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UNHCR saddened by civilian casualties in Sana’a, Yemen

A Yemeni child stands in a bombed-out house in the Old City of Sana’a, Yemen, February 2017. © UNHCR/Mohammed Hamoud

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic  to whom quoted text may be attributed  at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is deeply saddened at reports of deaths and injuries of civilians, including refugees, when strikes hit Sana’a City, Yemen, on Thursday.

Refugees are known to be among those injured and affected. A Somali refugee woman and her daughter are among those now receiving critical treatment in hospital.

Incidents like this which result in the tragic loss of civilian life and injury continue to illustrate the fact that the war in Yemen is taking a brutal toll on the civilian population.

Civilians must be protected and parties to the conflict must ensure adherence to their obligations enshrined under International Humanitarian Law.

There are more than 275,000 refugees and asylum-seekers in Yemen, most of whom, more than 90 per cent, originate from Somalia.

The situation for refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants in Yemen, which was already precarious, has deteriorated significantly as a result of the conflict.

In response to demand from Somali refugees for help in returning home from Yemen, UNHCR initiated the Assisted Spontaneous Returns programme in 2017.

Returning refugees are being assisted by UNHCR and partners, including IOM, with documentation, transportation and financial support in Yemen to facilitate the journey, as well as return and reintegration assistance upon arrival in Somalia.

On Monday 13 May, 105 refugees departed from the Port of Aden to the Port of Berbera, Somalia, as part of the programme, bringing the total number of refugees who have returned home through the program to date to 4,068.

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Originally published by UNHCR on 17 May 2019