Yemen: Oxfam scales up relief programs in war-torn Taiz

Published: 3rd December 2015

Oxfam announced today that it is scaling up its operations in Taiz governorate, Yemen, to meet the increasing humanitarian needs in communities affected by the escalating fighting in and around Taiz city. The UN’s Emergency Response Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, has described Taiz city as a ‘city under virtual siege’, with food, medical supplies, and fuel blocked from entering and humanitarian agencies denied access to the besieged population. 

Sajjad Mohamed Sajid, Oxfam Country Director in Yemen, said: “The situation in Taiz city is one of the worst we’ve seen across Yemen so far, with civilians suffering from the worst impacts of ground war, as well as bombing. Civilian lives and their means of survival are in the line of fire. Vital supplies are running out in the city and people are unable to flee as they have no fuel and no place to go – they’re trapped in what is essentially becoming an uninhabitable city.”

“Oxfam has been working in Taiz since August, and we are committed to continuing our life-saving programs there. Now, with the support of local partners we are increasing our activities in Taiz city.”

As part of Oxfam’s scale-up plan, the number of people receiving clean water delivered by trucks will double, from 28,000 now to 62,000, in the besieged districts of Al Madafer, Al Qahira, and elsewhere in Al Hawban, Salah and Maouiah districts in Taiz city. 

Oxfam will also rehabilitate the damaged water infrastructure in these areas.

Oxfam will buy and supply generators, water tanks, pipes, and other equipment needed to operate community water points managed by the Taiz local water authority.
These planned activities will ensure that over 200,000 people who are currently trapped by fighting can at least get clean water at regular intervals.
Sajjad added: “Despite the daily challenges we face in reaching communities affected by conflict in Yemen, we are gradually expanding and reaching more people in desperate need of assistance across the country, particularly in Taiz. This is made possible through our coordination with the UN to get supplies we need into the country, and consultations with local organizations and local authorities that help us assess the humanitarian situations in different governorates, so that our programs are relevant and meet people’s needs.

“Taiz remains a fierce battleground.  Despite prospects for political talks reconvening in coming weeks there is little hope for peace in Yemen in near future. Millions of people in Yemen are at the mercy of the warring parties that are tearing Yemen apart. For Oxfam and others to respond to the enormous scale of needs, a permanent ceasefire and a peaceful solution to the conflict are urgently needed.”

Notes to editors

According to the UN, over 5600 people have so far been killed due to the conflict in Yemen and 32,000 have been injured – this is an average of 153 people injured or killed every day since late March. Almost 14.4 million do not have enough food to eat, and 3 million children are malnourished. Also, approximately 20 million people cannot safely get clean water, and 14.1 million are cut off from basic medical care.

In the coming days, Oxfam will begin distributing food vouchers to 21,000 people in Al Turba city, Taiz governorate, so they can buy food and the essentials they need, amidst soaring prices caused by a shortages of supplies in markets. Oxfam will provide fuel to the city's local water authority for three months to maintain water supply to 18,000 people. 

In Al Shamayatayn district, Taiz governorate, Oxfam is providing clean water and waste disposal services, and planning to respond to the spread of diarrhoea. 

Elsewhere in Southern Yemen, in Aden governorate, Oxfam is supplying the local water authority with equipment needed to pump clean water to 800,000 residents. The same model will be used in the governorates of Al Dhal’e and Abyan. 

In the Northern governorates of Amran, Hajjah and AL Hodeidah, Oxfam is providing clean water to nearly 350,000 people affected by the conflict – these include displaced people as well as members of the communities hosting them. Oxfam is also building toilets, conducting hygiene awareness sessions, distributing mattresses, blankets, kitchenware and hygiene products like soap.

Contact information

Attila Kulcsar | Humanitarian Media Officer | | +447471 142974 | Twitter @attilalondon

For updates, please follow @Oxfam.

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