More than 32,000 people in Yemen have been forced to flee their homes in a time span of two months, the United Nations says, due to the continued campaign led by Saudi Arabia that has also claimed thousands of lives.
In total, the UN says, around two million Yemenis have been displaced due to the Saudi war since early 2015.
The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) warned in a statement on Thursday that an increase in airstrikes paired with deadly weather had made the dire situation worse in conflict-stricken Yemen.
“The arrival of winter in Yemen, when temperatures can dip below zero degrees Celsius across a number of governorates, has worsened the hardship for many, particularly those displaced and living in informal settlements exposed to the elements with little protection against the cold,” the statement said.
UNHCR spokeswoman Shabia Mantoo said the intensified attacks in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, as well as the provinces of Hudaydah on the Red Sea, and oil-rich Shabwa in the south, had led to a new wave of displacements.
The airstrikes disrupt access to humanitarian aid for the suffering Yemeni people.
“We continue to see correlations between intensified hostilities and civilian casualties + displacement,” Mantoo said on Twitter Friday.
Yemen faces all kinds of shortage, including that of water, food and medicine.
“The latest violence has further exacerbated the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with more than 22 million people, around three quarters of the total population, in need of humanitarian assistance,” the UNHCR said.
Earlier the UNHCR had announced that 6.8 million, meaning almost one in four people, did not have enough food and relied entirely on external assistance.
According to aid agencies, poor access to healthcare, clean water and sanitation put more people at risk of life-threatening diseases.
“Yemen is living with the catastrophic consequences of a protracted conflict that has destroyed much of its vital
infrastructure and brought the health system to the brink of collapse,” said Mirella Hodeib, spokeswoman for the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Hodeib said the situation in Yemen “provided the optimal conditions for the growth and re-emergence of communicable diseases” such as malaria, diphtheria and cholera.
While Yemen is already battling a million suspected cholera cases and a diphtheria outbreak, the World Health Organization estimated that malaria cases alone rose in 2016 to 433,000 from 336,000 in 2015.
More than 13,600 people have been killed since the onset of the Saudi-led war on Yemen in March 2015.
The Saudi-led campaign was launched in a bid to reinstate a former Riyadh-friendly government and to eliminate the Houthi Ansarullah movement, but it has achieved neither of its goals so far.