#NewsdayTuesday: UNHCR’s Life-Saving Work in Yemen

By Holly Rosen Fink

February 21, 2017

Last week our partner UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, announced that people in war-ravaged Yemen are dying of famine and a lack of medical attention, warning the world of an emerging humanitarian catastrophe.

To make people aware of the situation, they’ve launched “Dangerous Crossings” – a campaign to spread awareness about the dangers of crossing the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea from the Horn of Africa to war-stricken Yemen, and highligh the horrendous conditions and rising risks in Yemen.

Since 2013, nearly 290,000 refugees and migrants, including many women and children, have landed on the Yemeni coast. Nearly 80 percent of these were Ethiopians, and most of the rest Somalis. Most journey to Yemen in the hope of using it as a transit point, while others look to stay in Yemen, often unaware of the dangers.

War reignited in this country of 27 million people in March 2015, creating a situation where fully two-thirds of the population – or some 18 million people – are now dependent on external aid in order to survive. The situation facing many of the three million people displaced from their homes in Yemen is essentially a struggle for survival – food, water and shelter are priority. Many are now enduring miserable and inadequate conditions living in overcrowded or makeshift shelters for months on end and without sufficient protection.

UNHCR has pre-positioned emergency stocks in Al Hudaydah, comprising of emergency shelter kits and household assistance consisting of mattresses, sleeping mats, blankets, kitchen utensils and wash buckets. Distributions will commence this week as assessment missions take place to ascertain needs and numbers of those displaced

The campaign was launched with the help of the Music Lessons Main Line – led by singing star and former refugee Maryam Mursal – who have created a song with key messages to make people think very carefully before deciding to cross to Yemen. The campaign is being launched in collaboration with the International Emerging Film Talent Association (IEFTA), a Monaco-based international NGO, you can find more information about this campaign on Headphonage.com.

Take Action Challenge

Watch and share the video above. UNHCR continues to advocate for unimpeded humanitarian access to reach people in need and continues to call for a peaceful solution to end Yemen’s brutal conflict. UNHCR is also calling for the protection of basic rights and the physical safety of civilians across Yemen. Get involved with their work here: http://www.unhcr.org/en-us/get-involved.html

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