The latest escalation of the conflict in Yemen has caused a number of new displacements and growing humanitarian needs. Read how NRC responds to the severe, humanitarian crisis under challenging circumstances.
Written by: Nashon Tado, 07.04.2015
Amidst the raging conflict in Yemen, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is making efforts to reach out to recently displaced families in Hajja Governorate with cash grants. Reports from UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) indicate that in the last 24 hours, air strikes have hit Aden, Al Dhale’e, Sana’a, Sa’ada, Al Hudaydah and Hajja Governorates. Estimates from World Health Organisation indicate that 549 people have been killed and 1,707 injured from violence across Yemen. Displacement continues to be reported and an increasing number of people, over 4,000 households, from Sa’ada and Sana’a are moving to Amran Governorate to seek safety.
Most of the displaced people have been forced to leave their homes in a hurry due to heavy bombardment, and have not had any chance to carry critical items such as food, identity cards and money. Many families have also been separated.
On 30th March, 40 people were killed and 29 seriously injured in an attack that hit Al Mazraq IDP Camp in Harradh. The action was a violation of the rights of civilians to protection under international humanitarian law and received widespread condemnation from the international community, including NRC’s Secretary General, who warned that the Yemeni crisis would escalate into a major humanitarian catastrophe.
Despite the challenges, NRC is responding to the crisis through cash transfer to 302 displaced families in Hajja Governorate as an immediate response mechanism, giving beneficiaries a leverage and an opportunity to gain access to basic needs through local purchase. NRC aims to scale up the programme to reach more people. NRC is presently the only humanitarian agency that has been able to distribute cash relief to IDPs in Hajja Governorate. “Cash is the fastest response mechanism we have”, said Hanibal Abiy Worku, NRC’s Country Director in Yemen. “With the ports and airports closed it is nearly impossible to fly relief goods in. With cash, people can buy their basic supplies locally”.
Field mobilisers began the beneficiary selection and registration process early on Saturday 4th April through the community committees that NRC has been working with in the past. They also selected a few temporary workers from neighbouring villages to help with crowd control, information dissemination and coordination. Some were already familiar with NRC having worked with other international NGOs in Harradh before the escalation of the fighting.
“We started the cash distribution exercise on Saturday afternoon in Zuhra District which is about 120 km south of Harradh. We found that the people were living in very miserable conditions. They were unable to access food and water. They were very happy because of our presence among them’, explains Zayed Ali, NRC Food Security Officer.
“We hope that more funding can be quickly made available to allow us to continue this activity. People are very much happy that we are here. We feel proud that we are able to do something meaningful and we are ready to help as much as we can”, said Zayed Ali.
“We plan to continue with the immediate, life-saving relief response in Harradh. The strategy has been designed based on first-hand information from NRC Yemen’s national team that for now local markets are still active and basic goods available. When the situation allows, NRC will scale up its programming to include other emergency interventions, such as water and sanitation provision, shelter and education in emergencies”, said Hanibal.