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UN launches aid appeal for 150,000 displaced by fighting

The United Nations has launched a $23.5 million appeal to help 150,000 people displaced in Yemen since 2004 by fighting between Shiite rebels and government troops. The UN estimates that 55,000 of them have fled since fighting intensified in July.


AFP - The United Nations on Wednesday launched a 23.5 million dollar appeal to help 150,000 people displaced in northern Yemen by fighting between Shiite rebels and government troops.

"The UN has approved 38 projects in total... on food, shelter, water sanitation, health," John Holmes, who is the UN's humanitarian chief told journalists.

The UN estimates that some 150,000 people have been displaced by the conflict in northern Yemen since 2004. Among them, 55,000 had fled their homes amid intensified fighting since July.

Highlighting the problem of access faced by relief organisations, Holmes said that even data on the displaced is an estimate.

While some of the victims have made their way to camps, others have sought refuge in "schools, abandoned buildings" while others may not even have shelter.

"For the moment there is no response from the rebels concerning the ceasefire offered by the government," said Holmes.

An offshoot of Shiite Islam, the Zaidis -- also known as Huthis -- are a minority in mainly Sunni Yemen but form the majority community in the north and want to overthrow the immate overthrown in a 1962 coup.

Thousands of people have been killed since the conflict first erupted in 2004.

On Wednesday, the rebel group's leader threatened a war of attrition, a day after the government refused his offer of a truce in renewed fighting that has raged since August 11.

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