USG partners provide emergency assistance to households adversely affected by heavy rains and flooding during July and August.
Fuel shortages and price increases result in temporary reductions of humanitarian assistance for hundreds of thousands of people in August.
Escalated conflict in Al Jawf and Marib governorates displaces nearly 11,000 households to date in 2020.
WFP reports that nearly 40 percent of Yemeni households remained without access to adequate, nutritious food on a regular basis as of mid-July.
Floods Result in Casualties, Damage, and Displacement Across Yemen
Heavy seasonal rains and flooding in July and August had affected an estimated 435,000 people across Yemen as of August 29, compounding the effects of previous rain and flooding events during April and June, the UN reports. The recent floods resulted in more than 250 casualties—including 131 deaths—in northern Yemen, according to the Sana’a-based Ministry of Public Health and Population; the floods also damaged and destroyed food and household items, internally displaced person (IDP) sites, and roads, hindering civilian and humanitarian movement. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) recorded nearly 1,200 displaced households in Al Hudaydah Governorate and approximately 60 displaced households in Marib due to the floods from late July to early August, while flooding dislodged some explosive remnants of war and landmines to previously hazard-free areas, the UN reports. In addition, relief actors have expressed concern regarding the health impacts of the floods, particularly the heightened transmission risk of vector-borne and waterborne diseases amid Yemen’s ongoing cholera outbreak.
In response, humanitarian organizations—including U.S. Government (USG) partners—have conducted assessments of flood-related impacts and provided food, health, shelter, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) assistance to affected communities. With USG and other donor support, IOM distributed more than 2,900 emergency shelter kits in Aden, Hajjah, and Al Hudaydah governorates and provided shelter support to nearly 2,500 affected households in Marib. USAID/BHA partner the UN World Food Program (WFP) distributed food and hygiene items to more than 2,500 households across 11 governorates through the USAID/BHA-supported Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM)—which provides recently displaced populations with immediate food, water, and hygiene assistance within 72 hours of displacement—and provided in-kind food assistance to approximately 2,800 households in Amran, Dhamar, and Marib governorates. Additionally, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) is augmenting the availability of antimalarial drugs, cholera kits, and disease screening services at health facilities in affected areas to mitigate the adverse health impacts of the floods.
Ongoing Fuel Crisis Prompts Reductions of Relief Activities in Yemen
The fuel crisis in northern Yemen continues to adversely affect relief operations, with historically low fuel imports in June resulting in increased fuel prices and hampered civilian and humanitarian movement, according to the UN. While the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen reports that fuel import levels into Yemen’s Red Sea Ports rose from only 8,100 metric tons (MT) in June to nearly 133,000 MT in July, the price of gas and diesel increased by approximately 100 and 50 percent, respectively, from mid-June to mid-July due to the impact of the June deficit on the supply chain, WFP reports. The fuel shortage and resultant price increases have inflated essential commodity and transportation costs, hindering relief activities, including food distributions, health and protection services, and the provision of safe drinking water, according to the UN. As of late July, the fuel crisis had prompted relief actors to temporarily reduce or suspend WASH services to nearly 259,000 households and protection interventions supporting more than 41,000 households across Yemen, as well as shelter and settlements support for approximately 26,000 households in Ad Dali’,
Hajjah, Ibb, and Ta’izz governorates, the UN reports. Shortages also resulted in delayed or blocked food distributions for nearly 38,000 people in Hajjah, Al Hudaydah, and Marib, while adversely affecting nearly 200 health facilities supported by the Health Cluster.
WHO is delivering fuel to health facilities across the country to support the continuity of life-saving health care services in Yemen. In addition, a USAID/BHA international non-governmental organization
(INGO) partner is providing humanitarian coordination and information management (HCIM) support to relief actors by analyzing and mapping the impact of fuel shortages on operations to bolster humanitarian decision-making.
Clashes in Al Jawf, Marib Displace Nearly 1,000 Households in Late August
Escalated conflict in northern Yemen’s Al Jawf and Marib, which began in late January, continues to displace populations and increase humanitarian needs, according to the UN. In late August, IOM recorded approximately 830 and 150 newly displaced households in Al Jawf and Marib, respectively, due to increased fighting in the governorates, bringing the total number of newly displaced households in Al Jawf to approximately 1,560 and Marib to 9,400 to date in 2020. While Marib remains a primary destination for IDPs fleeing frontline clashes, conflict continued to affect civilian areas in the governorate in late August, with airstrikes and shelling damaging civilian houses and water supply systems, the Protection Cluster reports.
With USG and other donor support, IOM is providing life-saving health, protection, and WASH support to IDPs and migrants—primarily from the Horn of Africa—in Marib. From late July to late August, IOM provided emergency health services to approximately 2,200 IDPs, conducted more than 5,300 protection screening interviews for IDPs and migrants, and distributed more than 400 RRM kits to newly displaced persons in the governorate. In addition, IOM distributed dignity and hygiene kits to approximately 1,000 and 2,000 migrants, respectively, to decrease the transmission risk of communicable diseases.
Economic Crisis, Conflict, COVID-19 Result in Worsened Food Insecurity
Deteriorating macroeconomic conditions in Yemen—compounded by ongoing conflict and the country’s COVID-19 outbreak—continue to exacerbate the world’s largest food security crisis and constrain access to basic goods and services, WFP reports. From early January to mid-July, the Yemeni riyal (YER) depreciated by nearly 20 percent in Republic of Yemen Government (RoYG)-controlled areas; alongside other economic shocks, the YER’s depreciation resulted in a nearly 20 percent increase in the price of essential food commodities countrywide during the period. Meanwhile, COVID-19-related reductions in livelihoods and market access have decreased household income and ability to obtain adequate food , as prices of staple foods have risen. As a result, nearly 40 percent of Yemeni households remained without access to adequate, nutritious food on a regular basis as of mid-July, particularly in conflict-affected governorates such as Abyan, Al Jawf, and Marib, according to WFP.
WHO Confirms Poliovirus Outbreak in Sa’dah Governorate
WHO confirmed an outbreak of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type one (cVDPV1)—a rare virus mutated from the weakened virus contained in oral polio vaccine (OPV) that can occur in underimmunized populations—in northern Yemen’s Sa’dah Governorate in early August, primarily affecting children ages eight months–13 years. The disease likely spread due to insufficient routine or supplementary immunization activities, with the affected children having only received zero to two OPV doses compared with the four-dose recommended schedule, WHO reports. Despite continued insecurity and related access constraints in the governorate, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and WHO plan to launch OPV campaigns in the coming weeks to stop the spread of cVDPV1 in affected areas.