It wasn’t the heavy shelling and gunfire that devastated her. It was the loss.
The warfare in Abha’s* village in Yemen had become too intense, forcing her and her family to flee to the city of Taiz. In one fell swoop Abha, 50, her husband, and their four children lost their home, their safety and their independence.
Worse yet, they lost the comfort of knowing where their next meal would come from. With no jobs or income, Abha and her husband started skipping dinner to make their meager resources last longer. Then there wasn’t enough for anyone in the family to eat dinner. “Most nights we went to bed hungry,” Abha says. “I felt very heavy.”
Prolonged conflict in Yemen has put 18.8 million people like Abha in these same precarious circumstances: out of options and in desperate need. Already 7 million people are in danger of starving to death.
We’ve been helping people in Yemen meet their urgent needs and build better lives since 2010. And now, we’re focused on relieving the intense suffering of innocent people caught in the crossfire of this conflict.
Mercy Corps providing food for the most vulnerable through provision of vouchers
We provide food vouchers to the most vulnerable people, like Abha and her family. We also distribute essential supplies like blankets, toothbrushes and soap. Since cholera is a water-borne illness, good hygiene is critical for stopping the transmission of infectious diseases like cholera.
In response to the dramatic increase in child malnutrition, we’re treating malnourished children at mobile health clinics and health facilities, and we’re helping sesame farmers improve their yields and incomes, so they can better support their families.
In addition, a health emergency has emerged with a cholera outbreak already affecting more than 120,000 people in the past six weeks. Mercy Corps teams are working tirelessly to help stem the spread of cholera by providing water filters, chlorination tablets and hygiene kits, as well as prevention education, to 350,000 people.
We’re working to rehabilitate water infrastructure, including water systems, dams and wells. We’re also improving access to water and sanitation in schools and health facilities, as well as providing nutrition and hygiene education so people can keep themselves as healthy as possible.
This work happens in parts of Yemen that have been deeply impacted by the violence. And though our operations have been hampered by ongoing clashes, we remain committed to the Yemeni people.
And this dedication is changing lives. Because Abha and her husband received vouchers to purchase food, they were able to save some of the money they normally spent on rations and open a small shop selling chickens. The modest income they now make allows them to purchase basic supplies and send their children to school, without having to rely so heavily on aid and loans.
“Thank you,” Abha told us, after receiving the vouchers. “You are protecting us and saving us from hunger. Maybe you are even saving us from death.”
Over the course of the fighting during the Yemen crisis, we’ve helped 1.2 million people like her cope — but so much more must be done.
What else can we do?
The only lasting solution is a peace agreement with a political way forward. But with no sign of the conflict abating, millions of innocent men, women and children need our support more than ever. Urgent humanitarian aid — food, water, medical care — is vital to their survival. Here’s how you can help:
Donate today. Every single contribution helps us provide even more food, water, shelter and support to Yemeni families and people in crisis around the world.
*Name has been changed to protect identity and safety.