UN and partners seek $4.2 billion for Yemen crisis

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: Yemen

Eighty percent of the population needs some form of humanitarian assistance and protection, up 84 per cent since the conflict started in 2015: 14 million people are in acute humanitarian need.
THE HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE PLAN AT A GLANCE

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 1

Helping millions of destitute Yemenis overcome hunger

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 2

Reducing outbreaks of cholera and infectious diseases

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 3

Promoting the dignity of displaced families living in emergency and IDP settlements

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 4

Reducing the risk of displacement and violence against civilians and facilitating the recovery of people traumatized by the conflict

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 5

Preserving the capacity of public sector institutions to deliver life-saving basic services

OVERVIEW OF THE CRISIS

The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is the worst in the world, driven by conflict, economic collapse and the continuous breakdown of public institutions and services.

1. After four years of continuous conflict, the humanitarian crisis in Yemen is the worst in the world. A higher percentage of people face death, hunger and disease than in any other country. The degree of suffering is nearly unprecedented. Eighty percent of the entire population requires some form of humanitarian assistance and protection, an increase of 84 per cent since the conflict started in 2015. Twenty million Yemenis need help securing food and a staggering 14 million people are in acute humanitarian need.

2. Ten million people are one step away from famine and starvation. Two hundred and thirty of Yemen’s 333 districts are now food insecure. This includes 148 districts which are classified as phase 4 under the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) system, 45 districts with families in IPC phase 5, and 37 districts which have global acute malnutrition rates above 15 percent. For the first time in Yemen, assessments confirm the presence of catastrophic levels of hunger. At least 65,000 people are already in advanced stages of extreme food deprivation and 238,000 people in districts with IPC 5 areas will face similar conditions if food assistance is disrupted for even a few days.

3. Seven million, four hundred thousand people, nearly a quarter of the entire population, are malnourished, many acutely so. Acute malnutrition rates exceed the WHO emergency threshold of 15 percent in five governorates and close to 30 percent of all districts record critical levels of malnutrition. Two million malnourished children under five and 1.1 million pregnant and lactating women require urgent treatment to survive.

4. Conditions are worsening at a nearly unprecedented rate. In 2014, prior to the conflict, 14.7 million people required assistance. In 2015, this number increased to 15.9 million; in 2016 to 21.2 million and in 2018 to 22.2 million. In 2019, 24.4 million people need assistance to survive. The number of severely food-insecure districts has risen by 60 percent in one year from 107 districts in 2018, to 190 in 2019. In the last 12 months, the number of people unable to predict when they will next eat has risen by 13 percent and is expected to increase by 20 percent or more unless humanitarian operations are dramatically expanded in the early months of 2019.

5. The severity of suffering is shocking. The number of civilians in acute humanitarian need across all sectors has risen 27 percent since last year. In the health sector, the number has risen 49 percent to 14 million. In the shelter sector, the number has increased 73 percent; in protection 26 percent and in education 32 percent. In every cluster, at least half of all the people in need are in acute need. Acute needs are highest in the conflict-impacted governorates of Hodeida, Sa’ada and Taizz, where more than 60 per cent of the population requires help to survive.

6. Every humanitarian sector and most, if not all parts of the country, are impacted by the conflict. In the health sector, 203 districts are classified as acute. Less than 50 per cent of health facilities across the country are fully functional and those which are operational lack specialists, equipment and medicines. Immunization coverage has decreased by 20-30 percent since the conflict started and most health personnel have not received salaries for two years, or more. In the shelter sector, 207 districts are now classified as acute. In the water and sanitation sector, 167 districts are classified as acute, a four-fold increase since 2018. Only 22 percent of rural and 46 percent of urban populations are connected to partially functioning public water networks and less than 55 percent of the population has access to safe drinking water. In the education sector, 36 per cent of school-age girls and 24 per cent of boys do not attend school. Fifty one percent of teachers have not been paid since 2016, hundreds of schools have been destroyed and more than 1,500 have been damaged by air strikes or shelling.


Immunization gaps contribute to rising measles cases in the Philippines

Source: World Health Organization
Country: Philippines

According to World Health Organization estimates, 2.6 million Filipino children under the age of five years are not protected from measles.
Measles cases are rising in the Philippines with the Department of Health (DOH) declaring measles outbreaks in five regions in the country, including in Metro Manila. The DOH reported over 4,300 confirmed measles cases from 1 January to 10 February 2019 – more than double the number of cases compared to last year. Severe complications from measles have also claimed the lives of 70 people, 1 in 3 of which were children younger than 9 months old.

