COVID-19 ravages an already desperate Yemen
When COVID-19 began sweeping the globe in March, we knew it was only a matter of time until the pandemic reached Yemen too.
The first case was reported on April 10. Since then, COVID-19 has been spreading across the country. When the news was announced, we had a sinking feeling. It was clear to us that Yemen would be affected at a wider, faster, and deadlier rate than anywhere else. They suffer from pre-existing conditions and are uniquely vulnerable to the worst and deadliest impact of COVID-19.
Yemen is already the world’s worst humanitarian and development crisis. COVID-19 is ready to deliver a knock-out punch.
Just how quickly the virus is spreading there is unknown, because of the lack of testing and reporting. The average fatality rate is seven percent and in many more advanced countries it hovers around three percent. On top of everything else that Yemen is experiencing, it can now also add the highest unofficial death rate to COVID-19 in the world.
We have seen the country suffer unimaginably from the war and other devastating epidemics. But we knew this would be different. Yemen’s healthcare system is ravaged.
Because of the war, only about half of the health facilities are operational. Two-thirds of Yemenis have basic healthcare, and half don’t have running water that would allow essential handwashing to keep from spreading the disease.
Even among those who can afford healthcare, many are not seeking it now for fear of stigmatization, violence, community ostracization. In short, we are seeing that Yemenis would rather die at home than seek care. It is heartbreaking.
We must not forget the huge consequences this will have, even after the pandemic is under control. Yemen will continue to face socio-economic fallout from COVID-19 for potentially generations to come if we do not do anything now.
As an international community, we have the moral obligation to support Yemen now to keep it from going over the cliff. To help do this, Children of Adam is taking urgent and immediate actions. Our integrated solutions help tackle the economic challenges connected to the crisis.
Yemen is already the world’s worst humanitarian and development crisis. We must wake up to the fact that right now is not a time to turn our backs on the country. We cannot leave Yemen behind while it suffers in silence. The people of Yemen cannot wait.