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Red Cross Demands Better Access to Sa’ada; Displaced People Prefer Camps

  Written By: Hakim Almasmari ( YEMEN POST STAFF ) 
  Article Date:
August 11, 2008


Following President Saleh's announcement that Sa'ada war was over, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) demanded last Saturday better access to people who were affected by the war in the province.

The ICRC also revealed that it is continuing to press the authorities for improved access to the areas most affected by the conflict, especially in Marran, Razih, and other areas.

In his turn, Houthi field leader Abdul Malik Al-Houthi announced that they will abide by the ceasefire agreement which none knows anything about its details.

Three weeks ago, the Ministry of Interior called on displaced citizens from the region to return to their homes and farms, stressing that everything has been secured. It also hinted that food stuffs, clean water, medicine and other requirements are all available for those in need.

These announcements prompted hundreds of families to return to their homes; however, those whose houses were damaged by the war are still in camps outside Sa'ada city.

Thousands have remained in camps or in the capital Sana'a fearing any potential war renewal or fearing reprisal by Houthis, especially when their relatives joined the army in the war against Houthis, according to Sheikh Abdullah bin Hussein Jarallah Rokan,  Sheikh of Kholan.

The Red Cross report pointed out that the fierce fighting in the northern governorates of Yemen have had a dramatic effect on the civilian population in recent times, forcing more people to flee the area.

It added that "More than 15,500 displaced persons are currently living under difficult conditions in camps near Sa'ada city and thousands more are scattered around the governorates."

"The lack of clean water and medical care are particularly serious for the displaced, the sick, the wounded and isolated communities. Spiraling food prices have placed an additional burden on the population," the report noted.

As early as May 2008, the ICRC appealed for additional funds to speed up the provision of food, water, shelter, essential household items and medical care to cover up for the increasing needs of more than 100,000 people who were directly affected by the war.

The report maintained that they had been incapable of reaching conflicted areas. It had mentioned that the services provided in collaboration with the Yemen Red Crescent Society (YRCS) were confined to Sa'ada city and its immediate surrounding areas.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and internal violence and to provide them with assistance.

It directs and coordinates international relief activities conducted by going to the zone of conflict. It also endeavors to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles.

In related news, preparations are underway to send a second relief convoy by Yemeni Women Union and Care International Organization next Wednesday to Sa’ada.

The convoy will include 4 psychologists, four mobile hospitals to examine women and children in Sa’ada districts together with making check-ups for pregnant women.

Further, the convoy will distribute over 4,000 blankets, 3,000 medical kits, women cloths and food stuffs.