Yemen: Protecting the emblems that protect lives

National Yemen
The ICRC has issued new report calling for the protection of the emblems that protects lives of people all over the country and other parts of the world.Amid the violence that has engulfed Yemen during the past six months, the ICRC has managed to respond to the growing needs of the victims. However, more must be done to ensure that medical personnel and facilities are spared the effects of the fighting.

“Our access to conflict victims in Sana’a, Al Jawf, Maareb, Hadramout and Abyan has considerably improved, and this is very good news,” said Cedric Schweizer who heads the ICRC delegation in Yemen. “This was mainly achieved thanks to our contacts with all parties involved in the fighting, but also because more and more people now understand our humanitarian concerns and our impartial and neutral way of working.”

Nevertheless, more efforts are needed on all sides to boost respect for the red cross and red crescent emblems. “Last month, we lost a young ambulance driver working for Yemen’s Ministry of Public Health and Population who was on duty in Sana’a. In other parts of the country, hospitals, other health-care facilities and health-care vehicles were also directly affected by the violence. As a result, hundreds of sick or injured patients were deprived of the quick and efficient medical attention that they need to stay alive,” said Mr Schweizer. “The customary rules and international laws are clear: the red cross and red crescent emblems displayed by those facilities must be respected by all belligerents. Protecting health-care workers who respond to emergencies during conflict saves lives. Targeting them could amount to a war crime.”

With the intensification of the fighting in southern provinces of Yemen and in and around Sana’a, many displaced people are struggling to support their families.

Between April and September, the ICRC assisted some 900 people in Ghail Bawazir, in Hadramout governorate, who have been displaced by the ongoing conflict. Each family was given rice, lentils, beans, oil, sugar and salt, blankets, tarpaulins, hygiene products and kitchen sets. Around 2,250 people in the Mudiah and Khanfar districts of Abyan were also helped, as were over 9,600 people displaced as a result of the fighting in the Iyal Surih, Hamdan and al Ashmore districts of Amran. Food rations were provided for over 650 displaced people in Sa’ada.

The ICRC vaccinated livestock against contagious diseases such as ovine rinderpest and sheep pox to help the owners maintain their livelihoods. Over 200,000 head of ruminants were immunized in the Sheda, Adhaher, Ghamer and Razih districts.

 In Sa’ada, 259 people took part in a cash-for-work scheme by helping to upgrade 23 wells in the Hajrat Fallah area. In Lahj, Abyan and Aden, 95 people with disabilities received grants to help them earn a living and 761 others were given temporary employment helping with canal improvements in Abyan’s Khanfar district.