Monday, 14 January 2013

 UNHCR calls for more support for south IDPs

Source: press release from Sanaa-based office, 14/01/2103

UNHCR Representative: Supporting IDPs who have returned to Abyan is a top priority

Aden, Yemen - UNHCR’s Representative in Yemen, Mr. Naveed Hussain, visited Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan Governorate on 12 January 2013 to assess the overall return situation on the ground as well as UNHCR’s protection and assistance activities in the area.

 During his visit, he reaffirmed UNHCR’s commitment to support the government in assisting internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees. He also noted that greater emphasis must now be placed on early recovery and rebuilding infrastructure in Abyan.

Since July 2012, as hostilities subsided and conditions began to improve, more than 100,000 IDPs that had fled to Aden and other southern governorates have returned to their homes and begun to rebuild their lives in Abyan.
In his visit, the Representative noted the positive developments in Zinjibar including the start of rehabilitation of water and electricity services, provision of basic care in hospitals, availability of transportation and the re-opening of small markets and some commercial activities. However, Mr. Hussian noted that much more resources are needed.
“We must work together to support the efforts of the government in Abyan in assisting the returnees and those affected by the conflict in rebuilding their lives. People have shown a lot of courage to return, and it is our responsibility not to fail them,” said Mr. Hussain. “Currently Abyan is a top priority for us.”
UNHCR has been conducting field visits to Abyan on a regular basis and continues to advocate to the government and international community to invest and facilitate more development and rehabilitation work to support the sustainability of IDP returns.
On 30 December 2012, UNHCR airlifted from Kenya emergency relief items including blankets, plastic sheets and sleeping mats for distribution to meet the immediate needs of the returnees in Abyan. To date, UNHCR has distributed non-food items to some 70,400 returnees and shelter kits to more than 52,800 returnees in Abyan.  The airlift and further assistance arriving by sea over the next three months will assist another 44,000 of the most vulnerable IDPs to start anew in Abyan. In addition, UNHCR has been working on a number of rehabilitation, health and water projects.  
As the lead international humanitarian agency responding to conflict-affected IDPs’ and returnees’ protection and shelter needs, UNHCR has been actively delivering protection and assistance on the ground since the IDP crisis first began in Abyan in May 2011.

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