Emergency distribution on the onset of displacements and COVID-19
Nearly 5,500 houses have been destroyed by fighting in the past 12 months. There are now 43 frontlines across 11 out of 22 governorates in Yemen. More than 21,000 families have been forced to flee fighting, heavy rain, and floods in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. The extreme weather has had a particularly severe effect on the families in Yemen, affecting more than 500,000 individuals this year alone, mostly in need of shelter.
So far this year, UNHCR distributed 37,530 emergency shelter and basic household items, a large portion in Hudaydah, Hajjah and Sana’a governorates to displaced, returning and vulnerable host community families. Furthermore, UNHCR, as the Lead Agency for the Shelter Cluster and provider of last resort, supported families effected by both natural disasters and COVID-19 in addition to those displaced by the conflict.
UNHCR adopted prevention measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 during distributions. Handwashing stations were set-up at distribution sites and physical distancing was organised in waiting areas including through scheduling of distribution and on-site spacing. During such distributions, partners also took the opportunity to raise awareness about the COVID-19 preventative measures and to distribute information on where and how to safely refer individuals who present symptoms.
Despite growing needs, the lack of funding and logistical difficulties such as broken roads and administrative difficulties severely hampers UNHCR’s emergency distribution programme. If significant funding is not identified by September, up to 12,500 families who have recently fled the impact of the conflict or flooding will be forced to live in the open, while 18,750 families will not receive basic household items such as cooking utensils or blankets and mattresses. UNHCR had already to stop its programme to upgrade emergency shelters to a more sustainable structure, affecting 125,000 destitute persons, due to lack of funding.