Since August, a public rift has surfaced between the two main partners on the northern front of Yemen’s war – the forces loyal to the Huthis and Ali Abdullah Saleh. Rather than fostering its rivals’ discord, key powerbroker Saudi Arabia should seize this rare chance to resolve the two-and-a-half year war by championing a new regional initiative.
The ongoing conflict in Yemen that escalated sharply in March 2015 has led to the near collapse of the country’s already fragile health care system. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that as of January 2017, only 45 percent of medical facilities are functioning and even these face severe shortages in medicines, equipment, and staff.
War is denying Yemenis food to eat. This special briefing, the first of four examining the famine threats there and in South Sudan, Nigeria and Somalia, urges the Saudi-led coalition not to assault Yemen’s most important port, Hodeida, and both sides to immediately resolve deadlock over the Central Bank.
Thriving on conflict, sectarianism, and local opportunism, al-Qaeda’s affiliates are stronger than ever in Yemen. To shrink their growing base will require better governance in vulnerable areas, not treating all Sunni Islamists as one enemy, and above all ending Yemen’s civil war.
The report, “Bombing Businesses: Saudi Coalition Airstrikes on Yemen’s Civilian Economic Structures,” examines in detail 17 apparently unlawful airstrikes on 13 civilian economic sites, including factories, commercial warehouses, a farm, and two power facilities. These strikes killed 130 civilians and injured 171 more. Collectively, the facilities employed over 2,500 people; following the attacks, many of the factories ended their production and hundreds of workers lost their livelihoods. Further, with more than 20 million people in desperate need of humanitarian aid, the strikes on factories are contributing to the shortages of food, medicine, and other critical needs of Yemen’s civilians.
Amid the volatile political and security situation in Yemen, two out of three internally displaced persons (IDPs) have lived in dire conditions for ten months or more and their prospects of returning home remain remote. According to the 9th report of the Task Force on Population Movement (TFPM), a technical working group of the Yemen Protection Cluster jointly led by UNHCR and IOM, there are currently 2,818,072 people affected by displacement in Yemen due to the ongoing conflict. Of these, 2,053,093 remain displaced, while 764,979 have returned to their areas of origin, but have not yet fully re-integrated into their community.
Throughout 2015, the region remained volatile and challenging as ever, particularly as the crisis in Yemen produced new waves of Yemeni refugees, Somali returnees and third country nationals fleeing the violent conflict in Yemen to Djibouti, Somaliland/Somalia and beyond. Despite this, DRC/DDG continued to work systematically, both programmatically as well as from an advocacy perspective in order to address these crises and continue to champion solutions for displacement-affected populations in the region. The regional footprint of the HoAY grew considerably in the past year with the Djibouti programme becoming formally operational in March followed by the incorporation of Uganda as part of the cross border regional response on the South Sudan crisis.