With a renewed surge in suspected cholera cases and several mass population displacements away from areas of concentrated fighting, developments in March and April indicate that amid the stalled peace process, the humanitarian situation continues to worsen. By mid-April, nearly a quarter-million suspected cholera cases had been reported in 2019. “Gains made against the disease in 2018 have unraveled in the face of relentless violence,” Save the Children said. Clashes intensified in several areas, including in Hajjah governorate, where a tribal uprising against the Houthis has resulted in tens of thousands of new IDPs. In a worst-case scenario, “the shifting frontlines could displace up to 400,000 more people in the governorate,” aid agencies warned.
In an unprecedented sign of cooperation within the government, the internationally-recognized parliament reconvened for the first time in over four years. From Seyoun, Hadhramawt, Sultan Al-Barakani presided over the session as speaker of parliament, with President Hadi and an estimated 145 parliamentarians present. That same day, on April 13 the Alliance of Political Forces formed under the leadership of presidential advisor Rashad Al-Aleemi. The alliance brings Yemen’s major political parties in closer alignment against the Houthis. Al-Barakani announced he intends to convene parliament in Aden after Ramadan ends in June.
UN Envoy Martin Griffiths assured the Security Council that the warring parties had agreed to the first phase of redeployment from Hodeidah’s ports. However, optimism has waned as disagreement over key components of the agreement – particularly which security forces have the legitimate authority to secure the ports – continues unresolved. The shaky ceasefire in Hodeidah has resulted in a reduction in conflict-related incidents in the governorate, but there has been an uptick in fighting elsewhere, including in Taiz, Hajjah, Al-Jawf, Al-Baydha and Al-Dhale’a governorates. Meanwhile, a controversial security campaign provoked clashes between nominally government-aligned forces inside Taiz city, resulting in the complete withdrawal of the Abu Al-Abbas Battalions from the city.
To read about all the major economic, humanitarian, political, and military developments that took place in Yemen so far this year, access the full March & April 2019 issue of the Yemen Trend by clicking on the PDF icon below.