Yasin Ismael works as an education coordinator for NRC in Yemen. In order to provide vital humanitarian aid to the civilian population, he relies on extensive security measures.
“There are a lot of landmines in the area, and travelling off-road can be deadly. Whenever we leave the city or return to the office, we need confirmation from security personnel that the road is secure,” says Yasin.
Facing many risks
Humanitarian aid workers like Yasin make an invaluable contribution to help civilians survive years of war and food crises. Although aid workers face many risks, they help to prevent famine, ensure that children receive an education and give displaced people a roof over their heads.
Providing help to schoolchildren living in remote areas is particularly demanding, but reaching these places is crucial for the children to be able to continue going to school despite the war.
“It’s hard to get to the schools near the front line. We often have to pass over 30 checkpoints along the way,” explains Yasin.
The people who work to provide humanitarian aid to the survivors of the war in Yemen, like the local population, must guard themselves against landmines and unexploded remnants of war. They also risk becoming victims of air strikes or explosions that hit civilian targets.
At the beginning of April, at least five school children were killed in their classrooms in the capital city of Sana, from the impact of an explosion that took place close to their school. In total, at least 11 people were killed in the attack, adding to the many brutal attacks on civilians in the war, which has ravaged Yemen for over four years.
The world’s worst humanitarian crisis
The United Nations refers to Yemen as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today. Twenty million people – two-thirds of the country’s population – rely on food aid. Children have the hardest time. An estimated two million children are acutely malnourished, including nearly 360,000 suffering from severe acute malnutrition, according to the UN.
Because of the conflict prices have gone up, and people have lost their jobs so many people can’t afford to buy food, nutrition is an important part of the help NRC gives to schools in Yemen. Yasin and his team travel to schools and distribute energy bars to the children so they will have enough energy to follow the teaching.
“This is very important for the children to be able to continue going to school. Many don’t have the opportunity to go home for lunch, and without the energy bars, they would have had to quit school,” emphasises Yasin.