UNICEF Yemen Humanitarian Situation Report (October 2017)

Yemen - Highlights

• The first national polio campaign started this month, and implementation took place across 19 governorates. More than 4.1 million children were vaccinated against polio, and the campaign was coordinated with a malnutrition screening of 2.9 million children, which identified over 271,000 acute malnutrition cases which were referred to appropriate services.

• The quality of the Community Management of Acute Malnutrition programme has shown improvements through the ongoing training of community-level health workers, as the cure rate for malnutrition cases rose to 75.5% for the first time.

• The number of new acute watery diarrhoea/cholera cases continues to decline each week, but UNICEF remains deeply concerned that children under 5 now represent 27.1% of all new cases, up from 18% in the summer. The total number of cases at the end of October reached 894,225 individuals.

• A massive AWD/cholera case verification exercise took place across 26% of all treatment centers this month, and 87% of new reported cases met the case definition. UNICEF will work closely with WHO to further refine case identification methods at facility level.

• According to the most recent data, 256 out of 16,000 schools across Yemen have reportedly been totally or partially destroyed due to airstrikes or shelling, 150 schools still occupied by IDPs, and 23 by armed groups. In October, rehabilitation works were completed in a further 10 schools in Al Jawf and Ibb and at least 5,879 children will gain access to education in those schools.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

The reporting period has been characterised by an increase in both conflict-related deaths and indirect casualties through the ongoing Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD)/cholera outbreak. In October, the UN Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTF MR) verified the killing of 21 children and the maiming of 8 children as a result of airstrikes and ground fighting including 3 children (2 boys; 1 girl) injured by unexploded ordnance (UXO). UNICEF was also deeply concerned by new attacks on schools and hospitals, including their military use by armed forces and armed groups; two incidents of military use of schools and one incident of an attack on a hospital were verified this month.

October also saw the lowest daily new AWD/cholera caseload since May of this year, continuing a trend of declining new reported cases. However, of particular note is the rising percentage of children under 5 years in the new reported cases, having increased from 18% to 36% of the weekly new cases. The highest number of new cases is still in Hodeidah, Dhamar, Amran and Amanat al Asimah, but weekly trends for Hodeidah, Abyan and Taizz have seen significant drops compared with previous weeks. UNICEF and WHO continue to work to reduce the number of new cases by maintaining all existing Diarrhoea Treatment Centers (DTCs) and Oral Rehydration Corners (ORCs), and the next step is to ensure a strong prevention strategy in order to mitigate as many of the risks of such an outbreak occurring again.

This month saw another reminder of the impact of non-payment of public sector salaries, when more than 12,000 teaching staff from 13 governorates in the north of the country went on strike, thereby forcing the postponement of the start of the new school year originally scheduled for 1 October. The teaching staff highlighted that they have now not been paid for exactly one year, and 4.5 million children (78% of the student population) are currently missing the first weeks of the new academic year. In combination with renewed airstrikes and ground fighting, this could have a serious impact on long-term drop-out rates.

The Nutrition Cluster recently finalized its Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) for 2018, with the Cluster partners basing the 2018 HNO severity scales on three indicators, namely Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM), (Severe Acute Malnutrition) and stunting. According to the currently available data, five governorates (al Hudaydah, Lahj, Taizz, Abyan and Hadramaut) have Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates above 15 per cent, and seven governorates have GAM rate of 10-15 per cent with aggravating factors, thus classifying 12 of 22 governorates as emergency.

The UN Under-Secretary and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, visited Yemen between 23 and 27 October to meet with government counterparts in Aden and de facto authorities in Sanaa. He pressed upon both counterparts the need for greater coordination of humanitarian activities and urged parties to the conflict to work to provide all available assistance to humanitarian actors by reducing bureaucratic impediments and disruptions to humanitarian operations.

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