Houthis bomb refugee camps in Marib with missiles and heavy artillery
The Houthi militia recently launched a missile and artillery attack on refugee camps in Marib, east of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, which is considered the last stronghold of the legitimate government in the north.
The International Organization for Migration said that the attack killed eight people, including three children, and injured 30 others.
The IOM added that the attack also caused the destruction of a number of tents and basic facilities. The organization denounced the attack, describing it as a “flagrant violation of international humanitarian law,” and demanded that civilians and refugees be protected from any future attack.
The director of the IOM mission in Yemen said in a statement, “This attack shows once again how civilians are exposed to danger at every moment in this conflict, and that the right of civilians to protect their lives and safety is non-negotiable.”
Marib has been suffering from a stifling siege by the Houthis since last February, as they try to control the city, which includes about a million displaced people.
The city is witnessing violent clashes between government forces and the Houthis, causing hundreds of deaths and injuries on both sides.
The United Nations had warned that the fall of Marib would lead to an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe and would increase the suffering of millions of people who suffer from lack of food, water, and health care.
Efforts for a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Yemen are still pending, despite the initiatives put forward by Arab and Western countries to bring peace.
The legitimate government accuses the Houthis of obstructing these initiatives and continuing to escalate violence and attacks on civilians and civilian facilities.
Difficult humanitarian situation
The refugee situation in Marib is a difficult and worrying humanitarian situation due to the escalation of conflict and violence in the governorate, which hosts the largest number of internally displaced people in Yemen.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 13,600 people (2,272 families) have been displaced from their homes in Marib since the beginning of 2021 due to armed clashes, shelling, and airstrikes.
Refugee camps suffer from severe overcrowding and poor living conditions, and they lack basic services such as water, sanitation, electricity, and health care. The camps are also threatened with evacuation or destruction due to floods, fires, or military attacks.
UNHCR and its humanitarian partners face difficulties in providing assistance to refugees due to lack of funding and insecurity.
Who supports refugees in Marib?
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: provides emergency humanitarian assistance, such as shelter, household items, health facilities, education, and protection services.
- International Organization for Migration: works to improve living conditions for displaced people and host communities, and provides psychological, social and health support.
- World Food Program: distributes food items, food vouchers, and cash assistance to the neediest families.
- Emirates Red Crescent: sends relief convoys, establishes field hospitals, and distributes medical and food aid.
- Kuwaiti Red Crescent: contributes to providing relief and humanitarian aid to the displaced in various fields.
Solutions to the crisis
Yemeni journalist Kamal Ali said that there are several solutions to stop the Marib refugee camp crisis, which is a serious humanitarian crisis that requires urgent and comprehensive solutions. These are some possible solutions he mentioned:
- An immediate ceasefire in Yemen and the pursuit of a peaceful solution to the conflict.
- Providing safe and legal paths for refugees to reach other countries that can host and protect them.
- Increasing resettlement quotas for the most vulnerable and needy refugees, such as women, children, the sick, and detainees.
- Providing adequate and effective humanitarian assistance to refugees in Marib, including shelter, food, water, health, and education.
- Improving living conditions and basic services in refugee camps, and protecting them from floods, fires, and military attacks.
- Providing psychological and social support to refugees, especially those suffering from trauma as a result of war and displacement.
- Encouraging solidarity and integration between refugees and host communities, as well as combating discrimination and racism.
- Increasing awareness and education about the rights of refugees, the obligations of states towards them, and their role in contributing to development.