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Action Against Hunger calls for urgent support of families now fleeing violence in southern Yemen
LONDON, 30 March 2015 // Families caught up in escalating violence in southern Yemen are now fleeing their communities in search of safety.
Action Against Hunger staff on the ground report mass population movements from Aden to villages in the governorate of Lahij in recent hours as air strikes and violent clashes between armed groups continue.
As it becomes more difficult for households to stock up on essentials, and as insecurity continues, people feel they have to leave the area.
“The situation in this region, which has been worst affected by bombing and fighting on the ground - including in Al Hawta, northeast of Aden – is very worrying,” explained Vincent Taillandier, director of operations for Action Against Hunger in France. “Food in markets is scarce, as is fuel. Care centres are almost all closed; regional hospitals are devoid of personnel and equipment."
To prevent the suffering of the most vulnerable, including children, the lack of water, poor access to health care and food shortages all need urgent attention, he added. As time passes, needs are increasing and families are becoming more isolated and impoverished.
“Those displaced should be assisted immediately, otherwise their living conditions – already complicated – will worsen,” Taillandier added. “A major humanitarian crisis is brewing in one of the poorest countries in the world.”
Before the coalition’s intervention, there were already more than 350,000 people internally displaced in Yemen, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
Locating and identifying people who are now fleeing is essential to provide assistance to the most vulnerable. Pregnant and nursing women, the elderly, and children, are most at risk of malnutrition in the coming days.
Despite the violence, Action Against Hunger continues to run programmes in western and southern Yemen, working specifically to continue therapeutic feeding programmes wherever families are accessible.
“People’s access to assistance is crucial to their survival,” said Taillandier. “We call on all parties to the conflict to respect the neutrality and impartiality of humanitarian actors. All those in need must have free and direct access to assistance and aid.”
Action Against Hunger has been present in Yemen since 2012.
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