02/24/2022, 10.17
YEMEN
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Yemen: Over 20,000 new displaced, children victims of bombs in 2022

The figure in a study recently published by the International Organisation for Migration. The escalation of tension between Moscow and Kiev is also worrying because of repercussions on grain supplies. A 12-year-old girl was killed in a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in a bombing raid; all the wounded were civilians. 

Sana'a (AsiaNews) - Over 20,000 people have been displaced in Yemen since the beginning of the year because of the violence, the fighting and a climate of constant terror that invites people to flee, caught between the grip of famine and the drama of a forgotten conflict. The figure emerged in the latest report on the Arab country, published in recent days by experts from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

"From 1 January 2022 to 19 February 2022 - explains the UN body in a note - the Displacement Tracking Matrix (Dtm) estimates that 3,368 households (equal to 20,208 individuals) have experienced displacement at least once".

According to the report, most of the displaced people were registered in the governorates of Marib, Hudaydah and Taiz. Thousands of people are trying to escape a war that in recent weeks has seen a military escalation between the Houthi rebels supported by Iran and pro-government forces linked to Saudi Arabia. A progression of the conflict that has led to the displacement of many families, together with great human and material losses.

The conflict in Yemen erupted in 2014 as an internal confrontation and escalated from internal confrontation to open warfare with the direct intervention in March 2015 by Riyadh at the head of a coalition of Arab nations, which has claimed more than 130,000 lives in recent years. According to the UN, it has caused the "worst humanitarian crisis in the world", on which the Covid-19 has had "devastating" effects; millions of people are on the brink of starvation and children - 10,000 of whom have died in the conflict - will suffer the consequences for decades. There are over three million internally displaced persons (IDPs), most of them living in conditions of extreme poverty, hunger and various epidemics, not least cholera.  

Activists, aid workers and experts are also concerned about the escalation of tension between Moscow and Kiev (the Kremlin's military operation began this morning), which could have serious repercussions in the Middle East and in countries that are already very tried, such as Yemen. Moreover, several Arab states in the area - Lebanon, Egypt and Tunisia to name but a few - depend on imports of Russian and Ukrainian wheat to meet local needs. These are countries that are already experiencing food crises to a greater or lesser extent, and the potential increase in prices due to the decrease in production and supply risks further exacerbating the suffering of a starving population. 

Finally, on the war front, new victims continue to be recorded, including minors, as reported by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) operators working in the area. In recent days, 10 wounded people and the bodies of a 12-year-old girl and a 50-year-old woman, victims of the bombings in the Hajja governorate, have been brought to Abs hospital. All the wounded, operators explain, are civilians and most are women and children, including a pregnant woman.

Thomas Curbillon, Msf's head of mission in Yemen, points out that "since the fighting has intensified on the front line near the city of Haradh" and more recently "in the northern district of Abs", the health workers "have received a significant number of injured people". The new escalation is a source of concern "for the safety of people already affected by years of fighting and displacement" and "for the terrible impact of indiscriminate attacks". "We call on all parties to the conflict in the country," Curbillon concludes, "to respect international humanitarian law and to take all necessary measures to protect the lives of civilians. 

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