|© AFP/Getty Images/Fazaa|
|Displaced women from the northern Saada province fill plastic jerry cans with water at a camp set up by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Yemen's Hajja region. Thousands of civilians have fled fighting between the army and rebels in northern Yemen.|
NEW YORK, USA, 2 September 2009 –UNICEF has appealed for international help for the more than 100,000 people fleeing conflict between government and rebel forces in northern Yemen.
More than half of the $6.1 million UNICEF has requested will be used to meet the immediate needs for water and sanitation and hygiene amongst displaced families and their hosts. The request is part of an inter-agency Flash Appeal for nearly $23.5 million, launched today by the United Nations to cover humanitarian needs until the end of the current year.
Despite the efforts of UNICEF and its partners, the most vulnerable victims of the fighting are “in very bad shape,” said UNICEF Representative in Yemen Aboudou Karimou Adjibade. Many of the displaced are living in temporary camps that have been impossible to reach with relief supplies.
“The international community needs to rally together to help all those children who have little if any access to food, health, education and protection,” he added.
Child-friendly safe zones
Last week, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman had issued a statement declaring the agency’s readiness to assist the civilian population.
“It is essential that we gain immediate and secure access to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance. Children cannot be the innocent victims of conflict,” she said.
For those people who can be reached in camps outside of the conflict zone, UNICEF is providing water and sanitation, and food items. At least 825 water filters, 1,000 jerry cans, 500 hygiene kits and 300,000 water purification tablets have been distributed. Other supplies are being pre-positioned for anticipated needs.
Feeding centres and child-friendly safe zones have been established in the displacement camps.
The government has had intermittent conflict with rebel groups for five years. The heightened violence that began a month ago is now concentrated in the Sa’ada, Haajah and Aljouf governorates.
UNICEF Representative in Yemen Aboudou Karimou Adjibade discusses the displacement crisis there.
Statement by Ann M. Veneman, UNICEF Executive Director, on the situation in Yemen
Essential supplies being delivered to conflict-affected families in Yemen
News note: UNICEF concerned about deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen