Fri, 23 Apr 2021

SANAA, March 5 (Xinhua) -- After suffering coldness inside their draughty huts for months, the internally displaced persons (IDPs) at the Dharawan camp near Yemen's capital Sanaa now have to prepare for another threat - the upcoming rainy season.

"We practically live in the open air. There isn't much we can do. We have collected stones to build huts but it's leaky everywhere," Hassan Hakami, an IDP at the camp, told Xinhua.

Hakami said the stone huts they built sometimes collapsed in heavy rains, causing injuries to residents here.

"When they get hurt, there is no medical help. A small injury can turn out to be lethal in the end," he added.

The rainy season in Yemen lasts from March to October. Besides heavy rains and floods, the season will also witness the increase of infections of cholera, malaria, and dengue fever as people in the country, especially the millions living in IDP camps, lack access to sanitary supplies.

For the IDPs at the Dharawan camp, life means one obstacle after another. Winter in the Yemeni Highlands, where Sanaa is located at heart, is already colder than most parts of the Arabian Peninsula. But the rainy season is worse than winter.

"We were promised aid to face the cold, but we got no proper shelters or blankets. Now the rainy season is coming, we still have nothing except for promises," said Saleh Al-Zubaidi, another IDP at the camp.

"We have sick people and elderly here. I don't know how we can get through this," Al-Zubaidi lamented.

The lack of funds for humanitarian operations in 2020 has led to the closure of many aid programs, UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affair Mark Lowcock said last month.

Many hungry families in northern Yemen are getting only half as much food aid as they should, Lowcock added.

During the pledging event held in New York on March 1, the international community agreed to donate about 1.7 billion U.S. dollars for humanitarian aid to the Arab country in 2021 despite the UN call to collect 3.85 billion dollars.

During the last rainy season, floods damaged infrastructure, destroyed homes and shelters, ruined crops, and killed people and livestock in provinces across the country, creating a catastrophic situation for thousands of the displaced families.

"I don't know which one I prefer, the harsh winter or the flood season," said

Faiz Al-Haidala, who escaped death and fled his hometown in Saada Province, said he has been living at the Dharawan camp since 2016 and suffered the "circle" of hardship year after year.

"They (winter and rainy season) are equally unforgiving for all the displaced people living here. People here stopped to hope a long time ago," said the middle-aged man.

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