Yemen Humanitarian Update Issue 2 (February 2020)


Medical airbridge launched

UN calls for protection of civilians as war casualties spike in Marib, Al Jawf and Sana’a governorates

Humanitarian community reaffirms commitment to Yemen amid concerns on shrinking operating space

Aid agencies brace to contain cholera ahead of the rainy season

YHF allocates a record $109.4 million to support gaps in the HRP’s first and second line response

On 3 February, a group of six chronically ill children and their carers were flown from Sana’a to Amman, Jordan for treatment; a second plane carrying 23 sick men, women and children and their companions followed on 8 February. The flights are part of a United Nations/World Health Organization (WHO) medical airbridge operation transporting chronically ill Yemenis who cannot get the treatment they need within country . Many suffer from different types of cancers, kidney disease, congenital anomalies and other conditions that require specialist treatment.

The launch of the operation was welcomed in a joint statement by senior UN leadership in Yemen, including UN Special Envoy, Mr. Martin Griffiths, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Ms. Lise Grande and the WHO Representative, Dr. Altaf Musani. The flights were an outcome of negotiations involving Mr. Griffiths and Ms. Grande, as well as the governments of Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and were coordinated by WHO in collaboration with local public health and population authorities. The medical airbridge is part of the UN’s ongoing humanitarian operation in Yemen. In a joint statement, senior UN officials indicated that, “Many United Nations entities and several governments in the region and around the world have collaborated to get these patients the treatment they need abroad, and we are grateful to them all. The United Nations will do what it can to ensure the continuation of the medical airbridge as a temporary solution to reduce the suffering of the Yemeni people until a more sustainable solution is reached in the near future.”

Patients for the flights were selected based on need, and their medical files were reviewed by the High Medical Committee, a group of medical doctors that work with local health authorities to guide the selection process, and by a global service provider, against a list of twelve critical conditions that cannot be treated in Yemen. Many of the patients who flew to Jordan have already undergone successful surgeries. Plans are underway for the next medical airbridge flight to Egypt. WHO is working with partners to finalize the patient list and the date of departure.

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