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close this bookProceedings of the Regional Workshop on Environmental Health Management in Refugee Areas (WHO - OMS, 1994, 212 p.)
close this folderSection Three: Country Reports
View the documentHealth facilities for refugees in Islamic Republic of Iran - H. Salmanmanesh
View the documentEnvironmental health management in evacuee reception centres in Jordan - S. Dlaimi and Hussain Alkandak
View the documentEnvironmental health management in refugee areas in Lebanon - A. Baltagi and S. Massouh
View the documentRefugees and sanitation in the Eastern Region of Sudan - El Baghir Nasr Dafalla and Bakri Yassin Taha
View the documentMeasures for refugees’ healthy environment in Syrian Arab Republic - A.J. Al Hamid and M. Derani
View the documentRefugee Situation in Yemen - Zaki A. Kaid

Refugee Situation in Yemen - Zaki A. Kaid

1. Introduction

It should be stressed that, in Yemen, there is little experience of refugee and refugee-related situations. With regard to the definition of refugees, they are considered to be those persons who have crossed international frontiers in search of refuge as a result of war or natural disaster in their homeland. The only examples of this in Yemen are Palestinians. They live in the country, enjoying the same rights as Yemeni nationals; that is, they are treated as Yemeni citizens rather than as refugees.

2. Refugees and environmental health

Regarding the subject of refugees and environmental health, in Yemen it is understood that refugee problems exist not only in the strictly speaking environmental sense; they also concern safety, peace of mind and other psychological factors. In ensuring their protection and standard of living, certain basic needs and priorities must be attended to, as follows:

(1) They must be provided with suitable shelter; very often this consists of tents, issued at the rate of one per family. They also usually need blankets and clothing as protection against harsh weather conditions.

(2) They must be provided with easily accessible, safe water.

(3) Proper disposal of wastewater must be ensured.

(4) An adequate system of waste disposal must be arranged. This includes human excreta (with provision of latrines) and garbage (with provision of suitable containers). Measures must be taken against multiplication of microorganisms caused by improperly dealt with waste.

(5) Insect and rodent infestation must be combated by proper use of appropriate pesticides.

(6) Precautions must be installed against accidents including fire.

(7) Overcrowdedness must be avoided, to combat spread of communicable diseases.

(8) Refugees must receive health education, especially about personal hygiene and food preparation.

(9) Periodic health checks are necessary, with both preventive and curative care provided.

(10) If refugees stay in settlements is prolonged, (a) education for children and possible literacy classes for adults must be given; and (b) skills and abilities of refugees should be developed to enable them to engage in income-generating activities.


Finally, it must be stressed that, in order to provide and maintain a healthy environment for refugees, two basic measures are essential:

(a) National capacity to react promptly and correctly to refugee and refugee-like situations must be built up.

(b) Refugees must be educated, starting as soon as possible after their arrival, and through all available media, about environmental health.