Yemen faces one of the world's worst humanitarian crises


More than 20 million people in Yemen[i] need humanitarian assistance or protection.

Following the death of Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh by the rebel Houthi group, the Saudi-led coalition intensified air strikes on 6 December, plunging the country into further turmoil.

Although the recent humanitarian blockade has been lifted, there is still an urgent need to allow commercial imports to resume. The country relies heavily on maritime imports to feed its population, amounting to 80% of its annual food supply. The blockade is causing a huge and preventable crisis of hunger and disease, particularly for Internally Displaced People (IDP), households in conflict zones and poor households in areas with very high levels of acute malnutrition.

Even before the recent disruption to the ports of Al Hudayah and Salif, Yemen was already facing the largest food security emergency in the world, with more than 15 million[ii]people facing crisis or worse food insecurity levels. If there is continued disruption to imports, the people of Yemen are likely to face a risk of famine (IPC Phase 5) across large areas of the country, as worst-affected households begin to exhaust their coping capacity. 

Large-scale humanitarian assistance continues to play an important role in preventing more severe levels of food insecurity. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) estimates that in 10 governorates, including Abyan, Aden, Hajjah, Sana’a, and Ta’izz food security outcomes would be at least one phase more critical in the absence of current humanitarian support.[iii]

Yemen is also experiencing the fastest growing cholera epidemic ever recorded (UNOCHA). Since the end of April until 19 November 2017, there were 945,000 suspected cholera cases with over 2,200 associated deaths[iv]. More than half of the suspected cases are children.

The DEC Yemen Crisis Appeal 

  • The Yemen Crisis Appeal was launched on 13 December 2016 and has, to date, raised £27 million.
  • Between December 2016 and June 2017 (the first six months of the response) DEC member charities provided humanitarian assistance to 1.4 million people with DEC funds.
  • More than 1 million people have received clean water, sanitation services or hygiene kits to reduce the risk of disease – of which 750,000 will continue to have access to clean water through rehabilitated water pipes. 
  • More than 154,450 people have received medical consultation, treatment or health training, of which 34,331 people have been treated for communicable diseases or conflict-related injuries – 22,609 of them children.
  • More than 112,000 people have received bread or food parcels, and vouchers to purchase food.
  • Another 56,000 people have received cash or vouchers to help them buy essential supplies.
  • More than 48,000 children have been screened and treated for malnutrition.
  • Between July 2017 and end 2018, DEC member charities will continue to work to reach those most in need, either through direct operations or supporting the work of in-country partners depending on how the situation in the country evolves. They aim to reach 12,200 people with food parcels, screen 32,000 children for malnutrition, provide 38,000 cholera kits, 18,000 hygiene kits and other lifesaving and humanitarian support. 

Notes to editors:

  1. Media enquiries: please call the DEC press office on 0207 255 9111 or 07930 999 014
  2. Saleh Saeed, DEC Chief Executive, has seen first-hand the aid response in Yemen and is available for interview.
  3. Film footage and stills are available to illustrate the crisis and the aid response in operation.
  4. The DEC brings 13 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis: ActionAid, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam GB, Plan International UK, Save the Children UK, Tearfund and World Vision UK; all collectively raising money to reach those in need quickly.
  5. The UK Government has supported the appeal through UK Aid Match, by matching pound for pound money donated by the British public up to £5 million.
  6. References:
  • [i]
  • [ii] 
  • [iii]
  • [iv]