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Providing immediate life-saving assistance for newly displaced families in Abyan

A woman with a black veil and a child in front of a hut

Salam stands with her children outside their hut

Salam stands with her children outside their hut

Yemen remains the world’s largest humanitarian crisis resulting from a six-year-long armed conflict. In 2020, the intensified fighting forced 172,000 people to flee their homes, which brings the number of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) to over 4 million people across the country. Protracted and multiple displacements of people continue to affect their resilience, straining their resources, and exacerbating already existing vulnerabilities. More than 70 percent of IDPs are women and children, and approximately 30 percent of displaced households are headed by women. The most critical needs of displaced families are food, water, hygiene items and essential household items.

A woman sitting in front of a hut surrounded by various items.
A displaced woman sitting near her humble hut in an IDP site in Abyan governorate

Across the country families have been forced to flee without warning, unable to carry even basic items with them. “The fighting erupted suddenly in our area, so we had to flee before nightfall and leave behind all our possessions, including our cattle, which was our only source of income,” says Eissa Ayesh, a displaced man originally from Al Hodeidah and currently sheltering in a displacement site in Abyan.

Eissa used to live happily with his wife and their four children in Al Hodeidah. But when his village and surrounding area in Bayt al-Faqih district were attacked, the family were forced to leave. After a painful five-day journey, the family reached the IDP site in Abyan governorate, exhausted and empty-handed.

The threat of cholera and COVID-19 looms high in IDP camps. The lack of adequate water and sanitation infrastructure, as well as overcrowding in IDP camps, make basic prevention measures such as isolation, physical distancing and regular hand-washing very difficult. “Coronavirus made our situation worse,” says Salam, Essia’s wife. “People are afraid of contracting coronavirus while they can’t do anything to protect themselves.”

A man standing with two children with a bags and other items in front of them
Youssef’s family immediate needs were met by the RRM kits

Like Eissa’s family, 41-year-old Youssef fled the fighting in his hometown in Al Hodeidah, with his wife and their five children seeking refuge in Kanfar camp near Zangbar, a district in Abyan governorate. Reminiscing about his old life in Al Hodeidah, Youssef says: “I used to earn a daily wage to feed my family and live peacefully in my small house. Now we hardly have enough food. I go from one place to another to clean cars. Sometimes my wife goes out to beg for food.”

When they reached Abyan, both Eissa and Youssef were comforted to receive an urgent relief package consisting of basic food goods, female-focused supplies, and a hygiene kit through the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) project. In partnership with UNFPA, CARE has supported 2,050 displaced families like Eissa’ and Youssef’s in the Abyan governorate with rapid relief packages.

Responding in time to the arrival of displaced families is critical. It saves lives, helps prevent the spread of disease, and can alleviate direct suffering for communities that have already suffered too much. The RRM packages provided immediate relief. The food kit was quickly consumed, and the hygiene kits and dignity kits were extremely appreciated by the families.

“I’m grateful for the immediate assistance that I received, thanks to CARE and UNFPA,” says Eissa. “We will stay here until the situation calms down, then we will hopefully return to our hometowns,” he concludes.

A small girl with a red dress smiling
A young displaced girl in Abyan
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