Yemen + 2 more

IOM Yemen: Situation Report December 2020

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38,011 Individuals provided with hygiene kits & relief items

19,509 Primary health care consultations conducted (61% of 2020 target reached)

6,666 Migrants received humanitarian assistance

SITUATION OVERVIEW

In 2020, the people of Yemen continued to suffer through the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. The situation deteriorated to further alarming levels after the confirmation of Yemen’s first COVID-19 case in April. While the crisis is causing great suffering and loss of life, the conflict has directly led to the death an estimated 233,000 people, including more than 3,000 children, since it began, according to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Throughout the year, displacement and migration challenges have been compounded by fuel, political and economic crises and a weakened public health system, in addition to the global COVID-19 pandemic. And as food insecurity continued to worsen for millions in Yemen, thousands of displaced persons and migrants worryingly cite access to food among their critical needs.

On 30 December, three missiles struck the Aden international airport – killing 26 and injuring over 100 – after the newly formed cabinet arrived. No one took responsibility for the attack, though parties to the conflict traded accusations. The UN Secretary-General, the UN Special Envoy and the UN Humanitarian Chief called for parties to continue talks to end the conflict. Following this attack, there was increased insecurity in Aden city which led to restricted access in the short term. In 2020, active frontlines increased from 33 to 47 and escalating conflict further exacerbated vulnerabilities of host communities, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and migrants. In December, hostilities were mainly concentrated along frontlines in Al Jawf, Al Hudaydah, Marib, Taizz, Abyan, Ibb and Al Dahle’e governorates.

A consistent trend throughout the year, access obstacles, particularly in the north, continued in December. Staff movements and relief items for all agencies and international NGOs remained constrained by permit denials by local authorities or additional ad hoc bureaucratic requirements often imposed without prior communication. As of 13 December, 74 NGO projects were pending sub-agreement approval by the authorities, targeting over 4.7 million people.

IOM continues to advocate for migrants’ rights in Yemen and provide basic services for migrants transiting through and stranded in the country. The Organization estimates that thousands of migrants are stranded in Yemen after the imposition of COVID-19 movement restrictions across the region and the Horn of Africa. Most migrants are young Ethiopian nationals and have little-to-no access to basic services. There is increasing constraints on migrants’ traditional coping mechanisms, such as support from the communities hosting them. IOM has registered over 5,000 migrants in Aden who wish to return home through the Organization’s Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme. IOM is awaiting travel documents from the Government of Ethiopia for just over 1,000 of those registered.

By the end of December, the number of reported cases of COVID-19 in Yemen reached 2,100, with 611 fatalities. The full extent of the spread of virus still is unknown nine months into the outbreak due to limited testing and reporting. Testing challenges are more pronounced in some areas in the north where access issues, centred around bureaucratic impediments, continue to severely impede humanitarian response activities and where the confirmed cases of COVID-19 remain at only four since April 2020

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