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More Than Three Million Displaced in Yemen – Joint UN Agency Report

National Yemen
Families resuming their daily life amid the destroyed buildings in Zinjibar, Abyan. UNHCR/ AMIRA AL-SHARIF
Written by Fakhri Al-Arashi

22 August 2016 – A joint report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has found that the conflict in Yemen has resulted in the displacement of some 3,154,572 people, of which 2,205,102 remain displaced across the country and some 949,470 have attempted to return home.

“The crisis is forcing more and more people to leave their homes in search of safety,” Ita Schuette, UNHCR’s Deputy Representative in Yemen said in a news release on Friday, announcing the report.

The news release added that due to the escalating conflict and worsening humanitarian conditions, displacement across the country has seen an increase of about seven per cent since April, with 152,009 individuals fleeing from violence during this period.

The report, prepared by the Task Force on Population Movement, a technical working group led by the two agencies as part of the humanitarian response to the crisis in Yemen, also said that a significant number of those displaced are attempting to return home, a 24 per cent increase of some 184,491 individuals. However, it cautioned that movements remained fluid and correlated to moments of lulls or perceived improvements in the conflict.

“IDP returnees are considered to remain within the displacement cycle as long as they have not achieved a sustainable reintegration and their needs remain high, as is also the case for the non-displaced host community,” said Laurent De Boeck, IOM Chief of Mission to Yemen.

The news release further added that prolonged displacement had adversely impacted the communities hosting uprooted populations, substantially increasing pressures on already scarce resources. The majority of those displaced, some 62 per cent, are being hosted by their family and friends while others are using unsuitable shelters.

It further said that for those displaced, the primary challenges continued to be the basic essentials: food, shelter and drinking water.

According to the figures, as the conflict continues, the average length of time people having to spend away from their homes has also increased. Most of those uprooted, some 89 per cent, have been displaced for more than ten months.

The report also includes data on displacement due to natural disasters: at present, 24,744 individuals remain displaced due to cyclones and floods.

Cumulatively, owing to conflict and natural disasters, eight per cent of Yemen’s population now remains displaced.

According to the news release, the report consolidates data from the UNHCR Population Movement Tracking system and the IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix, enabling the release of the most comprehensive estimates of displaced population figures and trends in Yemen to date.