Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2017, 16:28 GMT

The ICRC in Yemen

Publisher International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Publication Date 6 June 2012
Cite as International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), The ICRC in Yemen, 6 June 2012, available at: [accessed 16 December 2017]
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.

The ICRC is present throughout Yemen, to respond to the emergency needs of civilians affected by ongoing conflicts and armed confrontations in several governorates. The dire humanitarian situation has compounded the suffering of the civilian population, already affected by a weak economy and important structural deficiencies.

In recent months, the ICRC has further increased its operational reach to respond to the needs, expanding its activities in the centre and south of the country and reinforcing its operations in the north. Its activities are carried out by a team of 230, including some 50 expatriates, providing assistance and protection to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people.

In the north, the situation in large areas of Sa'ada governorate has remained relatively stable, despite an ongoing conflict between armed groups in Kitaf, and intermittent clashes in Hajja and Dammaj areas that continue to leave scores of people killed or injured. The ICRC has managed to enter Dammaj several times to evacuate dead and wounded and provide medical supplies, food and non-food items for the population. In Sa'ada district, the ICRC has started income-generating projects to support internally displaced people (IDPs) who wish to return to their villages; the schemes will allow them to sustain themselves and not to be completely aid-dependent. The ICRC is also continuing to provide water, food and non-food items, in addition to basic health services, to the resident and displaced families in Sa'ada town and nearby IDP camps.

The ICRC continues its agronomic and veterinary programmes, as well as basic health services and relief assistance in Amran; the beneficiaries include people who were victims of recent flooding. Access to the conflict-stricken region of Ahrab, to the north of the capital, Sana'a, has enabled the ICRC to start projects for the affected population.

In the south, where conflict has intensified since the beginning of 2012, thousands of people have fled the fighting to relatively safer towns in Abyan governorate or have been displaced to other cities such as Aden and Lahj. The ICRC has repeatedly delivered emergency assistance, including food and non-food items, water and medical supplies, and tt has deployed a field surgical team to operate on the injured. The ICRC has also visited Yemeni soldiers detained by the Ansar Al Sharia' group, to check on their treatment and conditions and to enable them to restore contact with their families.

The ICRC continues its visits to detainees held by various authorities in Yemen, to assess their conditions of detention and treatment. In line with standard ICRC procedures, findings and recommendations are discussed solely with the detaining authorities. The ICRC was also able to provide assistance for migrants who are in custody while awaiting deportation.

Apart from their help to the victims of conflict, the ICRC and the Yemen Red Crescent Society (YRCS) help members of separated families stay in touch. Yemeni families are able to contact relatives held in Afghanistan, Iraq and at the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, through Red Cross Messages and phone or video calls. Refugees and asylum seekers in Yemen are offered the same services.

In order to spread understanding of its mandate and way of working, and to encourage respect for humanitarian rules, the ICRC has intensified its networking with authorities and with religious and military leaders in all areas. This networking takes the form of workshops, seminars and less formal contacts. Target audiences also include members of the legal profession, tribal leaders and journalists.

The ICRC has worked in Yemen since 1962.

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