Humanitarian Emergency in Yemen: Food and Water Aid to Yemeni Families
Project location: YEMEN
Project start date: February 2019 - Project end date: February 2020
Project number: 2019-003
Beneficiary: Associació Solidarios Sin Fronteras
Yemen’s population adds up to 30,5 million people. 80% of the population (24,1 million) are in need of humanitarian help, as they don’t have food (20,1 million), drinking water (20,5 million), or access to sanitary services (19,7 million). Of those, 14,3 million are in acute emergency (an increase of 27% in this last year), and 67% of them are children who need urgent help to survive. This figure increases by 15% every 5 months. In June 2020, existing data indicated that 80% of the children live with families below the poverty line.
Two thirds of all districts in the country are already in a pre-famine situation, and one third faces a convergence of multiple acute vulnerabilities.
7,4 million people suffer from malnutrition, of which 2 million are children (15% of the total number of minors) and 1,1 million are pregnant women. 462.000 children below 5 years old suffer from very severe malnutrition. It is estimated that 15% of the children under the age of 5 suffer from malnutrition. This is greatly aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
144 children die every day, 1 every 10 minutes. Among them, 5 per day die or are hurt directly by the war. In total, 85.000 children have died due to preventable diseases since the beginning of the conflict, according to Save the Children.
Children under five account for more than a quarter of all cholera cases in the country (with a total of 2,316,197 possible cases in January 2020).
14,4 million people are in need of protection, mostly women and children. 21% of households are supported by girls under the age of 18 who have lost their parents and must take care of their siblings.
More than 5 million children have been born in Yemen since the beginning of war, one of the worst countries in the world to be a child.
There are 3,6 million internally displaced persons (Yemen is the fourth largest country in the world in terms of number of displaced persons) surviving in “spontaneous” camps with no basic services. More than 15% of the displaced families are made up of women with children (77%). Out of the 4,3 million people displaced, 1,7 million are children.
94,000 people have been displaced from their homes in the last 3 months due to COVID19, adding to the 3.6 million already displaced.
420,000 people are refugees or migrants in other countries, which is only 1,3% of the total population.
5,5 million of children do not go to school due to the risk of bombardment or because the school no longer exists, or because they are now closed due to COVID19 (many fear that school will not open again). 10,331 schools have been hit by strikes. 66% have been bombed and are severely damaged; 27% have closed and 7% are currently used by displaced families or military personnel.
1,25 million employed civilians do not receive any form of income or receive it only sporadically since August 2016. 135,359 of these are teaching staff.
50% of health services are not functioning properly, of which 14% are not functioning at all and 35% only partially.
The prices of food and drinking water have increased to levels unaffordable for most part of the population. In February 2020, the average price of the basic food basket for a family had increased 68% in comparison to pre-war prices. Petrol has increased 84%; cookin gas 73%, diesel 52% and water 300%.
During the first half of 2020, floods have devastated communities in the south of the country, and contributed to the spread of deadly diseases such as cholera, dengue fever, malaria and diphtheria. But of all the threats Yemen faces, none is as catastrophic as COVID-19, which has been present since March 2020 and is spreading unchecked across the country. Yemen is already the country with the highest death rate in the world for diagnosed cases due to the extreme vulnerability of the population and the lack of means to combat the virus and limit its spread.
It is estimated that 55% of the population may be infected, about 48,000 may die and almost 300,000 are likely to require hospitalization that is not at all guaranteed.
The UN has declared Yemen "the world's greatest humanitarian emergency due to war, disease and the collapse of public institutions and services, and the greatest famine on the planet in the last 100 years", but in spite of this, in April 2020, the UN cancelled 30 of its aid programmes due to lack of funding (this affects 155 districts in 21 governorates). This reduces survival assistance to 1.7 million people, especially in Sana'a, Dhamar and Ibb.
This project, which received a grant from the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation, aims at feeding and provide drinking water to families and children in Yemen.
Specifically, it included two actions:
1) Distribution of 759 basic boxes of food and hygiene products to 759 families with children (about 5.300 people). (383 in the 1st part of the project, and 376 in the 2nd part)
Each food box is designed for 1 family of 6/7 people, to feed them for 1 month. It includes: 40 kilos of flour of 2 classes, 10 kg of rice, 30 eggs, oil, 5 packages of spaghetti, 5 cans of beans, 5 bigs cans of tuna, tajin paste, margarine, sugar, salt, tea, cheese, milk powder, juice/sweet and detergent, soap and bleach.
Since January 2020, 15 kilos of potatoes and 7 kilos of bananas have been included in each box.
2) Purchasing 12 drinking water tanks of 2,000 litres each and installing 12 support bases:
2 in the Hoof refugee camp in the north of the country;
2 in schools in Sana'a;
7 were installed in the Arhab refugee camp in the north of the country;
1 was installed in the Raydah Refugee Camp (where the NGO already has 13 other water tanks, and now they have 14).
The water tanks in the refugee camps are filled every Tuesday and Friday, and there are already 21 tanks provided by Solidarios sin Fronteras in 2 refugee camps, which give 336,000 litres of water per month to some 3,500 people.
Currently (mid 2020), in the middle of the COVID19 pandemic and with the highest fatality rate in the world (deaths by number of infected), SSF's priority for the next months (and all of next year), is to increase the distribution of water (probably, going from 2 weekly refills to 3) and the installation of additional water tanks (in July SSF is going to install tank number 8 in Arhab, due to the arrival of 10 families (about 60 people)
SSF also wanst to increase the number of food packages. In June, SSF incorporated 3 kilos of dates in each pack permanently (until now dates were only given during Ramadan), but the pediatrician who helped SSF to prepare balanced school breakfast, suggested that 3 kilos of dates be included in each package to guarantee the intake of vitamin C (bananas, the fruit that SSF incorporated at the beginning of the year, provides potassium, but not vitamin C, and according to the doctor, vitamin C and potassium must be balanced)
SSF will continue to distribute breakfasts in both schools (as soon as they open again).