Highlights of the Month
The humanitarian crisis in Yemen remains the worst in the world; driven by five years of conflict and political instability. Humanitarian conditions continue to deteriorate, including internal displacement, famine, outbreaks of cholera and COVID-19. An estimated 24.1 million people – over 80 per cent of the population – are in need of some form of assistance, including 14.4 million who are in acute need.
COVID-19 continued to spread across the country in August. By 31 August, 1,962 confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been reported in Yemen, including 567 deaths and 1,133 recoveries, since the first case was reported on 10 April 2020. The number of reported cases has slowed, and the official epi-curve continues to underestimate the extent of COVID-19 in Yemen; due to lack of testing facilities and official reporting, people delaying seeking treatment because of stigma, difficulty accessing treatment centres and the perceived risks of seeking care. UNFPA remains a frontline partner to the COVID-19 response, ensuring the protection of health workers and women and girls accessing reproductive health services.
In August, for the third time in 2020, torrential rains and flooding hit governorates across Yemen, damaging infrastructure, destroying homes and shelters, causing deaths and injury; affecting more than 62,000 families, of whom many were already displaced. In response, the UNFPA-led, UN Rapid Response Mechanism was activated in flood-affected areas. More than 46,000 people have been reached within 48 to 72 hours of displacement through the Mechanism, while referring those in more critical need to health and protection services.
UNFPA’s appeal for $100.5 million in 2020 received only 62 per cent by end August. Seventy per cent of UNFPA’s life-saving reproductive health programme remains suspended due to the lack of funding, while fifty percent of UNFPA’s gender-based violence programme will be suspended by end September if no funding is received. This would result in an estimate 350,000 women losing access to specialized protection services and 40,000 highly vulnerable people losing access to psychological services. To keep reaching the most vulnerable women and girls up to the end of the year, UNFPA requires $38.7 million with an additional $20 million to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
By August, UNFPA's response has reached over 1.5 million women and girl with lifesaving reproductive health and protection information and services, with support to 61 health facilities, 49 safe spaces, 8 shelters and 7 specialized mental health centres.