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Reference : V-P-YE-E-00670
Date : 03/2009
Country/Region : YEMEN
Caption : Harf Sufyan district, Amran town. The ICRC and the Yemen Red Crescent Society carried out a distribution of food and essential household items to some 15 000 persons.
Photographer : BASHARAT, Hassan
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description : Extracts from 1-05-2009 Operational update
Yemen: ICRC activities from January to March 2009
Despite the relative calm, thousands of displaced people are still unable to return home, not only on account of the dangers but also because of a chronic shortage of water. Repairing water infrastructure and delivering water by truck are major ICRC activities in Yemen, along with aid deliveries, support to health services, the restoration of family links and the promotion of international humanitarian law.
The country has had a chronic water shortage for decades. The annual rainfall cannot compensate for domestic and agricultural consumption. As a result, the available underground reserves are shrinking. "Yemen has one of the lowest ratios of water to inhabitants in the world, and the situation is worsening by the day. The water table is dropping by between one and seven metres per year. The population was already vulnerable, and the effects of the conflict in the north on water supply systems are rendering the problem dramatic," said Andres Casal, the ICRC's water engineer in Sa’ada.

To respond to the most urgent needs, the ICRC maintained its humanitarian activities, especially in the north of the country, and stepped up its presence in Amran governorate. However, the security situation has often prevented ICRC staff from reaching those in need.

"We are taking all possible precautions to ensure that our staff can continue to carry out their humanitarian field activities safely,” explained Jean-Nicolas Marti, the ICRC's head of delegation in Yemen. "However, it is difficult to say how the situation will evolve. A deterioration in the security situation may force us to limit our movements to certain parts of the country, at least temporarily slowing down the provision of humanitarian assistance to some very vulnerable populations.”

Aid for people in Amran governorate
Between January and March, the ICRC:
organized the distribution of food – rice, flour, beans, sugar, salt and oil – and essential household items – blankets, mattresses, cooking stoves, kitchen sets and tarpaulins – to some 15,000 people;
continued to supply basic medicines to a health-care unit renovated over three months previously in Al-Harf (in the east of the governorate), which is now fully functional and receives an average of 100 patients per day.

Original material : digital
Resolution : 2048x1536
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : black and white