The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is extremely concerned for the safety of its staff and civilians trapped in their homes after fighting broke out in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden. Since August 7, fighting has intensified in parts of the city leaving civilians trapped in residential areas especially in the Crater area. Scared residents are unable to flee to get to safety and many are running out of food and water. One of the city’s main water tanks has reportedly been damaged by the fighting, cutting off supplies of drinking water.
“There has been heavy, continuous shelling. We’re still hearing clashes in my neighbourhood. The water supply has stopped for days. People have small water tanks with enough water to last for one or two day’s maximum. There isn’t enough water and this is one of the main concerns. There is no way to get out of the city. Roads are closed and it is not safe. People are scared. We hope this will end soon,” says Amgad, NRC staff member.
The fighting is taking place in densely-populated residential areas and civilians are caught in the crossfire, with residents at threat from indirect fire from heavy weapons. On August 8, a child was reportedly killed, and several civilians from the same family injured as a result of shelling which hit their home. Fighting has also been reported at the city’s port area, and Aden airport has reportedly closed.
“Civilians in Crater have been trapped in their homes for two days. Loud sounds made by heavy military equipment can be heard in the day and night time preventing people from sleeping and living a normal life. People who live on top floors of apartment buildings have had to move down. People did not have enough time to store food and water. What people need right now is access to safe roads so they can flee the fighting,” added Nuhad, NRC´s staff member.
“NRC currently has nine Yemeni staff members who are trapped by the fighting in the Crater area. We are extremely worried about their safety and well-being. Our staff are trapped in their homes. They are frightened as they can hear heavy fighting taking place close to their homes. They are worried about running out of food and water. They have no way of getting out and want the fighting to stop so they can get to safety,” said Mohammed Abdi, NRC´s Country Director in Yemen.
If the fighting continues the impact will be felt across the country. Aden port remains one of the main gateways, second to Hodeidah port for supplying commercial and humanitarian goods to Yemen. Aden, airport, is one of only two operational airports in the country. With Sana’a Airport closed to civilian flights, this means thousands will be stranded and unable to leave the country for urgent medical treatment, putting lives at risk.
NRC is calling on warring parties to immediately end the violence and bloodshed, and on leading members of the Coalition UAE, and Saudi Arabia, and their allies US, UK, France to put pressure on all sides to end the fighting, to protect civilians, and ensure people can flee to safety, and travel abroad for medical treatment.