During the first half of 2021, UNHCR distributed more than USD 34 million in cash assistance to over 125,000 displaced Yemeni and refugee families (some 750,000 individuals). A large portion of this assistance targeted displaced Yemenis, who are four times more likely of face hunger than the wider population. Recent post distribution monitoring data revealed that up to 88 per cent of beneficiaries used their assistance towards food needs, while over 30 per cent went towards rent. Cash support has proven an effective modality for enhancing the protection space and assisting vulnerable populations in a dignified manner, whilst contributing to the local economy. However, the needs on the ground remain considerable, as reflected by recent data that indicate two-thirds of displaced Yemeni families receiving cash assistance displayed poor food consumption scores: 62 per cent were forced to reduce meal intakes, up to 31 per cent refrained from sending their children to school, and 14 per cent resorted to child labour to make ends meet.
As part of its emergency response, UNHCR assisted 120 newly displaced families (720 individuals) in Marib, Al Hudaydah and Al Dhale’e governorates during the reporting period with shelter support and non-food items. Families received mattresses, blankets and jerrycans to support their immediate needs. Armed clashes continue to escalate in Marib governorate, generating new displacements. An estimated 250 families (some 1,500 individuals) were newly displaced during the reporting period. Dozens of previously displaced Yemenis have been forced to abandon IDP sites near frontlines to seek shelter in other sites close to Marib city.
During the reporting period, 34 refugees — including vulnerable persons with chronic illnesses and persons aged 60 and over — received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose in Aden, along with 41 local health professionals working with refugees in Mukalla, Aden and in Kharaz camp. UNHCR led awareness-raising activities including distributing educational material in the Somali language to inform eligible refugees on vaccine registration. An additional 30 refugees have registered for vaccination, to be administered in the coming days.
UNHCR’s refugee response is facing a critical funding gap for 2021. Limited funding risks leaving thousands of refugee and asylum-seeking families without access to food, healthcare, legal documentation and education support, among other services. This will further hinder access to livelihood opportunities, pushing thousands of individuals into poverty and forcing many to rely on harmful coping mechanisms such as begging, child labour, early marriage, and the sale and exchange of sex. Yemen currently hosts an estimated 140,000 refugees.