[ADEN – 30 APRIL 2020] In response to the confirmation of Coronavirus cases in Aden, the Southern Transitional Council is intensifying its ongoing efforts to ensure an effective and comprehensive COVID-19 response. Commenting on the developments, Nazar Haitham, spokesperson of the STC, said:
“We of course hoped this day would not come, and are very concerned about the 5 COVID-19 cases confirmed in Aden today. We fear for the health of those affected and the implications of an outbreak on the population in the South as a whole and, therefore, we have taken first measures to limit an outbreak. That said, the STC for the past month has been working diligently to prepare for the possibility of an outbreak, including coordinating with the UN Country Team and international partners such as the World Health Organization and Médecins Sans Frontières to secure medical and testing supplies and establishing a preventive isolation center.
“The STC will continue to strengthen this work alongside our intervention to restore basic services in Southern governorates. Our teams are focused on meeting the needs of our people on the ground. This begins with restarting the power plant in Aden – after deliberate electricity cuts by the Yemeni government – and working to address problems of sanitation and drinking water. The flash floods that hit Aden, al-Mahra, Hadramout, and Shabwah on 21 April devastated the debilitated infrastructure in the South. The STC is committed to delivering against its responsibility to the Southern people, including in facilitating unhindered aid in these difficult conditions.
“We welcome regular engagement with NGO partners to improve our respective work in support of the population on the ground, particularly in these dire times. Together with STC representatives Amira Augustin and Amr Al-Bidh, we briefed today a group of 60+ NGOs on the latest developments in the South. The discussion covered urgent issues on the humanitarian and political fronts, as well as areas for cooperation. As the STC takes on the important task of administering the South, dialogue with stakeholders such as the NGO community and Southern civil society is key.
“As we brace for an unprecedented health and humanitarian crisis, we look to our regional and international allies to redouble their commitment to the people. Now more than ever, their material and moral support is especially critical now in ensuring sustained humanitarian aid to all those in need; bolstering the COVID-19 response across the country; and in parallel enabling a political solution to end the suffering and devastation. While we manage the situation on the ground, we must see renewed momentum toward a negotiated resolution to the Yemeni crisis. The aim, as we’ve repeatedly made clear, should be an inclusive UN-led process that addresses the Southern cause from the onset; the STC is ready to support and play its part to reach this much-needed outcome.”