Yemen’s decade-long crisis has been exacerbated by famine, war, and the COVID-19 pandemic, and unfortunately has no end in sight. The severity of displacement in Yemen continues to be a pressing and urgent matter as the pandemic causes a significant reduction in international aid, despite the exponential increase in internally displaced peoples’ (IDPs) need for support. In an effort to raise awareness on the impact of decreasing aid for IDPs’ health, and in turn influence policies on international aid during COVID-19, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) launched a study in collaboration with RIWI to monitor the situation in Yemen as it progresses. The aim of this data collection initiative was to demonstrate the importance of real-time data informing immediate humanitarian response in order to pave the way for longer-term recovery actions.
The IDMC looked to RIWI to safely engage the Yemeni population on issues relating to their experiences of the current situation. The survey was conducted using RIWI’s patented innovative technology to deliver anonymous surveys to Web users across the country. The findings of the study and subsequent report produced by IDMC shed light on the experiences of Yemenis during the pandemic and also provided IDPs the unique and vital chance to share their stories.
Additional insights were drawn, using RIWI’s survey, to further inform IDMC’s health-focused work in Yemen. According to the report, “Nearly two-thirds said their treatment for other chronic conditions had deteriorated, compared with about 45 per cent for both IDP-returnees and non-displaced people. Forty-three per cent of IDPs also reported feeling much more down, depressed or anxious compared with the same time the previous year.” Additionally, respondents cited the inability to social distance as the main challenge preventing them from limiting the risk of catching or spreading the virus.
All Internet users in Yemen over the age of 18 had an equal and random probability of coming across the survey while it was in field in October 2020. More than 1,600 respondents completed all questions, including:
- 381 people currently displaced by conflict, violence, and disasters (“IDPs”);
- 252 people who had previously been displaced but had since returned to their homes (“IDP-returnees”); and
- 1,037 people who had never been displaced before (“non-displaced people”).
In addition to the insights about challenges faced by respondents, the data provided concrete evidence that IDPs were suffering more than host communities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in seeking and receiving treatment, employment, and housing. The IDMC used these data to publish reports on the situation for IDPs in Yemen which will inform work in the area and have commissioned further work on displacement in other regions from RIWI.