Last Updated: Thursday, 18 December 2014, 10:46 GMT

Yemen: Saada governor calls for help with new IDP database

Publisher Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
Publication Date 4 March 2010
Cite as Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), Yemen: Saada governor calls for help with new IDP database, 4 March 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4b94b5bb14.html [accessed 18 December 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, 4 March 2010 (IRIN) - Saada Governor Taha Abdullah Hajer has urged aid agencies to help develop an information database on the tens of thousands of people displaced by intermittent fighting between the Yemeni army and Houthi-led Shia rebels in northern Yemen since 2004.

The move comes after the latest ceasefire agreed between the two sides in mid-February.

"The database will help ensure a better distribution of humanitarian assistance to needy internally displaced persons [IDPs] in various areas," Hajer said during a 2 March meeting on coordinating the efforts of aid agencies operating in Saada. "It will also help IDPs get equal health care and other basic services."

The meeting reviewed a report by the Saada-based Social Affairs & Labour Office which said over 6,000 children in Saada IDP camps have psychological problems and diseases as a result of the violence and negligence.

The report also highlighted the plight of more than 12,000 displaced families from Saada living outside camps, and said the new database would aim to help pinpoint needs.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) agrees that a comprehensive database could help, Marie Marulaz, an external relations officer with UNHCR, told IRIN. Deploying the database in Saada could lead to the creation of a harmonized and comprehensive nationwide data system, thereby enhancing protection response and overall management, she said.

In 2009 an IDP registration workshop attended by representatives of the government, UN agencies, NGOs, IDPs and others validated the new registration methodology, data collection form and database, according to Marulaz. Thereafter, work on the database began in Hajjah, Amran and Sanaa governorates, she said.

Access problems

However, as with the delivery of aid, access problems are significant: Aid workers and local officials see poor security, destruction of infrastructure and landmines as major challenges.

"Constraints and limited access of UN agencies to areas where displaced populations are located have impacted the registration and subsequent delivery of assistance in some areas of Saada Governorate," Marulaz said.

Abdullah Dhahban, a Saada local council member, told IRIN that security still remained a real challenge for IDP registration staff.

"Some Saada districts are still controlled by Houthi fighters? Other areas where thousands of IDPs are sheltering are still inaccessible due to the destruction of road networks over the past six months of clashes? Staff fear going to the field as they hear about landmine casualties almost every day," he said.

Governor Hajer was quoted by Yemen News Agency on 2 March as saying the currently estimated 300,000 IDPs - in and outside camps - were distributed as follows:

- Hajja Governorate 100,000
- Saada Governorate 90,000
- Amran Governorate 48,000
- Al-Jawf Governorate 12,000
- Sanaa (the capital) 20,000
- Alab area near the border with Saudi Arabia 14,000

Prior to the escalation of hostilities in August 2009, the number of IDPs in the north was estimated at about 100,000.

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