In a population of more than 24 million, with 12 million being children, four out of five people in Yemen are at risk of starving to death in what has been classed as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.
Since the conflict escalated in 2015, the country continues to suffer from malnutrition, lack of adequate housing, disease and famine. The United Nations Humanitarian Chief has warned that without massive aid, Yemen is “hanging on by a thread.” With the onset of the coronavirus, the people of Yemen are under further threat.
Penny Appeal has been active in Yemen over the past 5 years, helping over 82 000 people, and are intensifying their ongoing humanitarian efforts to try make a small difference to the Yemeni people. The charity plans to continue their efforts to provide life-saving food, water and hygiene essentials to approximately 12 500 people across areas in Yemen over the next few months.
“Since 2015, matters have escalated in Yemen from civil war, cholera outbreaks and famine and the combination of these have had a crippling effect on the system. More recently, the people of Yemen are being tested with the coronavirus pandemic and given their issues, the reality is that Yemen could cease to exist as we know it,” comments Penny Appeal South Africa CEO, Shahnaaz Paruk. With the support of the Penny Appeal volunteer group, Team Orange, 11 champions have come together to raise funds for Yemen. To date, their efforts have raised a little over R50 000, and efforts continue to raise funds for what has been termed the “largest humanitarian crisis”by the UN.
The Penny Appeal team are on the ground distributing food and hygiene packs and raising funds for medical supplies that will aid the health care system.
“The challenges that people are facing is heartbreaking. The reality is that we are not going to be able to save Yemen. We are providing the most basic forms of relief. Our aim is to try and prepare them in any little way that we can and we are hopeful that even if we are only able to save a few lives, we are already making a difference. This fight has to be a unified effort by all the key NGO players on the ground.”
With the gracious support of donors, Penny Appeal South Africa have, focused their efforts in Aden and Taiz, where millions of internally displaced Yemeni people are struggling to survive, having fled from conflict in other parts of the country. Thus far, the organisation has been able to reach over 2100 Yemeni people with food packs containing amongst other things, essentials such as rice, lentils, sugar and wheat. Thirteen communities in Taiz are being provided with 3000 litre water tanks, which are filled three times a week, providing clean water to 12 500 people. 100 extremely vulnerable families in Taiz will also receive daily nutritious cooked meals for a month.
Penny Appeal has further provided hygiene kits to displaced families which include soap, towels, detergent and antiseptic soap, with further plans to expand the distributions to protect more lives from COVID-19.
The organisation has also distributed PPE and coronavirus testing kits to Aden State Hospital and 26 emergency operation centres, to help protect lives from the spread of the deadly virus.