On April 5, UNHCR began its second cash distribution in northern Yemen (including Sanaa, Dhamar, Amran, parts of Hudaydah, Ibb and Hajjah), targeting some 22,500 IDPs and impoverished host families. . More beneficiaries have been identified to provide additional resources to help the most vulnerable people buy hygiene items and boost their resources in case their livelihoods are compromised due to COVID-19 . Additional precautionary measures were implemented during distributions, including the deployment of crowd control staff, increasing the number of cashiers in banks, and spacing out notifications of money collection to beneficiaries. UNHCR nearly doubled the number of payment points and integrated handwashing stations in larger branches.
The Camp Coordination and Management Cluster (CCCM), led by UNHCR, continues to identify IDP sites most exposed to COVID-19 by mapping both IDP profiles and their access to services. The response prioritizes the engagement of communities in prevention (such as behavior change, hygiene practices, soap distribution) and response measures (such as safe and humane referral pathways for suspected cases of COVID-19). It also includes strengthening WASH services and identifying and establishing isolation areas, as needed.
On March 30, UNHCR and its partner NMO began distributing basic household items to a total of 2,000 displaced households in Al-Khawkhah district, Hudaydah governorate. UNHCR is initially focusing on the west coast of Yemen for families displaced for several years and in need of resupply of basic household items and shelter. The distribution has integrated COVID-19 prevention measures, such as raising awareness of self-protection, installing handwashing points at distribution sites, and encouraging social distancing.
Response to refugees
The five UNHCR-supported clinics for asylum seekers, refugees and disadvantaged members of host communities remain fully operational. However, secondary and tertiary referrals at Yemen government hospitals (GoY) have been partially suspended, with the exception of life-saving urgent cases. Home physiotherapy for critical cases and the provision of medication to patients with mental and chronic illnesses have been improved in an effort to lessen the effects of any potential limitation of movement related to COVID-19.
Refugees and asylum seekers across the country who have lost their sources of income due to COVID-19 prevention measures are increasingly asking UNHCR for help. In the north, UNHCR is providing money to some 5,200 refugee families, selected according to a broad vulnerability criterion. This includes those who were already receiving monthly cash assistance. All families will receive a three-month cash advance to cover their basic needs. In addition, 15,000 families of refugees and asylum seekers will receive hygiene kits containing soap, vitamins and personal health kits for women. UNHCR has also started distributing hygiene materials such as soap, detergent, personal care items and buckets of water to 6,100 refugee families in Mukalla and Hadramaut governorates, and in the Basateen district in Aden. UNHCR continues to carry out outreach activities at the community level with the local population.