Unabated conflict and rapidly deteriorating conditions across Yemen are pushing millions of displaced Yemenis further into danger and adversity, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and IOM, the UN Migration Agency, warned today following the release of the latest data on the country’s displacement crisis.
Since the beginning of the conflict in March 2015, more than 11% of Yemen’s population, some 3 million people, have been forced to flee their homes for safety. Almost two years later, however, prolonged hostilities and worsening conditions are now forcing 1 million of those uprooted to return to the homes from which they fled, despite danger and insecurity across the country.
Two reports issued by the Task Force on Population Movement (TFPM), a technical working group co-led by UNHCR and IOM, show that there are currently 2 million internally displaced people (IDPs) across Yemen and 1 million IDP returnees; and that as conditions across the country further deteriorate, many more IDPs are contemplating a return home, where challenging security and socio-economic conditions persist.
Comprising a Multi-sectoral Location Assessment report released today and a periodically updated population movement tracking report (TFPM 12th report) published last month, the TFPM reports furnish the most comprehensive and detailed estimates of displaced populations and their circumstances in Yemen and inform humanitarian response planning for 2017.
“It’s testament to how catastrophic the situation in Yemen has become, that those displaced by the conflict are now returning home because life in the areas to which they had fled for safety is just as abysmal as in the areas from which they fled.”
The reports highlight that a lack of access to income and basic services in areas of displacement are the main reasons pushing IDPs to return to their areas of origin, with 40% of key informants indicating that IDPs now intend to return home within the next three months.
UNHCR’s Country Representative for Yemen, Ayman Gharaibeh, said: “It’s testament to how catastrophic the situation in Yemen has become, that those displaced by the conflict are now returning home because life in the areas to which they had fled for safety is just as abysmal as in the areas from which they fled.”
“Those attempting to return face tremendous challenges,” Gharaibeh added. “They often return to homes that have been damaged, in areas lacking essential services. They still need humanitarian aid and are often forced to flee their homes again. These returns cannot be viewed as sustainable.”
Noting that all of Yemen’s governorates, with the exception of the island of Socotra, have been affected by conflict, Gharaibeh said, “the overwhelming majority of Yemen’s 1 million IDP returnees have returned to Aden, Amanat Al Asimah, Taizz, Lahj and Shabwah, which have been particularly impacted by hostilities and insecurity.”
“For those that are returning home, food, financial assistance and psycho-social support remain priority needs,” he added.
The TFPM reports also provide indications of how dire life has become for the 2 million IDPs across the country. Shortages of food and malnutrition are widespread and reported in 84% of IDP locations identified. In addition to malnutrition, diarrheal diseases and malaria are cited as the most common health concerns for Yemen’s displaced.
IOM Yemen’s Chief of Mission, Laurent De Boeck, noted the great distress for those in collective centers and spontaneous settlements, explaining that “IOM, alongside its partners, remains committed to supporting IDP families who have sought shelter in these camp-like settings and are living in unbearable conditions with limited to no access to services and are exposed to health risks and environmental hazards on a daily basis.”
“When I recently visited some of these spontaneous settlements and IDPs in schools in Taizz, Hajjah, Lahj and Ibb governorates I saw just how imperative it is for the humanitarian community to adapt its response to address lifesaving needs, while also working to rebuild the damaged infrastructure to improve access to services, such as those of health, shelter, NFIs, water and food, and alleviate the pressures on the communities hosting large IDP populations,” De Boeck said.
De Boeck added, “with the most recent large-scale displacement seen in Taizz, which is not yet reflected within the TFPM reports, IOM and all partners must scale up their response to support those newly displaced as well as those whose displacement is becoming increasingly protracted with shifting needs as indicated in the released reports. This motivates IOM to scale up and access the most remote areas in the country.”
