UN OCHA Yemen, Flash Update on the Escalating Conflict No. 4 – 6 April 2015

In the last 24 hours, air strikes hit Aden, Al Dhale’e, Sana’a, Sa’ada, Al Hudaydah and Hajjah Governorates. According to local sources, one strike in Sa’ada killed eight civilians in the Al Anad area; impact reports from air strikes in other areas were unclear as of 10.00. Armed clashes also continued in the south. In Aden, fighting intensified and was spreading towards residential areas of Al Ma’ala and Tawahi Districts. Clashes involved bombardment of residential districts; four residential buildings in Ma’ala were reportedly destroyed. Bridges connecting two major roads from Aden to neighbouring areas have also been damaged. In Abyan, clashes were reported in Lawder and Zinjibar Districts.

In Al Dhale’e, a party to the conflict has reportedly seized three hospitals and evicted patients; snipers are reportedly firing from the building. According to international humanitarian law, all parties to conflict must refrain from targeting civilian infrastructure. Commandeering civilian infrastructure for military purposes is also prohibited.

According to the latest estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO), 549 people were killed and 1,707 injured by violence between 19 March and 3 April. This includes at least 217 civilian deaths and 516 civilian injuries, many of which occurred in bombings against two mosques in Sana’a on 20 March. Civilian casualty estimates are frequently underestimates, as many people do not have the means to seek treatment in hospitals, and families may bury their dead before reports can be collected. All parties to conflict are bound by international humanitarian law to do everything in their power to avoid civilian casualties.

Displacement continues to be reported, but no verified overall estimates are available. Increasing numbers of people from Sa’ada and Sana’a are reportedly moving to Amran Governorate; local partners estimate that up to 4,000 IDP families (28,000 people) have arrived in Amran since the crisis began. In the south, more displaced people continue to arrive in Abyan. IDPs in Abyan have now reportedly moved into four more schools and are currently occupying eight schools in total (four in Zinjibar and four in Khanfir). A more detailed breakdown of current displacement estimates will be provided in the next Situation Report.

Priority humanitarian needs
Needs remain concentrated in mass casualty management, protection and WASH; vulnerable IDPs also require food and NFIs. In Aden, ensuring a reliable water supply is an urgent priority. Diesel shortages continue to threaten water networks; supplies of the Local Water and Sanitation Corporation will likely run out in several days. Emergency supplies of 35,000 litres have been provided; the Corporation reportedly requires 400,000 litres per month. The main water pipe serving two main Districts (Ma’ala and Tawahi) has been damaged by shelling. Repair efforts are under way, but partners are concerned at the potential for repeated damage due to its location in a conflict area. In Zinjibar District (Abyan), electricity has been restored, meaning water networks are functioning again. Food prices are reportedly still rising in major cities, including Aden, Sana’a, Taiz and Hudaydah.

Access and humanitarian response

Ongoing conflict and air strikes continue to restrict humanitarian access. Partners are working to import critical supplies – mainly to support hospital services – and deploy emergency medical teams. Authorization for two aid flights was reportedly obtained today. A third flight remains in Djibouti awaiting authorization.

Humanitarian partners are mobilizing to conduct rapid needs assessments in areas where security conditions permit. Rapid assessments are slated to begin around 9 April in Hajjah, Aden, Lahj, Abyan and Al Dhale’e Governorates. In Sa’adah, a team is ready to undertake a rapid needs assessment once local authorities clear the mission. Plans are also under way for assessments in Sana’a and Amran. More details will be provided in the next Situation Report, which will also provide an operational update on cluster response.

OCHA will issue a Flash Update every day and a full Situation Report every five to seven days.