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1st August, 2017

Yemen Crisis

The humanitarian crisis in Yemen now a ‘tragedy of immense proportions’

Yemeni woman collecting aid


Two-and-a-half-years of conflict and civil war have brought the poorest Arab country in the world to the brink of famine and irreparable disaster.


A major humanitarian crisis is currently taking place in Yemen, a country with a population of 27 million people. A staggering 18.8 million people, two thirds of the country’s population are in need of urgent humanitarian aid according to the United Nations, with over 390,000 currently affected by cholera.


The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, called the Yemen Crisis a “tragedy of immense proportions”. According to the UN’s latest figures, 10.3 million people are in acute need of assistance, 17 million are food insecure, 1,900 have now perished from cholera and an alarming 7 million people don’t know where their next meal is coming from.


Prior to the advent of civil war, Yemen had a high level of poverty and crumbling infrastructure. Today, public services are on the brink of collapse and in some districts have broken down completely. Less than half of the country’s health centres are functional and medicine and medical equipment is severely limited.


It is reported that one child under the age of five dies every ten minutes from entirely avoidable causes. The head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, the NRC says that, “Nowhere on earth are as many lives at risk” as in Yemen.


As well as famine, the country is also in the grips of the ‘world’s worst cholera outbreak’ according to the World Health Organisation, WHO. A problem exacerbated by the ongoing conflict, lack of viable infrastructure to transport aid and devastated healthcare provision. Around 40% of cholera deaths in Yemen are children under the age of 15, and 14.5 million Yemeni people have no access to clean water, ensuring the cholera outbreak is innately difficult to contain, and almost guaranteed to spread further, if left unchecked.


The nature of Yemen’s ongoing civil war, with its varied list of belligerents, effectively means all of the country’s ports and airports are closed until further notice, making it increasingly difficult to deliver humanitarian aid to those in need. These people now have nowhere to go, and unlike in Syria, cannot flee the conflict in their country – they are trapped.


Penny Appeal has been working in Yemen since July 2014 to provide families with lifesaving food packs, hot food provisions, clean water packs and essential aid. We are now urgently seeking donations to help us expand our efforts to save the desperate people of Yemen from the impending famine and ongoing cholera disaster.


Aid distribution in Yemen


According to the UN, the funding shortfall currently stands at $2.1bn, with money needed to reach people whose lives have collapsed, their livelihoods ruined by conflict and their prospects of a future looking increasingly bleak. 


Without urgent action, the crisis is set to worsen. The WHO, in a joint statement with the UN Children’s Fund and the World Food Programme described Yemen’s plight as, “the world’s worst cholera outbreak in the midst of the world’s largest humanitarian crisis”. This perfect storm of crises looks to have no end in sight, without urgent aid and financial support; Yemen’s future looks inexorably desolate. 

17th July, 2017

Yemen Cholera Emergency


Yemen's people are on the precipice as another humanitarian disaster emerges

Yemen's cholera crisis


War-torn Yemen is on the cusp of a new humanitarian disaster. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OHCR), there are currently over 320,000 suspected cases of cholera in Yemen, with over 1,700 deaths since 27th April, (latest figures as of 12th July 2017).


This figure represents the ‘world’s worst cholera outbreak’ according to the World Health Organisation, WHO. Around 40% of cholera deaths in Yemen are children under the age of 15. Malnourished children, older adults, pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions are amongst those at greatest risk of death.


Yemen’s people are in the grips of a two-and-a-half-year civil war that has torn the country asunder, creating the conditions for the current cholera outbreak and already established famine. The Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick says the situation is “entirely man-made, as a result of the conflict.”


Yemen’s infrastructure has been decimated by the ongoing civil war. Its health, water and sanitation services are on the brink of collapse - and any aid delivered to the country is made increasingly difficult by current conflict. Yemen’s ports and airports are under blockade, creating a difficult challenge for NGOs trying to deliver life-saving aid.


Less than half of Yemen’s medical centres are functional, representing a crisis years in the making. Currently, around 14.5 million Yemeni people have no access to clean water, ensuring this cholera outbreak is innately difficult to contain.


The UN has received only one-third of the funding required to tackle this emerging disaster, with a further $47 million needed to contain the outbreak and treat the people in need of urgent medical aid.


Penny Appeal have been working in Yemen since 2014 providing emergency food, water and medical aid following a severe famine and lack of resources due to ongoing conflict. Now the people of Yemen need your help more than ever, if they are to survive this latest crisis. 

14th July, 2017

Syria Crisis


Seven years of conflict has left thousands of Syrian families in need of urgent aid

Girl in red wanders into the street


The roar of jet engines and the sound of air-raid sirens have replaced morning birdsong, as the seventh year of the Syrian Civil War rumbles on. Every Syrian family faces this reality, as they wake to the uncertainty of a new day in their homeland.  


What started as a peaceful protest in Daraa, a southwestern city in Syria, quickly escalated to violence and civil war. The protests were inspired by the wider Arab Spring, which saw sweeping change throughout many Arab states. Syria is still in the grips of this kind of insurmountable uncertainty.


