U.N.: 250,000 displaced by Yemen fight

Jan. 30, 2010 at 8:40 AM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- An estimated 250,000 civilians have been uprooted since fighting first broke out in Yemen six years ago, United Nations officials say.

Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said the number of Yemeni refugees has more than doubled since August, with some 7,000 people per week now streaming from war-torn Sa'ada province into neighboring Hajjah province.

Sa'ada province has been beset by renewed violence between government forces and Al Houthi rebels, which has moved from Sa'ada city and its surroundings toward the northwest of the country, Mahecic said Friday in a release issued from Geneva, Switzerland.

"Another push factor is the collapse of coping mechanisms -- people simply cannot sustain themselves any longer in Sa'ada province," he said, adding that although the three existing refugee camps in the Hajjah governorate are continuously being expanded, UNHCR is worried about the lack of adequate shelter nearby.

Mahecic said many refugees are living in makeshift sites which have mushroomed along the roads leading to the camps.

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