Yemeni communities intensify efforts to fight COVID-19 crisis

August 1, 2020

Coronavirus pandemic has worsened the humanitarian crisis in conflict-affected Yemen. According to the World Health Organisation, more than half of the Yemeni population will be infected due to the COVID-19 virus. Healthcare workers are stuck between treating civilians affected due to war on one hand and patients infected with the virus on the other.

In a bid to assist the healthcare workers fighting at the frontline, a group of Village Cooperative Councils (VCCs) in Mabyan district in the northern Hajjah governorate has been providing locally-manufactured facemasks and personal protective equipment (PPE) to the medical staff. Several female volunteers have started working with the VCCs to produce thousands of face masks and durable PPEs in six medical centers across six villages in Yemen.

The Social Fund for Development (SFD), along with cooperation from the European Union and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) under the Social Protection for Community Resilience Project (SPCRP), is providing funds and training to Yemeni female volunteers working with the VCCs for domestic production of face masks and PPEs. The volunteers have also expressed eagerness to serve their communities during such difficult times. The community has prioritized securing of protectives masks and medical suits for health care staff such that they can perform their work safety amid the surging pandemic transmission.

In addition, the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies across the world have intensified their efforts to support the crisis-hit country. The European Union has also made vital contributions to providing medical, food, and educational assistance to Yemen. Since 2015, the EU has allocated €896 million in humanitarian response against the crisis in Yemen. It includes €554 million in humanitarian aid and €318 million in development assistance.

s per media reports, UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock has also warned that the humanitarian crisis in Yemen has never been worse. COVID-19 outbreak has arrived in the country at a time when five years of prolonging conflict have resulted in the destruction of health care services and infrastructure including hospitals and medical centers.

International financial aid support is on the verge of collapse due to which millions of Yemenis are facing hunger issues and lack of basic health care facilities. Lise Grande, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, has also warned that the death toll from COVID-19 could “exceed the combined toll of war, disease, and hunger over the last five years.”

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