Posted on Leave a comment

4 Ways to Support the Refugee Crisis in Yemen

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

 

by Katy Cottrell, Sona Circle

 

The situation in Yemen has been described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis with various threats to the safety, security and well-being of the population hitting Yemen all at once.

Firstly, a five-year long war has caused the deaths of over 12,000 civilians and extensive damage to infrastructure including roads and hospitals. Yemen was then hit with the fastest growing cholera outbreak that has ever been recorded, and a famine which has put 8 million Yemenis at risk of starvation.

On top of all this, coronavirus has reached Yemen, and as a result of airstrikes (enabled by supplies to Saudi Arabia from the UK and US) only half of Yemen’s 3,500 medical facilities are fully functioning.

With different areas of Yemen being controlled by different parties, it is difficult to get a picture of how Yemen has truly been affected by the disease or trace those who have been infected. For example, whilst the Yemen government has declared 900 Covid-19 cases, rebels have said that only 4 cases have been detected in their territory. As a result of this ‘perfect storm’ of disasters, more than 80% of Yemen’s population is currently in need of emergency aid.

However, there are many organizations that are currently working in Yemen to provide emergency life-saving aid right now. You can show your support by donating to their Yemen crisis appeals, which are linked in this article.

1. The International Committee of the Red Cross

Working to deliver food, clean water, medical assistance and essential household items such as blankets and soap to those in Yemen. In 2019, they provided more than 5 million Yemenis with clean water, and 650,000 Yemeni people with food aid. The link to support the Red Cross can be found here.

2. Oxfam

Providing agricultural assistance, clean water and sanitation services to those in Yemen. They provide families with food vouchers and have developed cash for work programs to simultaneously provide food assistance and to support local businesses.

Oxfam is also currently working to educate communities about the spread of Covid-19 and how they can protect themselves from the virus. The link to support Oxfam can be found here.

3. Save the Children

Working to combat the effects of the famine in Yemen by treating malnourished children and pregnant or breastfeeding women. They also provide psychosocial assistance to help young people cope with the humanitarian disasters they have witnessed.

Additionally, as a result of up to 75% of schools being destroyed by airstrikes in some areas of Yemen, Save the Children are running temporary learning programs so that children don’t miss out on an education. The link to support Save the Children can be found here.

4. The International Rescue Committee

As well as providing food, medical aid and improving access to education for Yemeni children, The International Rescue Committee are calling for a ceasefire between parties involved in the Yemen Civil War so that aid can be effectively delivered to those who require it. The link to support the IRC can be found here.

This is just a snapshot of the substantial efforts being carried out by humanitarian organisations in Yemen. At Sona Circle, our work involves supporting refugees living in the UK to find employment opportunities and share their stories.

We believe that refugees from around the world, who have experienced trauma and disaster, like that currently occurring in Yemen, deserve the dignity to participate in paid employment in their host countries.

If you would like to support the work that we do, you can visit our website at www.sonacircle.com and donate to the Sona Circle refugee employment fund, where 100% of donations go directly to creating employment opportunities for refugees.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Refugees & COVID-19: Why the Ability to Self-Isolate is a Luxury

Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

 

By Aanya Bhandari, Sona Circle

In an appallingly short span of time, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a calamitous global effect, touching nearly every country and territory. As is the case with any catastrophic event, certain groups are left more vulnerable than others. One such group in this instance is refugees.

Refugees face immense barriers to accessing healthcare and taking preventive measures which others might take for granted, including regular hand-washing, sanitation facilities and of course, the ability to self- isolate.

A study by the University of Birmingham shows that many undocumented migrants are apprehensive about seeking medical help, for the fear of being reported to immigration authorities and being deported. As a result, they are often left to suffer in silence.

Even in normal times, those living as refugees, migrants, or internally displaced due to conflict, environmental disasters or extreme poverty, face physical and psychological barriers to integration. However, due to the pandemic restrictions, which have put a halt to economic activity globally, groups of individuals that were once extremely vulnerable are now struggling to survive.

Employment opportunities which were previously available in the informal economy have vanished, resulting in a loss of income opportunities and an increase in economic hardships for millions.

As UK unemployment claims have soared by nearly 70% since April 2020, we’re left to imagine the impact on refugees, considering the refugee unemployment rate has historically been three times as high as that of the British population.

While many NGOs and governmental organisations are working to stabilise the situation on the economic front, COVID-19 has no geographic borders or language barriers, and self-isolation is far from becoming a reality in major refugee camps around the world. Refugees residing in shelters, shared lodgings and overcrowded housing with common kitchens and toilets are simply unable to self-isolate, bolstering health risks and concerns about contracting the virus.

According to an emergency release by UNHCR, 134 refugee hosting countries have reported local transmission of COVID-19 within camps, including Bangladesh which hosts almost 1 million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, with 600,000 concentrated in the Kutupalong-Balukhali expansion site.

Consequently, local NGOs have cut down on the number of volunteers going into refugee camps to decrease the risk of bringing in the virus. As a result, many initiatives that support refugees, including education, skill development, and mental health counseling sessions, have been stopped.

The cumulative effect of the economic, social, psychological, and medical complications has caused an unprecedented disruption to the lives of millions of refugees.

As the world economy struggles to re-stabilise, the global community must work together and demonstrate solidarity to ensure that the human rights and protection of forcibly displaced people are preserved.

While you’re surrounded by your loved ones, in the safety and comfort of your homes, you can show your support by making a donation (no matter how big or small) to the Sona Circle Refugee Employment Fund where 100% of donations go directly to supporting refugee employment in the UK, via our Just Giving page.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sonacircle