As temperatures drop to below freezing, civil society organisations are mobilising to provide internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Yemen with blankets, shelter and food to help them withstand the winter months.
The Wujooh Institute for Media and Development and the Peace Foundation for Humanitarian Response and Development in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the National Foundation for Development and Humanitarian Response and a number of other local organisations in December launched the Winter Blanket Project, which targets thousands of IDPs in a number of provinces.
"The campaign provided shelter aid and blankets to 23,000 displaced families in [the capital] Sanaa and 40,000 others in other provinces where the temperature drops to below zero degrees Celsius, including in Dhamar, Saada, Amran and al-Jawf," Wujooh Foundation director Mansour al-Jaradi told Al-Mashareq.
The campaign is continuing in January even though it was planned for December only, he said.
"The co-operation of supportive members of the community, businessmen and international organisations contributed to reaching the targeted segments of IDPs, both those in IDP designated sites and those living in various neighbourhoods and districts," he said.
Blankets and food baskets
The Yemen Organisation for Humanitarian Relief and Development (MONA) is also making efforts to aid IDPs with blankets.
The organisation "distributed shelter aid, blankets and health kits in early January to displaced and affected families in Sanaa province and Amanat Sanaa," MONA founder and director Fatek al-Rodaini told Al-Mashareq.
In addition, the charity is providing food baskets to 30 families in the Harib al-Qaramish region of Mareb Province, making it "the first local or international organisation to deliver aid to Mareb province since the outbreak of the war", he said.
The organisation distributed 500 food baskets in the directorates of Bayt al-Faqih, al-Durayhimi and al-Mansuriyah in al-Hodeida province as part of MONA's fifth campaign focused on the Tihama region, al-Rodaini said.
Speaking about the resources needed for the relief activities carried out by his organisation, al-Rodaini said, "We depend for our funding on local philanthropists, the International Organisation for Migration and the British al-Khair Foundation."
'A Warm Touch'
Youth initiatives working to aid IDPs by providing them with blankets and clothes include the Renaissance Yemen Youth Development initiative, "A Warm Touch", which provides blankets and clothes to 500 displaced families in Sanaa.
The campaign received a good response from members of the community and merchants, the group's chairman Faisal Abdul Aziz said, noting that the group's members are youth who are driven by "the concepts of moderation, centrism and rejection of extremism, racism and sectarianism".
The campaign was launched in early January under the slogan "Quick Before I Freeze" to provide clothes and blankets to IDPs, the poor and those affected by the war and conflict, Abdul Aziz said.
"We are still collecting blankets from businessmen and philanthropists," he said.
"We also launched a community drive that is currently under way to urge members of the community to donate clothes, blankets and any furniture or furnishings to distribute to displaced and affected families to help them cope with the severe cold wave they are currently facing," he said.
Community, merchants contribute aid
There has been a "tremendous positive response by members of the community, who were quick to donate blankets and used clothes, and also an excellent response from shopping centres, which contributed a quantity of new clothes", Abdul Aziz said.
The blanket collection and distribution drive will continue until "the required quantity is collected and distributed to the targeted recipients".
The recipients include IDPs from neighbouring provinces who abandoned their homes and belongings and fled for their lives with their women and children to escape the hell of the wars and conflicts in Amran, Saada, Hajja and al-Jawf provinces, he said.
The initiative finds recipients through community organisations and word of mouth.
"We contacted neighbourhood leaders who have sufficient information about the new families who took residence in their neighbourhoods to help us reach the targeted recipients and distribute a portion of the aid in the areas where displaced families are concentrated," Abdul Aziz said.