The World Daily
Urgent aid needed in Yemen as pandemic struggles continue

A Houthi-affiliated soldier walks among humanitarian aid supplies in a displaced persons camp on the outskirts of Yemen's capital, Sanaa, on March 16, 2017. Photo:AFP


By Patryk Krych | The World Daily | MARCH 28th 2021


According to the international medical charity Doctor Without Borders (MSF), the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country of Yemen, already in the midst of a war, is putting further people at risk and straining the already struggling healthcare systems.

Since 2014, Yemen has been torn by a deadly and unforgiving war that has led to the deaths of well over 233,000 civilians according to the most recent 2020 statistics from the United Nations humanitarian office. The majority of these deaths happened to have been from indirect causes of the conflict, primarily through drought, starvation and now the pandemic.

The UN described the Yemen situation as the world’s current worst humanitarian crisis, as the country gets pushed closer and closer to experiencing total famine.

MSF have recently reported on a “dramatic influx of critically ill COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalisation in Aden, Yemen, and many other parts of the country,” calling for an immediate and serious scaling up in funding and support to the country.

Aid budgets provided by countries last year had shrunk due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and they are set to shrink yet again through the year of 2021. This means that many health services and food distribution programmes had to be closed within Yemen, with no funds to back up their mission of saving as many people as they can.

Though the UN had made the attempt to raise at least $3.85 billion for Yemen in early March, only $1.7 billion was successfully gathered. Though this is still a vast amount of money, it’s thought to be nowhere near enough to properly aid those suffering from the crisis and was a move deemed a “death sentence” by UN chief Antonio Guterres.

“We are urging all medical humanitarian organisations already present in Yemen to rapidly scale up their COVID-19 emergency response,” said head of mission of MSF in Yemen, Raphael Veicht. “All aspects of the COVID-19 response are lacking and need greater international support, from public health messaging, to vaccinations to oxygen therapy.”



Yemen has yet to administer even a single dosage of the vaccine. The Supreme National Emergency Committee for Coronavirus had called on the government, on Wednesday, to “declare a [public] health state of emergency in all provinces, prepare health centres and hospital, and provide medical staff with personal protective equipment.”

“While some countries have successfully vaccinated half of their population, Yemen finds itself at the back of the queue for vaccines, highlighting again the global vaccine access inequality, with no one vaccinated in the country to date,” Veicht added.

Until vaccinations are properly prepared, the virus will continue to burn though the country at a dangerous rate and put pressure on the already fickle healthcare system.

“Unfortunately, many of the patients we see are already in a critical condition when they arrive,” said MSF medical coordinator in Yemen, Line Lootens. “Most patients need very high levels of oxygen and medical treatment. Some patients also require mechanical ventilation in the ICU, which is technically difficult and requires a very high level of care.”

There are plans in Yemen to bring about the first wave of vaccinations via the international platform COVAX – which aims to deliver means of vaccination to the poorest nations in the world. Yemen is on their list for countries most in need of vaccinations. Altogether, they hope to give about 2 billion vaccine jabs.


By Patryk Krych | © The World Daily 2021