Yemen, Ta’iz. Hussain, now 24, said he would never forget the fear he felt five years ago when he and his family fled fighting. He didn’t have a chance to pack his bags.
“I didn’t want to leave my home, I had nowhere to go. The conflict left us with no choice but to run,” he said.
One of the nearly 450,000 people internally displaced in Yemen, Hussain had been a farmer in Mawza. It was difficult to transfer his skills to the city of Aden, where the family fled initially. He couldn’t make a living there, and they got into debt. They moved back to Ta’iz, but their house was very basic and unfinished.
“The debt has been a real burden on me. I could not afford to pay back the money while also trying to earn money for materials to improve our shelter and buy the basics like food or cooking utensils,” said Hussein. He really worried about providing for his wife and child.
Meanwhile, in Ma’arib, Alia, aged 18, was living with her sister and brother-in-law. Her three nephews — Moshaeel, Ameer, and Madian — love her like their own sister. Alia has a brain condition that makes it difficult to walk on her own.
When the family fled Harib because of clashes there and returned to Ma’arib, it was difficult to start over again. Their new house was in disrepair and wasn’t adapted for Alia’s special needs.
“Alia felt uneasy most of the time. Staying home for a long time affected her psychologically. Having to be carried every time she goes out makes her uncomfortable and nervous,” explained her sister, Manal.
Cash assistance helps families choose how to respond
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Yemen Humanitarian Fund (YHF) provided multi-purpose cash assistance to Hussein and Alia’s families, which eased some of their hardships.
More than 6,000 other families displaced by the fighting or economic crisis – and now living in Yemen’s northern governorates, along the west coast and in the Ma’rib – also received cash assistance from the programme in 2022.
Hussain’s family paid off the debt that was holding them back, bought some food, and made further progress on repairing their house.
“I was very happy when I received the money, I even cried. It helped my family so much. I managed to pay my debt back and buy some basics such as flour, rice, oil and medicine. And with help from some neighbors and friends, I built a small room for my family to sleep in,” added Hussein.
Alia’s family bought her a new wheelchair to allow her to go outside more easily.
“Alia could not stop laughing the day she received her wheelchair. She was so proud and happy,” explained Manal, her sister. “Going outside is very important for everyone, but it has even more impact on people living with disabilities. Alia’s psychological and physical conditions change for the better every time we take her outside,” said Manal.
“Multipurpose cash assistance provides greater flexibility and choice for displaced families,” explains Mohammed Abbas, a member of IOM’s Cash-Based Intervention Team.
More information on the Yemen Humanitarian Fund: