State Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

Yemen: ERC provides medical materials to Al Thawra Hospital in Yemen's Ta'ez

25 May 2016 - 5:42am
Source: Emirates News Agency Country: United Arab Emirates, Yemen

TA'EZ, 24th May 2016 (WAM) – The Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) Authority has provided a new batch of medical supplies to Al Thawra Hospital in the Yemeni province of Ta'ez.

The medical supply, which included medicines and surgical instruments, were handed over today to the hospital in the presence of Ta'ez Governor Ali Al Ma'amary, hospital officials and ERC representatives.

Al Thawra hospital plays a key role in tending to the increasing number of wounded people in the province.

The supplies were transported to Ta'ez through the unpaved mountain roads. The main access roads to the province have been closed due to the siege that is entering its second year, leading to an acute shortage of medicines and medical items.

The ERC said in a statement issued today that one its key priorities is to improve the declining healthcare services in Yemen through maintenance of hospitals and other healthcare facilities and provision of other logistic services such as ambulances, power generators, water and sewerage services, medical equipment and medicines.

This year, the ERC has implemented several humanitarian aid and relief programmes in Ta'ez, despite the complex and risky situation. Over 40,000 families have benefited from these programmes.

WAM/bashir

Yemen: Yemen peace talks 'closer' to agreement: UN envoy

25 May 2016 - 3:04am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Yemen

Kuwait City, Kuwait | AFP | Wednesday 5/25/2016 - 10:29 GMT

by Omar Hasan

The UN envoy said Wednesday that Yemen's warring parties were closer to agreement at peace talks in Kuwait as he prepared to brief the Security Council on progress in negotiations.

"We are moving towards a general understanding that encompasses the expectations and visions of the parties," Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said in a statement.

"The discussions have become more sensitive and delicate bringing us closer to a comprehensive agreement," he said.

Ould Cheikh Ahmed is to brief the UN Security Council in a closed session later on Wednesday on the progress made in the peace talks which began on April 21 but have been clouded by repeated walkouts by the government delegation.

He clarified on Twitter that he will make the briefing by video conference from Kuwait.

Face-to-face meetings resumed on Monday for the first time in nearly a week after the latest government boycott.

Ould Cheikh Ahmed said discussions on Tuesday centred on "various military and security issues including withdrawals and troop movements".

"We are now working on overcoming various obstacles and addressing specific details of an implementation mechanism," he said.

The apparent progress comes after Foreign Minister Abdulmalek al-Mikhlafi said on Monday that the government stood ready to make concessions for the sake of peace.

A Western diplomat familiar with the talks said they had made important progress.

"We are in a stage where the parties have to make hard choices and compromises," the diplomat told AFP, adding that he was "very optimistic" that a deal could be reached.

"We have not seen this momentum towards peace in the past one and a half years... a roadmap plan has been laid down... and it has to work," he said.

- 'National Salvation Government' -

The main sticking point in the talks has been the form of government to oversee a transition.

Huthi Shiite rebels and their allies have demanded a unity government.

The government delegation insists that the legitimacy of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi must be respected.

The government has also demanded that rebels implement an April 2015 Security Council resolution demanding their withdrawal from the capital and other territory they have seized since 2014.

To overcome this problem, the UN envoy has proposed a "National Salvation Government," the Western diplomat said.

The proposed government "would be formed on a consensual and inclusive basis and in accordance with the legal references, and would only replace the current government once Sanaa and key government institutions are not under the control of non-state actors," he said.

Huthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam warned that if no fair solution was reached, the rebels would form the government in Sanaa.

"Yemenis are awaiting a fair solution and if it fails, anti-aggression national forces must fill the vacuum by forming a government to serve the people and confront challenges," Abdulsalam said on Twitter.

The rebel delegation met late Tuesday with the ambassadors to Yemen of the United States, Britain and the European Union and called for the formation of a "consensus executive authority" in Yemen.

