Over Two Million Yemenis Displaced by Conflict

The humanitarian crisis in Yemen caused by the ongoing conflict over the past 22 months has led to the internal displacement of over 2.1 million Yemenis. It is also complicating an already difficult situation for thousands of migrants from the Horn of Africa attempting to cross the country on the way to Saudi Arabia.

A high-ranking delegation from IOM earlier this month visited Sana’a, Yemen to assess and support IOM Yemen’s efforts to aid displaced Yemenis and migrants in the country.

Carmela Godeau, IOM’s Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa based in Cairo, and Mohammed Abdiker, Director of IOM’s Department of Operations and Emergencies, visited a settlement of displaced Yemenis in Sana’a and met local partners working with IOM to provide health care and non-food items to help displaced families cope with winter weather.

The delegation also visited one of the 31 Child Friendly Spaces that IOM has opened in Yemen. These provide direct assistance to displaced children. They aim to ease the stress and effects of the conflict on children, in addition to providing awareness-raising sessions and psychosocial support for traumatized children.

Other visits allowed the IOM delegation to see the work of an IOM health clinic, which provides primary health care to displaced Yemenis and migrants, including psychosocial support to those suffering from displacement and war traumas.

Meetings were organized with the IOM staff from Sana’a, Al Hudaydah and Aden, to further discuss the ongoing IOM work in 18 Yemeni governorates. Consultations also took place with UN partner agencies including UNOCHA, UNHCR, UNDP and UNICEF, NGOs and the local authorities in Sana’a.

“It is of utmost importance for IOM to understand the prevailing situation in the country, to help IOM at the global level to advocate for more assistance to the people suffering in Yemen,” said Godeau. “This visit is timely, as it comes before the official launching of the UN Humanitarian Response Plan, which will be launched on 8 February 2017 in Geneva.”

The meetings in Sana’a led to a broader understanding of the situation on the ground, which in turn will facilitate preparations of IOM’s action plan for 2017. The visit to Sana’a was followed by a visit to Riyadh, where IOM Yemen Chief of Mission Laurent de Boeck briefed the officials and the donor community on activities carried out by IOM in Yemen.

He particularly focused on the health situation of both displaced Yemenis and migrants from the Horn of Africa. IOM mobile health teams are operating in 18 of 22 governorates to deliver primary health care and provide referrals. IOM is particularly concerned by the increasing number of migrants arriving in Yemen – up to 12,000 every month – and is calling for support to provide food, shelter and protection and evacuate the most vulnerable. IOM

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