● Between 1-18 March, over 1,750 families were displaced from Al Jawf and Marib. UNICEF provided Rapid Response Mechanism kits to 70,263 people and multi-purpose cash assistance to 50,918 people to meet their most critical immediate needs during the displacement.
● The United Nations Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting verified 16 incidents of grave violations against children. A total of 3 children were killed and 12 children were maimed by various parties to the conflict. One boy reportedly has been abducted.
● 31,913 Acute Watery Disease(AWD)/Cholera suspected cases with 6 associated deaths (0.02 case fatality rate) were reported in March. UNICEF treated 7,342 suspected cases through support to 245 Oral Rehydration Centres (ORCs) and 65 Diarrhoea Treatment Centres (DTCs) in 18 governorates.
● While there are no official COVID-19 confirmed cases in Yemen as at end of March, UNICEF has prepared preventative and response activities alongside regular programmes. COVID-19 is further challenging the implementation of UNICEF programmes in Yemen due to restrictive measures imposed by the local authorities. These impact for example, humanitarian access and reach of certain communities.
Funding Overview and Partnerships
UNICEF appealed for $535 million as part of the 2020 Yemen Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC), which is aligned to the 2019 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan (YHRP). In March 2020, UNICEF received $3.7 million in generous contributions towards the HAC from Japan and the UNICEF National Committees of the United States, Germany, Denmark, and Finland.
UNICEF wishes to express its sincere gratitude to all donors for their contributions and pledges, which continues to make the 2020 response possible. In addition to the resource mobilized, UNICEF has $173 million of carried forward funds from grants received in 2019. Nevertheless, UNICEF Yemen faces a funding gap of $356 million in 2020 (67 per cent of the funding requirements). As part of continuing efforts to strengthen risk prevention and management measures, UNICEF conducted an office audit for the period January 2017 and March 2019.
As a result, UNICEF is actively implementing a series of risk mitigation measures to effectively deliver for children in a highly challenging and complex environment.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
The humanitarian crisis in Yemen entered its sixth year in March, and heavy fighting continued throughout the month on the Al Jawf - Marib fronts. According to the International Organization for Migration, over 1,750 families were displaced from Al Jawf and Raghwan district in Marib between 1 - 18 March. In March, the United Nations Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (UN-CTFMR) documented 18 incidents of grave violations against children in Al Hudaydah and Taizz, of which 16 incidents were verified. UN-CTFMR continues to collect information in order to verify the remaining two incidents. These verified incidents included 3 children killed (1 girl and 2 boys), 12 children were maimed (2 girls and 10 boys), by various parties to the conflict, and one boy was abducted. The decrease in child casualties can be attributed to the increased difficulty in reporting, as a result of the COVID-19 precautionary measures related to the restriction of movement.
The COVID-19 suppression measures imposed by the authorities in Yemen have a significant impact on UNICEF programme and operations. Schools and child friendly spaces have been closed. Attendance, admissions, and referrals in health nutrition programmes have decreased. Challenges appear in the replenishing of supplies, as movement is restricted. Additionally, all social, public events, including workshops, trainings, and events, have been suspended. The COVID-19 suppression measures have slowed down the implementation of all UNICEF programmes. The restrictions in movement that were imposed by the authorities since mid-March have affected the procurement and distribution of supplies.
The monitoring of ongoing activities by both UNICEF and Third-Party Monitors is also on hold in several locations. Off-shore procurement is delayed, thereby causing delays in the completion of projects requiring supplies from abroad. Both internal in UNICEF, as well with implementing partners (Government and NGOs), efforts and energy are directed towards COVID-19 response. The focus is on implementing precautionary measures to ensure the safety of their staff and to prepare for a potential outbreak. Local authorities have made requests to divert current programme resources to respond to COVID-19. UNICEF is continuing to monitor the situation as well as advocating for regular programmes implementation as they complement preparedness and response against COVID-19.
There are no official cases of COVID-19 reported in Yemen as at end-March. Nevertheless, UNICEF developed a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan. The overall aim of the UNICEF strategy in support of the National Plan is: strengthening risk communication and community engagement including digital engagement and rumour monitoring; providing critical medical, prevention and WASH supplies along with improved WASH services; supporting the provision of continued access to essential health care services for women, children, and vulnerable communities, including case management; and access to continuous education, social protection, child protection, and gender-based violence (GBV) services. The response plan focuses on the immediate priority measures that must be undertaken to ensure preparedness and/or response actions to address a COVID-19 outbreak in Yemen. The plan builds on the World Health Organization (WHO)-led National Preparedness and Response Plan and considers lessons learned from other affected countries.
There were 31,913 Acute Watery Disease (AWD)/Cholera suspected cases with 6 associated deaths (0.02 case fatality rate [CFR]) in March. A total of 212 out of 333 districts across the country reported suspected cases. 100,309 AWD/ suspected cholera cases and 25 associated deaths (0.02 CFR) were recorded between January - March 2020. The suspected cases and associated deaths significantly decreased, compared to the same period of 2019 that had 162,499 suspected cases and 341 associated deaths (0.21 CFR). This may be due to the delayed rainy season and the increase and improvement of hygiene awareness and practices, including frequent hand washing.