Yemen conflict comes at great cost to civilians: UN envoy

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A man from the city of Sa’ada, sits outside his tent in the Dharwan settlement outside Yemen's capital Sana'a. He fled with his eight sons to the temporary settlement after his house was destroyed by Yemen's devastating conflict. Photo: UNHCR/Mohammed Hamoud

The escalation of conflict and militarization of Yemen's Western Coast is coming at a great cost to civilians, the humanitarian coordinator in the country, Jamie McGoldrick, has warned.

Fighting and displacement have mainly been concentrated in Al Mukha and Al Dhubab districts in Taizz governorate.

Since the beginning of the conflict in March 2015, some three million people have been forced to flee their homes for safety, according to UN estimates.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

UN humanitarian coordinator Jamie McGoldrick issued a statement on Tuesday expressing concern over the recent flare-up of fighting in Yemen and its impact on the ongoing food crisis.

Over 17 million people in Yemen are currently unable to adequately feed themselves and are frequently forced to skip meals, he said.

Seven million Yemenis don't know where their next meal will come from and are even closer to starvation, he added.

Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) also issued a warning following the release of the latest data on the country's displacement crisis.

Prolonged hostilities and worsening conditions are now forcing one million of those uprooted to return to the homes they fled, despite the danger and insecurity across the country, the agencies said.

On a more positive note, health authorities in Yemen launched a nationwide polio immunization campaign on Monday with the help of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

More than 5 million children under the age of five are expected to get the vaccine, according to WHO's Christian Lindemeir.

"More than 40,000 health workers are taking part in the 3 day campaign and that involves more than 5,000 vehicles that had to be rented. The campaign started in all governorates except Sa'ada which is in the northwest where it will take place next week and will be combined with measles and rubella measles campaign due to the measles outbreak there."

Mr Lindemeir said the last immunization campaign was in 2016. 

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’41″

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