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Rapid response gives a family a lease of life in Yemen amidst conflict

UNICEF Yemen/2017/ACF
© UNICEF Yemen/2017/ACF
Sahar (holding a baby) with her six children outside their makeshift shelter. They have been displaced several times due to the conflict in Yemen. Now they are settled in Hodeida.

‘One night when my children and I were sleeping, there was a big explosion near our home. The sound was terrifying and was so very close to us’

Hajja, Yemen, 22 November 2017 - The death of Sahar’s husband made her the only breadwinner for the family. Sahar, from the north-western Yemeni governorate of Hajja is 40 years old and responsible for her six children since last year. Amidst the intensifying conflict in Yemen, Sahar and her children had no choice but to run for their lives.

“We had to move because the conflict was getting closer and closer to our district and we felt unsafe,” says Sahar.

“One night when my children and I were sleeping, there was a big explosion near our home. The sound was so terrifying and very close to us. It was at that time that I became more determined to save our lives. I collected some of my belongings and we had to leave but we did not know where to go next,” says Sahar.

“We left our home looking for any available means of transport to a safer location. After walking for a long time during the night, we finally saw an old truck with many other people who were fleeing because of the conflict,” adds Sahar.

Looking for a new home

While Sahar was on the truck with her children, she learned that her fellow passengers were travelling to Al-Qanawis district in Hodeidah, so she decided to follow them. Soon after the truck had reached its destination, Sahar found herself in a difficult situation of finding a home.

“My children and I lived a difficult life as we were sleeping in the open for two nights. We had nothing to eat and no proper shelter to protect us from the burning sun or and heavy wind,” says Sahar.

Sahar and her children saw no other solution than to build themselves a home. They started with what was available. They collected carton boxes within the vicinity and went looking for sticks, ropes, clothes, and anything useful to build a hut or what was locally known as “Usha”.

“Our ‘Usha’ cannot withstand the rains and wind, but this is the only choice we have for a shelter.”

Rapid Response Mechanism in Yemen

Sahar is one of hundreds of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Hodeidah who were reached through the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM), currently being piloted in Yemen. The RRM is in partnership with Action Contre La Faim. The RRM approach is to enhance rapid responses through effective needs identification that include multi-sectorial rapid needs assessments and timely response within 10 days with Water, Sanitation and Hygiene(WASH), food and nutrition services. The current scope of the RRM covers shocks relating to epidemics (cholera), conflict (displacement of population), natural disasters (floods) & nutritional crisis.

The RRM team received information from local authorities about the existence of new, internally displaced people (IDPs) in the district of Al-Qanawis and its suburbs. The team coordinated with the local authorities and relevant Sub-Cluster leads to triangulate and verify this information. A needs assessment was conducted followed by an immediate response. The new IDPs were reached through distribution of unconditional Cash transfer and distribution of non-food items such as water containers, soap and hygiene items.

“This is the first time I have received cash assistance since we got displaced to the Al-Qanawis.” These funds came at the right time when I needed it the most, I am sure my children will have something to eat in the next few days.”

"I do not know how to express my gratefulness for your assistance," says Sahar.



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