Check out the latest MOAS podcast focusing on operations in Yemen.
Hi and welcome to latest MOAS podcast where we’ll be talking about MOAS’s operations in Yemen.
We’ll also be speaking to Don Magbanua the manager of Strategic Partnerships and Resource Mobilization at ADRA Yemen who’ll be giving us some insights on what it’s like to provide assistance on the ground in Yemen today. I’m Ruby.
And I’m Kate
OK so we’ll start by just providing a bit of context. Kate, could you give us a brief backgound to what’s been going on in Yemen?
Since 2015, Yemen, which already the poorest Arab state, has been ravaged by civil war which the UN has been calling the world’s worst man made humanitarian disaster. The war has developed into a complex protracted conflict with multiple armed groups over 30 front lines and multiple external forces exerting their own political will and power within the country. The human costs have been simply immense.
They think that nearly 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict so far. Which is just unimaginable tragedy. And among the survivors , 2.2 million of them have been forced to leave their homes and find safety in other parts of Yemen.
We call these internally displaced peoples, or IDPs. And these civilians are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.
Following on from a close working relationship with ADRA in Bangladesh, delivering aid and providing healthcare in the refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar, we once again partnered up with ADRA for a new mission in Yemen.
ADRA is an international NGO that’s been established in Yemen since 1995. That’s an amazing 14 year commitment to the Yemeni people. They’re active across 14 governates in sectors like food security, WASH, education and health and it’s a real privilege to partner with them in Yemen and contribute in a small way to their incredible work. So now it’s time to hear from Don who kindly agreed to answer some questions we had about working in Yemen.
First, we asked him about the kind of challenges that ADRA other humanitarian organisations face.
The main challenges with providing humanitarian assistance in Yemen is linked to the access constraints that humanitarian organisations face. In Yemen there are challenges that we deal with security, with authorities, with funding availability, that hinder us from providing much needed aid in Yemen.
There Don touched on some of the issues facing our humanitarian work in Yemen.
Actually, even prior to the civil war, Yemen was already importing 80-90% percent of its staple foods. And now, with blockades and armed violence, delivery routes have become almost impossible, certainly dangerous and unpredictable.
Absolutely and there’s 10 million Yemeni civilians now reliant on food aid for survival, additionally a third of the bombing targets in Yemen have been civilian – such as schools hospitals, community centres and this instability has led to a breakdown in infrastructure, And also the frontlines of the conflict are always shifting, which means that it’s hard for aid groups to access populations that are most in need because of continuing instability and violence in different regions.
So earlier we mentioned that the conflict in Yemen has become a protracted crisis. The concept of a protracted crises was actually explored last month in the latest series of blogs on the MOAS website, do check it out if you get chance. So UNHCR defines a protracted crises as lasting five years or more without an end or resolution in sight.
Yeah, it’s an extremely complicated situation, there’s multiple armed groups, ongoing instability and this conflict is really having a devastating impact on Yemeni civilians
So next we asked Don how this affects healthcare systems in Yemen
The protracted nature of the conflict in Yemen is adversely affecting the healthcare systems because salaries are not being paid, medications, vaccinations, equipment, they are not reaching the field and health facilities as easily as it should. the healthcare system is also affected a whole by the fighting in all the different parts of Yemen, because one for the access reasons that I had mentioned, that supplies are not able to get to where they need to get but at the same time many people are affected so negatively by the war that were are more sicknesses there are more diseases such as cholera, dengue, acute watery diarrhoea, there’s also a lot of malnutrition and so this causes a strain in the healthcare systems because they are not designed to hold, to address as many needs all at once.
Since 2015 the public health system of Yemen has virtually collapsed, and the conflict has reversed many of the advances in health that have been made in recent years. Negative outcome for maternal and infant health have been identified as particularly alarming and as Don mentioned there’s a multitude of barriers to accessing health care caused by the ongoing violence, reduced numbers of functioning health facilities, difficulty in accessing health facilities and delay in checkpoints when people are moving from one area to another
They estimate that there are currently 19 million people currently suffering from malnutrition and disease, which just goes to show how vital it is that humanitarian aid gets through as quickly as possible.
How can the international community support Yemen – we asked Don.
The international community can support Yemeni civilians by being advocates for the cessation of the conflict and the fighting that’s happening in Yemen. The conflict and the fighting in Yemen are the reasons and source of all the suffering that is occurring in Yemen. Many people’s lives, families and livelihoods have all been destroyed because of the fighting. And so we need to advocate for peace, we need to advocate for a better future for Yemen and the Yemenis. And the best way to do this it if we can influence decision makers on an international level to also advocate for the cessation of the conflict, the fighting, the bombings, and that will improve significantly and surely improve the lives of Yemenis.
So on an international level perhaps the biggest risk for protracted crises is that they become sidelined by new humanitarian emergencies. Particularly when it comes to media attention. So I think it’s crucial that we continue to bring these situations to light and that the media attention continues to focus on these situations. We need to keep sharing the experiences of those living through protracted crises, like Don says we need to advocate for peace and sustainable solutions.
Whilst advocacy is very important its also vital to support people in need now and that’s why MOAS has been working in partnership with ADRA, since earlier this year to launch operation in Yemen. A shipment containing 97 000 dollars worth of famine relieving product, Plumy Doz, was ` made available with the help of US based company Ediesa, who subsidised their product for the benefit of the recipients.
So what is Plumpy Doz? Well, it’s is a preventative liquid-based nutrient supplement for children 6 months and older who are identified as being at risk of developing acute malnutrition and can therefore be used alongside ordinary foods. Each 50g Plumpy Doz sachet provides the essential nutrients required to prevent malnutrition in children whose diets are not currently meeting their appropriate calorie and protein needs.
And to support the famine relieving products, we’ve also delivered medical supplies and pharmaceuticals to help existing health care facilities. As so together with German organisation Action Medeor, a 138 000 euros worth of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals have been delivered to Yemen
These medicines were selected from the WHO Essential Medication List and prioritised based on safety, cost-effectiveness and current & potential need. So, in addition to medication, vital clinical equipment is also included for the purposes of diagnoses, drug administration, wound dressings and resuscitation.
After the success of our two first deliveries, we are now facilitating a second delivery of both pharmaceuticals and famine supplies to provide on going relief to Yemeni civilians in need. We asked Don how important partnerships are for NGOs working on the ground in Yemen.
ADRA is very, very thankful for strategic partnerships like the one we have with MOAS because it it increases out capacity and our impact to the communities that we work in. With MOAS we have been able to help mothers and children bounce back from malnutrition and also prevent some of them from falling into acute malnutrition. Through our partnership with MOAS we’ve been able to receive medications from their donors, we’ve been able to receive therapeutic food that were’ using to cure these mothers and children who are suffering from acute malnutrition. And when we have these partnerships and these social entrepreneurs who want to make an impact and who partner with us we’re very thankful for that trust because we know that we’ll be able to do more good and that we’ll be able to create more positive future for the country of Yemen. And so we thank MOAS, we show our gratefulness, we express our gratefulness to MOAS for helping us gather and mobilise these resources and we invite other supporters to also support the mission of MOAS in Yemen.
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