UNICEF Yemen Humanitarian Situation Report (September 2018)

Report
from UN Children's Fund
Published on 30 Sep 2018

Highlights

  • The Yemeni Rial continues its depreciation against the US Dollar, causing prices of food and fuel to sharply rise. The decline in the currency will further weaken already destitute Yemenis and worsen livelihoods and current food insecurity levels. Compared to the pre-2015 period, essential commodity prices have increased by 140-204 per cent and fuel by 280-357 per cent.
  • UNICEF Yemen continued the second round of an oral cholera vaccination campaign in five districts in the northern governorates of al Hudaydah and Ibb aimed at protecting an additional 540,595 people (over 1 years of age) against Cholera. This follows the first campaign held in five districts in Aden in May.
  • The start of the new school year remains an urgent concern. 3.7 million children are at risk of missing schooling, mostly in the northern areas, as roughly two-thirds of the public school teachers are still awaiting their salaries after two years. In addition, 80 per cent of teachers in the south are conducting a strike, requesting a salary increment. This situation has a strong impact on access to education in the country. More concerning, out of school children are at higher risk of recruitment by armed forces and other armed groups.
  • The Country Task Force noted a decrease in child casualties from 226 children in August to 70 children in September; 11 children (9 boys; 2 girls) killed and 59 children (38 boys; 21 girls) maimed were documented and verified. The majority of the incidents took place in Al Hudaydah and Taizz.
  • Fighting continues in eastern and southern areas of al Hudaydah. The main road to Sana’a remains inaccessible to humanitarian partners due to fighting. More than 85,000 registered households have received rapid response assistance and non-food items.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

The situation in Yemen continues to deteriorate. The combined depreciation of the Yemeni Rial, the subsequent increase in inflation and decline in food security and livelihoods are worsening the everyday situation for many Yemeni families. The value of the Yemeni Rial decreased from YER 460 in January to YER 655 (against the US Dollar) in September. Crippling fuel shortages have been reported at gas stations that remain open with many reportedly being forced to close down. The prices of the three main commodities (sugar, wheat and flour) rose to record levels with the cost of sugar rising more than 20 per cent, wheat prices are up by 23 per cent and wheat flour up by 27 per cent. Compared to the pre-2015 period, essential commodity prices have increased by 140-204 per cent and fuel by 280-357 per cent. Consequently, food security levels are deteriorating, with humanitarian partners estimating that this will potentially add 3.5 to 4 million people to the 8.4 million people who are in need of emergency food assistance throughout the country. UNICEF is working with partners to mitigate any impact on its programmes in Yemen. The current crisis continues to have a devastating impact on children.

UNICEF has activated its internal Emergency Management Team to respond to the latest increase in suspected cholera. UNICEF is participating in the National Cholera Task Force to further develop and scale up the National Cholera Strategic Plan, including in areas not categorised as high risk, distribution and prepositioning of the suspected cholera supplies nearest to the high-risk districts (including districts in Al Hudaydah, Sa’ada, Lahj and Hajjah governorates) and finalizing the contingency Programme Cooperation Agreements (PCAs) with partners for the emergency response. The humanitarian situation in Al Hudaydah has deteriorated, due to continuing violence, combined with the depreciation of the Yemeni Rial, disruption of trade and restricted availability of commercial supplies. A restriction in humanitarian access, due to closure of the main road, has further compounded the humanitarian situation. Reportedly, shops in the city remain open but supplies are running low; what is available may no longer be affordable due to the devaluation of the Rial. Furthermore, local authorities estimate that between 50 and 70 families are trapped by fighting in southern parts of Al Hudaydah city, without access to food, clean water or health care.