Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 September 2014, 09:44 GMT

Yemen: Thousands of IDPs unable to return home

Publisher Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
Publication Date 28 July 2008
Cite as Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), Yemen: Thousands of IDPs unable to return home, 28 July 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/488f17e71e.html [accessed 23 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

SANAA, 28 July 2008 (IRIN) - Thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Saada Governorate, northern Yemen, have not been able to return home after their houses were destroyed in recent fighting between government forces and Shia rebels, local sources have said.

The long-running conflict, which started in 2004, has left hundreds dead and thousands displaced.

"There are still thousands displaced because their houses were destroyed," Salem Mohammed, an IDP in Saada city, told IRIN. He said some IDPs were worried fighting could flare up again and preferred to stay in the six IDP camps which have been set up in and around Saada city, or with host families.

The destruction of farms and infrastructure during the recent fighting, which began in May and lasted 70 days, had also driven many farmworkers from the land, aid agencies said.

Most government officials in Saada were unwilling to comment, but Saada Governor Hassan Manna said 70 percent of the displaced families had returned to their homes over the past few days.

Sporadic clashes

Meanwhile, some people in Saada city told IRIN minor clashes had erupted between followers of Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, the Shia rebel leader, and government forces in the mountains.

Al-Houthi's Information Office on 26 July said the army had opened fire on a pregnant woman and killed her as she tended sheep in Allaf Valley. In a separate statement on 24 July, it said the army had opened fire on displaced families returning to their homes, killing one person and injuring another. The army had also shot dead a child while he was tending sheep in Bani Moaath District, it said.

The Information Office has denied press reports that two Sunni mosques were destroyed by al-Houthi fighters in Dahyan District. According to local media, the two mosques were destroyed on 23 July by armed men. The authorities have not commented on the destruction of the mosques.

Cabinet forms committee

On 22 July the Cabinet formed a committee, chaired by Local Administration Minister Abdul-Qader Hilal, to assess the damage and reconstruction efforts in Saada Governorate.

At a meeting on 27 July the committee formed two teams - one to assess damage to private property, and the other to assess damage to public utilities.

Hilal said development projects, which had stalled since 2004, would start in areas not affected by the fighting, and that reconstruction was contingent on peace and stability.

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