More than 100,000 people have been displaced in Yemen since the beginning of the year due to fighting, insecurity and the spread of COVID-19, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said yesterday.
"It has been nearly six years since the war erupted in Yemen, but the conflict is still raging," the UN organisation said in a report, adding that since the beginning of the year, more than 100,000 people have been displaced in Yemen, most of them due to the fighting and insecurity.
"However, COVID-19 is beginning to emerge as a new cause of internal displacement across the country," it warned.
According to the report, from 30 March to 18 July the IOM's Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) recorded over 10,000 people moving due to COVID-19, mostly out of fear that they may contract the virus, the impact of the outbreak on services and the worsening economic crisis.
The report quoted IOM Yemen's Chief of Mission, Christa Rottensteiner, as saying: "The situation in Yemen is so dire, particularly in locations like Aden where hospitals are turning away suspected cases and news reports have tragically shown large numbers of graves being dug, that families are now leaving virus hotspots."
The report warned that the spread of COVID-19 and lack of funding pose major challenges for the humanitarian community working to assist the internally displaced persons, who live in crowded informal sites, with little access to basic services.
As of Monday evening, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Yemen reached 1,619. However, the toll does not include cases recorded in Houthi-controlled areas.