SAna’a –The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and its partners havereached almost 100,000 displaced Yemenis with food assistance in fournorthern governorates since August when a new round of fighting eruptedbetween government troops and rebel forces.
In the wake of recent clashes in the border area with Saudi Arabia, WFP ismonitoring the situation to determine if more people start to flee thearea, and to what extent its supply route through the Kingdom of SaudiArabia into northern Sa’ada could be affected.
WFP is currently reaching internally displaced people in Amran, Al Jawf,Hajjah, and Sa’ada governorates. This marks a significant increase from theearly weeks of the crisis when it was only able to reach 10,000 people intwo governorates.
In spite of better access to some areas affected by the fighting, thesituation remains volatile and supply routes are unreliable. The situationis particularly dramatic in Sa'ada town where access has been extremelydifficult for the past three months.
“Our biggest concern is that we might be unable to re-supply stocks inSa’ada town, which could result in widespread suffering,” said Gian CarloCirri, WFP Representative in Yemen. “WFP is calling for the establishmentof reliable humanitarian corridors to guarantee safe and continued passagefor relief convoys."
WFP has delivered commodities through a cross-border operation from theKingdom of Saudi Arabia to assist some 10,000 displaced people in thenorthern border area of Mandaba, five kilometres inside Yemen. TheInternational Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Yemeni Red CrescentSociety (YRCS) began distribution in the area last week.
The influx of people to Mandaba has increased during the past month, withup to 200 people arriving daily, fleeing an escalation of fighting in theAl Baqim area. A recent UN assessment mission to the area revealed thatfood prices have doubled since the conflict began and is out of reach formany families. Other urgent needs include blankets, cooking utensils,medicine, and water sanitation facilities.
The major supply route through Al Jawf governorate, which reaches more than55,000 internally displaced people in and around Sa’ada town, had beenblocked for nearly three weeks before it re-opened on 31 October. WFPdispatched two food convoys through the newly opened route and is alsolooking at alternative routes to ensure uninterrupted access to peopleaffected by the conflict.
WFP’s partners, Islamic Relief in Sa’ada town and the Adventist Relief andDevelopment Agency (ADRA) in Al Jawf, are working in extremely difficultconditions to provide life-saving food assistance.