Emergency Waste Assessment for Yemen

15 Aug 2015
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During the month of July 2015, Disaster Waste Recovery and UNDP conducted an emergency waste assessment in six governorates to investigate the impact of the current crisis on the waste management cycle and identify possible entry points for immediate intervention. The governorates of Aden, Amran, Hadramaut, Hajjah, Sa’ada, and Sana’a were targeted during the assessment, which was severely limited by access and security constraints. The survey targeted four different stages of the waste management cycle, from generation to disposal, through four different questionnaires: 1) the Neighbourhood Assessment Tool, for assessing waste collection status in the cities; 2) the Infrastructure Assessment Tool, to evaluate disposal sites; the 3) Local Authorities Assessment Tool, to appraise the capacity of Cleanliness Funds to deliver waste management services; and 4) the Private Sector Survey, to evaluate state of the recycling sector in light of the crisis.

The findings highlight the reduction in capacity by local authorities to provide waste collection services due to lack of resources to pay for staff salaries, vehicle repair and fuel for transport; furthermore, the state of collection coverage was already insufficient before the crisis, with a general lack of resources for investments and effective operation and maintenance of the vehicle fleet. Furthermore, some vehicles were reported stolen or damaged by the warring parties during the conflict.

This led to a reduction waste collection frequency in the assessed cities, as well as the use of improvised alternative disposal sites in light of the reduced fuel availability. Many traditional disposal sites are not currently operational, with those still working being operated as open dumps. Open fires, presence of scavengers on site, damaged infrastructure and vehicles are common features of the assessed disposal sites, some of which have also been directly targeted during the fighting.

Based on the identified needs and the support provided to local authorities by other humanitarian actors such as UNICEF, ICRC, Mercy Corps and GIZ, the study identifies several entry points for interventions.

These actions are just an immediate response to the most pressing needs and have an envisaged timespan of six months; additional responses with a longer temporal horizon are still needed in support of the solid waste management cycle in Yemen. 

Entry points for interventions

  • First, extraordinary waste collection operations and continued support to day-to-day operations of local authorities through fuel provision, cash-for-work and the payment of salaries to local waste collection staff will allow for a rapid solution to waste accumulating in the streets.
  • Second, to re-establish the capacity to provide waste collection by local authorities, the repair and rehabilitation of broken down vehicles through the provision of spare parts and tools.
  • Third, the improvement of disposal sites by extinguishing landfill fires, repairing the perimeter fencing, and the rehabilitation of broken down heavy machinery.
  • Fourth, the establishment of a safe handling and treatment cycle for healthcare waste by the provision of a power generator and fuel to Sana’a treatment plant, along with container provision and training of medical staff on segregation practices.
  • Finally, the reactivation of the recycling sector by providing power generators, grants for the substitution of damaged machinery and buildings, and the support of informal recycling sector through their organization in associations and cooperatives.

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