We have extended support to 65,000 people in dire need of humanitarian assistance in Yemen

Published: Jan 16, 2024 Reading time: 4 minutes
field work
© Foto: Suzan Younus

After almost nine years of conflict, millions of people in Yemen suffer from the compound effects of armed violence, ongoing economic crisis, and disrupted public services. Prolonged conflict, increasing fragility of Yemen's economy, and decreasing purchasing power among the communities have greatly exacerbated the people’s vulnerabilities. We have supported over 65,000 people, mainly by providing access to safe drinking water and building sanitation infrastructure in communities, schools, and health facilities.

According to UN OCHA, over half of people in Yemen require humanitarian assistance, a total of 18.2 million people. Among those are 4.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), the vast majority located in Southern Yemen where PIN is also present. In these areas a large number of population stays in IDP sites with makeshift shelters, transitional shelters, or tents, with the remaining in rented houses or with host communities.

Life with 3 litres of water per day

Approximately 15.3 million people are in need of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) assistance. Over 60% of the population lacks or has restricted access to safe drinking water. "In urban areas, most families receive less than three litres per capita per day, four times less than the survival standard to cover all of their daily needs from personal hygiene, to drinking, preparation of meals or cleaning. In some districts, 36% of children under five are acutely malnourished. Children do not receive the necessary nutrients and energy to properly grow and develop their bodies, at the same time making them more prone and vulnerable to contracting different illnesses and eventually death. Additionally, since the conflict began, around 40% of farmers abandoned their farmland, and last year, 60% of agricultural households reported a decrease in income," says Jan Šindelář, Deputy Regional Director for Yemen and Afghanistan.

The humanitarian response in Yemen is one of the largest and most significant responses by the humanitarian system in its history. There is no doubt that the humanitarian operation in Yemen has saved lives, prevented suffering, slowed the collapse of state services, and avoided the worst effects of several catastrophes, such as famine outbreaks and a cholera epidemic. Still, challenges prevail and need for longer-term solutions remains.

Providing people with access to safe drinking water

People in Need has been part of these efforts since 2021, mainly in 3 governorates in Southern Yemen. "Since then, we have supported over 65,000 people mainly by providing communities, schools, and health facilities access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Apart from rehabilitating water sources and infrastructure, we are engaging with teachers and students in building their hygiene awareness and sanitation infrastructure and thus minimizing the risks related to water contamination or insufficient sanitation. We also help save lives of women and children suffering from acute malnutrition amidst a protracted conflict," says Arslan Malik, People in Need’s Country Director in Yemen.

At the end of the year, we distributed hygiene kits to 4,760 people in villages of the Lahj governorate’s Tuban district as part of the cholera response. "In November 2023, a cholera epidemic escalated quickly in a matter of days and weeks, catching local authorities unprepared. In coordination with our local partners, we responded quickly to contain the outbreak. We provided families with limited or zero income with basic hygiene items to make sure they are able to maintain basic hygiene standards and keep themselves protected, especially in times like these," says Arslan Malik.

Focus on agriculture and education support in 2024

For 2024, we plan to continue with our current lifesaving humanitarian interventions. "We also plan to support livelihoods of rural households through finding ways how to further preserve water, improve their yields and reduce the impact of ongoing climatic change. ," says Jan Šindelář. "We will also support education by rehabilitating schools, equipment, capacity building for teachers, and psychosocial support for children," he adds.

Although practically all community members are affected by the current situation, the proposed intervention will prioritise extremely vulnerable households with no stable sources of income. These can be households with numerous children, households led by older family members, households with a person living with a disability, single-parent headed households or households with a pregnant or lactating woman.

"We will especially focus on sites where internally displaced people have limited or no access to safe water. People here often have to use unsafe public wells, which expose them to water-borne diseases," explains Arslan Malik.

Our work in Yemen would not be possible without the generous support of our Alliance2015 partner Welthungerhilfe, Czech Development Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, People in Need’s Club of Friends and humanitarian e-shop Real Gift, and especially without the cooperation of local non-governmental organisations.

Autor: Jan Šindelář, Petr Štefan, People in Need

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