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UN to Help Provide Psychological Support to Yemen Victims

FILE - A man uses his mobile phone to take pictures inside a Shiite mosque hit by two bombs in Sana'a, Yemen, Sept. 3, 2015.

The United Nations says it will train members of civil society groups in Yemen to provide psychological support to victims of the ongoing conflict there and to document human rights violations.

Several U.N. organizations, including the U.N. Development Program, U.N. WOMEN and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, are partnering to provide the training to 130 researchers and members of nongovernmental organizations.

"Human rights violations in this war have occurred, and they need to be documented so victims can find relative peace and move on with their lives," said Mikiko Tanaka, UNDP’s country director in Yemen. "The trained social workers will support communities through the trauma and give hope that impunity is not a new norm."

Tanaka said the war is having a "devastating psychological effect on citizens."

U.N. human rights officials say more than 2,000 civilians have been killed in the conflict in Yemen, and another 4,000 have been wounded.

Earlier this week, the United Nations said civilian casualties in Yemen were continuing to spiral, largely as a result of the relentless Saudi-led airstrikes against Houthi rebels. It said that the current toll had most likely been underestimated.

The United Nations also reported that four out of five Yemenis — 21 million people — were in need of humanitarian assistance. The World Food Program said 10 of Yemen's 22 governorates were facing food insecurity at an emergency level, which is just one step below famine.

Civilians in Yemen have been caught in the yearlong battle that began with Houthi fighters seizing the capital, Sana'a, and then pushing south to the port city of Aden in an offensive that sent President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi fleeing to Saudi Arabia. He returned last month after the airstrikes and pro-government forces pushed the Houthis back from Aden.