On 19th January, the easing of blockade measures will end in Yemen. Widespread uncertainty hangs in the air. Millions of vulnerable civilians have no idea what will happen to them over the coming months, fearing that life can only get worse.
The easing of the blockade unfortunately did little to lower the prices of essential daily items such as fuel and food, meaning that the majority of families still cannot afford the basics they need to survive. 17.8 million can’t buy enough food to eat each day. Another 8.7 million are at risk of sliding into famine.
Bureaucratic restrictions have drastically slowed the entry of fuel and other essential supplies into Yemen, causing shortages and massive price increases. The price of food has gone up by 41% since the crisis began in 2015. In November of last year alone, food jumped 8% in cost.
Over the past three years, the violence in Yemen has resulted in 3 million people being internally displaced from their homes. These people are homeless and vulnerable, many living in makeshift shelters or thin nylon tents in IDP camps scattered across the country. 22.2 million people, more than two thirds of the country’s population, are in urgent need of humanitarian aid in order to meet their basic needs.
Fuel shortages mean that hospitals are being left without the power needed for providing critical care, including carrying out operations. In the last 9 months, more than 1 million cases of cholera have been recorded in Yemen. Cholera is a wholly preventable disease, but as only half of the country’s medical facilities are functional, thousands of cases are going untreated. Malnutrition is also a contributing factor, compromising immune systems and leaving people vulnerable to infection.
3.3 million children and pregnant or breastfeeding women are currently suffering from acute malnutrition in Yemen. This includes 462,000 children who have severe acute malnutrition. Without immediate intervention, these frail little ones are unlikely to survive. Severe acute malnutrition is a life-threatening condition, causing stunted growth, muscle wastage, swelling of the face, limbs and feet and death.
Destruction of health centres and a lack of essential medical supplies mean that 16.4 million people are unable to access basic healthcare. 16 million are forced to drink dirty water, allowing cholera-carrying bacteria to spread. Diphtheria, another preventable disease, has also taken hold in Yemen. Over 470 people are believed to be infected and 1 in 10 have died.
Since March 2015, more than 3 million babies have been born in Yemen. These children have never known peace or security. The horror of conflict is their only reality.
In the same period of time, over 5,000 innocent little ones have been killed or injured in the violence of this devastating conflict. 11 million children – nearly every single child in Yemen – are in desperate need of humanitarian intervention. More than half of the country’s children are living without access to clean water or sanitation facilities. Diseases like cholera are spread through dirty drinking water and inadequate hygiene practices. Children under 5 years old account for a quarter of all cases of cholera in Yemen.
According to UNICEF, 256 schools in Yemen had been totally destroyed by the end of September 2017. 150 schools were occupied by displaced civilians and 23 by armed militants. Around 2 million children are currently outside education and 75% of all girls in Yemen are married before they reach the age of 18.
Human Appeal has been responding to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen since deadly violence escalated in 2015.
Last year, we provided 18,000 beds for cholera patients and medical supplies benefiting a further 840 people. The generous support of our donors allowed us to distribute lifesaving food parcels to 24,206 hungry and malnourished people. Another 25,969 people received Qurbani meat.
Our school projects provided 1,200 vulnerable children with educational kits and school uniforms. In total, we managed to reach 75,877 beneficiaries with essential aid.
The danger is far from over for Yemen’s civilians. Their lives hang in the balance as the easing of the blockade comes to an end. 3 million homeless Yemenis are living in squalid, miserable conditions, vulnerable to the bitter winter weather. Without fuel, they cannot keep warm or cook hot meals. Skyrocketing prices of food mean that parents are unable to feed their little ones. Tiny babies are too weak with hunger even to cry.
For just £65, you can fight malnutrition in Yemen by providing a family of four with enough food to last them a whole month. For £250, you can give the gift of shelter and keep a displaced family safe, dry and protected from the elements.
Together, we can stop winter killing today.