Quality of Life Program: National Cultural Awards culminates support to Saudi culture, intellectuals    KSrelief Continues Distributing Ramadan Food Baskets in Lebanon    King, Crown Prince condoles Turkmen president on death of his father    Two Holy Mosques Affairs General Presidency: Increasing capacity of Mataf Courtyard, allocating 4 paths for elderly    India Reports New High of 1,761 Daily COVID-19 Deaths    Russia reports 8,164 new COVID-19 cases, 379 deaths    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Directs Disbursement of SR 1.9 Billion of Ramadan Aid for Social Insurance Beneficiaries    China administered total of 195.02 mln COVID-19 vaccines as of April 19    Prince Khalid meets with UK PM's envoy to Gulf region    10 million people in UK receive second dose of COVID-19 vaccine    Video clip showing expats being assaulted is old: Riyadh Police    US immigration agencies ordered to end use of terms 'alien' and 'assimilation'    US warns against travel to 80% of all countries due to COVID-19 State Department 'strongly recommends' US citizens reconsider any travel aborad    Chairman of Libyan Presidential Council Meets with Algerian Foreign Minister    In Jeel Tamooh's third edition, BCG experts, 100 world-class Saudi students come together    UAE government adopts 'blockchain' technology in authentication services    KSrelief signs two joint agreements to serve needy people in Yemen    Jadwa Investment partners with MHRSD to develop non-profit sector    Oilfields Supply Center's $570m investment in SPARK    SRC Obtains Good Ratings From Moody's, Fitch    National Center for Privatization Hosts Chinese Investors Forum    Saudi Stock Exchange Main Index Ends Trading Higher at 10,097 Points    Diriyah Gate participates in Kingdom's celebration of the World Heritage Day    Saudi Al-Hilal Defeats UAE Shabab Al-Ahli witn AFC Champions League    Saudi Al-Ahli, Qatari Al-Duhail Drew 1-1    Messi fires Barca to dominant Cup final win    Bayern moves closer to title but Flick says he's leaving    IRTI Report Showcases Sustainable Development Goals for IsDB Member States    Bayern move closer to title but Flick says he's leaving    The importance of legal specialization    Indian actor and environmentalist Vivek dies at age of 59    Alert over shortage of new drugs for 'world's most dangerous bacteria'    Helen McCrory, 'Harry Potter' and 'Peaky Blinders' star, dead at 52    New global compact aims to drive down diabetes deaths, boost insulin access    Welcome to beautiful Ramadan customs    Foundation stone laid for Jeddah Formula One circuit    Laying the Foundation Stone for Jeddah Formula One Circuit    King Salman Center for Disability Research Launches 2nd Edition of its Story Collection (Awareness)    Riyadh Light Witnesses Conclusion of External Artworks    Riyadh Light Turned the Capital into Lights' Aura    Colored Triangles Decorate Conference Building, at King Abdullah Financial Center    Vaccination does not invalidate fasting, says UAE Fatwa Council    It is high time to correct wrong concepts about women's status    Council of Senior Scholars: Muslim Brothers' Group Don't Represent Method of Islam, rather only Follows its Partisan Objectives, Violating our Graceful Religion    Court facilitates young woman's marriage after stripping father's guardianship    Eid Al-Adha Prayer Performed at the Grand Holy Mosque    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers in Arafat Holy Site    Senior Scholars Council Issues Decision No. 246 Regarding Attendance of Friday Prayer and Prayers at Mosques in a Case of Spread of Epidemic or Fear of its Spread    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Yemen ‘cannot even afford to worry about the coronavirus'
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 28 - 02 - 2021

In Yemen, whose people are living through a long-running, brutal war, which has led to the world's worst humanitarian crisis, COVID-19 is far from being a top priority, says the top UN refugee agency (UNHCR) official in the Arabian Peninsula country.
