COVID-19 SPECIAL: Afghanistan, Yemen

Volunteers prepare themselves to spray disinfectants on streets in Kabul, Afghanistan Volunteers prepare themselves to spray disinfectants on streets in Kabul, Afghanistan © REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

In Focus by Silvia Luminati

1. Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, the Taliban assisted in both, domestic and international, efforts to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. In particular, Taliban fighters lifted a ban on the International Red Cross’s operations in Taliban-controlled areas, permitting the organization to provide assistance. However, the Taliban  have neither  halted attacks in rural areas nor accepted the call for a humanitarian ceasefire. Infact, the Taliban have rejected President Ashraf Ghani’s appeal for a truce during Ramadan stating that  “it would be possible if a potential peace process was being implemented fully”. Meanwhile, the virus continues to pose a threat to Afghans’ lives as only one in four persons has access to healthcare and the government is only able  to test about 100 persons per day.

To learn more:

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/afghanistan-taliban-rejects-call-ceasefire-ramadan-200424104202456.html

https://reliefweb.int/report/afghanistan/covid-19-afghanistan-compounding-crises

http://www.healthdata.org/afghanistan 

 

2. Yemen

In Yemen, since the last update, significant progress has been made  toward a lasting peace deal. The UN Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths, is “extremely encouraged” that both the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels had intensive negotiations but recent clashes in Aden showed that peace remains elusive. Hence, COVID-19 threatens to worsen the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the country, where 80% (24 million persons) of the population are in need of humanitarian aid and Malaria and Cholera are the cause of death on a daily basis. The World Health Organization fears that a major outbreak of the coronavirus could have catastrophic consequences due to lack of testing facilities in the country and the deficiencies of the health system following years of armed conflict. So far, 122 cases have been reported.

To learn more:

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/covid-19-threatens-worsen-yemen-devastation-200514134553478.html

https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/05/1064102

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/yemen-warring-parties-significant-progress-truce-200514184702023.html

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