Yemen: Humanitarian Access Snapshot (January – February 2020)

Humanitarian partners reported 744 access incidents during the reporting period across 46 districts in 17 governorates in Yemen. The number of incidents remained at similar levels compared to late 2019.

In mid-January, armed hostilities escalated in border areas of Marib,

Sana’a and Al Jawf governorates. By the end of February, this had resulted in close to 60 civilian casualties with nearly 3,400 families displaced , mainly towards and within Marib Governorate. The humanitarian response was impeded by ongoing hostilities and a lack of safety assurances, which led to temporary suspensions of humanitarian programmes and withdrawal of personnel in areas closest to the clashes. The hostilities also obstructed the south-north crossline movement of humanitarian cargo via Marib.

During the first two months of 2020, humanitarian partners continued to face pervasive restrictions on movement and over 393 incidents of restrictions on movement within Yemen were reported. Similar to last year, restrictions were predominantly reported in northern Yemen and attributed to the de facto authorities (DFA) based in Sana’a. The incidents ranged from delays and denials of travel permits affecting needs assessments and delivery of humanitarian assistance to monitoring activities. In areas controlled by the internationally recognized government (IRG), humanitarian partners continued to face delays in the movement of personnel and humanitarian cargo owing to the bureaucratic requirement of local authorities. Moreover, despite the voluntary nature of the humanitarian deconfliction notification system, forces affiliated with the Saudi-led Coalition continued to request acknowledged deconfliction documentation from humanitarian organisations at the Dhubab checkpoint in Taizz Governorate, causing delays to the humanitarian response in the Red Sea Coast.

Interference in humanitarian operations by local authorities continued to be a major constraint, with over 216 separate incidents of interference reported across the country. This predominantly related to interference in local beneficiary registration and arbitrary attempts to influence project design, budgeting and other project components during sub-agreement negotiations. In northern Yemen in February, coordinated engagement by the UN, NGOs and international donors with the authorities resulted in the DFA rescinding a recently-introduced two per cent levy on NGO projects. Meanwhile, other requirements imposed on tendering procedures and project asset management continued to obstruct and delay the implementation of humanitarian programmes. In southern Yemen, similar challenges associated with securing project sub-agreements, NGO principal agreements and visas for humanitarian personnel continued to be reported.

Extensive delays in project approvals by the authorities remained the principal impediment for NGOs in implementing a timely and effective response. By the end of February 2020, humanitarian partners reported that 120 NGO projects remained unimplemented, in part or in full, due to delays by the authorities in approving sub-agreements. The pending projects targeted an estimated 8.7 million people and had a total budget of US$271.5 million. Between January and February, 36 NGO projects were reported approved by the authorities following delays of six months on average, most of them with the DFA.

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