Yemen Protection Brief, October 2020

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Operational Context

For more than five years, Yemen has been locked in an unrelenting, high-intensity conflict that has triggered what the UN describes as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world; with 24.3 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and protection. Since its escalation in 2015, an estimated 12,000 civilians have been killed and more than 3.6 million are estimated to be forcibly displaced. Active ground hostilities, coupled by shelling and air strikes, otien in populated areas, continue to harm civilians and cause widespread damage to civilian homes and infrastructure, including schools, hospitals, IDP sites and water and sanitation facilities.
Explosive remnants of war persist to impede freedom of movement as well as to kill and injure civilians.
Yemen is also a country prone to disasters, particularly hydrological hazards such as flash flooding, which are causing death, displacement and destruction of property. It is estimated that, since January 2020, more than half a million people have been affected by floods and heavy rains, including 300,000 in June, July and August, mostly in Marib, Taiz, Al Hudaydah,
Hajjah, Aden, Lahj and Aden governorates4. Affected families have lost their homes, crops and personal belongings.5 Outbreaks of diseases including dengue fever and cholera have also contributed to the ongoing humanitarian crisis, with a severe impact on vulnerable groups.
The rapid spread of COVID-19 in Yemen, with one of the highest fatality rates in the region,6 cannot be effectively contained due to an overstrained health system, already crippled by conflict, coupled with a lack of public health measures and awareness.
State institutions have largely collapsed due to the conflict and its resulting impacts including the inability of authorities to remunerate civil servants. This has weakened the overall capacity of the authorities in control to effectively exercise their primary responsibility to assist and protect the Yemeni population, prevent and effectively respond to prevalent violations of human rights and promote durable solutions.
Lack of humanitarian access due to ongoing fighting, logistical issues and bureaucratical procedures, remains a critical challenge hindering the delivery of life-saving protection services and other assistance. An estimated 5.1 million people are spread across 75 districts classified as hard-to-reach. In 2019, 2,750 access-related incidents of various nature were reported as obstructing or delaying humanitarian assistance for an estimated 8.3 million people, including over 2.1 million children.