Photo credits: Azzam al-Zubairi/DEC (images 1, 2 and 5), Action Against Hunger (images 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8)
10 Days of Action #YemenCantWait
Every day for 10 days we will be adding a person's story to this blog. Help us to shift the focus on to the people behind the conflict.
Mar 12 2019
For 10 days, we are joining up with a consortium of NGOs to raise awareness of the situation in Yemen. More than 14 million people are facing starvation. We are the charity leading the fight against hunger, and as the numbers of people without access to food or clean water continue to rise in Yemen, our response becomes even more important. We are one of the few aid agencies on the ground.
When our team first arrived in Yemen in 2012, humanitarian aid agencies were warning that nearly half of the population did not have access to enough food. Today the numbers have shot up with 24 million people in desperate need of help and protection. 24 million people is 85% of the population in Yemen.
Over the next 10 days we will adding a person’s story to this blog, to put the focus on the people behind this crisis. Take action by sharing this blog and spreading awareness on Facebook. #YemenCantWait
Day 1: Tallabah
Tallabah has 12 children and 14 grandchildren. Two years ago, her village became a target for airstrikes and conflict, leaving Tallabah with no choice but to flee. “We packed up our things and left the same night. I can still remember the sounds of airstrikes and bombing and bullets being fired”. When they arrived at the displacement camp, they found hundreds of families like theirs who had fled. “In this camp we do not have wheat, flour, sugar, rice and all other basic. You can check our tent, there is no food inside.”
Our team in Yemen are handing out food supplies and financial aid to families like Tallabah's, who have fled the conflict and now live in displacement camps across the country.
Day 2: Rafi
Rafi suffers from malnutrition. He is now an only child after both his brothers died as babies, one from malnutrition. Rafi’s mum Habiba knows the gravity of her son’s diagnosis all too well. The family’s situation worsened when they were forced out of their home town in the Al-Hodeida governorate. “We used to live in Zabeed district, which was the most quiet place on earth”, but when the missiles started to reach their neighbourhood, Habiba and her family fled. Violence and conflict has destroyed the majority of hospitals, but Habiba managed to get Rafi to the last functioning medical centre in the capital city, Abyan. Rafi’s condition is getting better by the day, but thousands of children still need life-saving treatment for malnutrition.
In 2018, our team in Yemen treated over 31,000 people for severe acute malnutrition.
Day 3: Osama
At just 13 years old, Osama and his siblings became orphans. His parents were killed in the conflict and as the eldest child, he had to take on the responsibility of caring for his sisters and brothers. “As orphans and as children we had to take care of ourselves because we had no parents to do it for us.” Osama came to us for help and today, he receives financial aid which helps him and his siblings live more independently and buy food.
Help us help the 24 million people in desperate need of help and protection.
Day 4: Abdullah
Abdullah and his wife have 6 children. They were uprooted from their community because of the violence and air strikes in the region. They fled with nowhere to go and built a small hut out of tree branches and leaves. Without money to feed his children or a safe and secure place to live, Abdullah was desperate. Today, Abdullah receives financial aid from Action against Hunger. “I have enough food for my wife, boys and daughters as well as with saving to afford a good home and better life”.
Help our team support the 2 million people who have been displaced because of violence in Yemen.
Day 5: Afina
Seven month old Afina weighs a tiny 2.9kg, almost 5kg less than the average baby of her age. With eight other children in the family to feed, Afina’s mother Sofi, struggled to make end meet. With barely enough money to buy food for her children, Sofi made the tough decision of borrowing money from someone in her village. “We knew that Afina was suffering from malnutrition but we do not have money to take her to hospital.”
Help us help the 1.1 million pregnant women and 1.8 million children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
Day 6: Jimale
Jimale, his wife Sahara and their 13 children fled their village in south Yemen after violence broke out. They were forced to walk for days, carrying their young children. They settled in Zunjubar, where Jimale constructed a makeshift shelter out of branches. The family had no income and very little food to feed their children. Luckily, our Yemen team were working in the area when they came across Jimale. His family were given hygiene kits to prevent the spread of disease as well as financial aid so Jimale could buy food for his 13 children. Our teams also built water points in the village. “It was so good to not have to travel to fetch water. Most of the time I was exhausted from trying to find work in the day, so I had to rest before fetching water and preparing food for the family”.
In 2018, our teams in Yemen ensured that almost 335,000 people had access to clean water. Help us continue supporting families like Jimale’s.
Day 7: Entisar
Entisar is one of 12 children. She lives in Al Rawashi, a village that has been hit hard by the conflict in Yemen. Entisar’s father struggled to find work and after a motorcycle accident things turned from bad to worse. The family’s income was so low that they no longer had enough money to feed their children. Entisar quickly became malnourished and was spotted by an Action Against Hunger community health worker, who put her on a treatment programme. Entisar was given ready to use therapeutic food, a spread-like paste packed with vitamins and calories, which helped Entisar get the nourishment she needed.
In Yemen 50% of health facilities have been shut down or destroyed. Our community health workers are providing life-saving support to children like Entisar and bridging the gap between the failing health system and the communities. Help us reach more children like Entisar.
Day 8: Hasan
Hasan is both the mother and the father in his family. The conflict in Yemen has had a catastrophic impact on the infrastructure of the country. Hasan’s wife was nine months pregnant when she was taken to a health centre. He recalls “there was not enough specialised medical staff and there were several power cuts during the birth”. The staff were unable to save his wife or their baby. Today, Hasan receives financial aid from Action Against Hunger as well as a hygiene kit for him to keep his family healthy and prevent disease.
Help us continue to provide life-saving support in over 60 health facilities.
Day 9: Haja Fatima
When fighting broke out in her town, Haja Fatima had to leave everything behind. “We only took with us what was strictly necessary. At the beginning we moved from town to town, before settling in the town of Al-Qanawis a few months ago”. Haja Fatima and her family rent a small house for 6000 Yemeni rial (about £11 per month). Haja Fatima works in the field but her income is not enough to cover rent. Today she receives financial aid from Action Against Hunger to help buy food, pay bills and cover her rent.
In 2018, we helped 1.25 million people in Yemen. Help us reach even more.
Day 10: #YemenCantWait
Over the past 10 days we have been giving a voice to the voiceless. Humanitarian organisations have been raising awareness of the conflict in Yemen for years, so why did we decide to do this now?
Our Yemen Country Director, Valentina Ferrante explains why she thinks now is the time to act.
“Today nearly 80 percent of the entire population in Yemen - 24.4 million people - are in need of humanitarian assistance. The recent peace talk agreement and the current cease fire in Hodeidah should be seen as an extraordinary opportunity to deliver as much humanitarian assistance as possible. The situation in Yemen remains critical but we must act now to prevent further deterioration of health facilities, water networks and markets. The ceasefire has provided opportunities for us to access and support thousands of Yemenis through nutrition and health interventions, water and sanitation services and cash assistance. We must use this precious time wisely”.
During our 10 days of action, an Action Against Hunger staff member, Aamnah, was struck by shelling in Hodeidah and killed on 18th March. This tragic event reinforces the need for us to continue to raise awareness for this tragically forgotten humanitarian crisis. Whilst other news dominates the agenda, Action Against Hunger will continue to work to bring the crisis to the attention of the British people. #YemenCantWait