Shelter Cluster Winterization Recommendations for Yemen, October 2020 – February 2021


i. Background

After more than five years of conflict, and despite all efforts to halt displacement, hunger, and disease, the situation in Yemen remains catastrophic. It continues to be the worst human-made humanitarian crisis in the world, which has torn the nation apart and set back the standard of living by decades. The Shelter/NFI situation deteriorated as a result of the intensified conflict and shift of frontlines, coupled with insecurity and recurrent natural disasters in addition to the alarming deterioration of the Yemeni economy including the depreciation of the local currency, shortages, and unprecedented increase in the price of fuel, and high inflation rates resulting in increased prices of basic commodities in local markets including household items and shelter materials. The situation of the affected population will continue to deteriorate rapidly on all fronts without urgent action to end the violence and addressing the growing number of humanitarian needs.

The ongoing conflict prevented the majority of the conflict-affected population from recovering their livelihoods, and that more people have by now exhausted their financial savings and are not able to prepare adequately for the winter season. The climate in Yemen varies greatly depending on the geographical region. During the winter season, the country experiences coolness, with frequent frost. The range of temperature can go from 19°C during the highest weather temperature in winter, into below 0°C at its coldest. Unusual heavy monsoon rainfall and flooding continue to affect significant parts of the country.

This document represents recommendations for the winterization support as part of the Shelter Cluster efforts to put in place measures to support the affected population in order to avert the risk of humanitarian tragedy and loss of life during the winter months, particularly between October and February this situation by providing Winter NFIs or Shelter assistance based on needs through visible modalities primarily vouchers/cash to enable the beneficiaries to choose the items they need, the color/brand they like and the right size. In-kind distributions could be used in very remote locations where cash systems and markets are not functioning. All information included in this document reflect results from consultations with Cluster partners and building on the experience developed in the previous winterization programs.

Given the current numbers of displaced persons concerned and the growing humanitarian needs, more efforts will be required to bolster the response in the affected areas during the winter months with a priority to be given to IDPs living in hosting sites (Collective Centres and Spontaneous Settlements) in very cold locations. The Cluster will seek to prioritize persons most at risk, particularly women and children, with special attention are envisaged for individuals with specific needs. The winterization programs should complement other Shelter Cluster programs reflected in the extended Humanitarian Response Plan 2020, and its prioritization exercise.

ii. Key Recommendations

  • Due to the high number of families unable to prepare adequately for the winter season, coupled with the shortage of funding, humanitarian agencies are strongly recommended to provide assistance based on assessed winter needs and develop and apply scoring systems on vulnerability criteria in the selection of beneficiaries of winterization assistance, keeping in mind the prioritization criteria proposed by the Shelter Cluster.

  • While the first part of the guidelines is dedicated to providing indications for the prioritization of target groups, areas of intervention, and activities. The very first filter applied by every organization should be the verification that the potential beneficiary is not receiving winterization assistance from other Partners. It is the Partner's responsibility to ensure that the planned assistance is coordinated well with Sub-National Cluster Coordinators in relevant hubs.

  • Agencies are also strictly recommended to ensure that every household in their area of intervention who is eligible for assistance is aware of their entitlements, applies for these, and receives them through systematic information campaigns.

  • Whenever feasible, monetized winter assistance should be prioritized, according to the beneficiary vulnerability criteria, the proximity of functioning markets, availability of functioning financial institutions, and the availability of the needed winter items. In remote locations with difficult access, though, monetized assistance is not efficient and therefore not recommended.

  • There are three types of winterization activities considered by the Shelter Cluster - 1. Distribution of Personal insulation (distribution of winter clothing and blankets); 2. Heating devices/fuel; 3. Shelter insulation. These activities are confirmed as effective ways to improve the preparedness for the cold season.

  • IDP hosting sites (Collective Centres and Spontaneous Settlements) that are affected by the low temperatures during the winter months should be considered as a priority within the humanitarian scope.

  • Winterization assistance should be delivered ahead of the start of the cold season, to allow target groups to plan and prepare for the winter. As in previous years, though, late programs - starting in December-January - will also be considered, especially in case of the late start of low temperatures in some locations. Late programs should focus on families who - in the first selection round - were considered able to cope with the winter, but subsequently became in need of assistance. In this case, the extent of the assistance should, of course, be proportional to the number of months to be covered.

  • For any type of winterization assistance, post-distribution monitoring (PDM) is mandatory to evaluate the impact of the activities on the beneficiaries. The Shelter Cluster has proposed a list of core questions (see Annex IV) that every partner’s PDM questionnaire should include. This will allow the Shelter Cluster to compile a multi-agency comprehensive overview of the winterization campaign and inform the planning of the next winterization.