BALTIMORE — Lutheran World Relief and IMA World Health have opened a country office in war-torn Yemen, initiating projects that are improving sanitation and providing clean water for communities in the impoverished country at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.
Yemen, one of the world’s poorest countries, is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis considered among the worst by the United Nations. Even before Yemen’s civil war started in 2015, half of its population lived below the poverty line, a figure that currently exceeds 60 percent. As many as 10 million people are suffering from malnutrition, and nearly a quarter of a million are in danger of starvation.
Lutheran World Relief and IMA World Health are working to improve the health of war-affected communities through projects focusing on waste management and rainwater collection to provide a clean and safe source of water.
An initiative in the Qabitah district, an area located north of the city of Aden that has suffered from the armed conflict, is providing rainwater collection systems and ceramic filtration devices to internally displaced people as well as members of the host communities. This area of Yemen is dependent on rain as a source of water in a region with an annual dry season from October to April. The project will employ members of the community to build the rainwater collection systems under the supervision of a civil engineer. Families will also be able to purify water with the filters they receive, reducing the occurrence of waterborne diseases.
The waste management project is being carried out in a neighborhood in Aden. The war has disrupted municipal services, and the garbage is not being collected in many areas. The mounds of trash are a breeding ground for flies and mosquitoes that spread diseases such as malaria or dengue.
The project will employ local community members to remove trash and other debris from the streets. The refuse will be taken to one of three garbage collection facilities being constructed through this initiative. To heighten community awareness about the importance of waste management and personal hygiene, the project team will hold hygiene awareness sessions and distribute informational brochures and 10,000 hygiene kits.
“The extent of devastation of the communities, dysfunctional infrastructure and health systems, coupled with chronic poverty and active conflict that I witnessed firsthand during my visit to Aden last month doesn’t compare with anything that I have seen before,” said Umer Khan, Senior Director of Emergency Operations for Lutheran World Relief and IMA World Health. “Yet, I believe that with dedication of local communities and some support to stimulate local capacities, the potential to overcome these challenges is even greater.”
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Lutheran World Relief | IMA World Health
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About Lutheran World Relief and IMA World Health:
Lutheran World Relief and IMA World Health have joined forces to increase our impact on breaking the cycle of poverty and promoting healthier families and communities. The two international humanitarian nonprofits are integrating IMA World Health's global health expertise and Lutheran World Relief’s work in rural economies and emergency response, creating a unified organization that will help millions more enjoy a healthier, more prosperous tomorrow.