Yemen

  • Oxfam has been working hard to improve water and sanitation services, as well as the livelihoods of people living in poverty. Since 2015, we’ve reached more than three million Yemeni people with clean water, food vouchers, cash transfers and hygiene kits as part of our emergency response.

    With the arrival of Covid-19, we refocused our work to respond. Across Yemen, we’re training community health volunteers to spread the word about the virus and the importance of hygiene and hand washing.

Oxfam urges UN Security Council to inject new urgency into peace talks to end conflict in Yemen

25th January 2022

Oxfam today called on the UN Security Council to condemn the recent attacks in Yemen and inject new urgency into peace talks to end the seven-year conflict. The call follows airstrikes that have killed and injured hundreds of civilians in the last week and led to the suspension of humanitarian aid in parts of the country.   At the same time, people are struggling with spiraling prices for food, fuel, and basic essentials in what was already one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises.  

Speaking from Sana’a,  Abdulwasea Mohammed, Oxfam’s Yemen Advocacy, Campaigns and Media Manager said:  

“People are really struggling. Last night we had more airstrikes. Everyone is frightened. Children are traumatized – we tell them don’t worry it’s all fine but they wake up to the sound of massive explosions just like we do. Each night we go to bed and just pray we wake up in the morning. 

“We’ve lived with war for nearly seven years but the last few days have been the worst and I’m worried about what the next hours will bring.  

“The violence must end immediately so families can feel safe in their homes, and humanitarian agencies can resume lifesaving work. But we need more than a ceasefire, as in the past these have not led to sustainable peace.  The UN Security Council needs to inject new urgency into talks to ensure an end to the conflict and all sides must agree to prioritize the lives of Yemenis above all else.”  

This latest escalation has ground some urgent humanitarian work to a halt. Oxfam has been temporarily forced to suspend work in several areas due to concerns for staff safety and the movement restrictions imposed by the authorities due to the increased violence.  Lack of fuel also threatens aid deliveries to vulnerable communities.  

Over the last few days, prices have spiraled due to the bombardment. Fuel has almost tripled in price, in turn driving up prices of essentials like food, water and medicines that are transported by trucks around the country. As over 80 percent of people in Sana’a rely on water delivered by truck, this price increase threatens a major public health emergency.  

In many places, fuel is not available, even on the unofficial markets.   Electricity supplies are restricted as local private power grid companies are struggling to buy the fuel needed to provide electric power. While necessities are pushed even further out of reach, the vital lifeline of remittance payments sent from family living abroad as well as domestic money transactions (hawalah system) was cut for days due to the lack of internet. The telecommunications outage left families struggling to make contact with loved ones, further adding to their trauma. 

Mohammed said: 

“In recent weeks, the UN Security Council has reacted strongly to violence against civilians in other countries emanating from Yemen, but not to widespread attacks taking place in Yemen. To fulfill its responsibility to uphold international peace and security, the Council must demonstrate the same concern for Yemenis as it does for others across the region and the world.”   

Since the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen - the UN-appointed body responsible for monitoring human rights abuses in Yemen - was disbanded in October last year there is no international monitoring of human rights violations. The Civilian Impact Monitoring Project reported that there was a 66 percent increase in civilians killed in the last three months of 2021 compared to the previous quarter. 

Since the start of the conflict in 2015 over four million people have been displaced inside Yemen, many multiple times as frontlines shift. There have been nearly 14,000 civilian casualties and over 20 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.    

ENDS

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5 ways you helped Oxfam fight inequality in 2021

In a year of continued struggle and upheaval, you never stopped showing up in the fight against inequality.

As 2021 has come to a close, we are amazed by Oxfam’s supporters and their dedication to ending poverty and injustice around the world. 2021was not easy—with an ongoing pandemic - but you continued to show up and make your voices heard.

Here are some of the ways you made a difference in 2021.

1. You helped the most vulnerable survive COVID-19 in India.

When the second wave of COVID-19 hit India in April this year, it created a public health crisis that overwhelmed hospitals and left people literally dying in the streets. Within a month, there were more than 100,000 deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to over 300,000—the third highest in the world behind the United States and Brazil.

