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YEMEN: ICRC appeals for more funds as IDP numbers rise

SANAA, 15 May 2008 (IRIN) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has appealed for an additional US$8 million to help it respond to the increasing needs of civilians affected by fighting in the northern governorate of Saada.

The appeal came as fierce clashes between government forces and followers of rebel Shia leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi in the area prompted a new wave of internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Eman Moanqar, a spokesperson for the ICRC in Yemen, told IRIN on 15 May that over the past few days a new IDP camp had been opened in Saada city to cater for them.

"Over the past few days the number of IDPs has reached 14,000," Moanqar said, adding that the ICRC had started providing them with shelter and medical care.

"We expect thousands of people to leave their homes due to the fighting," she said.

According to Moanqar, 32,000 people will benefit from ICRC food aid in the next six months, and another 50,000 would receive household items.

Moanqar said the ICRC was worried about people’s safety in remote areas due to the fighting, and called on the two warring parties to allow access to aid agencies.

"We are trying to access remote areas by neutrally approaching the two parties," she said, adding that the ICRC was working closely with the Yemeni Red Crescent Society (YRCS) to provide relief items for conflict-affected civilians.

"Our teams are working with the YRCS to assist displaced families and… trying to reach those civilians in need in remote areas," she said.

Appeal to warring parties

In a statement on 14 May, the ICRC said it was concerned about the security and living conditions of civilians affected by the fighting, and urged the warring parties to distinguish at all times between civilians and those taking a direct part in the hostilities, and to treat all casualties with humanity.

"The region has not yet recovered from four years of conflict. Even before the most recent fighting, more than 100,000 people had been directly affected, urgently requiring humanitarian aid," said Marcus Dolder, head of the ICRC delegation in Yemen.

The ICRC said it would use the additional funds to provide food, water, shelter, essential household items and medical support in Saada Governorate.
Moanqar said the ICRC had also deployed a mobile field surgical team.

maj/at/cb

Theme (s): Conflict, Refugees/IDPs,

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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