FROM THE FIELD: COVID-19-related ‘tragedy’ unfolding in Yemen

2 June 2020

A “tragedy” fueled by the spread of COVID-19 which is unfolding in Yemen could affect millions of people there, an international UN-backed pledging conference is expected to hear on Tuesday.

A family receives food aid at a food distribution point in Ras al’Arah in Lahj Governorate, Yemen., by WFP/Saleh Bahulis

Some ten million people each month have been receiving humanitarian aid from the UN and other partners as a result of five years of conflict in the Arabian Peninsula country, and there are fears that the already depleted health system will not be able to cope if the deadly virus takes hold.

The first case of COVID-19 in Yemen was recorded in April and there have already been reports of hospitals turning patients away. 

Initial findings from intensive care units suggest that some 20 per cent of people being treated after becoming infected, are dying, compared to the global average of 7 per cent.

On Tuesday, an international pledging conference being held in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, aid agencies will be asking donors for US$2.41 billion to cover essential activities until the end of the year including programmes to address COVID-19.

Read more here about the challenges facing Yemen as it faces up to the global health pandemic.


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News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

Life and death for Yemen’s women and girls, as funding evaporates

In mid-May, just as the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Yemen, funding for UNFPA’s life-saving reproductive health services dried up. The agency has been forced to suspend the provision of reproductive healthcare in 140 out of the 180 health facilities, it supports, meaning only 40 now remain.


Yemen: Amid spike in COVID-19 cases, UNICEF airlifts in badly needed health supplies

A plane chartered by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) landed at Sana’a airport on Saturday with lifesaving supplies to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in conflict-torn Yemen.