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In Yemen, the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate at an alarming pace

07 Apr 2015

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Even before the recent spike in violence, Yemen faced one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. The current conflict could have catastrophic consequences.

The situation in Yemen could turn “catastrophic”. Speaking to the media today, Trond Jensen, the Head of OCHA’s Office in Yemen used the term as he appealed to all parties to the conflict to respect their obligations under international law, and to respect civilians and civilian infrastructure. He called, in particular, for unfettered humanitarian access, so that urgently needed supplies can be brought in. “I am extremely concerned for the safety of civilians caught in the middle of fierce fighting in Yemen,” he said.

The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate rapidly in Yemen. More than half of the governorates across the country have now reportedly been affected by airstrikes or armed conflict significantly increasing displacement. At least 100,000 civilians are estimated to have temporarily fled their homes since the beginning of the conflict. Large scale displacement is likely to increase in the coming days as clashes continue.The latest estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO), state that 560 people have been killed and 1,768 injured by violence between 19 March and 4 April. This includes at least 210 civilian deaths and 500 civilian injuries. 

The casualties include at least 74 children killed and 44 injured in the past 12 days. “Children are paying an intolerable price for this conflict,” said UNICEF Yemen Representative Julien Harneis speaking from the Jordanian capital Amman. “They are being killed, maimed and forced to flee their homes, their health threatened and their education interrupted. These children should be immediately afforded special respect and protection by all parties to the conflict, in line with international humanitarian law.”

"Before this recent escalation in the violence, millions of Yemenis were already extremely vulnerable. I hope that peace, security and stability will be restored as soon as possible," said UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos in a recent statement.

This year, humanitarian partners estimate that about 15.9 million people – 61 per cent of the population – will require humanitarian assistance, a number that is expected to increase if violence continues to escalate. 

The humanitarian community is currently seeking $747.5 million to provide a range of life-saving, protection and resilience services for 8.2 million people – including $284.6 million for the most urgent life-saving and protection programmes.