WHILE THE international news media focus on the fighting in Syria, news about the suffering in Yemen is beginning to seep out.
Back in March, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) announced that over 62,000 people had been displaced from their homes over the preceding six weeks. At a recent aid summit in Geneva, attended by NGOs and government representatives from across the world, Mohammed Alsousi, Human Appeal’s Director of Programmes, pledged to provide $1 million to fund emergency humanitarian aid in response to the growing crisis.
As well as the new funding, Human Appeal will step in to support the Al Jumhori public hospital in Sana’a. The Manchester based charity will provide medicines, equipment, food and general supplies. It will also work on improvements to and maintenance of the hospital building.
Othman Moqbel, Human Appeal’s CEO, spoke to About Manchester about Human Appeal’s work. He said, “This commitment of $1,000,000 to the aid response, as well as our work helping in a hospital that is struggling to operate, shows that as Human Appeal grows into becoming one of the world’s leading humanitarian aid organisations, our determination to save lives grows with us.
“The Al Jumhori Public Hospital is struggling to cope with the huge number of patients from the ongoing conflict, a severe lack of financial resources and lack of proper hygiene practices and supplies. Our work here will support the food and medical assistance we have already provided across Yemen since the conflict began in 2015. Human Appeal is planning to expand its activities and operations in different sectors such as WASH, food security, Health and Nutrition. We are hoping to reach the most vulnerable and conflict-affected people.”
He continued, “The crisis in Yemen has been forgotten about or ignored completely. We believe this is because that the conflict has not generated a huge amount of refugees coming to Europe and there is the misperception amongst the public that it’s only a regional crisis. To treat what is currently happening in Yemen, and has been happening for two years, as something insignificant is turning a blind eye to the escalating humanitarian emergency.
“Over the past two years, 44,000 people have been killed or injured and more than 3 million have been displaced because of the conflict. This equates to 75 deaths or injuries every day. The UN estimates 18.8 million people are in need of humanitarian aid or protection out of a total population of 27.4 million. Food insecurity is high with an estimated 14 million people affected, about the same amount need safe drinking water and basic healthcare as only 45% of health facilities are functioning.
“An estimated 1,000 children are dying every week from preventable diseases like diarrhoea, malnutrition and respiratory tract infections. Even before the war tens of thousands of Yemeni children were dying of preventable causes. According to the Ministry of Health, health services are collapsing and public hospitals are not able to provide sufficient care due to lack of financial resources and an increasing number of people in need due to the ongoing conflict. Some eight million children are in need of basic healthcare.
“The crisis in Yemen was, however, severe long before 2015 when the situation escalated. Years of poverty, under development and conflict had already taken their toll with the Yemeni people being some of the most vulnerable in the world. The high numbers of internally displaced people (approx. 2.2 million), female headed households and children are disproportionately affected by the situation.”
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