IOM Supports a Cleaning Campaign in the Port City
Al Hudaydah’s littered streets are a constant reminder of fighting.
For the better part of 2018, communities in Al Hudaydah lived in fear — conflict led to uncertainty over what each new day might bring. The violent struggle for this Yemeni port city has calmed down since that time, but the remnants of war lay scattered throughout its many neighbourhoods.
While the peace talks have led to some stability, the continued lack of public services, including waste management and refuse collection, shows that normalcy has not fully returned. Insecurity and inconsistent salary payments, as well as continued and recurring displacement, have resulted in many staff leaving the Cleaning and Improvement Fund — the body in charge of waste management across Yemen’s fourth largest city. The ensuing piles of garbage are more than just an eye sore, they pose health and safety risks for the city’s residents.
In February 2019, IOM launched a citywide cleaning campaign in partnership with the Cleaning and Development Fund to support displaced, returnee and conflict-affected communities in Al Hudaydah, with funding from the Government of Kuwait.
The campaign, which began in Al Mina district, will reach three city districts this Spring. More than 360 people, who were formerly employed by the Cleaning and Development Fund are taking part in the campaign in exchange for cash payments. Intended to boost the communities’ livelihood opportunities, improve the local environment and reduce the spread of diseases with the rainy and summer seasons imminent, the clean-up will also help the city return to pre-conflict conditions. Cleaner streets should help long-term residents, displaced people and returnees feel safer and that life in the city is on the path back to normalcy.
Among the Cleaning and Development Fund staff, there are only a few women. Abeedah Ahmed Hassan, a 55-year-old mother of nine, is one of them. Her husband’s health conditions mean he is unable to work, so she is the family’s main breadwinner.