UNHCR gravely concerned by intensified hostilities in Al Mokha affecting Yemeni civilians
GENEVA - UNHCR is deeply concerned about the plight of thousands of Yemeni civilians fleeing or caught up in heavy confrontations between the warring parties in the Red Sea districts of Al Mokha and Dhubab in Taizz governorate.
Owing to ongoing military operations impeding humanitarian access, comprehensive displacement data is currently difficult to verify.
Current estimates from various sources indicate that approximately 3,570 individuals have fled Al Mokha to districts in the neighboring governorate of Al Hudaydah, namely Jabal Ra’s, Hays, Al Garrahi, Al Khawkhah and At Tuhayat.
There are conflicting reports as to the number of people that remain within the town of Al Mokha.
Reports from a range of sources, including recently arrived internally displaced people from Al Mokha who met with UNHCR field teams in Al Hudaydah, inform that as many as 30,000 people have fled the fighting, with displaced families also reported to be moving rapidly between various locations within Taizz governorate.
Whilst others caught up by in the violence remain trapped inside Al Mokha and Dhubab, intensified hostilities in Al Hudaydah are also making it difficult for those attempting to escape to safety.
The area north of Al Mokha which includes the coastal road to Al Hudaydah is also a site of military operations and remains subject to attack, placing those trying to flee at great risk during flight.
Inside Al Hudaydah, those displaced seek shelter wherever they can. Many are being hosted by the generosity of local families but remain in precarious conditions and in urgent need of aid.
“Thousands of civilians are being caught by the crossfire. This worsens the situation for an extremely vulnerable population and we’re mobilizing rapid assistance together with partners to help those displaced,” says UNHCR’s country representative in Yemen, Ayman Gharaibeh.
UNHCR has pre-positioned emergency stocks in Al Hudaydah, comprising of emergency shelter kits and household assistance consisting of mattresses, sleeping mats, blankets, kitchen utensils and wash buckets. Distributions will commence this week as assessment missions take place to ascertain needs and numbers of those displaced.
Since March 2015 some three million Yemenis have been uprooted from their homes. There are now two million internally displaced people across Yemen whilst another one million displaced have since attempted to return home as conditions across the country in places of origin or displacement continue to deteriorate.
UNHCR continues to advocate for unimpeded humanitarian access to reach people in need and continues to call for a peaceful solution to end Yemen’s brutal conflict.
UNHCR is also calling for the protection of basic rights and the physical safety of civilians across Yemen.