USAID Yemen Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Fact Sheet

Speeches Shim

Young girls at newly constructed water point
Young girls at newly constructed water point.
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USAID is helping address the underlying issues of water management and limited access to safe water and sanitation in Yemen.

Yemen is suffering the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, exacerbated by its ongoing civil war. USAID development assistance in Yemen bridges the relief-to-development continuum and strengthens Yemen’s resiliency through programs that stabilize the economy, rebuild basic education and health systems, increase social cohesion, and improve water sector access and management.

Yemen is currently in the grip of one of the worst humanitarian disasters on the planet, exacerbated by over six years of active conflict. Access to basic services has been drastically reduced against a backdrop of increasing rates of food insecurity, malnutrition, the reemergence of cholera, and near complete economic collapse. The unprecedented cholera outbreak that began in April 2017 is evidence of serious erosion of health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) systems. Municipal water infrastructure and systems are in disrepair and fewer than half of health facilities are functional. As a result, more than 325,000 children under the age of 5 are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, and more than 20.5 million people urgently need water, sanitation, or hygiene services services. As of December 2020, cholera affected 96 percent of the governorates in Yemen, with nearly 2.5 million suspected cases since April 2017, including 3,852 deaths.

USAID’s Response and Expected Results

USAID works to instill basic water management as well as water and sanitation assistance to vulnerable populations, including those affected by the conflict. USAID programs address the underlying issues of limited access to safe water and sanitation, including limited water governance. In Fiscal Year 2020, USAID provided 85,354 beneficiaries improved access to clean drinking water and improved sanitation services. In addition, USAID supported hygiene awareness and behavior change sessions for 188,514 beneficiaries focused on safe water handling and storage, handwashing techniques using soap and water, personal hygiene, correct solid waste disposal, and proper use of latrines.

USAID’s Comprehensive WASH Support (CWS) project improves access to safe and adequate water supply and basic sanitation infrastructure for households, hospitals, and schools. It also builds resilience of the population by encouraging adoption of positive health and hygiene behaviors within the most vulnerable communities. USAID improves sustainable environmental health conditions in communities by strengthening WASH infrastructure, governance, and service delivery through rehabilitation of pipes and water sources, latrines, and sanitation services.

The Addressing Water Services in Yemen project improves access to safe water supply and sanitation services to conflict-affected vulnerable Yemenis, including internally displaced persons, in both rural and urban areas. The project rehabilitates and constructs water and sanitation infrastructure; strengthens the capacity of institutions and service providers to sustainably operate and manage WASH services and facilities; and increases resilience of community members to WASH-related illnesses through hygiene promotion.

To mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Yemen, USAID programmed an additional $2 million through existing WASH activities to support hygiene promotion and awareness; increase access to clean water for handwashing and household hygiene; install handwashing equipment at key health facilities and water distribution points; build and rehabilitate public latrines to promote infection prevention and control; and procure and distribute basic protective materials and sanitizing supplies for community health volunteers.

The interventions support USAID and U.S. Government priorities outlined in the U.S. Global Water Strategy and the USAID Water and Development Plan. The U.S. Global Water Strategy, first required by the Water for the World Act of 2014, articulates the first-ever whole-of-Government framework for the United States to advance global leadership on challenges related to water and sanitation ensuring people have sustainable, sufficient, and clean supplies of water to be healthy, prosperous, and resilient.

Last updated: June 30, 2021

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