In San Lazaro Hospital in the City of Manila, three wards have been opened to accommodate the influx of patients from Metro Manila and neighbouring regions. Patients that are admitted here have measles complications such as breathing difficulties, high fever and severe diarrhoea.

One-year old Nathaniel, from Antipolo City in the CALABARZON Region, is admitted in San Lazaro Hospital after presenting with rashes and fever. His mother, 15-year old Jessica shares, “We were turned away from three different hospitals before coming here.”

The same situation happened to Savannah Ortiz, 9 years old, from Caloocan City. As her step-mother Jennifer relates, “We tried to bring her to a different hospital but they told us they can’t accommodate us because there was no more room. So we thought of bringing her here instead.”

San Lazaro Hospital is coping with the increasing number of measles patients but has resorted to putting two children per bed. The latest figures from San Lazaro Hospital reported 1,800 patients admitted for measles, with 64 deaths.

Measles cases are rising in the Philippines with the Department of Health (DOH) declaring measles outbreaks in five regions in the country, including in Metro Manila. The DOH reported over 4,300 confirmed measles cases from 1 January to 10 February 2019 – more than double the number of cases compared to last year. Severe complications from measles have also claimed the lives of 70 people, 1 in 3 of which were children younger than 9 months old.

In San Lazaro Hospital in the City of Manila, three wards have been opened to accommodate the influx of patients from Metro Manila and neighbouring regions. Patients that are admitted here have measles complications such as breathing difficulties, high fever and severe diarrhoea.

One-year old Nathaniel, from Antipolo City in the CALABARZON Region, is admitted in San Lazaro Hospital after presenting with rashes and fever. His mother, 15-year old Jessica shares, “We were turned away from three different hospitals before coming here.”

The same situation happened to Savannah Ortiz, 9 years old, from Caloocan City. As her step-mother Jennifer relates, “We tried to bring her to a different hospital but they told us they can’t accommodate us because there was no more room. So we thought of bringing her here instead.”

San Lazaro Hospital is coping with the increasing number of measles patients but has resorted to putting two children per bed. The latest figures from San Lazaro Hospital reported 1,800 patients admitted for measles, with 64 deaths.

Immunization gaps

The Philippines has had persistent low immunization coverage over the past few years. Looking at the uptake of the first dose of measles vaccine in the past decade, the coverage was above 80% in 2008 and decreased to below 70% in 2017. According to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, 2.6 million Filipino children under the age of 5 years are not protected from measles.

Many children admitted in San Lazaro Hospital are under the age of 9 months – before the recommended age to receive the first dose of the measles vaccine. The patients over 9 months of age either have not received the measles vaccine or not developed immunity against the virus. Last year, the DOH implemented mass vaccination for children 6 months to below 5 years old but the coverage was only 44%.

Both Jessica and her 1-year old son Nathaniel have not gotten the measles vaccination. So too for Savannah, who does not recall ever having received the life-saving vaccine.

Three-month pregnant Allenza Tañas also does not remember being immunized against measles.

“I don’t know. Have we been vaccinated?” she asks her sister sitting beside her. “I don’t think we were.”

Meanwhile, the parents of 1-year and 2 months old Jonil Mailo share that they have not been able to vaccinate him with the measles vaccine because their child is always sick and scheduling conflicts. Jonil only lacks the measles vaccine, while their six other children were fully immunized.

“We intended to have him vaccinated at the health centre but he always had fever, cough or colds. They did not allow him to be vaccinated because they said it wasn’t good. And then when he got better, there would be a different service in the centre like for TB or pregnant women,” shares the father Royer Mailo.

“Even if he is already two years old, we will have him vaccinated so it will be complete,” adds Jonil’s mother.

As long as routine immunization remains low, there will continue to be periodic measles outbreaks in the Philippines. The optimal immunization rate is 95% to ensure full protection against vaccine-preventable diseases like measles. When immunization rates are high, vulnerable members of the population are also protected such as infants, older adults and people who are immunocompromised.

WHO is working closely with the Department of Health to contain the ongoing measles outbreak. WHO has provided technical and some funding support to the National Immunization Programme of the Department of Health in the planning, implementation and monitoring of measles outbreak response activities.