Through your donations and support, Oxfam was able to provide medical equipment such as oxygen tanks, beds, PPE kits, and more to frontline health workers at hospitals across India, and we worked with 60 partners to provide hygiene kits, thermometers, and oxygen level meters to families.

In addition to providing material resources, Oxfam has urged the Indian government to assist migrant workers returning to their homes with free COVID-19 tests, cash, shelter and isolation centers for those needing them, as well as to increase efforts to prevent violence against women.

Oxfam staff Nikhil Wagh and Parmeshwar Patil carrying an oxygen concentrator into the Yashwantrao Chavan Memorial Hospital. Oxfam has distributed two oxygen concentrators and 50 safety kits for frontline health service providers in Pune, Maharashtra state. Oxfam India

2. We demanded a People’s Vaccine.

Oxfam co-founded the People’s Vaccine Alliance in order to fight for a patent-free, mass-produced, and fairly distributed vaccine available free of charge to everyone, everywhere. We are in partnership with Amnesty International Ireland, Trócaire, The Irish Global Health Network, and many more organisations. Over 400 leading doctors and scientists have issued a letter to An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin TD, requesting an urgent meeting to ensure Ireland is working to support the TRIPS waiver. A small representation from the Doctors for Vaccine Equity group, who are part of the People’s Vaccine Alliance in Ireland, and the Irish Society of Immunology presented the letter to the Taoiseach’s office.

3. You responded to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

In May of this year, Gaza was devastated by rocket attacks and shelling in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, resulting in nearly 450,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance, and over 100,000 displaced people. Contributions from people like you allowed Oxfam to work with local aid organizations in Gaza to provide blankets and mattresses, hygiene items, and the material needs to supply drinking water for 400,000 people. We also were able to give cash to farmers so they could restart their work. Oxfam plans to aid 19 schools in repairing their water and sanitation systems.

An escalation in the conflict in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel has brought extensive damage to residential and commercial buildings, schools, roads, electricity network and water installations, and agricultural lands in Gaza. Fady Hanona

4. You supported ongoing humanitarian work in Bangladesh, Yemen, and other countries.

Oxfam supporters remain crucial in our ongoing humanitarian work in places like Bangladesh, where Oxfam and local partners have been assisting Rohingya Muslims who fled violence in Myanmar and are now living in dangerous, overcrowded conditions. In Yemen, your support has enabled us to assist 3 million people since 2015. This year, because of donations from people like you, we were able to provide aid to those in the Marib region who were recently displaced by fighting in the area. We delivered cash to more than 2,000 families and dislodging 55,000 litres of sewage from latrines each day.

Families seeking safety in Marib, including this man and his six-year-old son, have had to flee fighting multiple times. Kaff Media / Oxfam

5. You fought inequality worsened by the pandemic.

If there’s one thing that become abundantly clear during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that inequality makes everything worse. This year you continued to join us in our fight for equality and justice.

This year has not been easy for any of us, and yet you have remained dedicated to tackling inequality at its roots. Your support has helped people living in poverty across the globe, whether they were impacted by COVID-19, surviving a conflict, or fighting for their rights.  None of this work would be possible without you. 

Yemen Hunger Crisis. Help Now

With millions on the edge of famine, Yemen is the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Help Now
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Emergencies don't stop during the COVID-19 crisis

Here’s a brief update on some of the emergency work Oxfam supporters made possible this year.

Since March 2020 Oxfam has worked to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and support people’s basic food needs and livelihoods. During this time, we also advocated for a mass-produced, fairly distributed coronavirus vaccine that is available to every individual, rich and poor alike: a People’s Vaccine.

In India in April and May 2021 the Delta variant of the disease spread through the country, affecting our partners, Oxfam staff, and millions of others. Oxfam India was already providing cash, food, and hand-washing stations for migrant laborers stuck without money, housing, food, or transport options. As the Delta variant surged, Oxfam continued to provide food (more than half a million rations and food packs) and hygiene items to people, while also delivering medical equipment to more than 100 hospitals and health centers, including gas cylinders, beds, and protective equipment. We also advocated for the government to help migrant workers returning to home villages with no jobs, and to reduce the vulnerability of women to domestic violence. Oxfam is active in 16 Indian states.

