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Iran Press TV

45,000 Yemenis displaced due to fighting near militant-held Mukha: UN

Iran Press TV

Wed Mar 1, 2017 5:10PM

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says about 45,000 Yemenis have been forced out of their homes over the past few weeks as a result of fighting around Mukha intensified recently by the Saudi-backed militiamen's seizure of the southwestern port city.

Shabia Mantoo, the UNHCR spokeswoman for Yemen, told AFP on Wednesday that the figure on internally displaced persons (IDPs) was based on data compiled by UN agencies.

She said that many of those fleeing the fighting around Mukha made their way north to the provinces of Ibb and Hudaydah.

"Eight thousand people have been displaced from Mukha and Dhubab (district in Ta'izz province) to Hudaydah alone, many of them with literally nothing but the clothes on their backs," Mantoo said.

Saudi mercenaries and the militants loyal to resigned Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi seized Mukha on February 10 and announced plans to occupy the country's main Red Sea port of Hudaydah afterward.

Fighters from the Houthi Ansarullah movement, who have been defending Yemen against the ongoing deadly Saudi aggression, launched an operation to liberate Mukha.

The latest number of IDPs marks a sharp rise from previous UNHCR data, which reported 34,000 displaced Yemenis in the fighting between January and February around Mukha and Dhubab.

Elsewhere in her comments, Mantoo warned that displacement was an issue gripping the whole Arab country.

"The whole country is suffering from multiple displacements," Mantoo said, adding, "People move from one place to another, because eventually it gets just as bad."

The Houthis and their allied forces are currently in control of the capital city of Sana'a, much of the country's northern highlands and most of Yemen's 450-kilometer Red Sea coast.

Saudi Arabia has been incessantly pounding Yemen since March 2015 in a bid to bring back Hadi to power and undermine the Houthis.

The Saudi military campaign has claimed the lives of over 12,000 Yemeni civilians, according to the latest tally provided by Yemen's Legal Center for Rights and Development, an independent monitoring group.

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