Renewed fighting in Al Dhalea province has caused thousands of families to flee their villages under harsh circumstances.
According to the displacement tracking report by IOM, over 65,000 people had left their homes from January to September 2019. This of course does not include the new wave of IDPs, which number is unknown. Families are saying that more people are on their way or trying to find the right timing to flee.
The ICRC and Yemen Red Crescent Society teams were in Al Khobar town distributing food and essential household items to displaced people when they saw scores of newly displaced families coming from various parts of the region.
ITW Fatima Mohammed – Displaced from Subaira
“The clashes are intense. We were sitting very scared in the corner of a room. The kids were terrified and crying. The bullets reached inside our houses. Three of us got injured back there, and the rest of our families is unable to flee.”
They had to walk in the middle of the night for hours crossing areas contaminated by unexploded ordnance, with very limited access to food and water. Some people were seen on top of each other riding pick-up trucks going from one place to another looking for shelter. Newly displaced people have difficulties to find a place to settle down.
Several buildings and schools in al-Dhalea have become shelters for families who fled the fighting since the beginning of the year. These facilities are overcrowded, full of young men, women, and children who have no source of income.
Desks in the classrooms are piled up on top of each other, pushed towards the walls to make room for what would become the home of many of the displaced families. Some classrooms host two to three families (15-25 people). As water is scarce in the area, school latrines are not functioning.
Families who fled from the other side of the frontline during the past months are still displaced and unable to go back to their villages as their homes are destroyed and their areas are heavily contaminated with remnants of war. The ongoing fighting deters many to return to their place of origin.
In September and October, ICRC and Yemen Red Crescent Society teams were able to help more than 38,000 people on both sides of the frontline. The most recent distribution covered more than 10,000 people in Hussain and Al Dhalea city.
We are assessing the needs of the newly displaced people and distributions will start soon, provided the security situation allows it.
Al Dhalea province is halfway between Sana’a and Aden and is considered a major entry point for aid and commercial supplies. Each time the hostilities resume, they disrupt the main route for goods, letting tons of food such as grains to rot, displace thousands of people, and make it extremely hard for them to reach medical facilities. Each time they occur, heavy clashes force civilians, commercial trucks and aid agencies to take long and dangerous mountain passes.
The ICRC urge all parties to the conflict to respect civilian life by taking every possible measure to protect and respect civilians and civilian infrastructure, and to allow safe passage for those who want to escape the fighting in search for safety.
For further information please contact:
Sara Alzawqari, ICRC Beirut, salzawqari+ 961 3138 353
Fareed Al-Homaid ICRC Sana’a, email@example.com / + 967 739 164 666
Ruth Hetherington, ICRC Geneva firstname.lastname@example.org / + 41 79 447 37 26
18 Oct 2019
Al Dhale, Yemen
Details of restriction if applicable
No Restrictions apply
00:00 – 00:08 IDP’s unloading pickup trucks
00:08 – 00:23 Soundbite of Fatima Mohammed, displaced from Subaira
“We left Subaira and we are displaced. They forced us to leave the city and we came here. We do not have a place to settle in.”
00:23 – 00:36 “The clashes are intense, we were all sitting in the corner of a room. The kids were terrified and crying. The bullets reached inside our houses. Three got injured back there, and the rest of our families is unable to flee.”
00:36 – 00:51 Fatima Mohammed’s family (3 shots)
00:51 – 00:56 Pickup truck with many plastic bottles
00:56 – 01:03 Soundbite of Mohammed Saleh – ICRC
“We are here in Khobar area in AlHusain district which is one of the distribution areas for the internally displaced people (IDPs).”
01:03 – 01:08 “The front lines have shifted; some people returned home, while others became displaced again.”
01:08 – 01:50 Distribution of relief and shelter material in a school yard (6 shots)
01:50 – 01:52 Soundbite of Rafeek Ahmad, displaced from Hajar
“We took refuge here. Most of us men sleep outside while women and children sleep inside.”
01:52 – 02:06 Rafeek Ahmad in classroom (2 shots)
02:06 – 02:18 Soundbite Fatima Mosed, displaced Lakmat Sallam Village
“Where can we go? Everything is destroyed. We don’t have enough money to buy things, we cook with cardboards, without even cooking gas.”
02:18 – 02:30 Women and children in a classroom (2 shots)
02:30 – 02:37 Soundbite Aseela Mohammed, displaced from Hajar
“It’s difficult because we have nothing. We can barely find food and water. Not like it used to be back home… Here we have nothing.”
02:37 – 02:53 Aseela Mohammed preparing food (2 shots)
02:53 – 03:03 Soundbite of Mohammed Ali displaced from Bajah
“We were displaced from our village, now fights are over, but there are still many landmines and explosives. We are unable to go back home.”
03:03 – 03:09 Mohammed Ali sitting on a motorcycle
03:09 – 03:24 Children playing with a tire and cardboards in the school yard (2 shots)
03:24 – 03:31 Woman and her baby in the school yard
03:31 – 03:57 Soundbite of Sarah Alzawqari – ICRC
“These families found a way to flee during the clashes, others will do the same when they have the opportunity. But they might not find a place to settle. As you can see the area is a desert, does not contain camps or shelters… the situation is very difficult.”
03:57 – 04:09 ICRC convoy on a road in Al Dhale governate