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Yemen: relieving the most isolated populations

Published on Monday 25 June 2018

Since 2015, Yemen has been facing a civil war that has devastated the country. Its inhabitants, mostly deprived of water, food and access to health care, have become dependent on humanitarian aid. SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL strives to intervene in areas that are difficult to access, in order to help the most isolated populations. Thomas Leclerc, Water, Hygiene and Sanitation Programme Manager in Yemen, shares his analysis.

“PEOPLE NO LONGER HAVE ACCESS TO WATER AT ALL”

 

The needs are unimaginable. It is the biggest crisis in the world according to the different international bodies. The populations, who were already living in structurally complicated conditions, with a lack of access to water and widespread poverty. The country is now in its fourth year of war, so the populations now have no access to water at all. They are forced to spend their very last financial resources to access the bare necessities.

GAINING ACCESS TO THESE POPULATIONS

 

Our objective is to alleviate this suffering as close as possible to the front line, where the populations are most affected by the conflict. We opened in the country late 2017 to get up close with isolated populations. We are looking at a very rural area, split in half by the front line. Our first goal is to reach the populations in that area. Despite the very complicated logistics constraints, we still manage to go on the ground and find solutions, with the populations, to restore access to water, access to healthcare in health centres, and simply distribute cash to the most vulnerable.

We’re on a very simple modus operandi, we are not doing anything complicated. We’re just trying to reach areas where others may not be able to go. That really is our approach.

Since we opened, the context has changed extensively. It’s a very unstable crisis. Now we’re looking at the west coast of Yemen, to get closer to the front line which is also shifting, and gains access to newly accessible populations, and populations who have been displaced by the conflict. We want to do basic lifesaving actions, with water distribution, latrine construction, etc., and keep our capacity to respond rapidly and flexibly.

 

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  • 29.3 million inhabitants
  • 62% poverty rate
  • 168th out of 188 on the Human Development Index