They also accused Saudi Arabia of violating the ceasefire, sources close to the delegation said.

Reporters Without Borders urged the rebels to release 10 journalists who began a hunger strike on May 9 to protest against their detention.

Despite a 14-month-old Saudi-led military intervention in support of Hadi's government, the rebels and their allies still control many of Yemen's most populous regions, including the central and northern highlands and the Red Sea coast.

oh/ak/kir

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

Yemen: UNHRD Operations Update - Response to the Crisis in Yemen, as of 24 May 2016

25 May 2016 - 1:54am
Source: World Food Programme Country: Djibouti, Yemen

Since the escalation of the conflict in March 2015, UNHRD has supported 6 Partners responding to the crisis by sending 413 MT of critical relief items, equipment and medical supplies to Djibouti and Yemen. Most recently, UNHRD dispatched 35 metric tons of medicine to Hoedida on behalf of WHO.

For information about stocks available for emergency deployment through UNHRD’s Loan and Borrow facility, please visit www.unhrd.org or contact unhrd.customerservice@wfp.org.

Yemen: Yemen - Severe weather (ECHO, YMS, NOAA, Media) (ECHO Daily Flash of 24 May 2016)

24 May 2016 - 11:08pm
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: Yemen
  • According to media reports, heavy rain has been affecting south-western Yemen over the past few days, causing floods and landslides.
  • On 23 May, local media reported that a landslide destroyed six houses and washed away large tracts of farmland leaving 20 people dead, dozens injured and traffic disruptions in the village of Al-Lassbah (Ta'izz province). The death toll may increase as search and rescue operations are still ongoing, as of 24 May early morning (UTC).
  • Over the next 24 hours moderate rain may still affect the western and south-western areas of the country, including the ones already affected.

World: World - Severe weather events - ECHO Daily Map | 24/05/2016

24 May 2016 - 10:51pm
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, World, Yemen

TC ROANU
• TC ROANU formed over the south-western Bay of Bengal on 18 May causing widespread damage and casualties to several counties.
• In Bangladesh, at least 26 people dead, over 100 injured, over 500 000 evacuated, 83 978 homes partially or fully damaged • In Myanmar/Burma, several homes and bridges were damaged, as well as several temporary IDP shelters were damaged.
• In India, two people were killed, two were injured, 2 500 people evacuated and several homes damaged. • In Sri Lanka, 94 people were killed, 31 were injured and over 4 500 homes were damaged due to the effects of the cyclone.

YEMEN
• According to media reports, heavy rain has been affecting south-western Yemen over the past few days, causing floods and landslides.
• As of 23 May, local media reported that a landslide left 20 people dead, dozens injured and traffic disruptions in the village of Al-Lassbah (Ta'izz province). The death toll may increase as search and rescue operation are still on going, as of 24 May.

CHINA
• Severe weather, including heavy rain, strong winds and hail, has been affecting the southern and south-eastern provinces of the country over the past few days, causing floods.
• National authorities reported 12 people dead, four missing, 87 000 evacuated and more than 13 000 homes partially or fully damaged in the provinces of Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong,
Guizhou and Guangxi, as of 24 May.

AUSTRALIA
• Severe weather, including heavy rain, strong winds and hail, has been affecting the state of Western Australia over the past few days causing floods.
• According to media reports, several houses were damaged, traffic was disrupted and over 1 500 people were left without electricity due to fallen trees, as of 23 May.

Djibouti: WFP Djibouti Country Brief, April 2016

24 May 2016 - 1:20pm
Source: World Food Programme Country: Djibouti, Somalia, Yemen

Highlights

  • The protracted relief and recovery operation (PRRO) requires new contributions urgently to avert possible pipeline breaks. WFP has prioritized general distributions and nutrition interventions for the refugees, to stretch available food stocks.

  • For the school feeding programme under the development operation, new contributions are required soon for WFP to deliver food before the beginning of the new school year, which starts in September.