YPW News • November 30, 2018
As Peter Salisbury has observed, even before 2018, “the conflict had mostly settled into a pragmatic, if economically destructive, stalemate,” in which “[f] ront-line fighting was confined to several largely static battlefields, with many actors increasingly focused on the internal politics of individual territories rather than on the wider conflict.”16 Data from the Yemen Polling Center supports this interpretation, including the startling finding that a majority of Yemenis reported feeling “personally safe” after several years of war, whereas only 5 percent reported feeling always or mostly unsafe.17 This only makes sense when one considers the geographical features of Yemen’s war and the population distribution of Yemen vis-à-vis the arenas of conflict. Uncharacteristically for the MENA region, a staggering 74 percent of Yemenis live in rural communities— whereas the major conflict zones in the country are overwhelmingly urban. Urban dwellers often maintain close kinship ties to rural communities, and many have been able to seek temporary shelter in the countryside during the war. Measures of internal displacement may be misleadingly low in Yemen as respondents may not interpret this form of sheltering as displacement, even though it introduces similar forms of economic and social strain.