Despite little assurances of safety as a result of the on-going conflict in Yemen, the Gift of the Givers (GOTG) is to continue aid operations in the civil war-stricken country. With the Port of Aden opening for the first time in six months, GOTG are set to use the opportunity to send 20 aid containers in the hopes of assisting over 13 million Yemeni’s unduly affected by the war.
Distributions will be conducted by staff of the organisation’s Yemen branch, with teams situated in each province. Beyond a shortage of supplies, operations have also been limited by a lack of electricity, a difficult terrain through which to operate, as well as constant fighting across the country. This has forced GOTG staff to vacate their offices in the capital, Sana’a as well as a warehouse in the city of Hudaidah.
“Just at the right time the announcement has come through that our shipping company can now move their ships into Aden, that the port is open and we can now send supplies,” said GOTG founder Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman.
The organisation will start with loading and transporting eight of the 20 containers, each expected to way between 20-23 tonnes each. They will be loaded with clothing, food, hygiene items, as well as much needed medical supplies.
“The health systems are in a severe state in the country, so we have prepared a lot of medical supplies on one of the first containers to leave.
The food will be oil, sugar, rice, tin food and all items which they can distribute and eat immediately,” Sooliman explained.
Another vital requirement in Yemen is water, with local supplies having dwindled dramatically since the breakout of the war. Sooliman said GOTG had opted to convert one of its aid tracks into a water distribution truck, which would cater to those most in need.
Upon discussions with GOTG’s Yemen branch manager, Anas al-Hamati, who is currently in South Africa, the organisation has resolved to targeting the most difficult and challenging provinces first, in particular the region of Taiz.
“He (Anas) said Taiz is in big difficulty, we need to get aid their first. Up until yesterday it didn’t look possible, but today there is a glimmer of hope. It looks like we may be able to get into Taiz,” Sooliman noted.
While GOTG has something of a reputation for opening up medical facilities and sending teams over to war and poverty hit-regions, Sooliman said there was no formal request from Yemen in this regard. However, if there was a need he confirmed the organisation would provide additional medical personnel.
13 million Yemenis, equating to more than half the population are in need of urgent aid. Many remain on the brink of starvation due to food shortages, something that has been an issue prior to the conflict, but has been further compounded since its breakout. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)