Ongoing Emergencies

In the meantime, Oxfam has also continued its response to humanitarian emergencies all over the globe, work made even more difficult owing to increased costs, prevention measures that limit staff movements, and the threat of infection. More than half of the people Oxfam is helping are women and girls, who have been disproportionately affected by COVID.

The UN estimates there are more than 1 million people seeking safety in and around Marib, Yemen. Kaff Media / Oxfam


Yemen: Oxfam has assisted three million people affected by the war in Yemen since 2015, providing water and sanitation assistance, cash, and food. This past year, fighting in the area around Marib has displaced more than a million people (75 percent of whom are women and children), who now seek shelter in camps in areas prone to flooding and sandstorms. Oxfam has assisted 14,000 people in Marib, delivering cash to more than 2,000 families and dislodging 55,000 litres of sewage from latrines each day.

Ethiopia: Since conflict broke out in the northern Tigray region in November 2020, Oxfam has been providing water, sanitation, and hygiene items to people displaced by fighting. Oxfam is calling on all parties to observe a cease-fire, prioritize the safety of civilians, re-establish public services, and grant aid agencies unconditional and safe access to help those at risk of severe hunger. So far, Oxfam and partners have reached nearly 85,000 people, and plan to assist 400,000.

Bangladesh: Since Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence came over the border from Myanmar in 2017, Oxfam and partners in Bangladesh have been assisting people living in extremely overcrowded conditions. Expanding on our mission to provide clean water and sanitation, Oxfam and its local partners stepped up hygiene promotion starting in 2020. We also produced clean water for more than 20,000 people who survived a fire in one section of the Kutupalong refugee camp in April 2021. When heavy rains in July flooded water treatment systems and latrines, Oxfam made repairs and distributed hygiene kits.

Sudden Emergencies

Oxfam and key local groups we collaborate with still must help people when conflict, storms, earthquakes, and other sudden disasters hit, even when assets and resources are already committed to long-term programs. Here are just a couple of examples:

Beirut: In August 2020, a warehouse storing ammonium nitrate in Beirut’s port exploded and killed more than 200 people, injured 7,000, and displaced 300,000. Oxfam, already committed to assisting Syrian refugees and host communities in eastern Lebanon, turned to the capital city and recruited 11 new partner organizations to provide cash, food, reconstruction assistance, and other help for vulnerable disabled people, women, and LGBTQ people affected by the blast. Oxfam’s partners continue to assist more than 10,000 people as they recover from the explosion amid the political and economic collapse in Lebanon.

An Oxfam volunteer hands out water purification tablets after heavy monsoon rains in southeast Bangladesh damaged Cox’s Bazar refugee camps, and displaced families. Shaikh Ashraf Ali/Oxfam


Gaza: In May 2021 rocket attacks and shelling in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel led to widespread damage in Gaza. Bombing reduced entire apartment blocks to rubble, destroyed roads, knocked out water and power systems, and damaged clinics and schools. Nearly 450,000 people in Gaza needed humanitarian assistance, and more than 100,000 people were displaced. When it was safe enough to do so, Oxfam worked with local aid groups in Gaza to provide blankets and mattresses, hygiene items, and the chemicals needed to operate three sea water desalination plants that provide drinking water for 400,000 people. Oxfam also provided cash to farming families to help them restart their work, and we plan to repair water and sanitation systems at 19 schools.

These are just a few of the crises Oxfam is working on in collaboration with local groups. Contributions from people like you are making this work possible, and we thank you for your support.

You can help people survive COVID-19 and other humanitarian emergencies while continuing programs to end inequality and poverty.

