Flash Appeal for Yemen 2009

2 September 2009

Following sporadic clashes between Al Houthis groups and the Yemeni Government in July 2009, the situation in Sa’ada Governorate escalated into open hostilities on 12 August.  Clashes rapidly escalated in number and intensity and spread to neighbouring areas raising serious protection concerns for the civilian population, including forcing tens of thousands of people to flee for their safety.  This crisis has generated new displacement in northern Yemen.  Until July 2009, agencies were assisting as many as 95,000 people in Sa’ada Governorate who were affected or displaced by previous rounds of fighting.  The renewed fighting has not only led tens of thousands of people from Sa’ada and Amran Governorates to flee for the first time, it has also forced many previously displaced people into a second displacement.  Although precise data regarding the number of displaced people and their locations is hard to establish, current estimates suggest that approximately 150,000 people are currently displaced, including those displaced by previous rounds of fighting.  Partners also note with concern the threats to, and needs of, civilian populations remaining in areas of intensified fighting – populations to which the humanitarian community has little or no access due to insecurity.

This conflict has greatly affected the civilian population and has strained the capacities of humanitarian organizations to respond.  Lack of humanitarian access has prevented implementation of humanitarian activities, especially in Sa’ada and Al Jawf Governorates, and hampered needs assessments.  Additionally, the current crisis is unfolding in the context of significant vulnerability due to a high prevalence of poverty, lack of investment in basic services, and the impact of repeated confrontations on people’s coping mechanisms.  In Sa’ada, for instance, recent reports from public health authorities suggest that the risk of disease outbreaks, such as measles and diarrhoeal and other communicable diseases, is high as many health facilities no longer function and public health assistance is not being delivered. 

In areas where access is possible, humanitarian agencies have been able to respond swiftly.  The overall humanitarian response has been organized through the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), which comprises United Nations agencies, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).  Using in-country stocks, partners have delivered relief items mainly to displaced populations in Haradh (Hajjah Governorate) and Amran Governorate, and in Sa’ada town, when security conditions allowed.  Where possible, humanitarian organizations have also conducted inter-agency assessments to areas where IDPs have been reported.  At least, four inter-agency missions visited Haradh, and Amran town and Khaiwan in Amran Governorate between 14 and
24 August.  The establishment by the Yemeni Government of a High-Level Inter-Ministerial Committee for Relief Operations on 18 August and of local Relief Coordination Committees at governorate level will contribute to improving assistance coordination.

Although there continue to be, difficulties in assessing humanitarian needs, priorities during this acute phase of the emergency have been identified and prioritized as food, health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, shelter and non-food items, emergency education and protection, and agriculture.  Humanitarian organizations continue to be extremely concerned over access to populations in need, protection of civilians and security of humanitarian staff, especially in Sa’ada Governorate.  A commitment from all parties is needed to facilitate immediate, safe and unimpeded access for humanitarian agencies to the affected areas to allow for urgent needs assessments and the provision of humanitarian assistance to those in need.

Without a political resolution, the humanitarian situation remains critical and volatile.  This initial Flash Appeal is thus a snapshot, which will be revised in the coming weeks, as the trajectory of the crisis and the humanitarian needs become clearer.  In coordination with the Yemeni Government, the HCT has prepared this Flash Appeal to cover the identified and estimated needs of a projected caseload of 150,000 IDPs as well as tens of thousands of people indirectly affected by the conflict, such as communities hosting IDPs and residents who have lost access to basic services such as water, food, and health care.  Activities are planned for four months until the end of December 2009, beyond which humanitarian activities will be incorporated in a humanitarian response strategy for 2010.  In consultation with the Yemeni Government, the UN system, participating NGOs, and other partners are appealing for US$[1]23,750,000 for activities for four months.  The appeal includes 25 UN and 12 NGO projects, and two projects of the International Organization for Migration.

[1]All dollar signs in this document denote United States dollars.  Funding for this appeal should be reported to the Financial Tracking Service (FTS, fts@reliefweb.int), which will display its requirements and funding on the current appeals page. 

Document History

2 September 2009

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