Alexandria, Virginia, April 10—Islamic Relief USA is launching an appeal to raise $100,000 for food aid in response to the rapidly worsening humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
After a recent intensification of conflict in Yemen, more than 600 people have been killed, more than 2,000 injured and more than 100,000 have been displaced.
“In the next couple of days fuel is set to run out, which will mean that people won’t be able to access food and water in the worst-affected areas, and thousands of injured people are in dire need of medical equipment and treatment,” says Mohamed Salah Eldin, Country Director for Islamic Relief in Yemen. “We urgently need to act before we have an acute humanitarian disaster on our hands. When the air strikes began two weeks ago, they always took place at night. Now they are happening at all times of the day. And people are too scared to leave their homes.”
Islamic Relief’s global appeal aims to reach 700,000 people affected by the conflict in the northern and southern governorates with food rations, water and sanitation, and medical supplies. The main public hospital in Sana’a and other public hospitals are overwhelmed with the number of casualties.
Islamic Relief food distributions started on April 9 in Sana’a and will continue in Haradh, Amran, Taiz Sa’da (northern governorates) and Aden, Lahj, Abyan and Albayida (southern governorates), reaching an estimated 30,000 families. Families will receive flour, rice, sugar, beans, pasta, milk powder and cooking oil—enough for between two weeks and a month.
Islamic Relief has been working in Yemen since 2004 but was recently forced to close its office in Aden because of the current violence. Expatriate staff have been evacuated but continue to work remotely from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan. Yemeni staff remain in Yemen, however, and are continuing to run Islamic Relief offices in Sa’dah, Hajja, Amran, Sana’a, Ma’rib and Al Hudayda .
An Islamic Relief staff member based in Sana’a says this is the worst situation he has ever experienced in Yemen: “Even before the recent violence, Yemen was in crisis, but this has now moved to another level. People are living in fear of their lives and with no electricity, very little fuel and food prices escalating. They are really struggling to get by. The level of suffering is almost overwhelming.”
Although Islamic Relief has been forced to suspend its activities in Aden, it hopes to resume as soon as possible—security permitting—and has its emergency team and volunteers on standby. “There is a massive need for medical supplies and clean water in Aden,” Mohamed Salah Eldin said. “Our contacts on the ground are telling us there are huge lines of people everywhere desperate for water.”
Islamic Relief is also planning to reach a camp for internally displaced people that was hit by air strikes in Hajja in the west of the country this week. “In one of the camps there is no food and water at all and very little shelter. We need to reach the people there as soon as possible,” Mohamed Salah Eldin said. “There are major challenges to the aid effort, but as soon as it is safe, we will move into the worst affected areas. In the first phase of the program, we will provide emergency aid with medical supplies, food and water and then we’ll move into a more long-term recovery response. The huge numbers of displaced people mean that this crisis will only get worse. And we have to be in it for the long haul.”
Islamic Relief opened an office in Yemen in 1998. Since 2004, Islamic Relief Yemen has been focusing on improving access to water, health and nutrition and supporting orphans. To date, Islamic Relief’s Yemen offices have provided humanitarian aid to 1.2 million people.
Even before the recent escalation in violence, an estimated 15.9 million people—or 61 percent of the population—were in need of humanitarian assistance. An estimated 13.4 million people lack access to safe drinking water, 12 million have no proper sanitation facilities and 8.4 million people lack access to basic health care. Over half of the population lives below the poverty line, on less than $2 per day.
Islamic Relief USA, based in Alexandria, Va., is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) humanitarian organization. Its mission is to alleviate suffering, hunger, illiteracy and disease regardless of color, race, gender or creed, and to provide aid in a compassionate and dignified manner. Islamic Relief USA aims to provide rapid relief in the event of human and natural disasters and to establish sustainable local development projects, allowing communities to better help themselves. Its programs benefit millions of people each year around the world, including in the United States.
Islamic Relief USA meets all of the Standards for Charity Accountability of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a national charity monitoring group affiliated with the Better Business Bureau system. Islamic Relief USA is on the U.S. government’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) charity list, and it is also a signatory to the code of conduct of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.