Yemen: Humanitarian Access Snapshot (March – April 2020)
Humanitarian partners reported 1,064 access incidents in March and April across 49 districts in 16 governorates in Yemen.
During the reporting period, armed hostilities continued in the border areas of Marib,
Sana’a and Al Jawf governorates. This resulted in civilian casualties with nearly 8,800 families displaced by the end of April. Clashes and associated security concerns constrained the humanitarian response activities in the affected areas and continued to obstruct the south-north crossline movement of humanitarian cargo via Marib.
In March and April, the rapidly spreading COVID-19 severely exacerbated the operational constraints across Yemen. Humanitarian partners faced increased levels of constraints imposed on regular programme deliveries and operations due to various precautionary measures by local authorities to supress the spread of COVID-19. The pre-existing access constraints
Restrictions on the movement of humanitarian organizations, personnel and goods within and into Yemen reached alarming levels, with 775 incidents reported during the reporting period. In northern Yemen, these mainly pertained to a ban on inter-governorate movement and restrictions of crossline movement of humanitarian personnel and goods from southern Yemen. Travel permits such as for the delivery of assistance and services were also denied, despite compliance to appropriate social distancing protocols by aid agencies. These restrictions affected both regular programmes and scale up of COVID-19 response.
Since mid-March, the movement of humanitarian personnel and cargo into the country has also been disrupted by new regulations in Yemen and embarkation countries against COVID-19. Flight suspensions and closure of international airports in Yemen and in the region have disrupted the entry of humanitarian staff into Yemen.
Cargo movements by air, land and sea have been impacted, particularly at Al Hudaydah port due to quarantine requirements imposed by authorities, further compounding delays on globally procured supplies.
Interference in humanitarian operations by local authorities remained a major constraint, with over 268 separate incidents reported across the country. Efforts to scale up the COVID-19 response were challenged by the pre-existing constraints, particularly the pervasive blockages of sub-agreements approvals, and the arbitrary attempts to control and influence projects and activity design, delivery modalities and selection of implementing partners.
Extensive delays in project approvals by the authorities remained the principal impediment for NGOs to implement a timely and effective response. By the end of April 2020, 130 NGO projects remained unimplemented, in part or in full, due to delays in approving sub-agreements by the authorities. The pending projects targeted an estimated 8.9 million people and with a total budget of US$282.6 million. Between March and April, 32 NGO projects were reported approved by the authorities.