UNHCR: Refugee influx, IDPs worsen humanitarian crisis facing Yemen
The UNHCR representative, Nafeed Hussein, said June 20 is World Refugee Day, which should remind us of the troubles of those crossing Yemen’s borders as refugees as well as internally displaced Yemenis.
“Yemen is passing through a difficult time,” Hussein said. “The humanitarian crisis is growing at an alarming rate. The UNHCR in the south [of Yemen] has been concerned about refugees and the displaced since the start of the crisis and has delivered significant support to save the lives of internally displaced people.”
He said the UNHCR has recently helped provide refuge to more than 600 families of the displaced who formerly lived in schools in Aden. This gave a chance to local students, estimated at 6,000, to return to classes. And, in response to the latest developments of confrontations between the army and Al-Qaeda militants, UNHCR has provided support to those who returned to their houses in Abyan and others, in Aden and other governorates, who do not plan to return.
He said solving the displacement problem is essential to strengthening stability in Yemen, and the conflict cannot end without resolving the crisis.
Zaid Al-Alaiah, a UNHCR reporter, said the purpose of the press conference is to call on the international community to note the humanitarian situation in Yemen, with particular attention to refugees and IDPs.
The UNHCR reports indicate there are 170,000 IDPs from Abyan in southern Yemen, in addition to 314,000 in the north. The influx of refugees who fled their countries to Yemen to escape drought, instability, conflicts and human rights violations in 2011 is estimated at more than 103,000. From the outset of 2012, 51,000 refugees arrived in Yemen by sea. Yemen accommodates more than 224,000 Somali refugees each year. The UNHCR provides annual assisstance for roughly 750,000 IDPs and refugees.
Some refugees plan to return home. UNHCR considers their return to their home counties an important part of the solution. However, as a necessary first step, UNHCR must commit to extensive preparation for refugees’ transportation.