COVID-19 continued to threaten the lives of children and their families in Yemen in 2021, with the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 reaching 6,931 cases. 1,363 deaths were reported, reaching a 19.7 per cent case fatality rate (CFR).
UNICEF continued its lifesaving multi-sectoral integrated Nutrition programming, to address close to 400,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and 2.25 million children at risk of acute malnutrition. A total of 2,378,616 children under 5 years were screened for malnutrition through multiple interventions in 2021. Out of these, 109,700 children with SAM were admitted for treatment without complications in Outpatient Treatment Programmes (OTPs), with an 88 per cent cure rate. Also, 8,488 children with SAM and complications were admitted to therapeutic feeding centres (TFCs).
The rate of displacement in the first half of 2021 notably worsened, as more than 20,000 families (140,000 individuals) were newly displaced or left their location of displacement towards a safer destination. The highest numbers of displacements were linked to tensions resulting from conflict that were observed in 49 active frontlines across Marib, Hajja, Taiz, Al Hudaydah, Al Jawf, Lahj and Al Dhale’e.
UNICEF faces a funding gap of 49 per cent. Lack of funding for emergency WASH interventions continues to undermine our integrated response. UNICEF will be forced to reduce its provision of fuel to water pumping stations in September 2021 if funding is not urgently mobilized.
Situation in Numbers
11.3 million children in need of humanitarian assistance
20.7 million people in need (OCHA, 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan)
1.58 million children internally displaced (IDPs)
Funding Overview and Partnerships
The Yemen Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC), initially aligned to the 2020 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan (YHRP), appealed for $576.9 million in 2021. The HAC was revised and approved in May 2021 to align with the 2021 YHRP. The current appeal is for $508.8 million. UNICEF’s humanitarian programmes are planned for nationwide reach targeting populations in the areas with the most acute needs, and the appeal integrates the COVID-19 response which is integrated into programmes planned within the HAC. As UNICEF continues to actively fundraise for its 2021 HAC appeal, $121.2 million has been received as of 30 June 2021. A total of $94.4 million was carried forward from 2020, with an additional $44.5 million received from other contributions1 , for a total of $260.1 million funds against the HAC. This leaves a funding gap of $248.7 million, or 49 per cent of the total amount required to continue UNICEF’s life-saving work in Yemen. Generous contributions received during the reporting period include funds from the Famine Relief Fund, the Governments of Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Sweden, and the United States of America, as well as numerous National Committees.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
Over six years into the conflict, Yemen remains the world’s worst humanitarian crisis with 20.7 million people – 71 per cent of the total population – in need of humanitarian assistance. The first half of 2021 continued to pose challenges to UNICEF’s life-saving interventions, ranging from heavy rains destroying shelters of internally displaced populations (IDPs) and threatening infrastructure to severe acute malnutrition (SAM), early school closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and conflict-torn areas forcing families to flee from their homes. As of the end of June 2021, three million people, including 1.58 million children, are now internally displaced. Over 138,000 additional people have become migrants, and 137,000 people are seeking asylum abroad.
Close to 400,000 children under age five are suffering from SAM. A total of 2.25 million children are facing acute malnutrition according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC). More than 15.4 million people urgently need assistance to access WASH services which are linked to drivers of malnutrition. The lack of funding for emergencyspecific WASH interventions continues to undermine the integrated response. UNICEF will be forced to reduce its provision of fuel to water pumping stations in September of this year, or within three months if funding is not urgently mobilized to support this vital activity. This shortfall also heightened the risk of COVID-19 as well as other waterborne diseases, including cholera. Approximately 20.1 million people need health assistance. Women and children continue to be disproportionately affected, with 4.8 million women and 10.2 million children in need of assistance to access health services during the reporting period. If funds are not received, support to hospitals will halt, resulting in an interruption of basic life-saving health services for children, mothers and their newborns, risking their lives and wellbeing. It will also lead to a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for thousands of health care providers and will affect COVID-19 screenings for hundreds of thousands of Yemenis. Cold chain interruption will lead to the expiry of millions of doses of over ten types of lifesaving vaccines, including Polio, Measles, and COVID-19.
Between 1 January – 7 July 2021, the total number of cases of Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD)/cholera remained static compared to previous months. 15,863 AWD/cholera suspected cases and three associated deaths were reported, with a 0.02 per cent case fatality rate (CFR). This is a significant decrease compared to the same period during 2020 (155,493 suspected cases and 44 associated deaths with a 0.03 per cent CFR). The highest number of cases were reported from Sana’a and Al Hudaydah governorates. There was no data shared from the southern governorates for multiple reasons, ranging from the cessation of incentive payments to health workers across different sectors and a lack of availability of clear reporting mechanisms. The available data shows that the cholera trend is still stable, and UNICEF is closely monitoring cholera suspected cases and associated deaths.
Implementing partners continued to support behaviour-change interventions for AWD/Cholera prevention. Community volunteers, religious leaders, and members of mother-to-mother clubs reached 4.54 million people with messages and interventions on AWD/Cholera and key family practices for child survival through house-to-house visits, community meetings/events, and awareness sessions in mosques.
The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of 7 July was 6,931 cases, with 1,363 associated death and a 19.7 per cent case fatality rate (CFR). Almost all the cases are being reported from the southern governorates and none from the northern governorates other than the first four reported cases during 2020. This is in large part due to the denial of the authorities in the north of the existence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Between January and June 2021, the UN Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (UNCTFMR) documented 284 incidents of grave violations against children, of which 97 per cent of the incidents were verified. There continue to be many child casualties, including 82 children killed (17 per cent girls) and 268 children maimed (24 per cent girls), by various parties to the conflict. The UNCTFMR has verified 19 children (all boys) were recruited and/or used by armed forces and armed groups, with the majority placed in combatant roles and others participating as guards or manning checkpoints. Additionally, there have been 16 confirmed cases of boys abducted or detained so far this year, and six children exposed to sexual violence or rape (33 per cent girls). Schools and hospitals continued to come under attack in Yemen, with seven attacks on schools and nine attacks on hospitals. Meanwhile, there were also 10 incidents of military use of education facilities. Most of the incidents documented and verified were in the governorate of Taizz, followed by Al Hudaydah and Marib. These are only figures that the UN has been able to verify to date; the actual number of incidents may be higher than this.