[ADEN – 18 MAY 2020] The COVID-19 situation in South Yemen and across the country has drastically worsened over the past week. Specifically in the South, the daily death toll is in the dozens from the Coronavirus outbreak and rise in infectious diseases such as Malaria and Dengue Fever. Commenting on the latest developments, Head of the Southern Transitional Council’s Relief & Humanitarian Action Committee, Adnan Al-Kaf, said:
“The STC is working with vital facilities and civil society organizations on the ground to manage the situation. Our COVID-19 Emergency Committee and Relief committees operating in different Southern governorates have protocols in place to make the most of the limited testing kits available and to implement social distancing and other preventive measures. However, the means are simply not available to counter the spread of disease ravaging the South. Hospitals are reduced to the most basic of operations and personal protective equipment for personnel is dangerously scarce. We also require support to operationalize field hospitals to support the COVID-19 response.
“Without urgent support to bolster the debilitated health system and to address damage to infrastructure, we may be looking at near one hundred percent mortality rates for cases requiring medical assistance. The imminent interruption to UN programs and funding for the UN humanitarian response plan in Yemen only compounds the problem. We call on all international and regional partners – both governments and NGOs – to increase and expedite their support to give the people the best chance of weathering this crisis.
“We appreciate the words of concern about the situation in South Yemen, but they must be translated into concrete action to help the population now in more need than ever. In this regard, we look to the humanitarian pledging conference to be held virtually on 2 June, but we urge the international and donor community to demonstrate true leadership and give contributions even before then. The situation is deteriorating by the day. We further echo the calls of the Southern people and Southern civil society for critical support, and stress the importance of rising to the challenges in Yemen as part and parcel of the global response to COVID-19”