Yemen: UN and partners respond to COVID-19

As of 5 May, 22 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Yemen – more than doubling the official count from 24 hours ago. There is a very real probability that the virus has been circulating undetected, which could lead to a later surge that may overwhelm health facilities.

The UN and humanitarian partners in Yemen are responding to the virus with a focus on case management, risk communications, community engagement and protecting the wider public health system.

The UN and partners have reached more than 20 million people with COVID-19-related awareness materials through TV channels and radio stations. More than 7.5 million people have been reached via social media platforms, as well as more than half a million people through house-to-house visits.

The UN and partners are also supporting direct case management. Some 333 rapid response teams have been deployed across the country to follow up on reports and refer people for testing and treatment as needed.

The UN and partners are also supporting treatment facilities, including 37 isolation units and providing critical supplies such as ventilators and protective equipment.

In addition to the COVID-19 response, the UN and partners continue to support a “continuum of care”, which requires ongoing support for 4,300 health facilities across the country, including designated facilities to treat cholera, dengue, malaria and other non-COVID-19 diseases.

Maintaining the wider humanitarian response – including water, sanitation and hygiene, nutrition, health and food programmes – will also help Yemenis to strengthen their chances against the virus.

None of this work can continue without urgent funding. Of 41 key UN programmes, 31 are expected to reduce or close down in the coming weeks unless immediate “lifeline funding” is made available.

At this time last year, the UN and partners had received $2.6 billion in pledges and paid funding for humanitarian aid in Yemen. So far this year, $900 million – about one third – has been received.

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