So far, 71% of those displaced have been seeking refuge in Yemen’s central and western governorates — including Hajjah, Amanat Al Asimah, Sana’a, Dhamar, Ibb and Taizz, all of which are experiencing intense hostilities — and displacement is increasingly being observed. In the absence of livelihood opportunities and insufficient assistance, many IDPs are also resorting to harmful practices to cope in displacement, including child labour and early marriage.
Yemen’s local communities, which are overwhelmingly absorbing the burden of the displacement crisis, are also under intense strain with alarming scarcities of food and insufficient access to water and sanitation services reported. 84% of Yemen’s 2 million IDPs have been displaced for more than a year and scarce resources are increasingly overstretched.
The Location Assessment report also provides insight into difficulties in accessing conflict-affected populations across Yemen and the perception among IDPs and returnees of humanitarian assistance. Though the majority of IDPs and returnees perceive humanitarian assistance as partially supporting them in meeting priority needs, negative perceptions of aid and considerable gaps in the engagement of humanitarian actors with local communities are also reported.
In response, the humanitarian community in Yemen has adopted an ‘Accountability to Affected Populations Framework’ as part of the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2017, requiring all humanitarian partners to create mechanisms to ensure that affected populations can provide feedback or complain about the assistance they have received.
In addition, UNHCR and IOM are continuing to engage with all parties to the conflict for improved access to populations in need across Yemen, and with donors for increased international support for life-saving humanitarian programs.
Assessments for the two TFPM reports were conducted in all of Yemen’s governorates. Displacement tracking for the 12th report covered 98.5% of Yemen’s 333 districts and data for the Location Assessment report was collected through physical site visits by field teams where key informants representing the community were interviewed.
Copies of the full reports are available here:
You can help
Collection of Personal Information
Australia for UNHCR follows the Australian Privacy Principles in handling personal information; we collect personal information about individuals including supporters, employees, contractors, volunteers, special representatives/delegates and job applicants. This information is collected directly from you, in person, by phone or email, on hard copy donation forms or via our website. We may also collect your personal information from publically available sources or third parties.
Use of Personal Data
The information we collect and hold generally includes contact details (name, address, email), personal details including date of birth, and credit card or bank accounts details.
We use the personal information you provide us with for the purpose for which it was provided to us, other related purposes or as permitted or required by law. Generally we collect and use your personal information for:
We also use your information in our marketing and fundraising activities, keeping you informed of our latest news, campaigns and appeals or about campaigns and appeals which may be of interest to you, and offer you the opportunity to subscribe to them. We may also offer you the opportunity to participate in surveys carried out by Australia for UNHCR or its agents.
We use your personal details to assist in the cost-effective development of our marketing and fundraising activities by sending you information by post, email or telephone. As we have a large number of supporters, at times we use external providers to assist with our telemarketing and mailing. We will take reasonable steps to ensure that our contracts with third parties include requirements for third parties to comply with the Use and Disclosure requirements of the Privacy Act.
We will endeavour to provide you with an opportunity to opt out of receiving such communications. By signing our pledge documents, you consent to having your personal information stored. If you do not opt out by ticking the box, we will send you our direct marketing materials. We make every effort to ensure that our opt-out notices are clear and easy to follow.
If you do not wish to receive future communications from Australia for UNHCR or have any questions about privacy please contact our Donor Care Team; contact details are included at the bottom of this policy.
Disclosure and Sharing of Personal Data
We occasionally invite other like-minded and trusted organisations in Australia to contact you with information that may be of interest. This allows Australia for UNHCR to increase its base of supporters and reach more people with our vital message.
Any personal contact information you provide to us may be disclosed, if appropriate, to third parties who provide services on our behalf. We may also disclose your personal information to our volunteers who assist with many of our tasks.
Strict confidentiality agreements are in place with our service providers and external agencies, and with staff and volunteers who handle your personal information. We will only disclose your personal information for the purposes for which it was initially collected, other directly related purposes or purposes to which you otherwise consent.
Other than as stated above, we will we not share your personal information. However, it is possible, though unlikely, that we might be forced to disclose personal information in response to legal processes or when we believe in good faith that the law requires it, for example, in response to a court order, subpoena or a law enforcement agency's request.
