Water in Yemen is scarce. Less than half of the population, and less than ten per cent of internally displaced persons in Yemen have access to safe water and sanitation1. We had weak infrastructure prior to the war. Now, during and after the conflict, we have damaged infrastructure that has affected access to water and sanitation across the country.
If you don’t wash your hands properly, you can get a disease; if you drink dirty, unsafe water, you can get a disease; if you cook with unclean water, you can get a disease. Providing clean and safe water also reduces health risks, which is why I’ve chosen this line of work. I can help decrease the chances of becoming ill, and by default, reduce the costs of medicines too. Without water and sanitation, many people will suffer, especially the children.
I’m an engineer within Medair Yemen’s emergency preparedness and response team. When you are in an emergency situation, it may mean that you leave your home with nothing—that means your dignity is at risk—that your life is at risk, because you can’t find the minimum requirement of water. I will ensure they stay alive. They will not get sick because they didn’t have a latrine. They will not die from being thirsty. They are human like us, but their situation is difficult. Maybe the war will come to their region again; I may also become displaced. I have before. So if I can help them, by little help, I will do that. For that reason, I focus on water and sanitation. That’s the reason why, because maybe I can save a life. We are all human, with hearts and emotions and we must place ourselves in the position of those we serve.
I’ve learned a lot throughout my time with Medair—from my managers, one of which, I call my godmother who has taught me so much about humility and how to make others feel comfortable in tough times. I want to be here, with Medair, not just because of their work, but because of our people and values. The work isn’t just about what we are providing, the quality, but also to ensure the dignity of vulnerable people.
After the war left this region, many people hurt and suffered a lot. Whatever I do, it shouldn’t add more of a burden to their day. The very least I can do is to be a light—kindness through words, a smile—it’s a simple thing. I can afford my time, my health in helping others. It’s not a job; it’s a duty.
1. OCHA. (2021, March 16, p. 4). Humanitarian Response Plan Yemen. Relief Web. p13 https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Final_Yemen_HRP_2021.pdf
Medair Yemen’s Water ,Sanitation, and Hygiene Emergency Preparedness and Response projects are funded by Yemen Humanitarian Fund, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and generous private donors.
This content was produced with resources gathered by Medair field and headquarters staff. The views expressed herein are those solely of Medair and should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of any other organisation.