● Torrential rains and flooding hit Yemen, damaging infrastructure, destroying homes and shelters and causing deaths and injuries since the last week of July. By the first week of August, 160,216 people were affected by floods in 32 districts of Yemen and needed immediate assistance. In July, UNICEF, with WFP and UNFPA, provided Rapid Mechanism (RRM) kits to 110 affected families by floods in Al Hudaydah and Marib.
● As of 31 July, there were 1,764 COVID-19 officially confirmed cases, and 507 associated deaths and 865 recovered cases in southern Governorates of Yemen. More than a quarter of Yemenis confirmed to have the disease have died. UNICEF continued to provide risk communication and community engagement activities to 524,340 people and provided personal protective equipment to 4,287 national exam centres.
● Between 1 January - 26 July 2020, 166,219 Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD)/cholera suspected cases and 48 associated deaths were reported, with 0.02 per cent of case fatality rate. In July, UNICEF treated 3,250 cholera suspected cases in UNICEF-supported Oral Rehydration Centres and Diarrhoea Treatment Centres.
● The fuel shortage caused surges in private water costs, which impacted accessibility to clean water.
● Through the polio campaign, 1,098,074 children under five were vaccinated with Polio vaccine and 828,470 under five received Vitamin A.
Funding Overview and Partnerships
UNICEF appeal is 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). While UNICEF continues vigorous fundraising for its 2020 HAC appeal, it has received less than $17 million. A total of $173 million is carried forward from 2019 to meet growing needs, leaving an overall funding gap of $345 million as of 31 July 2020. UNICEF Yemen will revise down its current HAC appeal to $453 million in the coming month; the downward revision takes into consideration the constrained implementing environment and the new COVID-19 appeal, which will cover activities that require adjustments or expansion due to the pandemic.
UNICEF is concurrently mobilizing resources for its COVID-19 response in Yemen, appealing for $103 million as part of the global COVID-19 response. As of 31 July, UNICEF received $29 million against $103 million of funding requirements. Despite the funding gaps and operational constraints, UNICEF continues to implement its responses using alternative modalities. The Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) reached 524,340 million people with COVID-19 messages while keeping physical distancing. As schools and child-friendly spaces have been closed since March 2020, UNICEF is exploring to provide distance learning and remote psychosocial support (PSS) and mine risk education services.
As part of continuing efforts to strengthen risk prevention and management measures, UNICEF continued to implement recommendations from the 2019 Office of Internal Audit and Investigation Internal audit report. 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. UNICEF continued to implement the enhanced Harmonised Approach to Cash Transfers (HACT Plus). HACT Plus is a risk management framework that goes beyond the regular HACT framework adopted along with other UN agencies. HACT Plus transcends the minimum prescribed assurance activities in HACT, a decision that is determined by the inherent risk exposure and operating environment. As of 31st July, 120 implementing partners were re-assessed to establish their revised risk profiles using the enhanced risk assessment methodology. A further 80 onsite financial reviews are also ongoing, using the revised financial assurance Terms of Reference with an increased focus on fraud detection and prevention. Overall 89% of audit sub-actions have been completed.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
Since the last week of July, heavy rain and flooding has affected the entire country; this has resulted in damaged or destroyed infrastructure and houses, loss of livestock, and displaced people. By the first week of August, field reports indicated that 160,216 people have been affected by floods in 32 districts in Yemen and are in need of immediate assistance. Torrential rains have washed away homes, and caused significant damage to health and nutrition centers. Damage to water and sanitation infrastructure has led to water contamination and shortages of clean potable water, which exacerbates the spread of diseases such as cholera, malaria, and dengue fever. Flood-affected families and vulnerable populations are struggling to get help due to suspended humanitarian services, impassable roads, and limited access to communication means and information, making access to healthcare and safe water in Yemen more difficult. An already critical situation has become worse.
The spread of COVID-19 is most probably underestimated due to a lack of testing capacity. Only critical COVID-19 cases are being tested in Southern governorates, and the situation in Northern governorates remains unclear due to a lack of information. As of 31 July, 1,764 COVID-19 officially confirmed cases, and 507 associated deaths and 865 recovered cases were reported in Yemen, with a 28.7 percent case fatality rate (CFR). It means more than a quarter of Yemenis confirmed to have the disease have died. This is five times the global average. The officially confirmed cases were reported in 11 governorates. The level of transmission at the community level remains unknown. Serious concerns remain over a possible ongoing "silent" transmission, including in northern Yemen, where only four cases have been confirmed since the first cases in April 2020.
Between 1 January - 26 July 2020, 166,219 AWD/cholera suspected cases and 48 associated deaths were reported, with a 0.02 per cent CFR, which is a significant decrease compared with that of the same period in 2019 (536,914 suspected cases and 789 associated deaths with a 0.15 per cent CFR). The available reported data shows that the cholera trends are still stable; however, UNICEF is closely monitoring cholera suspected cases and associated deaths, especially with the ongoing heavy rains and floods.
The data collection on AWD/cholera suspected cases and associated deaths from the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MoPHP) through WHO is being delayed. High-level advocacy is ongoing for continuity of cholera updates and data sharing with MOPHP through the WHO team, supported by UNICEF. UNICEF and WHO technical teams also coordinate on this issue with the cholera committee at the MoPHP.
In July 2020, the United Nations Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (UN CTFMR) has documented 43 incidents of grave violations against children, in which 100 per cent of the documented incidents were verified. There was a high number of verified child casualties, including 13 children killed (6 boys and 7 girls), and 54 children maimed (39 boys and 15 girls) by various parties to the conflict. Most of the incidents documented and verified were in Al Dhale' e, closely followed by Taizz. There were also two airstrikes in Hajjah and Al Jawf, which took place within 4 days of each other and resulted in a high number of civilian casualties, affecting 8 and 12 children, respectively. These are only figures that the UN has been able to verify to date. The actual number of incidents might be higher than this.
All Local Water and Sanitation Cooperation's (LWSC) are facing an acute shortage in fuel stock, where 20 LWSCs have run out of fuel stock. The operation of public water supply systems is severely affected by fuel shortage. Some LWSCs are currently buying fuel from the market to continue producing water. However, this measure cannot continue for a long time. All LWSCs will soon run out of financial resources, which will terminate both water production and employee salaries. Sana'a, Ibb, Hajjah, Taizz, and other main cities are also out of fuel stock, which forces the Sana'a LWSC to continue borrowing fuel from the Sana'a Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) and forces other LWSCs to buy or borrow fuel from the market. With the cholera and COVID-19 outbreaks, which have enormously increased the water demand at household level, the fuel shortage exacerbates the vulnerability of the population.