18 July 2011 The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in southern Yemen is on the rise as a result of the continuing conflict, which has forced hundreds of thousands of people out of their homes, the United Nations reported today.
As of last week, an estimated 75,000 people have been displaced from their homes in the governorates of Aden, Lahj and Abyan, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported in an update.
Protection of civilians remained a major concern as the fighting rages, according to the OCHA situation report, which said homes in the Al-Hasaba district of Sana’a, the capital, Arhab to the north, and Zinjibar in Abyan governorate have been bombed or shelled.
A severe fuel shortage has also exacerbated hardships for local people and hampered businesses, health services and humanitarian operations. The lack of fuel has led to rising unemployment amid soaring food prices. It has also disrupted the distribution of water to camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), a situation that could force IDPs to use contaminated water, increasing the risk of disease outbreaks.
In Aden, IDPs are currently being accommodated in 48 schools, although some have moved in with local hosts. Food distribution has been ongoing, with 2,279 families having received their 15-day rations as of 8 July. Somali refugees in the south are also receiving food aid.
In Abyan and Lahj, some IDPs are scattered in remote villages where it is difficult to reach them with humanitarian aid. Food distribution is scheduled to start in Abyan by the end of the month.
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