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77% of the Displaced in Yemen Are Women, Children

77% of the Displaced in Yemen Are Women, Children

Monday, 9 May, 2022 - 05:45
Young girls in a displaced persons camp near Marib in Yemen (WFP)

An estimated 77 percent of the 4.3 million people displaced in Yemen are women and children, according to factsheets released by UNDP.

Marib hosts over 60 percent of all Yemeni refugees and asylum-seekers who escaped the hell of Houthi militias that turned the country to one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises.

“Approximately 26 percent of displaced households are now headed by women, compared to 9 percent before the escalation of the conflict in 2015,” following the militias' coup against legitimacy in Yemen.

The UNDP report revealed that this number is an indication of increased precarity because of the loss of male breadwinners, while discriminatory societal attitudes towards women’s economic engagement and movement remain unchanged.

The UN said that a staggering 23.4 million people or 73 percent of the population, require some form of humanitarian assistance in 2022, the result of seven years of escalating conflict.

The report also revealed that an estimated 8.1 million women and girls of childbearing age require help accessing reproductive health services, including antenatal care, safe delivery services, postnatal care, family planning, and emergency obstetric and newborn care.

“Among them are 1.3 million women who will deliver in 2022, of whom 195,000 are projected to develop complications, requiring medical assistance to save their lives and that of their newborns,” it noted.

Also, over 1 million pregnant and breastfeeding women are projected to experience acute malnutrition sometime in the course of 2022.

“Due to extreme shortages of essential medicines, supplies and specialized staff, only 1 in 5 of the functioning facilities is able to provide maternal and child health services,” the report said.

It showed that 19 out of 22 governorates face severe shortages in available maternity beds – 6 beds per 10,000 people, half of the WHO standard.

In addition, an estimated 42.4 percent of Yemen’s population lives more than one hour away from the nearest fully or partially functional public hospital.

The UN report said women and girls also suffer disproportionately from gender-based violence, poverty and violations of basic rights.

“With limited shelter options and a breakdown in formal and informal protection mechanisms, girls are increasingly vulnerable to child marriage, human trafficking, begging and child labor,” the report said.

Therefore, an estimated 6.5 million women and girls will require services to prevent and address gender-based violence in 2022, it expected, adding that such services remain overstretched across Yemen, and completely absent in some hard-to-reach areas.

The UN report expected that the cumulative impact of conflict and deprivation has also taken a heavy toll on the mental health of Yemenis, particularly its women and girls, stressing that an estimated 7 million people require mental health treatment and support, but only 120,000 have uninterrupted access to these services.

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