FROM THE FIELD: COVID-19-Related ‘Tragedy’ Unfolding in Yemen

Millions of Yemeni are reliant on humanitarian aid to survive, like this woman in Abs in northern Yemen.

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.


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