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Yemen Crisis escalates.

This is a press release from the refugee agency, UNHCR, regarding fighting in the Yemen. 



More and more Yemeni civilians are fleeing embattled Sa’ada province
in northern Yemen as the fighting between government troops and Al Houti
forces enters the fourth month. They are seeking shelter in camps and
with host families in the neighbouring southern provinces of Hajjah and
Amran. This new displacement puts increasing pressure on UNHCR's
attempts to alleviate the suffering of the people in need.

Over the past few days, some 150 new families (approximately 800-900
people) have been arriving every day at Al Mazrak camp in Hajjah
province. This is a significant increase over the 20 to 30 families per
day in the previous weeks. The camp has now exceeded its capacity with
nearly 10,000 internally displaced people living there. The latest
sudden influx is adding more pressure on an already dire situation, and
overcrowding in the camp is becoming a major concern. Three or four
families now share a tent normally meant for one. 

Ms. Janet Lim, UNHCR’s assistant high commissioner for operations,
who is in Yemen reviewing operations there, yesterday visited Al Mazrak
camp, which has already been expanded twice. In the camp she met a
number of Yemeni families who are becoming concerned about the
approaching winter. Most of the internally displaced people (IDPs) in Al
Mazrak camp are women and children. Ms. Lim yesterday opened a centre
designed to serve only women and allow them to feel safe in seeking help
for their special health and protection concerns, and simply to give
them some much-prized privacy. A number of IDPs told her over-crowding
is a major concern and that they don’t have enough tents, mattresses
or latrines. Lim promised to work together with the IDPs themselves to
quickly make life as normal as possible, especially if the people have
to stay there along time.

While improvement of the living conditions in the camp remains a
priority, UNHCR is also ready to assist local authorities and NGOs in
speeding up the construction of Al Mazrak II camp. The second camp will
be able to house up to 1,000 families (up to 6,000 people) and is
expected to start receiving IDPs in the coming days.

Meanwhile, with the new rise in displacement figures and the
anticipation of a continuous influx of IDPs, UNHCR will also continue to
extend assistance to those who sought shelter with the local community.
In general, host families and local communities accommodate the majority
of the displaced population in Yemen. 

An estimated 175,000 people have been affected by the conflict in Yemen
since 2004, including those displaced by the latest crisis. End

Thanks for your time. Billy Briggs. 

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