Yemen

Conflict affected Yemenis homeless & desperately struggling to find safe shelter - urgent support needed

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By the beginning of 2017, more than 4.5 million people required assistance with shelter, non-food items (NFIs), or CCCM support of collective centres in which they were living (based on the YHRP for 2017). Of these people, 3.9 million were in areas of acute need, and over 2 million were displaced. Extremely vulnerable IDP families in Yemen experience degradation of already sub-standard living conditions, overcrowding, lack of prospects of accommodation solutions, eviction threats. If not urgently addressed, some of the consequences for alarmingly large numbers of people are increasing health and psychosocial trauma, harassment, sexual exploitation, stigmatization and forced recruitment.

IDP Shelter and CCCM Situation

  • While the majority of the IDP population resides in hosted or rented arrangements, a sizable segment have had to resort to more precarious shelter options. 21%1 (413,190 IDPs) of those displaced have opted – likely as a last resort – to reside in collective centres (CC) or spontaneous settlements (SS).

Note that these are considered the most vulnerable people of those requiring assistance as they have no means to support a more adequate shelter solution. Additionally, limited to no assistance has reached them since displacement occurred. Their situation is extremely alarming and continuing to worsen if a solution is not identified and minimum services continue to not be provided.

  • Among this 21% figure, 4% (76,182 individuals) are living in collective centres such as disused schools, health facilities, religious buildings and other vacant public and private buildings, while 17% (337,008 individuals) are residing in SS in rural or urban settings, or in isolated or dispersed settlements.

  • The fact that that 84% of IDPs have been displaced for more than a year suggests a prolonged burden on hosting families and those paying rent.

Return situation

  • The 13th TFPM report has identified an estimated 1,048,896 individuals (174,816 households) who have returned from conflict driven displacement to their location of origin across 19 governorates.

  • In addition to those who have returned to their original house of habitual residence, 8% (or 86,046 returnees) of returnees are living in rented accommodation, with a further 6% (or 66,600 returnees) living with host families and 2% (or 2,769 returnees) returning to a second home.

  • While the majority of the returnee population are residing in their original house of habitual residence and in hosted or rented arrangements, a small population (0.7% or 8,154 returnees) have had to resort to more precarious options, i.e. seeking shelter in collective centres (CC) or spontaneous settlements (SS) within their village or neighbourhood of origin.

Major challenges in the response

Given the context there were several challenges encountered:

  • Insufficient funding. The cluster currently is 1.5% funded out of the total funding requirement 2017 YHRP appeal of $106 USD. The cluster has $8 million carryover funding from 2016 (HPF second allocation).

  • Finding alternative shelter solutions for IDPs currently living in schools or other public buildings for nearly two years and facing high pressure from the host community to vacate the premises. If the set-up of camps continues to be excluded, the question will remain as to where people can be moved to, the potential establishment of transitional shelters, and how the displaced population can integrate in the host community. This action however also requires a significant amount of funding to respond to.

Cluster 2017 – 2018 Strategic Response

The Shelter/NFI - CCCM Cluster strategy for 2017-2018 envisions a comprehensive response package, tailored per displacement category and to governorate, targeting the most vulnerable families, working with other clusters, and with protection mainstreaming as its core.

As displacement continues, additional challenges such as depleted savings and lack of access to financial resources, and/or saturation of available housing capacity, mean that all viable alternative shelter options need to be pursued. CCCM integrated approaches are being developed primarily towards working with the affected populations in sites (collective centres and spontaneous sites) and providing comprehensive minimum standard services an inter-cluster level. While emergency relief items need to be prepositioned for rapid emergency responses, the use of cash and vouchers, and working through multi-functional mobile teams in areas requiring such approaches, are also enunciated.

In sites (collective centres and spontaneous sites) primarily, Shelter/NFI - CCCM cluster partners plan to establish community based feedback and referral mechanisms, collaboratively with other clusters. The Cluster shall also ensure that IDPs and other conflict-affected populations fully participate in the Cluster activities at all stages of the process: assessments; planning; execution; and evaluation. The Cluster will especially reach out to authorities and tribal structures on issues related to land tenure and ownership.

To face the large influx of returnees to areas that were destroyed, support needs to include emergency support on return as well as fuller support for housing rehabilitation. There also needs to be increased focus on capacity building of national stakeholders to support shelter design and programming and camp management approaches, based a strong understanding of local needs.

For more information please contact: Ruxandra Bujor (bujor@unhcr.org – Shelter / NFI / CCCM Cluster Coordinator); Monir AlSobari (alsobari@unhcr.org – Shelter / NFI / CCCM Cluster Deputy Coordinator).