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UN relief agencies still seeking access to conflict-displaced Yemenis

16 October 2009 – The United Nations said it is still appealing for humanitarian access to Al-Jawf, a region in northern Yemen, to distribute essential supplies to thousands of people displaced by conflict.

Some 150,000 people have been driven from their homes by sporadic fighting between Government forces and Al Houthi rebels that resumed in earnest in mid-August.

Relief efforts have been hampered by security constraints as well as local and tribal divisions, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Access is extremely limited in Sa’ada governorate due to ongoing military operations, and UN agencies are currently operating at limited capacity through local partners.

Earlier this week during his trip to Yemen, the UN humanitarian chief urged all sides in the conflict to ensure that aid workers can reach those in need.

“The humanitarian situation is serious,” said John Holmes. “I am particularly concerned about the people whom we are unable to reach, especially those who are trapped in the conflict zones.”

UN agencies and their partners are continuing to register and verify internally displaced persons (IDPs). The total number of IDPs registered and verified by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) is 40,846, out of an estimated caseload of about 119,000.

A $23.7 million flash appeal issued in early September to provide life-saving support in northern Yemen has received just over 19 per cent of the necessary funding, OCHA reported.

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