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Aid Agencies Seek To Access Displaced Yemenis At ‘High Risk’ Of Disease Outbreaks

Aid agencies on Tuesday “appealed for better access” to “tens of thousands” of people in Yemen who have been displaced by violence and are facing “a high risk of outbreaks of malaria and diarrhoeal diseases among the already malnourished population,” Reuters reports.

An estimated 35,000 people have fled after violence escalated over the past two weeks, UNICEF said. “Some 120,000 had been made homeless by earlier rounds of fighting in an intermittent conflict that began in 2004,” according to Reuters (Nebehay, 8/25).

Ann Veneman, the director of UNICEF, said aid workers are struggling to shelter, and to feed and safeguard the health of an ever-growing body of internally displaced people. Veneman said that children and women are the “majority of the displaced,” the National reports.

“Some internally displaced people are displaced for the second or third time,” Claire Bourgeois, the U.N.’s refugee chief in Yemen, said (Reinl, 8/26).

Elisabeth Byrs, of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said, “Insecurity has made it difficult for the humanitarian community to access the affected population and obtain accurate information on numbers, locations and needs.” She added that Yemen’s foreign minister indicated that the government would consider opening a humanitarian corridor, Reuters writes.

“Humanitarian workers must be protected and given safe passage to provide emergency aid,” the International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement (8/25).