Yemen currently has the greatest level of humanitarian needs in the world. After an armed conflict erupted in March, over 20 million people—80 percent of the population—are in desperate need of assistance. 10 million are in need of assistance just to stay alive, mostly women and children.
The conflict has resulted in over 2000 deaths and two million people displaced, looking for shelter from disease and violence. Yemenis are struggling to survive as fuel, food and medical supplies are critically low due to the closure of land, sea and air routes. Just 14% of national fuel requirements have arrived in country since the end of March putting 10 million people at risk of losing access to water. Over 12 million people are going hungry as wheat and other staples are in increasingly short supply. More than 15 million are without access to health care as most hospitals have shut down due to lack of medical supplies and power cuts.
In addition to constant threat from violence and conflict, an aggressive strain of cholera has broken out, with 872,415 suspected cases. Children are particularly vulnerable, as their small systems and malnourished bodies cannot fight the disease.
The United Nations and other NGOs in Yemen have demanded the airport in Sana’a be reopened, as other foreign militaries have restricted food and medicine from being delivered, literally starving out innocent Yemenis.
Yemen is today one of the world’s greatest humanitarian crises. Close to 19 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance with over half of these lacking access to safe water and hygiene. An estimated 7 million people are nearing starvation. Less than half of Yemen’s health facilities are today functional as a result of the escalation in conflict over the last two years.
The cholera outbreak brings to light the important function that Yemen’s public service delivery institutions play in supporting access to services including health, water and sanitation. We believe that contributing to the alarming numbers of those affected by the outbreak is the inability of Yemen’s service delivery institutions to continue effectively functioning. The inconsistent provision of operational cost and payment of salaries of civil servants including health workers, has severely diminished health service delivery. Also affected are institutions and departments supporting water provision and garbage collection in Yemen.
The situation risks getting worse if urgent measures are not taken. We call for an increase in efforts by all actors to prevent further infections and support the treatment of cholera cases. This will require increased access to affected populations and increased resourcing of the health, water and sanitation response in the country as well as support to Yemeni service delivery institutions.