On 5 April, UNHCR began its second cash distribution in the north of Yemen (including Sana’a, Dhamar, Amran, parts of Hudaydah, Ibb, and Hajjah), targeting some 22,500 IDP and impoverished host community families. A larger number of beneficiaries were identified to provide additional resources to help those most vulnerable purchase hygiene items and bolster their resources in the event their livelihoods are compromised due to COVID-19. Extra precautionary measures were implemented during distributions, including deploying crowd control personnel, increasing the number of tellers at the banks and spacing-out cash collection notifications to beneficiaries. UNHCR has nearly doubled the number of payment points, and incorporated hand-washing stations at larger branches.
The Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster, led by UNHCR, continues to identify most-at-risk IDP sites for COVID-19 through mapping of both the profiles of IDPs and their access to services. The response prioritizes engaging communities in the prevention (such as behavioral change, hygiene practices, distribution of soaps) and response measures (such as safe and humane referral pathways for suspected COVID-19 cases). It also includes strengthening WASH services and identifying and setting up isolation areas, as required.
On 30 March, UNHCR and partner NMO began basic household item distributions to a total of 2,000 IDP households in Al-Khawkhah district, in Hudaydah governorate. UNHCR is initially focusing on the west coast of Yemen for families who have been displaced for multiple years and who need replenishment of basic household items and shelters. The distribution incorporated COVID-19 prevention measures, such as awareness-raising on self-protection, installing hand-washing points at distribution sites, and encouraging social distancing.
The five health clinics supported by UNHCR for asylum-seekers, refugees and disadvantaged host community members remain fully operational. However, secondary and tertiary referrals in Government of Yemen (GoY) hospitals have been partially suspended, except for urgent life-saving cases. Home-based physiotherapy for critical cases and the provision of medications to mental and chronically ill patients have been enhanced in an effort to mitigate the effects of any potential limitations on movements related to COVID-19.
Refugees and asylum-seekers country-wide who have lost their sources of income due to COVID-19 prevention measures are increasingly approaching UNHCR for support. In the north, UNHCR is providing cash to some 5,200 refugee families, selected through a broadened vulnerability criterion. This includes those who were already receiving monthly cash support. All families will be provided with a three-month cash advance to cover basic needs. In addition, 15,000 refugees and asylum-seeker families will receive hygiene kits containing soap, vitamins and personal sanitary kits for women. UNHCR also began distributing hygiene materials such as soap, detergent, personal care items, and water buckets to 6,100 refugee families in Mukalla and Hadramaut governorates, and in Basateen neighborhood in Aden. UNHCR continues to lead community-level awareness activities among the local population.