UNITED NATIONS, The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said Friday it was "appalled by the deaths of refugees" after a boat carrying them across the Red Sea from Yemen to Sudan was reportedly attacked overnight on Thursday.

A UN spokesman told reporters here at a daily news briefing that although details were still unconfirmed, "it appears that a number of Somali refugees were among those killed or injured".

Meanwhile, the conflict in Yemen is continuing along the Taizz governorate's western coast and has now moved into areas adjacent to southern Hudaydah governorate's coastal districts, the spokesman noted.

As of March 10, the fighting has resulted in the displacement of more than 48,000 people, who have largely sought shelter in more secure areas of Taizz and Hudaydah, he said.

"Humanitarian partners have so far provided direct, in-kind relief to nearly 120,000 people, including internally displaced people, host communities and residents of affected areas."

"In addition, partners are supporting critical services through assistance to local water networks and health facilities, as well as offering protection," he said.

"Access to the most affected areas of Taizz remains challenging due to ongoing clashes and movement restrictions imposed by parties to the conflict."

Over the past two years, intense fighting has been going on between Saudi-backed government forces and Shiite Houthi rebels in western Yemen.

In September 2014, Houthi rebels, with support from forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh, ousted the UN-backed transitional government and seized Sanaa, the capital.

Latest UN figures showed that deliberate war tactics are accelerating the collapse of key institutions and the economy, leaving some 18 million people, more than two-thirds of the population, in need of humanitarian assistance.

An estimated 10 million people are acutely affected and need some form of immediate humanitarian assistance to save and sustain their lives, including food, health and medical services, clean water, sanitation and protection, according to UN figures.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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