Severe humanitarian crisis in Yemen

Situation update 18 August 2015

World Humanitarian Day: Highlighting the critical situation in Yemen

In Yemen, the death toll now stands at 2,000 with over 4,000 people injured as a result of a bloody conflict that is in its fifth month.

21 million people require humanitarian assistance of some kind, with over 12 million food insecure and 20 million lacking access to adequate water and sanitation. Airstrikes and ground conflict continue. ACTED has conducted rapid needs assessment which highlighted severe needs in some of the hardest hit governorates, operations which were led by Mohammed, Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Officer. This data allowed ACTED to prepare targeted proposals and secure funding for emergency responses in water, sanitation and hygiene, and food security. As emergency activities began, it was clear that many governorates remained “in the shadows”. ACTED quickly deployed to assess the situation in one such location, Al Jawf, thus far void of humanitarian assistance. Awsan, who co-led the assessment, remembers the scene. “Internally displaced people, especially women and children, were scattered everywhere, looking for assistance.” Within three weeks, ACTED had secured funding for a water delivery and sanitation rehabilitation intervention.

ACTED staff, relocated to Sana’a, all share similar stories.

“People do not have work, so there is no money to provide water and fuel for their families,” whilst “life is getting harder and harder every day.”

In Raymah, virtually no emergency projects have been funded despite some 80% of the population requiring food assistance, whilst in Al Hudaydah alone, some 2.9 million people are in need.

ICRC and MSF fearlessly scaled up in the face of grave dangers. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have conducted brave research to offer searching, critical appraisals of the conflict. ACTED staff have left families at home in the morning to work to rebuild the communities they live within and around, an unquestioning drive to assist. Across the country, humanitarian workers as part of national and international aid organisations, the United Nations, community bodies and local organisations, have worked tirelessly since the current conflict began to deliver lifesaving assistance to those in need. And, as long as fighting persists, they will admirably continue to do so.

Situation update 10 August 2015

Since the start of the airstrike campaign in late March, the northern governorate of Sa’ada in Yemen has been one of the hardest hit. The crisis has taken an immeasurably heavy toll on civilians in this poor, rural governorate, causing death, injury and frequent damage and destruction of infrastructure.

“The damage is everywhere…It is now almost impossible for inhabitants to reach adequate food, clean water and health care.” explains an ACTED Sa’ada staff member.

In an attempt to find safety, thousands have fled to nearby governorates and rural areas. Those remaining in their homes are living in fear.

“Every day when I go to work or to the market I hold my children very tight and say good bye as we may not see each other again,” said one resident of Sa’ada City.

Life in Sa’ada is getting harder and harder every day

The enormous scale of suffering across the governorate has also been magnified by the on-going restrictions of imports into Yemen since March. Only a fraction of the normal stocks of necessary food, fuel and commodities has made its way into the import-dependent country, rendering households even more vulnerable. As a result, when classified for food insecurity, Sa’ada is one of ten governorates of Yemen one level below famine.

Fuel shortages, in addition to destruction of water sources, have also severely limited access to water. Families are thus fleeing their homes, not only to avoid airstrikes, but in search for clean water. The hospitals that are still standing have no access to medicine, water or electricity to continue operations. Women are dying during childbirth due to lack of the necessary healthcare services. Another ACTED Sa’ada staff member concludes simply: “life in Sa’ada is getting harder and harder every day”.

What is ACTED doing to respond?

ACTED has secured funding to respond to the crisis in Sa’ada, but is faced with significant obstacles in delivering this essential humanitarian assistance. The response has been hampered by unrelenting airstrikes, which have continued throughout three supposed ceasefires for humanitarian purposes. High fuel prices, damaged roads and bridges and frequent checkpoints are also limiting mobility. ACTED calls for unimpaired humanitarian access to address emergency needs, and for all parties to protect civilians and civilian infrastructures from the effects of violence.