Aisha’s story - Sa’adah IDP - Yemen

Aishah with her sisters Wafa* and Zahrah* in their open kitchen with empty dinnerware. They are vulnerable and have no source of income. *Names have been changed to protect identities. Photo: Ahmed Al-Fadeel/Oxfam

We had to flee from Malaheedh to Mazraq camp, where we used to be fine with the help of an INGO.

Then we had to flee airstrikes to Hudaydah, but the conditions were unimaginably harsh-we barely could eat.

We had to flee on foot. We left all our assets and carried what we could. We walked distances barefoot under the sun and many times slept under the rain. My brother helped us escape and accompanied us to this place and helped build this small shelter, but he has his own struggles and returned to take care of his family. I carried one blanket and a little bag of clothes.

It has been three years since we were displaced to this camp.

I live with a constant feeling of oppression as I have nothing at all. My children need to eat, clothes to wear and they always get sick. I get them to agencies providing emergency medical care as I’ll never afford long term medical care.

Aishah in her open kitchen with empty dinnerware. Photo: Ahmed Al-Fadeel/Oxfam

Here I don’t get any help. My children always go when there is news of distributions of food like flour, oil, or beans. Sometimes they come back with something, but many times they return empty-handed. I sometimes go with them despite my illness.

I have three boys and one girl -the oldest is 10 years old. I also have to care for my sister’s now 11-month-old girl. My husband and I got divorced and we lost contact with him. He could’ve been kidnapped or killed.

I’m their breadwinner. With my four kids and my niece, we go out every day collecting plastic bottles and metal cans to sell for recycling, and with the little we earn, we buy food to eat. I always go out with all my kids to earn for food, unless one of them is sick.

All I earn from selling plastic and metal cans goes to whatever food I can afford. I’ve never earned enough to last for the next day. I already struggle to get milk for my infant girl and rarely get to buy diapers. I buy one bottle of milk (300ml) for whole day and night.

On a lucky day, we earn 1700 –2000 YR (almost $3) and I can buy yogurt, a few vegetables and bread. I buy flour when I can and make bread. I use cardboard boxes or newspapers to make my cooking fires -wood or gas are privileges I can never to afford. I make lunch and if there are leftovers, my children have that for dinner, but we’re used to sleeping with empty stomachs.

Daily meals: if enough is earned

Breakfast: Yogurt

Lunch: A few vegetables –if I earn more than 2000YR, I buy half a chicken I‘m usually able to once a week. When we haven’t earned anything, I ask people for bread and that’s all we have to eat.

Wafa* and Zahrah* eating some charity stale bread. It is the only food available to them (11:00 PM / they have not eaten any breakfast). *Names have been changed to protect identities. Photo: Ahmed Al-Fadeel/Oxfam

Our most common meal is bread with yogurt.

Many times, I have nothing at all to give my children to eat for over a day.

Today for breakfast we had only hard loaves of leftover bread from yesterday. Yesterday we had nothing at all, until some people passed by giving away bread. They were saviours.

Most of the time, our daily meal could be one yogurt only, or few potatoes or bread when there is some. Other times it’s nothing at all.

“Most of the times, when we have little to nothing to eat, I struggle to get my children to sleep at night. They ask for food and I try to distract them, telling them stories and speaking to them until they’re asleep, then I look at them and pray for a better life until I get stolen by sleep.”

I have experienced harsh situations where my children ask me for more food, and I have nothing to give them. They ask me why we cannot eat chicken, meat, etc... It burns my heart, but I try to stay strong, I’ve great deal of patience and faith in Almighty God. It was painful in the beginning as I attempted to teach my children to be patient, and then they got used to it. For years now, a day goes without breakfast, another without lunch or dinner. When I earn little extra, I rush to get them the little I can afford of what they desire to eat.

My hope is that my kids get to eat what they want. I wonder if they’ll ever get to eat meat or fish? I don’t recall the last time we had a decent meal. I just hope they get to live happily and get what they want.

I hope this war ends and that I get a sewing machine and fabric to be able to produce something and have a decent sustainable income that saves me and my children from the struggle and suffering. I hope INGOs help us with cash to buy food or provide us emergency food assistance. We need programmes that builds our resilience and restores livelihoods.

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