Human Rights

Houthi attacks compound displacement crisis in Yemen

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden

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A malnourished Yemeni toddler is weighed at a clinic run by a humanitarian organisation in the port city of al-Hodeidah on November 3rd. The Yemeni conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, most of them civilians, and driven millions more to the brink of famine in what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis. [Essa Ahmed/AFP]

The Iran-backed Houthi (Ansarallah) militia's practices of targeting residential neighbourhoods in areas under government control have increased the number of displaced families, a local official told Al-Mashareq.

The Houthis have been attacking residential neighbourhoods that lie adjacent to areas under their control using rockets and other heavy weapons, forcing families to flee toward safer areas, said Deputy Minister of Human Rights Nabil Abdul Hafeez.

The militia has also planted mines in deserted houses, he told Al-Mashareq, "so when some families returned to their homes because they were suffering at displacement camps, the explosives blew up in their face".

This has painted a grim picture to other displaced families about the dangers of returning, he said.

"More than 3.65 million people have been displaced by the war the Houthi militias ignited five years ago to serve the Iranian regime's interests," said Abdul Hafeez.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said Wednesday (December 11th) that around 393,000 people have been displaced from their areas in Yemen since the beginning of 2019, mainly due to the conflict.

Growing needs of IDPs

The IOM is working "in partnership with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in shelter block to assist hundreds of thousands of Yemeni IDPs in building their own shelters and erecting makeshift houses for their families", the UN agency said on Twitter.

UN reports indicate that about 80% of the population requires some form of humanitarian assistance, and two thirds have reached the pre-famine stage.

Meanwhile, about two million children suffer from severe malnutrition.

Abdul Hafeez urged the UN organisations working in Yemen to conduct field visits to camps housing internally displaced persons (IDPs) in order to inspect the dire conditions there.

Winter weather conditions have further exacerbated the harsh conditions at displacement camps, necessitating the provision of additional aid, political analyst Faisal Ahmed told Al-Mashareq.

The tropical typhoon which hit the island of Socotra and other coastal provinces last week brought with it heavy rain, he said, calling for more to be done to meet the growing needs of IDPs in displacement camps.

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