Attacks by Houthi forces worsen humanitarian crisis in Yemen

The aftermath of an attack The aftermath of an attack Photo by Julie Ricard, Unsplash

23 March 2021

Attacks by Houthi forces in Yemen’s Marib governorate lead to displacement and worsen humanitarian crisis.

 According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), since February 2021, Houthi forces have fired artillery and missiles into heavily populated areas in Marib governorate in Yemen, causing mass displacement and worsening the humanitarian crisis. In February, Houthis escalated efforts to seize Marib, which is strategically significant as the Yemeni government's last stronghold in northern Yemen and the centre of the country’s oil and gas production.

According to Afrah Nasser, Yemen Researcher at HRW, Houthi forces’ indiscriminate attacks against populated areas in Marib have put displaced persons and local communities at severe risk. Aid workers said that in February, Houthi artillery and heavy direct fire weapons forces hit several camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), which were home to  hundreds of families.

Local media and the Yemeni government reported that a Houthi missile hit the residential al-Rawdah neighbourhood in Marib city on 1 March, killing one civilian and injuring nine others. Local media further reported that a Houthi missile hit a fuel station inside a market in eastern Marib city on 16 March, killing two civilians and injuring seven others.

The conflict has hindered  access to aid in areas of Marib affected by the fighting, with family members of IDPs in Sirwah pleading with aid workers to help those unable to flee the violence and running out of food. Marib governorate, which according to the World Bank had a population of 20,000 before the 2014 conflict now hosts at least two million IDPs according to local authorities. The humanitarian crisis in Marib is exacerbated by the deterioration of  international aid to Yemen, as demonstrated by the UN aid collection conference for Yemen  in March which raised US$1.7 billion out of the $2.85 billion requested.


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Author: Irina Kovacevic; Editor: Catherine Meunier

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