- The Impact of COVID-19
- Yemen's Critical Needs
- Financial support and supplies for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH);
- Medical care for the treatment of cholera, malnutrition and now COVID-19 virus;
- Support for food supplements to help address the high levels of famine and malnutrition;
- Unrestricted core funding for humanitarian partners and UN agencies who support the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) in an efficient way to ensure best use of resources.
- How is all of this affecting Yemeni children?
- The health system is really close to collapse - after years of conflict, only half of health facilities are operational, with huge shortages in medicine, equipment and staff;
- An additional 6,600 children under the age of five could die from preventable causes by the end of the year;
- An additional 30,000 children could develop life-threatening severe acute malnutrition over the next 6 months;
Yemeni child with malnutrition (Source: The Washington Post)
- The overall number of malnourished children under the age of five could increase to a total of 2,4 million, which is almost half of all under-fives in the country;
- The poor access to water and sanitation is increasing the spread of diseases, such as cholera and COVID-19. Around 9.58 million children do not have sufficient access to safe water, sanitation or hygiene;
- With schools closed, 7.8 million children are not able to access education;
- The lack of access to education and the worsening economy could put children at greater risk of child labour, recruitment into armed groups and child marriage. For instance, the United Nations has recorded 3,467 children, some as young as ten years-old, recruited and used by armed forces and groups over the last 5 years.
To be able have a humanitarian response in Yemen, UNICEF is appealing for US$461 million, with an additional US$53 million for its COVID-19 response alone. So far, the COVID appeal is only ten per cent funded and the humanitarian appeal is only 39 per cent funded. For example, the report highlights that crucial water and sanitation services for three million children and their communities will being to shut down from the end of July, unless US$45 million is secured. For this, UNICEF is working with the World Health Organization and the authorities across Yemen to get life-saving aid to children in desperate need.
|Sara Beysolow Nyanti|
- Economical Causes:
- Yemen’s economy, already fragile prior to the conflict, has been gravely affected. Hundreds of thousands of families no longer have a steady source of income, as unemployment increases, and many public servants have not received a regular salary in several years.
- As a result of the instability that was destroying the country, the government also was instable - the government stopped paying its public debts.
- The existence of an armed conflict has made the country less auto-suficient, so Yemen became more dependent on importation - Yemen imports almost 90% of its food - however, also due to the conflicts, the entry of goods into the country is more difficult and, consequently, the access of it to the population is hard.
- Yemen being heavily dependent on oil importations consequently damaged its economy.
- Socio-Cultural Causes:
- The lack of access to resources, especially access to water, influences both Yemeni demography, but also the economy, and, therefore, it also influences the conflicts and consequently increases the already existing Human Rights' crisis.
- Most of the population lives in rural areas, where living conditions are not the best. In addition, due to geographical and environmental conditions, such as precipitation and soil for agricultural cultivation, they do not have characteristics for the communities to be able to be self-sufficent and grow their own food.
- Even before the civil war started, gender based violence was already common in Yemen, but, of course, the conflict only aggravated this social issue and the vulnerability of yemeni women. Gender discrimination in Yemen is structural, for example, women are discriminated in relation to marriage, divorce, child costudy and inheritance, not only among society itself, but also under Yemen's Civil Status Act. In addition, the percentage of women who have access to education, especially superior education, is very low. In 2015, Yemen was ranked as the society with the least gender equality in the world.
- Yemen is the second largest armed society in the world - it is estimated that there are about 15 million weapons in the civilian environment, that is, one in two people has a weapon (women are not allowed to have weapons, so it's most of the male population who owns them). These weapons are mostly used to protect civilian property, but since the scarcity of resources is heavy, this triggers an increase in violent crimes.
|A medical practitioner helping a child suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in Bani Al-Harith, Sana’a, Yemen. (© UNICEF)|