Fighting in Yemen’s Marib displaces 20,384 since Feb

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Sanaa, May 25 (IANS) Some 20,384 people have been displaced due to the ongoing fighting between the Yemeni government forces and Houthi rebels in Yemen’s oil-rich province of Marib since February, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in a statement.

“Reports indicate that the figure could be higher, as IOM continues to record new arrivals across various (internally displacement camp) sites,” Xinhua news agency quoted the UN aid agency as saying in the statement on Monday.

The Iran-backed Houthi rebels began a major offensive against the Saudi-backed Yemeni government army in February to capture the oil-rich province, which hosts over 2 million internally displaced people from across the country’s northern provinces.

The UN has warned that the assault on Marib could lead to a major humanitarian catastrophe.

A recent UN-brokered negotiation between Yemen’s warring sides and other relevant parties has failed to produce any agreement of ceasefire.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014 when the Houthi rebels seized control of several northern provinces and forced the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.

The more than six-year-long war has killed tens of thousands of people and pushed the country to the brink of famine.