Connect with us

News

Yemen: Clean water and safe sanitation for displaced people in the world’s largest crisis

 

International Organisation of Migration (

Sana’a – No matter where you are, clean water and safe sanitation are key to a healthy life. In Yemen, it has been six years into the conflict and around half of the population need some form of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) support. Many are exposed to dangerous diseases like cholera and COVID-19—both of which have had a devastating impact on the country’s population.

There are multiple risk factors that can impact vulnerable communities, as is the case for 4 million internally displaced Yemenis. In locations hosting high volumes of displaced people, the needs become even more magnified while resources are overstretched. This is particularly evident in Ma’rib, a relative haven for Yemen’s largest displaced population, despite nearby continuous clashes.

It has been over a year since fighting erupted along the outskirts of Ma’rib, Al Jawf and Sana’a governorates, causing the displacement of nearly 150,000 people mostly towards Ma’rib city and surrounding areas.

Within the last month or so, over 10,000 people were forced to flee areas in Sirwah close to the frontline, many of whom have been displaced for the third time or more and continue to live in fear of, once again, losing their supposed refuges and having to run.

Displacement sites in Ma’rib are overcrowded, with worryingly limited access to essential services like clean water supplies. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) provides comprehensive WASH support to 16 displacement sites across the governorate.

 

Waste collection process at an IOM-constructed point in Ma’rib

 

Water Shortage

“We had a water network, but the supply was often interrupted because of old broken pipes,” said Hassan, a displaced person living in Maneen Al Hadad Displacement Site in Ma’rib’s Al Ashraf sub district.

“The pipes were rusty and so the system used to break down frequently. We were not able to easily pay for any maintenance from our own pockets, as families here live in poor conditions,” he added.

Due to the problems with the water network, Hassan’s family struggled to get enough water each day. Often, they were forced to travel long distances in search of working wells or required to pay large sums for purchasing and trucking water. Sometimes, they would be without water for several days, affecting the family’s health.

READ  How one diaspora pediatrician is trying to reduce neonatal deaths in Somalia

“It was difficult to fetch water and carry it back to the displacement site because of the long distance to a working water well,” recalled Safaa, a displaced woman in another displacement site in Ma’rib called Al Kuseef.

IOM rehabilitated the worn-out water network, extended pipes to the shelters that previously had no access to the network and installed a submersible pump and generator to guarantee a continuous flow. Over 5,830 families also received 500-litre tanks since January 2020, which allowed them to safely store water.

“It was very hard for us whenever our flow of water would be interrupted. We had no way of storing water for these emergencies. The storage tanks are a solution to our problems. Now, we are prepared for any possible future water shortages and we can also keep the water clean,” explained Hassan.

displaced mother bathing her child at Al Jufainah site. Photo by Giles Clarke for UNOCHA 2020

 

Unsafe Sanitation

Four years ago, Yemen experienced the worst cholera outbreak in modern times, yet sanitation continues to be a major issue across the country, making humanitarians concerned about future outbreaks.

It is estimated that less than ten per cent of displaced people have access to a safe latrine. Lack of privacy, acute watery diarrhea and the spread of disease are some of the ordeals that displaced people—especially women and children who make up over 70 per cent of the population—face in the absence of a proper sanitation system.

IOM provided displaced families with cash to build their own latrines, using materials from local markets. Around 1,450 latrines have been constructed by the families so far. The Organization also trained the families in skills needed to safely build a latrine according to Sphere´s Humanitarian Standards.

Already, the positive results of an improved sanitation system have become evident for the displaced community.

“Now that we have our own latrines, we feel comfortable. We used to practice open defecation, which was causing diseases,” said Abdallah Ali, a member of the Muhamasheen community, a marginalized ethnic group in Yemen that often lives in makeshift shelters alongside displaced people. Abdallah Ali and his family live in Al Qasha’a Displacement Site, Ma’rib.

READ  IOM, humanitarian partners roll out new decongestion strategy in Borno IDP camps

But in Maneen Al Hadad Displacement Site, where Hassan lives, the displaced community had another sanitation problem.

“Because of open cesspits, we were suffering greatly from the spread of unpleasant odours, mosquitoes and flies,” explained Abdalkreem, Hassan’s neighbour and an environmental manager at the site.

The open pits scattered around the site caused concern for the residents. Families would not allow their children to go out to play, fearing that they might fall into one. Even grown-ups were afraid of going out at night for the same reason.

As part of its intervention, IOM helped over 300 displaced families to cover their open pits and feel safer.

“We feel more secure and less worried about allowing our children to play outside, and the unpleasant odours that filled the air have subsided. Luckily, this also got rid of one of the sources of flies and mosquitoes,” stated Abdalkreem in relief.

IOM partners carry out hygiene awareness sessions with displaced people in Ma’rib. Photo IOM 2020

 

Rubbish Everywhere

In Ma’rib, the displacement sites are crowded. Around 80 per cent of displacement sites have no access to reliable waste management systems, exacerbating environmental problems and the spread of disease.

