AL-MUKALLA: The Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen on Wednesday announced killing 145 Houthis during the past 24 hours outside the Yemeni central city of Marib where bloody battles between government troops and the Iran-backed rebels continue to rage.
The coalition’s warplanes carried out 32 air raids and destroyed 18 Houthi military vehicles, the coalition said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.
A group of international aid agencies operating in Yemen on Wednesday warned of an impending humanitarian crisis in the province of Marib and neighboring provinces as thousands of people flee homes and displacement camps due to expanding fighting.
“With the continuing conflict in and around Marib, displaced populations are risking once more being displaced into neighboring governorates that are already reeling from the impact of seven years of conflict,” the organizations said in a joint statement, urging international donors to speed up funds to humanitarian programs in war-torn Yemen.
The organizations included ACTED, CARE, Danish Refugee Council, Humanity and Inclusion, Handicap International, INTERSOS, Lutheran World Relief, Médecins du Monde, Mercy Corps, Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam, Polish Humanitarian Action, Save the Children, and ZOA.
In October, the agencies recorded 119 civilian casualties in Marib, including the Houthi attack on a religious school in Marib’s Al-Amud that killed and wounded 29 on Sunday. It was more than a 230 percent increase recorded in a single month in Marib province.
“Humanitarian needs in Marib city far outreach current humanitarian capacity on the ground,” the organizations said. “The city hosts crowded internally displaced person camps, over-stretched public service and healthcare system, fragile city infrastructure, and an increasingly vulnerable host community.”
Erin Hutchinson, Norwegian Refugee Council’s country director in Yemen, also appealed for rescuing thousands of trapped civilians in flashpoint sites in Marib who were deprived of life-saving humanitarian assistance.
“Some of Yemen’s most vulnerable civilians in Marib are now cut off from life-saving assistance while also being under attack. The numbers of civilian casualties in Marib, including children, is at a record high,” Hutchinson said.
The international organizations’ warning comes as local authorities are building five large camps to accommodate thousands of people who have fled homes in districts south of Marib during the past few months.
Marib Gov. Sultan Al-Arada sent an urgent appeal to local and international aid organizations to help the local authorities cope with the influx of displaced people from Marib’s southern areas due to the intensifying Houthi military operations, the official news agency reported.
Khaled Al-Shajani, deputy head of the Marib office of the Executive Unit for IDP Camps, told Arab News on Wednesday that the number of displaced people from Marib’s southern districts such as Juba, Rahabah, Jabal Murad, Abedia, Hareb, and Serwah increased from 50,000 to 70,000 since early September amid shortages of foods, shelter, and medication.
“The greatest concentration of displaced people at the moment is in Wadi district. The displaced people spread in valleys, villages, farms, old camps, and some made their own shelters. No one has helped them with even a tent,” Al-Shajani said.
Residents reported seeing dozens of families making temporary shelters while others slept outside in desert areas on the southern edges of Marib.
Meanwhile, on the battlefields, fighting between government forces and the Houthis flared up in Juba district, south of Marib as the Houthis increased ground attacks to get closer to oil fields outside the city.
Yemen’s Defense Ministry said army troops and allied tribesmen engaged in heavy fighting with the Houthis and foiled attacks on government-controlled areas south of Marib.
The continuing intensive fighting in that area started in September when the Iran-backed Houthis seized control of Al-Bayda province, south of Marib, and subsequently launched attacks on Hareb, Al-Abedia, and Rahabah districts in Marib province.
The Yemeni Network for Rights and Freedoms on Tuesday documented 69 Houthi attacks on civilians and private properties in Juba’s Al-Amud in one week, which resulted in the death of 20 civilians. Four women and six children were among the dead while 30 more were injured.
Mohammed Al-Omada, the organization’s director, told Arab News on Wednesday the Houthis shelled Juba with mortar shells and ballistic missiles, deployed snipers, and planted landmines to smooth the way for their forces to advance.
“Houthi militias’ violations have increased in a frightening and alarming way, especially as it endeavors to storm Marib,” Al-Omada said.