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Thoughts and wishes from Yemen on World Humanitarian Day

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Abdulqudoos Alghabban, WASH Team Leader, Amran, Yemen.

Abdulqudoos Alghabban, WASH Team Leader, Amran, Yemen.

One day I was on a field visit to some rural areas in Amran Governorate, which is in the northwestern region of Yemen. I had seen two girls standing on the edge of an open well and fetching water. They used to carry water as all villagers do, by loading water on animals and on their heads.

The distance between the water source and their homes meant they were taking more than three-hour journeys through dangerous paths. Such tasks, more often than not, fall upon girls and women and have forced schoolgirls to leave school to support their families.

I felt happy when I returned to the same village after a while and saw that the very same well was rehabilitated and protected, and that the water is now delivered to the village through a sustainable solar power unit.

The water severity problem in Yemen is a chronic issue and has been for a while. However, recently it became a critical need because of the long drought season due to climate change conditions, the fuel shortage crisis, alongside the long years of the ongoing war in our country. As a result, the people have been depending on contaminated water sources that are not even readily accessible, to cover their most basic needs.

According to the 2022 Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO), 17.8 million Yemenis require support to access clean water and basic sanitation needs.

A group of men standing in a rocky area
Abdulqudoos (left), WASH Team Leader, on a field visit to check the progress of WASH-related activities implemented in Amran. Photo: Abdulrahman Alhobishi/CARE

As a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Team Leader at CARE Yemen, covering Amran, Sana’a, Amanat, Al Asemah, and Dhamar governorates as well as a WASH Cluster Governorate Focal Point, I have been hearing many tragic stories occurring every day because of shortfalls in water provision. A woman died while she was fetching water from the very same well I had seen the two girls at. A man also passed away because of drinking water contaminated by cholera. These are heartbreaking losses, more so because as a WASH expert, I know they can be preventable. They are sad realities we as humanitarians witness on a daily basis. Yet, there are heartwarming moments when we actually see the impact of the work we do with communities and the changes they see.

I have been working on the Yemen humanitarian response since 2015 and so I would like to take the opportunity on World Humanitarian Day, to express my gratitude to my WASH team members and the entire CARE Yemen team for their humanitarian spirit and commitment. They well understand the difficult situations we work in, so they demonstrate a cooperative approach to actions needed and all work as one team. Our main reason and drive is so we can support the affected people. Most of the humanitarian workers are facing many psychological stresses having worked under challenging circumstances and being affected by the conflict ourselves. So without supporting each other and alleviating each other of the daily challenges, we in turn wouldn’t be able to support the affected and vulnerable people we seek to serve.  According to the Arabic proverb,  “Who does not have a thing, cannot give it”.

My warm wishes to all humanitarian workers around the world and particularly the CARE Yemen family.

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