A Yemeni child gets medical attention at a health center in Sana'a, Yemen, 19 April 2020. According to reports, the prolonged conflict in Yemen has had a devastating effect on children, leaving some 10.3 million children without enough food to eat, including 2.1 million acutely malnourished | Photo: EPA/YAHYA ARHAB
A Yemeni child gets medical attention at a health center in Sana'a, Yemen, 19 April 2020. According to reports, the prolonged conflict in Yemen has had a devastating effect on children, leaving some 10.3 million children without enough food to eat, including 2.1 million acutely malnourished | Photo: EPA/YAHYA ARHAB

The UN Refugee Agency has called for emergency funding to implement life-saving assistance programs for nearly one million vulnerable displaced persons and refugees in Yemen who risk losing their shelter and vital cash assistance for essentials like food and medicine.

Nearly one million vulnerable displaced people and refugees in Yemen are at risk of losing their shelter, vital cash assistance for essentials like food and medicine, and much more, the UN refugee agency UNHCR warned in a statement published on April 28. 

They already face abject poverty and urgent funding is needed in the coming weeks to keep the lifesaving aid programs running, UNHCR said. 

Dramatic situation in Yemen 

The UN agency recalled that Yemen is already considered to be the world's largest humanitarian crisis. The country is now also facing the threat of the coronavirus pandemic and the impact of recent torrential rain and flooding in places like Aden, Abyan, Lahj, Marib, Sana'a and Amanat Al Asemah governorates. 

Initial reports indicate that more than 100,000 people across Yemen have been impacted, UNHCR said. 

Flash flooding and rains inflicted extensive damage to sites sheltering internally displaced people (IDPs) and to public infrastructure. It is estimated that more than 3.6 million people have been forced to flee their homes in Yemen since the start of the latest conflict in 2015, the organization said in the statement.

Only Syria, Colombia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have larger internal displacement driven by conflict. 

The annual report on global internal displacement issued on April 28 by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) estimates that conflict and violence displaced nearly 400,000 people in 2019 alone, UNHCR noted.

The importance of humanitarian aid 

After five years of conflict, over 80% of the entire Yemeni population needs some form of assistance. In order to survive, nearly 4 million internally displaced persons, repatriated migrants, refugees and asylum seekers need to regularly rely on humanitarian aid. 

UNHCR said it is urgently seeking 89.4 million dollars to secure life-saving protection and assistance to internally displaced families, refugees, and asylum-seekers and their hosting communities. This funding will enable UNHCR to maintain life-saving aid to internally displaced families, refugees, asylum-seekers and the equally impoverished Yemenis hosting them. 

This aid is now urgent, as these groups are the most vulnerable to the threat of COVID-19, which may have severe consequences if aid agencies are unable to deliver proper support, UNHCR noted. 

Without the necessary funding, the agency could be forced to drastically cut or terminate several vital programs. This would leave 655,000 internally displaced people, and a refugee and asylum-seeking population in Yemen comprising some 281,000 men, women and children in dire need, UNHCR concluded.
 

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