Emergency responders deployed to help conflict-displaced families

Yemen, December 16, 2011

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Reuters/Khaled Abdullah, courtesy Trust.org - AlertNet  </span>
    Anti-government protesters flee as they came under fire during a demonstration to demand the ouster of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the southern city of Taiz on November 10. Photo: Reuters/Khaled Abdullah, courtesy Trust.org - AlertNet

Mercy Corps has deployed two emergency specialists to Yemen to evaluate ways in which the agency can help the growing number of families there displaced by conflict.

Veteran aid workers Richard Jaquot and Mugur Dumitrache are assessing the possibility of helping supply water, provide work opportunities, and support the psychosocial needs of impacted communities, particularly women and children. They’ll also help train our current staff in humanitarian response.

Approximately 400,000 people have been displaced in the north and the south. Other families who remain in their homes face significant challenges due to the massive unrest, including loss of livelihood, power outages, fuel shortages and a food crisis. Food prices have risen 15-20% in recent months.

Yemen, a relatively poor country of 23 million people on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, is beset by multiple crises.

In the north, a protracted civil war between the government and rebels has been exacerbated recently by tribal conflict and the political crisis. There's also a unrest and fighting going on in the South between various tribal groups, some pro-government and some anti-government. And Arab Spring-inspired protests have spiraled into a nationwide crisis involving political factions, tribal groups, the army and the president and his well-connected family.

Our team will assess needs primarily in the south, in the Governorates of Aden, Lahij, Abyan, and Taizz, where some families are crowding into public buildings and schools and others are cut off from receiving basic services. According to our assessment in the city of Taizz, the second-biggest city in Yemen, more than 50 percent of the population do not have access to safe drinking water since the fighting began.