US News Yemen: in Marib, displaced people still on the move to save their lives

13:15  25 september  2020
13:15  25 september  2020 Source:   lepoint.fr

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A displaced family in their tent in al-Sowida camp for internally displaced people in Marib governorate, north Yemen , February 2020. Fighting in Marib governorate between Houthi forces and the Saudi-led coalition and their Yemeni government allies has moved closer to overcrowded camps

Yemen ’s civil war escalated on 26 March 2015 after the president, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, fled to working in displacement camps on the outskirts of Marib city, where around 70,000 people are now in The Saudis, struggling with their limited military capabilities and the financial strain of the conflict

  Yémen: à Marib, des déplacés toujours en mouvement pour sauver leur vie © Provided by Le Point

Five camps in five years. Yemeni Hadi Ahmed Hadi keeps moving to shelter his family from the fighting in Marib province, one of the few government strongholds under constant pressure from Houthi rebels.

Since 2014, the insurgents have held the capital Sanaa, 120 km west of Marib, the capital of the province of the same name, and keep pushing east to complete their control of northern Yemen .

The fighting in the area separating Marib from areas of his province to the west has intensified in recent weeks, directly threatening the IDP camp of Souwaïda.

It is there, north of the town of Marib, that the family of Mr. Hadi found their last refuge, at the end of August. She came to join 700 other families, settled on a plot of 1 km2.

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Marib Province produces much of Yemen ’s oil and gas, and Mr. Aradah’s administration now collects 20 percent of the proceeds, allowing it to pay salaries On the edge of town, a “martyrs’ cemetery” of sandy graves and simple headstones stretched nearly to the horizon. It did not exist a few years ago

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Hoping to stay there for a long time, Mr. Hadi works to give his family some comfort. He sets up a metal structure to support a large tent and places a refrigerator there, which he intends to plug into an electric generator.

"We have been around five times," Mr. Hadi, 46, tells AFP as his seven children watch. "When we got here, there was nothing."

This Yemeni first left his home in Naham, in the west of the province, which in 2015 became too close to the front line.

"Each time, we left our belongings behind us because we could not transport everything," he said resignedly.

The war between the Houthis, backed by Iran , and the government, backed by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia , has left tens of thousands dead, mostly civilians, according to various NGOs .

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Members of Yemen 's General People 's Committee deploy in Aden, Yemen , on Wednesday, March Photos: Unrest in Yemen . Houthi men raise their weapons during clashes near the presidential Tribal soldiers protecting the city from Houthi rebels stand guard at the city borders in Marib , Yemen

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About 24 million Yemenis, or more than three-quarters of the population, are in need of humanitarian aid according to the United Nations, which estimates that the war in Yemen has created the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

"War of attrition"

At the start of the conflict, Marib and its region saw a rush of Yemenis who wanted to flee the Houthis and the city, protected by the international coalition, experienced a period of stability and even prosperity.

Relatively close to the border with Saudi Arabia, it has benefited from significant investments and has managed to isolate itself from the conflict.

But with the awakening of the fronts this year, military pressure is increasingly being felt.

According to government military officials, the insurgents are trying to advance towards the city, sending reinforcements to the front every day.

The daily skirmishes are at their height since the beginning of the conflict and we are witnessing a real "war of attrition", underlines Majed al-Madhaji of the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies.

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Half a million Yemenis have been internally displaced since March. But as the world's population expands rapidly, so too does the raw number of people living outside their place of birth. There are even more internal migrants: the figure of 740m is almost certainly a conservative estimate.

And like elsewhere in Yemen, it is the civilians who pay the heavy price for the conflict.

Overcrowded camps

"The war raging in the outskirts of Marib has caused an influx of thousands of families in (relatively calm areas of the province) and the creation of many camps", reports Saïf Mouthanna, director of the organization management of camps for displaced people in the region.

According to this organization, 4,847 families joined the cohort of displaced people in the province between August 20 and September 15.

It has 140 IDP camps including that of Joufeïna, the largest in Yemen, with 40,000 people.

According to Olivia Headon, spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Yemen, "fighting displaced 8,000 people in August" in Marib and the number of displaced has reached 70,000 since the beginning of the fighting in January.

Some 80% of the displaced have chosen the city of Marib where space is lacking and where they have settled in already densely populated camps, which increases the risk of catching the new coronavirus, underlines Ms. Headon.

But for Mr. Hadi, as for his seven children and his wife, being forced to move again would be "a real disaster".

"It would be devastating for my family," he said.

25/09/2020 09:41:10 - Marib (Yemen) (AFP) - © 2020 AFP

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