45,000 displaced by battles around Yemen’s Mokha: UN

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Fighting around Yemen’s port of Mokha has forced some 45,000 people from their homes, a UN official said Wednesday, with many facing continued uncertainty and the threat of further displacement.

Shabia Mantoo, the Yemen spokeswoman for refugee agency UNHCR, told AFP that data compiled by her the agency and the UN Migration Agency (IOM) showed 45,000 people had been displaced in the last few weeks from Mokha and the nearby town of Dhubab.

Fighting has intensified in recent weeks in the southwest of Yemen, where forces loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi are battling to retake large parts of the country seized by Houthis.

Loyalist troops took Mokha on February 10 and announced they aimed to push north and take the country’s main Red Sea port of Hudaydah next.

Mantoo said many of those fleeing the fighting around Mokha made their way north to Ibb district and to Hudaydah province.

“Eight thousand people have been displaced from Mokha and Dhubab to Hudaydah alone, many of them with literally nothing but the clothes on their backs,” Mantoo said.

Two major concerns now are how to maintain access to the area and where the displaced will go if the fighting reaches Hudaydah.

“The whole country is suffering from multiple displacement,” Mantoo said. “People move from one place to another, because eventually it gets just as bad.”

The UN estimates three million people have been displaced across Yemen.