“Before the cleaning campaign, garbage was spread throughout the site, and mosquitoes were everywhere spreading disease,” said Mohammed Al Azma, a displaced community representative living in Al Kuseef Site.

In many displacement sites, garbage would pile up and be thrown in random locations. This accumulation of solid waste was a source of anxiety for displaced families in Ma’rib, who worried about their children’s health. Heavy rains and flash floods made the situation even worse during the rainy season.

IOM launched solid waste management activities to provide a long-term solution for the waste problem. Starting by creating a hygiene and sanitation committee, IOM conducted a cleaning campaign in 14 displacement sites to remove the solid waste, constructed waste collection points, and distributed 40 litre waste buckets to collect and transport the garbage.

READ  US-Iran tensions fuel Afghan returns

The committees also supported IOM to provide hygiene promotions on solid waste management to the community. Once a site is cleaned, IOM starts the regular waste collection with the support of authorities and committees through mobilizing the community to conduct a regular mini cleaning campaign.

“The cleaning campaign reduced the spread of flies and decreased infection and fever among our community. We hope that IOM continues to support our garbage collection,” said Nusseibeh in Al Kuseef Site.


IOM-constructed toilets for new displaced arrivals at Al Jufainah. Photo by Giles Clarke for UNOCHA 2020
Raising Awareness

 

Raising Awareness

Along with the cleaning campaign, IOM also carried out hygiene and water management awareness sessions to teach people how to stay healthy by using and storing water properly, following correct hygiene practices and keeping their sites clean. These messages are vital to fighting COVID-19 and cholera.

“After the awareness sessions, we learned safe and healthy ways to transport and store water, as well as correct handwashing methods to limit the spread of communicable disease and combat the transmission of dangerous viruses,” explained Abdalkreem, the environmental manager of Maneen Al Hadad Site.

IOM’s awareness sessions also included sensitizing the displaced community on COVID-19 and cholera mitigation measures, water chlorination and latrines construction. Across the 16 sites, these sessions reached almost 17,900 displaced people in total.

Under the same project and to supplement the awareness-raising campaigns, IOM distributed nearly 7,870 hygiene kits, 696,000 pieces of soap and 70,000 long-lasting insecticidal nets to the displaced communities in Ma’rib.

This project is funded by EU Humanitarian Aid.

This article was written by Mennatallah Homaid, IOM Yemen’s Communications Assistant.

Support Voice for African Migrants


Support VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS journalism of integrity and credibility.

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
* are compulsory
cardlogos
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Solve : *
28 − 8 =


News

UNHCR and IOM shocked and dismayed by deaths near Belarus-Poland border

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and are deeply saddened by the deaths of four individuals near the border between Poland and Belarus. The organizations express their condolences to the families of the deceased and are calling for an immediate investigation into this tragedy. The nationalities of the all the victims have yet to be confirmed but two Iraqi nationals reportedly died of hypothermia.

In recent months, groups of asylum-seekers and migrants have been transiting through Belarus, to seek asylum in neighbouring EU Member States – Lithuania, Latvia and Poland.

The two agencies have been following with growing concern, reports of pushbacks of people at these borders. Groups of people have become stranded for weeks, unable to access any form of assistance, asylum or basic services. Many were left in dire situations, exposed to the elements, suffering from hypothermia. Some were rescued from swamps.

READ  U.S. issues potential irregular African immigrants gentle warning

Recognizing the significant challenges posed by irregular movements, the agencies have called for the situation to be managed in accordance with international legal obligations, and for States to work collaboratively to resolve the situation, prioritising human rights.

UNHCR and IOM call for immediate access to those affected, in order to provide lifesaving medical help, food, water and shelter, especially in light of the approaching winter.

While States have the sovereign right to manage their borders, this is not incompatible with the respect for human rights including the right to seek asylum. Pushbacks endanger lives and are illegal under international law.

UNHCR and IOM have been engaging with relevant authorities to explore various options for the people who continue to be stranded at borders; from access to asylum, family reunification procedures, and voluntary return for those found not to be in need of international protection.

IOM and UNHCR reiterate that asylum-seekers and migrants should never be used by States to achieve political ends. The fundamental responsibility to protect vulnerable people should be shared among States in a spirit of solidarity. Political disagreement on responsibilities must never result in the loss of life, forfeiting States international obligations and commitments.

READ  New safety measures allow Malian refugees to return to camp in Burkina Faso

 

Support Voice for African Migrants


Support VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS journalism of integrity and credibility.

