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U.N., Oxfam Report At Least 120,000 Displaced In Yemen Fighting

Militants loyal to Yemen's President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi take their positions in Taiz, Yemen, late last month after at least 45 people were killed in north Yemen after an airstrike hit a camp for internally displaced people.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in the fighting in Yemen, the United Nations says today in a new report, which warns that the figure could rise dramatically unless the conflict is ended.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says the number of displaced persons in Yemen is estimated at between 120,000 and 150,000. (Separately, Oxfam puts the figure at 121,000).

"It's feared this figure could rise significantly if violence continues," UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards said in a statement. "This is in addition to the 300,000 plus Yemenis already displaced by previous violence."

"Across Yemen, the security situation continues to deteriorate with 18 out of 22 governorates now affected. Airstrikes and shelling in Sa'ada this week have destroyed banks, government and community infrastructure, the post office, and homes, UNHCR says.

Oxfam's Country Director for Yemen Grace Ommer said: "A permanent end to the conflict must be found now and land, sea and air routes must be re-opened to allow basic commodities like food, fuel and medical supplies to reach millions in desperate need.

"People have been without electricity and clean water in some areas for many days and are finding it increasingly difficult to buy sufficient food and fuel," Ommer said. "Humanitarian access also remains virtually impossible in many areas for Oxfam and its partners. This is why the international community must intervene now and put pressure on all the parties to bring an end to the violence, or we could be looking at a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions."

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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