ONE million desperate displaced Yemenis are returning to the homes they fled as conditions deteriorate further, it is claimed.
Families left their communities in search of safety after fighting between Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led coalition which backs the government escalated in March 2015.
As many as 10,000 are thought to have died and now one third of those who left in search of safety are returning despite continued "danger and insecurity" as the anniversary looms, according to United Nations bodies.
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All but one of the 25m-strong country's 20 governorates – the island of Socotra – have been blighted by conflict and comprehensive reports by the UN's refugee agency and migration agency show lack of basic services and income are main factors pushing people back.
Seven in ten of displaced people have sought refuge in the central and western regions, all of which are experiencing "intense" fighting.
Food shortages and malnutrition are reported in 84 per cent of locations used by internally displaced people, with diarrheal diseases and malaria common.
Lack of sanitation is also a major problem, "scarce resources" are "increasingly overstretched" and the reports say many ordinary people are now resorting to "harmful practices" like child labour and early marriage in a bid to cope.
Ayman Gharaibeh, Yemen country representative for the UNHCR refugee agency, said: "It’s testament to how catastrophic the situation in Yemen has become, that those displaced by the conflict are now returning home because life in the areas to which they had fled for safety is just as abysmal as in the areas from which they fled.
“Those attempting to return face tremendous challenges. They often return to homes that have been damaged, in areas lacking essential services. They still need humanitarian aid and are often forced to flee their homes again. These returns cannot be viewed as sustainable."
More than 80 per cent of internally displaced people have been out of their homes for more than one year. Almost half of "key informants" told the agencies that many now plan to go back within the next three months.
Laurent De Boeck, chief of mission for UN migration agency IOM, says those in camps are in "great distress" and his organisation is committed to helping people "living in unbearable conditions with limited to no access to services and are exposed to health risks and environmental hazards on a daily basis".
However, he said recent displacements in Taiz, the country's third city, were not reflected in reports and warned: "All partners must scale up their response."
Houthis fought several rebellions during the rule of former authoritarian leader Ali Abdullah Saleh, who handed power to his deputy President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi in 2011 in a move supposed to stabilise the country, which was unified in 1990.
However, after the transition the Houthis struck in their northern stronghold of Saada province, moving south to take capital city Sanaa in January 2015, where Hadi and cabinet ministers were placed under house arrest.
Hadi escaped the following month, heading for southern port city Aden and out of the country in March 2015, when the Saudi-led coalition intervened in support of the government. Fuelled by arms sold by the UK and given technical help by the UK, France and America, the coalition is accused of committing a number of war crimes, including attacks on known civilian areas, medical centres, schools, wedding parties and funerals.
The UK Government says Saudi Arabia is investigating claims of wrongdoing and has refused to pause the multi-billion trade.