In a brutal conflict that has already claimed the lives of over 500 thousand people, with an estimated 2.5m causalities, Syria’s war has been called the “biggest humanitarian and refugee crisis of our time”, the words of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.


Indeed, the UN’s latest figures estimate that 13.5 million people are in need of humanitarian aid with 7 million now considered refugees.


Ordinary Syrians consider themselves forgotten; around 4.6 million are now trapped in besieged or hard-to-reach areas, the focal points of military operations. These strategic points of interest are cities, such as Aleppo, Homs, Hama and Idlib.


Penny Appeal has been delivering life-saving aid to those in need, primarily in the environs surrounding Aleppo. Aid has been distributed in the Akhtarin district, 40 miles north of Aleppo, with food, clean water, shelter, warm clothing and medical care constituting the bulk of relief. Penny Appeal has also provided aid in nearby Azaz City, 20 miles northwest of Aleppo.


As well as serious humanitarian aid challenges, civilian areas are subject to daily airstrikes, cementing the feeling of absolute uncertainty amidst constant danger that many families face every day. Within these areas, civilians have no basic rights, their movement is profoundly restricted, they have little or no food and healthcare is increasingly rare.


Man and girl flee from burning truck


Half of the population of Syria have been forced from their homes, with an estimated 50% of the refugees thought to be vulnerable children or young people. Neighbouring countries have now restricted the admission of fleeing refugees, creating deplorable conditions in camps littered up and down the Syrian border.


To add to their plight, Syrian civilians have been indiscriminately targeted with chemical weapon strikes by warplanes, the most recent incident (4th April) in the northern province of Idlib. Here, 70 people were killed by sarin gas.


The UN claims that the Syrian Crisis currently has a funding gap of $2.7bn, with millions of people lacking access to necessities such as shelter, clean water, food and healthcare. With no end in sight to the conflict, the people of Syria desperately need help.


Penny Appeal teams have been responding to this crisis on the ground, but as the situation continues to worsen, more aid is urgently needed.


Ruined building

12th July, 2017

Penny Appeal looking to support ground-breaking refugee initiative




Penny Appeal are in talks to support the Full Community Sponsorship programme, set up by the government. The initiative began in 2014 under the guise of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme. It aims to house and protect families and vulnerable people who have been displaced or put at serious risk by regional turmoil, such as conflict and famine in the Middle East or North Africa (MENA).


The ground-breaking scheme will be part of the British Government’s pledge to resettle 20,000 vulnerable Syrians over the lifetime of the current parliament. Working closely with the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, the project will work within MENA countries, starting with Syria.


The programme aims to protect vulnerable people from abuse, exploitation and conflict in areas that are currently experiencing times of remarkable upheaval. The vulnerable people or families this sponsorship resettles will be in need of medical care, have survived violence or torture, or be in urgent need of humanitarian aid.


Depending on the circumstances, a community sponsor will be allocated a family fleeing conflict. The family will go through stringent suitability and security checks before being selected and allocated to a community sponsorship applicant.


Applicants can be community groups, faith groups, charities or businesses, or anyone meeting the detailed list of requirements, set out by the government. A community sponsorship is an undertaking coloured with deep responsibility, as part of the application process, groups or individuals must show demonstrable experience, have a ‘ring-fenced’ sum of £9k per family, and go through rigorous Home Office checks before being considered as a sponsor.


If accepted, a sponsor will be required to meet the family at the airport, provide a welcome and cultural orientation, provide housing, support access to medical and social services, be responsible for arranging English language tuition and support towards employment and self-sufficiency.


As Penny Appeal looks to increase its involvement in the initiative in the near future, Aamer Naeem, Penny Appeal’s CEO said, “It’s always about whether or not you want to be an observer of what’s happening around you or whether you want to be a participant.” As the project unfurls its wings, we will undoubtedly see much heavier involvement from groups across the country. 

7th July, 2017

Penny Appeal Chairman scoops coveted award


Adeem receiving award


Adeem Younis, Penny Appeal’s Chairman received the prestigious IoD (Institute of Directors) Young Director of the Year Award at a black-tie dinner hosted at the Principal York Hotel, on July 5th.


The IoD, the UK’s longest-running organisation for professional leaders, aims to “encourage entrepreneurial activity and promote responsible business practices”, as part of a wider network that supports over 30,000 members through 48 regional branches across the UK.


The Director of the Year awards event, held in York, was part of a number of similar ceremonies in the UK, and represented the Yorkshire and North East Region. The winners of the awards at the 5th of July dinner will go on to the national Director of the Year finals, pitting themselves against shortlisted candidates from around the country.


Around 200 guests attended the black-tie dinner on Wednesday, which saw candidates compete across eight different categories and included entertainment – in the form of a musician, a magician and special guest speakers. After receiving the award Adeem said, “I’m humbled to have won the Young Director of the Year Award with such great competition.” 

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