What aid workers are saying about Yemen

By Anna Patricia Valerio 12 January 2016

A deportation center in Sana'a, Yemen, where the ICRC distributes food and hygiene items to detained illegal foreigners. Photo by: C. Martin-Chico / ICRC / CC BY-NC-ND

The violation of what was supposed to be a weeklong cease-fire, the abduction of two aid workers from the International Committee of the Red Cross, and a cyclone that has complicated relief operations are just some of the recent events that have exacerbated already worsening conditions in Yemen.

Conflict between forces fighting for the exiled President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the Houthis — the Shiite insurgency group that ousted Hadi in January 2015 — has created a political vacuum and endangered the lives of civilians and aid workers working on the ground. While the peace talks in Switzerland in December 2015 resulted in the warring factions agreeing on both a broad framework and a second round of talks set for January 2016, there is still a need for a permanent cease-fire for those discussions to bear fruit.

Continued conflict, stretched capacity

Security challenges are aggravated by the fact that there are now several parties to the conflict, adding more layers to an already complex humanitarian operation, according to Rima Kamal, ICRC’s communication coordinator in Yemen. For ICRC, this has meant that coordinating field movements, securing safety guarantees and addressing violations in a confidential bilateral dialogue have become even more problematic.

Kate Rose, UNICEF Yemen’s external communications officer who has been in Yemen since 2012, said the conflict in Yemen three years ago was more localized and didn’t impact the whole country.

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About the author

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Anna Patricia Valerio

Anna Patricia Valerio is a Manila-based development analyst focusing on writing innovative, in-the-know content for senior executives in the international development community. Before joining Devex, Patricia wrote and edited business, technology and health stories for BusinessWorld, a Manila-based business newspaper.

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