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
* are compulsory
cardlogos
Continue Reading

News

UNHCR calls on Libya to urgently develop plan for asylum seekers and refugees, welcomes authorization to restart evacuation

Libya. UNHCR provides assistance to asylum-seekers caught in crackdown

A refugee feeds her baby while waiting to receive assistance at an emergency distribution by UNHCR and partners in Tripoli, Libya.  © UNHCR/Mohamed Alalem

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today urged the Libyan government to immediately address the dire situation of asylumseekers and refugees in a humane and rights-based manner. Raids and arbitrary arrests by the authorities this month targeted areas largely  populated by refugees and asylumseekers that resulted in several deaths, thousands detained, and many homeless and destitute.

“Since the start of the security raids and arrests by the Libyan authorities in October, we have witnessed a sharp deterioration in the situation facing vulnerable asylumseekers and refugees in Tripoli,” said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR’s Special Envoy for the Western and Central Mediterranean Situation. “The Libyan authorities must come up with a proper plan that respects their rights and identifies durable solutions.”

Some 3,000 people are currently sheltering outside the Community Day Centre (CDC) in Tripoli, where UNHCR and its partners have been providing medical assistance and other services. Their situation is very precarious. Many were affected by the raids, demolition of their homes, and have escaped from detention in terrible conditions. Others have joined the group hoping to be evacuated.

READ  New safety measures allow Malian refugees to return to camp in Burkina Faso

“Many have been left homeless and lost all their belongings as a result of the security operation and are now sleeping in the cold and in a very unsafe environment. This is utterly unacceptable,” said Cochetel.

UNHCR and partners had to suspend operations at the Community Day Centre for security and safety reasons, but remain engaged in an active dialogue with representatives of the protesters outside the CDC to explain the limited assistance it can offer, including cash and food assistance.

Together with other UN agencies, UNHCR stands ready to support an urgent plan of action that could help alleviate the terrible suffering of asylumseekers and refugees in Libya. 

UNHCR continues to call on the authorities to respect the human rights and dignity of asylumseekers and refugees, stop their arbitrary arrest and release them from detention. 

The UN Refugee Agency has welcomed authorization to restart humanitarian evacuation flights, but warns that it is not enough. 

“This is a positive development for some of the most vulnerable refugees, who have been waiting anxiously for many months to depart. Our teams are already working to ensure humanitarian flights can restart as soon as possible,” said Cochetel “But we also need to be realistic: resettlement or evacuation flights will only benefit a limited number of people.”    

More than 1,000 vulnerable refugees and asylumseekers are currently prioritised for humanitarian flights and awaiting their resumption. UNHCR continues to urge the international community to offer more legal pathways to safety outside Libya.

READ  Striving for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines to leave no migrant behind

Support Voice for African Migrants


Support VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS journalism of integrity and credibility.

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
* are compulsory
cardlogos
Continue Reading

News

Free movement of people a top priority, say West African nations

Aligned migration policies must be effectively applied by border officials to ease free movement while combatting trafficking in persons, says the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Photo: Fredrick Ejiga/IOM

Abuja – Free movement of people and goods, and fighting human trafficking should be top policy priorities, members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) agreed at talks convened with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Network for Migration and the African Union.

Three days of consultations in Abuja this week offered the first chance for ECOWAS members to collectively assess progress in implementing the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) objectives and to decide key recommendations to be put to next year’s International Migration Review Forum.

Integrated migration governance should be a key goal and Ambrose Dery, Minister of Interior for Ghana, the Chair of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Governments, said it was essential African nations addressed trafficking in persons and its devastating consequences on migrants.

READ  Human trafficking: PJI  urges proper trauma management for returnees

“Vile stories on international media concerning migrant slavery, as well as mistreatment of young African domestic helps in some Gulf States, call for a reflection on appropriate actions to be taken with a view to finding a lasting solution to this persistent problem that leads to the loss of young Africans, without whom the continent cannot build a prosperous and peaceful future,” Dery said. “In Ghana, the contribution of migrants has played a great role in shaping our national development.”

Governments must address the root causes of trafficking and ensure the free movement of people in a safe, orderly and dignified manner. ECOWAS representatives emphasized the need to join forces and align approaches to prevent and counter smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons to promote rights-based management of migration.

The meeting, which ended Thursday, also heard that policies must be effectively applied by border officials to ease free movement while combatting trafficking in persons.

Aissata Kane, IOM’s Senior Regional Adviser for Sub Saharan Africa, said the Global Compact for Migration was a landmark, multilateral document. “It aims to catalyze and boost combined support and assistance for addressing legal and humanitarian challenges of migration and foster its positive social, cultural and economic dividends within and outside the ECOWAS region.”

READ  IOM Supports “Strategic Diaspora Mobilization” During COVID-19 Outbreak in Mauritania

IOM has been working with all stakeholders at intergovernmental and national levels, as well as within the UN Network for Migration, to promote safe, orderly and dignified free movement of people and economic exchange among ECOWAS Member States.

Support Voice for African Migrants


Support VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS journalism of integrity and credibility.

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
* are compulsory
cardlogos
Continue Reading

Trending