Since the beginning of the Yemen conflict, access to clean water has emerged as a life-or-death issue for millions of people. Populations are forced to rely on overexploited and unsafe water points, often damaged or destroyed by the conflict. These factors, combined with poor hygiene practices have seen the spread of cholera across all 22 governorates of Yemen, with over 1.3 million cases reported since late 2016. With nearly 2,800 cholera-related deaths, Yemen’s cholera epidemic is now classified as the worst outbreak in human history.
ACTED has partnered with ECHO to develop a program focusing on meeting the immediate needs of some of the nearly 600,000 IDPs hosted across the three governorates. One major component of this project is to reduce the threat from cholera through providing much-needed clean water, hygiene supplies and hygiene sensitization.
It is difficult to overstate how strained Yemen’s infrastructure has become as a result of the war, but given Yemen’s status as one of the driest countries on earth, any damage to water infrastructure is likely to have severe consequences. In camps and shelters millions of men, women and children are forced to rely on unsafe wells and water points. Due to poor maintenance practices and overexploitation, many of these water sources are contaminated by water-borne diseases including Cholera.
Diarrhea was common in the shelter and a child died of it because we couldn’t get them to the hospital.
The Cholera response is a key element of ACTED’s programming and support to beneficiaries throughout Yemen. In the short term, ACTED is providing hundreds of households with regular deliveries of clean water through water trucking programs, as well as hygiene kits. In tandem, ACTED is sensitizing households though WASH trainings to promote safer hygiene practices, particularly for the most vulnerable populations including mothers and children under five. Finally, to create long-term solutions, ACTED is working to rehabilitate community water points, ensuring access to clean water for communities.
We had many poor health practices which included not washing hands with soap before having meals and after going to the bathroom. We were not aware that these practices would lead to the spread of disease. I thank ACTED's team for visiting the shelter to train residents on hygiene and health practices and for distributing hygiene kits which most of us cannot afford to buy.
ACTED’s activities address the root of the cholera issue, providing displaced families with clean water as an alternative to relying on unsafe water points. At the same time, rehabilitating these water points creates a sustainable source of clean water that IDPs and residents can rely on long after this project ends. The distribution of hygiene kits and the provision of hygiene trainings creates an additional line of defense against infection, ensuring that IDPs have the skills, knowledge and materials needed to protect themselves and their families over the long term.