Famine, conflict and widespread poverty mean that Yemen is one of the toughest countries in the world in which to live, both for internally displaced people and refugees who have arrived from countries like Somalia.
Ahead of a major international conference to raise funds for humanitarian aid initiatives in Yemen, UNHCR's Jean-Nicolas Beuze has been speaking to the head of communications for the UN, Melissa Fleming, as part of the podcast series Awake at Night.
"The situation in Yemen is really dire. I've worked in some pretty tough places including Syria, Sudan, Libya and Afghanistan, but this is one of the worst and most desperate places I've experienced.
Probably two-thirds of the population relies on our humanitarian assistance for their daily survival. Half of the health facilities have been destroyed by five years of conflict. One person in eight has been displaced by conflict. There is cholera, malaria, chikungunya, and dengue fever and, on top of all this, we now have coronavirus, which is not even the main concern in terms of communicable diseases.
So, it's a combination of all those factors that means people are barely keeping their heads above the water. I see that on a daily basis, when I go and meet families who have been displaced by the conflict.
Dignity in suffering
I recently visited a shelter in Hodeidah. I was playing with the kids, asking questions to the parents and in the corner, there was a woman who had a beautiful dress with an African print. But I noticed she had a disfigured face.
She had been entirely burned by an explosion, from a bomb, which had dropped next to her. She was going to the market to buy food for her kids and she told me how her entire body had caught fire. This is the kind of image that stays with you.
There was something extremely elegant and dignified about the way she interacted with me. She didn't beg for anything. She was not appealing for help. She probably knew that there was very little we could really do, except perhaps help with some cash assistance to provide a little more comfort.
She would need treatment in another country, because the medical facilities here do not have the services she required. She was resigned to her suffering, and like any mother in the world and a widow, she was concerned more about the survival of her kids.
COVID-19 scapegoats
Somali refugees in Yemen have been here for decades. The situation now of refugees specifically in Yemen is one of discrimination, of scapegoating. It was quite worrisome at the beginning of the pandemic to see this, despite the fact that refugee communities have been relatively well integrated.
The Yemeni people needed to find an explanation or a scapegoat for COVID-19. So, they pointed fingers at the refugees coming from Africa. There was an element of racism.
There were allegations that they were not as healthy and focused on hygiene as the Yemeni population. And there was prejudice related to the migratory status of these people, as we saw the same reaction to internally displaced Yemenis who were on the move.
Survival comes first
Most people live in one room probably with an extended family with two or three generations, with maybe cousins, because people can simply not afford rent.
So, everybody gathers in the same room to cook and sleep. So, it is very interesting to engage with them on what it means to take preventative measures against COVID-19.
You cannot be two meters apart from a family member, who may show symptoms, because there's only one room. You cannot wash your hands regularly because there is no tap water, and children have to be sent five kilometers to find water. You don't wash your hands because if it's a choice between buying rice and soap, you choose rice.
You don't stop going out to beg on the street or to work a job for meager wages because the money you get in the morning is the money which allows you to buy lunch.
It was fascinating how even the UN was obsessed about saying you need to empower people to take the preventative measure and I responded, ‘come on, let's wait a minute. This is not realistic for any of the people I meet'.
Yes, the Western world worries about coronavirus, but Yemen cannot even afford to worry about the coronavirus because we have other communicable diseases, which can kill you. All that. Plus, there is a famine.
I met a little girl, Fatima, who was 14 months old, and she weighed five kilos, half of what she should have weighed; she was suffering from severe malnutrition. And it was really sad because her father explained she was not able to hold in her food, that she had diarrhea. It was very difficult for him to understand that his child was malnourished or maybe he had just blocked the fact from his mind.
Somebody once asked me, ‘What are the hopes and dreams of Yemeni people'? I was really taken aback because I cannot really respond to this question. The conversations with Yemeni displaced families, and even my colleagues, reveal that although they may have dreams of moving away or studying, most of them are just concerned about their daily survival. — UN News

Clic here to read the story from its source.