If you do not wish Australia for UNHCR to share your personal information with like-minded and trusted organisations in Australia, you may opt out by ticking the appropriate box on the donation or pledge form or contact our Donor Care team, with contact details at the bottom of this policy. If you have any questions about privacy please contact our Donor Care Team (see contact details at the bottom of this policy).
Access and Correction of Personal Data
Australia for UNHCR will correct its records containing Personal Information as soon as practically possible at the request of the individual concerned in accordance with the Privacy Act. We take reasonable steps to ensure that the personal information that we collect and hold is accurate, complete and up-to-date. However, we rely on you to advise us of any changes to your personal information to help us maintain accurate, complete and up-to-date information.
We will, on request, provide you with access to the personal information we hold about you unless otherwise required or permitted by law. We will notify you of the basis for any denial of access to your personal information.
Individuals wishing to lodge a request to access and/or correct their Personal Information should do so by contacting our Donor Care Team; contact details are included at the bottom of this document.
Quality of Personal Information
Australia for UNHCR will review, on a regular and ongoing basis, its collection and storage practices to ascertain how improvements to accuracy can be achieved. We may utilise the services of third parties in order to maintain accurate personal information. Where such disclosure is made, we take reasonable steps to require these organisations comply with the National Privacy Principles.
Storage and Security of Information
We strive to protect your personal information, that it is protected from misuse, loss, interference and unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. For example, whenever we ask for your financial details online, we use security-encrypted response forms.
No data transmission over the internet can be guaranteed to be 100% secure. As a result, while we strive to protect your personal information, Australia for UNHCR cannot ensure or warrant the security of any information you transmit to us over the internet, and you do so at your own risk. Once we receive your transmission, we make our best effort to try and ensure its security both on our systems and while in transit between our systems and the companies who provide us with various services. Third party service providers may use data centres overseas or be located overseas. If you do not wish to make your financial contribution online, please contact us to receive a hard copy form; contact details are included at the bottom of this policy.
Making a Privacy Complaint
We will refer your complaint to our Privacy Officer who will investigate the issue and determine the steps that we will undertake to resolve your complaint. We will contact you if we require any additional information from you and will notify you in writing of the outcome of the investigation. If you are not satisfied with our determination, you can contact us to discuss your concerns. If your complaint is about the way we handle your personal information, you may also contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner by calling 1300 363 992, online at www.oaic.gov.au or writing to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001.
Online Activity and Privacy
Third party cookies
Australia for UNHCR sometimes embeds photos and video content from websites such as YouTube. Pages with this embedded content may present cookies from these websites. Similarly, when you use one of the share buttons on our website, a cookie may be set by the service you have chosen to share content through. We do not control the dissemination of these cookies; you should check the relevant third party website for more information about these.
In addition, if you linked to our websites from a third party website, we cannot be responsible for the privacy policies and practices of the owners or operators of that site. We recommend you check the policy of the third party site and contact its owner or operator if you have any concerns or questions.
Web browser cookies
If you wish to restrict or block web browser cookies which are set on your device you can do this through your browser settings; the Help function within your browser should tell you how. Alternatively, you may wish to visit www.aboutcookies.org which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of desktop browsers.
Our website and mobile site may contain links to online forums. Think carefully before you post or publish any Personal Information in these forums as it will be publicly available.
Secure Online transactions
If you make a donation via our website, we process your credit/debit card details securely using an accredited internet payment security system. With the combination of SSL encryption on our website and a secure browser at your end, we take all reasonable measures to ensure that your credit/debit card and personal information are protected when you donate online. We also recommend that you take appropriate security precautions when accessing the internet via public Wi-Fi networks or shared computers.
If you have any questions about your privacy, wish to access or change your details, how to lodge a complaint regarding the handling of your information and how that complaint will be handled by Australia for UNHCR, please contact our
Donor Care Team: