“Yemenis are exhausted from four years of war”

Report
from Handicap International - Humanity & Inclusion
Published on 28 Oct 2019 View Original

Humanity & Inclusion has been providing rehabilitation care and psychosocial support in eight health facilities in Sana'a, Yemen since 2015 and in one of Aden's main hospitals since last July. Maud Bellon, Humanity & Inclusion’s head of mission, explains the unacceptable situation civilians are facing on a daily basis.

"Since Humanity & Inclusion launched a response in 2015, we have provided rehabilitation sessions to nearly 22,000 people," Maud explains. “We’ve distributed 23,600 mobility aids—including wheelchairs and crutches—along with special equipment. We have also fitted more than 200 people with prosthetics and orthotics.”

Since half of the country’s health facilities are no longer operational, all patients are transferred to medical facilities that have space for them. “There’s a constant flow of patients, from people injured in the conflict or car accidents, to older people and people with disabilities who need rehabilitation care. Many people need help because the country is in total chaos.”

Families cover long distances to be treated in Sana'a (North) or Aden (South), despite the risks facing travelers in Yemen, which include fighting, violence, crime and poor transport conditions due to blocked roads.

Response in southern Yemen

"We are now working in the country’s two main regions—in Sana’a, since 2015 and in Aden, since last July—with all the logistical and security challenges this entails.”

The United Nations considers Aden to be the most dangerous city in the Middle East. Armed groups and crime create serious security problems. Intense fighting last August increased the number of people arriving in the city's hospitals.

The conflict is becoming more and more complex and the number of parties to the conflict has increased.

Mental exhaustion

Yemenis are exhausted by four years of war that has destroyed the country’s social and economic structure. Psychosocial support remains a challenge in a country where the idea of psychological distress is given little credence.

"Humanity & Inclusion’s team provided psychological support to more than 16,000 people, including direct beneficiaries of rehabilitation sessions and their caregivers. We are trying to go even further by training more than 400 health workers to treat people who have severe physical and psychological trauma.”

Contamination by explosive remnants of war

“We are planning to launch risk education campaigns very soon. We want to inform Yemenis of the dangers of mines and explosive remnants of war and how to handle them, in order to reduce accidents. Some regions are highly contaminated by explosive devices, including remnants of bombs, so there is an urgent need for action.”

Humanity & Inclusion and the Yemen crisis

Humanity & Inclusion (which operates under the name Handicap International in Yemen) operated in the country from the early 2000s up to 2012, focusing on physical rehabilitation. Since returning in 2014, our mission has grown. Today, we provide direct services to individuals affected by the ongoing conflict, particularly people with disabilities, through rehabilitation care and psychosocial support at eight public health facilities in and around Sana’a city. Learn more about our work and the Yemen crisis.