Aid reaches Yemen's Mokha district where thousands are displaced by war

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Aid has reached the embattled district of Mokha in Yemen, where fighting in a two-year-old civil war has been escalating since January, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday.

Intensified fighting has led to more than 48,000 people being driven from their homes in Taiz governorate - where Mokha is located - in the past six weeks alone, UNHCR said.

Humanitarian access to Mokha has been particularly challenging due to clashes and movement restrictions imposed by the warring parties.

Distribution, which began last Monday, was allowed after weeks of negotiations, UNHCR said.

“UNHCR’s field staff reported many (people) were traumatized and living in desperate conditions, lacking water and sanitation and sharing limited resources with local host communities,” the agency’s spokesman, Matthew Saltmarsh, told reporters in Geneva.

At least 3,416 people received wash buckets, sleeping mats, blankets and mattresses and other essential items, Saltmarsh said.

An average of 100 civilians a month are dying in Yemen’s war which enters its third year this weekend, most of them killed by the Saudi-led coalition’s air strikes and shelling, the United Nations human rights office said on Friday.

In a statement marking the second anniversary on Sunday, it said it had confirmed 4,773 civilians killed and 8,272 injured in the conflict which has pitted Iran-allied Houthi rebels against the ousted Yemeni government backed by the Saudi-led Arab coalition.