Yemen | News | WHO continues providing safe water for health facilities and IDPs

WHO continues providing safe water for health facilities and IDPs

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Lack of fuel means WHO had to use donkey carts in Hodeida to distribute water supplies1Lack of fuel forced WHO to distribute water supplies by donkey cart in Hodeida 3 May 2015 — Ongoing armed conflict in Yemen has made it more difficult for millions of people to obtain safe water. In conflict-affected areas, many people stand in long queues holding jerry cans hoping to find water. The limited access to clean, safe drinking-water has exacerbated the already deteriorating health situation in the country.

Recently, shortages of safe drinking-water have resulted in increased risk of diarrhoea and other diseases. National disease surveillance reports show a doubling in the number of cases of bloody diarrhoea in children under the age of 5, as well as an increase in other environment-related diseases, such as malaria.

Safe water is becoming increasingly scarce with the problem becoming more acute in the most affected governorates, including Aden, Lahj, Abyan, Taiz, Sa’ada and Hajja.

‪Responding to the dire need for water, WHO‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ has provided water and hygiene supplies, as well as hundreds of thousands of chlorine tablets to disinfect drinking-water for internally displaced persons (IDPs), host communities and health facilities in the most affected governorates.

Despite a serious risk of being attacked volunteers in Saada distributed 50 000 chlorine tablets for 300 families1Despite a serious risk of attack volunteers in Sa'ada distributed 50 000 chlorine tablets for 300 families“The task of delivering safe drinking-water to deprived areas was not easy,” said Dr Ahmed Shadoul, WHO Representative for Yemen. “Public access to conflict areas is becoming increasingly difficult due to insecure roads and shortage of fuel. However, we were able to hire vehicles and water tankers at some cost.”

Over the past 2 weeks, WHO has been trucking drinking-water and distributing jerry cans, as well as providing water disinfectant in Abyan, Hajja, Hodeida and Sa’ada governorates. The Organization is also planning to scale up activities to deliver safe drinking-water to other affected areas. WHO's interventions aim to prevent and control diseases caused by unsafe water.

WHO provides water trucking to Abs district of Hajja governorateWHO facilitates provision of water to the Abs district of Hajja governorateIn Hajja, ‪‎WHO‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬, in collaboration with ‪‎OXFAM‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬, has distributed and installed 20 water tanks in the Abs district sufficient for 1100 internally displaced families and the host community. Safe drinking-water was also delivered to emergency and reproductive health sectors, outpatient clinics and a laboratory in rural Abs Hospital. Additionally, WHO has sent more than 400 000 chlorine tablets to Abs.

WHO has also been providing water supplies and jerry cans for 480 internally displaced families in 7 schools in Ja’ar city of Abyan governorate, where many IDPs are staying in schools after escaping fierce clashes in neighbouring Aden. 

WHO distributes jerry cans for IDPs in Abyan1WHO distributes jerry cans for IDPs in AbyanIn addition, WHO has facilitated the provision of water trucks for 9 health facilities in Abs, Haradh and Hairan districts in Hajja governorate, and 2 health facilities in Majz district, Sa'ada governorate. Without the provision of these water trucks the health facilities would have closed. The provision of drinking-water to health facilities is linked to the number of IDPs utilizing the facility, as well as the critical services provided by the facility.

“WHO has secured the water needed for Haradh Hospital,” said Dr Yassir Watthab, Head of Haradh Public Hospital. “The Organization has supported us in starting a contract with an owner of a water tanker to fill the hospital’s tanks 3 times a day in order that the hospital can function appropriately.”

WHO has also transferred 250 000 chlorine tablets from Sanaa to Hodeida_to_be_distributed_to_IDPs_in_Al-Zohra_and_Alluhaya_districts1WHO has also transferred 250 000 chlorine tablets from Sana'a to Hodeida to be distributed to IDPs in Al-Zohra and Alluhaya districtsAs attacks on northern Sa’ada governorate intensify, water supplies have become scarce. Despite the serious risk of attack, volunteers have distributed 50  000 chlorine tablets for 300 families and 500 jerry cans (20 litres), provided by WHO. Clean water was also delivered to 350 families in Takhya district.

WHO has also transferred 250 000 chlorine tablets from Sana’a to Hodeida to be distributed to IDPs in Al-Zohra and Alluhaya districts. Currently, there are more than 3 million chlorine tablets stored in Sana’a, Aden and Sa’ada provided by WHO.

“We are making every effort to deliver safe water and chlorine tablets to the affected areas where prices of water trucking have increased dramatically. We have coordinated with volunteers who have been previously trained by WHO on water treatment during emergencies,” said Abdul-Malik Mofadal, Environmental Health Officer for WHO Yemen.

“Volunteers really sacrifice their lives in these areas to distribute water supplies to people in need,” said Mofadal.

Globally, WHO has estimated that 842 000 deaths per year are attributable to unsafe water supply, sanitation and hygiene; this includes 361 000 deaths of children under the age of 5, mostly in developing countries.

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Key health-related statistics

Total population (000s) 27 426
Total health expenditure (% of general government expenditure) 3.9
Primary health care units and centres (per 10 000 population) 1.6
Life expectancy 65.3

Source: Framework for health information systems and core indicators for monitoring health situation and health system performance, 2018

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