Sana’a, 5 October 2020 - A critical vaccination programme for livestock has been forced to close, putting hundreds of thousands of destitute farming families at risk.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that closure of its vaccination programme has increased animal disease and mortality, and more than 215,000 rural households facing crisis and emergency food insecurity are now without part or all of their main source of income. US$3 million is urgently needed to restart the programme.
“Livestock is the main source of income for many rural families,” said Lise Grande, Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen. “If their livestock is ill or dies, these families lose the income they need to survive.” “These families are barely holding on now. They are some of the poorest in Yemen and they are already hungry. Stopping vaccinations is a final blow.”
Livestock provides the main income for more than 3.2 million pastoralists across Yemen. Families keep sheep, goats and cattle, and rely on the consumption and sale of their products to survive. Being able to sell an animal to raise cash quickly when faced with an emergency or shock is the main fallback survival strategy for many rural Yemenis.
Last year, more than 1.6 million animals were reached with veterinary services benefiting over 100,000 destitute farmers. Mohammed Ahmed, a farmer in Zaydiah District, Al Hudaydah Governorate received free vaccinations last year. “I have 40 sheep that have not been vaccinated,” he said. “The vaccines are too expensive for me to buy.”
“We are in a serious crisis right now in Yemen. Livestock ownership is the cornerstone of so many of our beneficiaries’ livelihoods here,” said Dr. Hussein Gadain, FAO Representative in Yemen. “If this vaccination programme is not restarted, it will have severe consequences for their livelihoods. This is especially important because the cost of vaccination is so much cheaper than buying a new animal if it perishes from disease.” Yemen remains the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Nearly 80 per cent of the population – over 24 million people - require some form of humanitarian assistance and protection. By early October, only US$1.34 billion of the US$3.2 billion needed in 2020 has been received.