Yemen

A Long Journey for Clean Water

In rural parts of Yemen, most people often hike for hours, under difficult conditions and along unpaved desert roads just to find clean drinking water. Even if they are lucky enough to find a well, the water is most likely contaminated with dirt or mud. Water from one of these wells often leads to sickness and diarrhea. Children are the most affected.

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How the International Rescue Committee is Helping People in Yemen

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has been supporting villages in the south of Yemen since 2012, providing clean drinking water and delivering emergency relief. In light of the escalating violence, the IRC had to interrupt its aid program in May 2015, but was able to resume its lifesaving activities one month later. Next to providing drinking water, the IRC’s work in Yemen also includes medical treatment, sanitary treatment, hygiene and nutrition. This further includes providing lifesaving medical goods as well as food for malnourished children or pregnant and nursing mothers. The IRC is also working to reconstruct wells and acquires other sources of water, such as water trucks, for communities without any access to clean drinking water. Last year, the IRC began with the deployment of mobile clinics, and conducted vital antibiotic programs. In 2015 alone, the IRC was able to reach a total of 813,131 people with basic health care, provide 51,356 people with access to clean drinking water, and treat 2,049 children below the age of five suffering from severe malnutrition.

 

  • Mohammed lives with his family in a village in the Abyan governorate in Yemen. Here, people often spend hours seeking clean drinking water.
    Photo: Sahar Nuraddin/ IRC

  • The International Rescue Committee has trained volunteers from the community to raise awareness for safe hygiene practices.

    Photo: Sahar Nuraddin/ IRC

Background of the Forgotten Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen

The crisis in Yemen is one of the worst in the world. Political unrest began in 2011 in light of the Arab Spring. Since then, the situation in the country that was only unified in 1990 has been increasingly growing worse. On the one hand, this is due to the continuing battles between the Yemeni armed forces and various rebel groups. On the other hand, chronic water shortage throughout the entire country is resulting in grave hygienic and agricultural problems. This combination of armed conflict and scarce resources is only further aggravated by the interference by Saudi Arabia and Iran, who are waging a proxy war in Yemen.

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