UN Agency Announces That Thousands Are Trapped in Yemen’s Northern Flashpoint
On 12th March, a UN humanitarian agency cautioned that thousands of Yemeni civilians are trapped in between the violent clashes that are taking place between the conflicting groups. They are trapped in at war northern district, an area that has become another contingency in the nation’s bitter civil war.
The number of uprooted in the Kushar district in the poverty-stricken Hajjah governorate has doubled over the last six months, with more than 5,300 families departing from the district and its adjoining area in the past weeks, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Kushar, a hilly district only 50 kilometers from the border with Saudi Arabia, has been segregated from the outside world, roads and all sorts of communication lines are cut and thousands of civilians are allegedly trapped between clashing parties, according to the U.N. and local residents.
Over the last days, air attacks by the Saudi-led coalition, which is battling Iran-affiliated Houthi militias on behalf of Yemen’s internationally acknowledged government, killed 22 people, which include women and 14 children from the area.
Lise Grande, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, stated that it’s barbaric that innocent civilians continue to die unnecessarily in a battle that should have been resolved.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels inflicted tight control over Kushar after powerful local tribesmen took up arms against them. The Houthis eventually shelled the district, which was the home to 100,000 people and killed and wounded scores of civilians. Thousands were dislodged. As the Houthi siege choked the area, the Saudi-led coalition airdropped food and medicine to the tribes. The district’s tribes, in a 2012 deal with the Houthis, remained neutral in Yemen’s civil war, which started in 2014. The area’s Hajour tribes also largely belong to the same Zaydi Shiite sect as the Houthis.
However, after the Houthis tried to use the district to send weapons and reinforcements to the war’s front lines, the deal failed.