a lifeline for displaced families

Yemeni children displaced by war.

© European Union 2022

Like millions of Yemenis, Aisha was driven from her home by a missile attack. She will never forget the chaos and panic of that day when she had to take her grandchildren to safety.

EU-funded emergency aid and cash assistance helped to rebuild his life.

“I was terrified. I wasn’t worried about myself. I was scared for my grandchildren. I saw the terror on their faces as screams filled the neighborhood from every house in town.

Aisha, 55, recounts how people fled their homes in panic, not knowing where to go when her house in Al-Manthar district in Hodeidah was targeted by a ballistic missile more than a year ago. a year.

“I gathered my strength and looked for any means of transportation that would get us out of this hell,” she explained.

When she finally managed to find a van, the driver demanded a lot of money because of the many passengers. Aisha had no choice but to agree, even if it meant spending most of the little money she had managed to save before fleeing the conflict.

Aisha and her granddaughter showing baskets with food

Aisha and her granddaughter.

© Al Ezzy Bagash, Danish Refugee Council

Aisha had heard from her relatives that displaced people from Al-Manthar were going to displacement sites in Al-Khawkha, also in Hodeidah governorate. The sites are run by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), an NGO helping people affected by the conflict with support from the EU.

So that’s where she and her family were headed.

It was a long drive, with many checkpoints along the way. Another family took them in when they first arrived at the Al-Jisha site for displaced people.

On the second day, all newly displaced households were registered and provided with a kit by the DRC emergency team, including ready-to-eat food and hygiene items.

“I was very grateful and happy that we were checked in so quickly and given a tent shortly afterwards, as well as mattresses, blankets and other things”, said Aisha.

Cash assistance for multiple purposes

After settling into their new tent, Aisha received 117,000 thousand riyals (the equivalent of €165). This cash assistance helped her buy food for the family and other basic items for the month.

About a month later, Aisha received a second round of multi-purpose cash grants. She decided to use part of it to start a small project to earn income. She started selling bread and cakes at the site, going from shelter to shelter.

boy looking over a fence

Cash assistance gives displaced people more power and choice.

© European Union 2022

She keeps her products in covered containers to protect them from dust and contamination. She buys bread and cakes from a bakery and sells them in two shifts, from 7am to 11am in the morning and from 3pm in the afternoon until evening.

“People prefer cash to food aid” says Anwar Basel, head of cash distribution in the DRC. “Our cash assistance has significantly improved the living standards of displaced families. They buy vegetables, fruits and other things. It also stimulates the circulation of local currency.

The EU has pledged to provide 35% of all its humanitarian aid worldwide in the form of cash. In Yemen, the EU is supporting the Cash Consortium of Yemen, a group of aid agencies led by the DRC. They are convinced that cash assistance is one of the most effective ways to deliver aid and is good for the local economy.

Hasan Maqbol Afif, owner of a shop in Attera camp, was himself displaced in 2020. After receiving cash assistance, he was able to open a small shop on site in Tuban Lahj.

“I think it is better for aid to be given in cash rather than in supplies,” Hasan said. “It helped the displaced to repay the debts they had accumulated. They bought everything from me on credit because they didn’t have enough money,” he explained.

Hasan sitting in his store with a boy on his lap

Hasan was receiving cash assistance when he was first displaced. He thinks cash aid is better than giving people food.

© European Union 2022

Research shows that cash assistance gives people more power to make choices and plan for their recovery after a crisis. After several rounds of cash assistance, Aisha was able to meet her basic needs and also achieved some economic stability, allowing her family to live with more dignity.

Story by Hind Al Baadani (Danish Refugee Council) and Anouk Delafortrie (EU Humanitarian Aid)
Publication date: 03/25/2022

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