When home is not home LifE for internally displaced people in COLLECTIVE SHELTERS: IBB, YEMEN

The most vulnerable Internally Displaced People are living in the open or in public buildings with little or no access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities.

Since 2015, Yemen has been slipping ever deeper into a humanitarian crisis. Eleven months of conflict have seen 6,174 people killed, 29,524 injured, and an estimated 2,509,068 internally displaced.

In Ibb governorate, reports place the number of those internally displaced at somewhere between 130,000 and 300,000. Around 3,500 people have gathered in at least 16 collective shelters in 4 districts (Al Dhihar, Al Mashannah, Dhi As Sufal and Jiblah), where they are living with only basic shelter materials and without access to basic WASH services.

Locations of collective shelters in relation to Ibb governorate.

ACTED continues to visit the collective shelters, to talk with people there about their biggest needs and challenges, and conduct needs assessments, focusing on shelter, food security, and WASH. These communities have been largely untouched by the humanitarian response so far, yet have some of the highest needs.

ACTED talks to community members on each visit.

Households are currently using any materials they can to provide some element of shelter and privacy. Large families inhabit small spaces, lack mattresses and share blankets, and are without essential items to cook, clean and live a little more comfortably.

A resident shows his living space, hidden by a thin sheet.

WASH services at collective shelters are extremely poor. Access to clean water is limited, whilst washing and sanitation facilities are non-existent or otherwise often non-functional. Some of the water that is being used is not fit for human use and all these factors combined significantly raise the risk of illness and disease for resident populations.

Water for cleaning.

Environments for cleaning are often unsafe as people are forced to make use of any available unlit, uncovered and unlockable space. Buckets and jerrycans for water storage are often also in short supply. Sometimes, facilities exist but a general lack of repair makes them unusable and at times, unsafe.

Disconnected WASH facilities like these are common in the collective shelters.

Rubbish continues to accumulate as no services and systems are in place to remove waste. This again raises the risk of illness and disease as piles of garbage lay stagnant, attracting vermin.

Waste accumulates outside one of the shelters.

Assessments continue. However, priority needs have already been identified and ACTED is seeking partners to meet them:

  • Provision of emergency shelter materials and non-food items to meet the immediate needs of those residing in collective shelters.
  • Installation of water tanks and connection of tanks to pre-existing networks and/or provision of alternative water supply.
  • Installation of latrines and cesspits and de-sludging of existing cesspits.
  • Provision of emergency hygiene kits and water storage/transportation materials.
  • Support to safe waste removal and disposal at collective shelters.
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