Food for Humanity Foundation: Humanity calls for an immediate cease fire to ensure an emergency medical response in Yemen to COVID 19 and Cholera outbreak
Yemen, 23 March 2020: With the world being engulfed in the Coronavirus pandemic, the little attention that the Yemen war is getting, has all but disappeared. But the war itself has not. If we ignore it, the corona crisis will not only sow devastation in Yemen but it will also continue to threaten the world at large.
This statement provides a brief overview of the current situation and calls for specific and practical actions that can and must be taken immediately to mitigate the impact of the multiple crises we are facing.
The Current Context:
As the deadly conflict and military escalation persists in Yemen, millions of innocent families have been internally displaced and the humanitarian challenges it brings are overwhelming. Ongoing clashes between opposing Yemeni armed groups on the ground and the continued aerial bombings are putting immense strain on already weak medical services. They not only violate international humanitarian law, but they also make it dangerous and difficult for humanitarian organizations like Food for Humanity Foundation to respond or deliver aid.
Hospitals across the country are running low on the means to treat the wounded. As we anticipate the spread of Covid19, we cases of Cholera are surfacing once again. The country is on the brink of famine, and a million people have suffered from the worst cholera outbreak in modern history. Drought and insecurity has left much of the population struggling to find basic health, food and water supplies.
Yemenis are unable to access the food and health services they need to survive. The brutal war has decimated the health, water and sanitation systems. Health workers, midwives, cleaners. Teachers and civil servants have not been paid adequately for years while hospitals, health centres, public water systems have been destroyed and deprived of key medical supplies. As in many other countries many of these frontline workers particularly in the health sector and domestic caring giving are women. They need to be reached, provided the protective masks and equipment and informed so that they can educate their families and communities.
In Yemen we cannot advise people to wash their hands with soap and water, because there is neither enough soap, nor much access to water. The people in Yemen are in need of a nationwide emergency response plan that cannot be implemented or successful while the country is at war.
An outbreak of COVID 19 in Yemen would be fatal for millions of people!
We at Food for Humanity Foundation are calling for an urgent and comprehensive aid effort and an immediate ceasefire to allow health and aid workers to continue their work.
- We call on all parties to:
- Adhere to an emergency ground and aerial ceasefire to allow health and aid workers to work in safety and ensure that civilians in conflict zones can access medical care and humanitarian assistance
- Refrain from violence and restart political talks to end the suffering
- Ensure unimpeded delivery of medical supplies
- We call on the internationally recognized Government to coordinate the delivery of vital medical supplies needed and continue to take preventative measurements and prepare for a covid19 outbreak
- We call on the international community to “not forget Yemen”. The Arab Coalition, the P5, and the UN Special Envoy’s office should all unite behind this humanitarian crisis that will not only affect Yemenis, but the world.
- We call on the Houthi Movement (Ansarullah) to:
- Release detainees as an outbreak of the Corona virus among them, will threaten the entire Yemeni population;
- Release the hundreds of travelers detained in the city of Afar in Al Bayda, medical quarantine without applying the least health standards or prevention methods. They are without shelter in an inhumane situation and not equipped with the most basic necessities for life; and
- Continue to take preventative measures and awareness campaigns to protect the community.
- We call on the UN and other international humanitarian actors present to:
- Lead a coherent, well-coordinated and comprehensive response to provide essential supplies and technical support that is needed to strengthen Yemen’s deteriorating health, water and sanitation services;
- Partner with grassroots initiatives and community based women and youth networks to maximize impact and effectiveness – particularly as they have access to remote areas and knowledge of local contexts to tailor efforts and awareness campaigns to maximize reach and impact;
- Ensure the inclusion and participation of community leaders – men and women to draw on their existing socio-cultural resources and maximize the accuracy and relevance of interventions; and
- Ensure gender sensitivity in every aspect of the aid provision, with attention to the differential needs of frontline health workers (female and men, as well as targeted outreach regarding mitigating measures, symptoms and responses.
- We call on Houthis movement (AnsarAllah) and Yemeni Government to demonstrate compassion, leadership and humanity towards all Yemenis including our Bahaii sisters and brothers, and as such rescind the execution order and prevent all acts of persecution and discrimination.
The Food For Humanity Foundation through its existing networks and track record of community engagement stands ready and willing to collaborate with other Yemeni and international organizations to protect the lives and wellbeing of all Yemenis.