Angelina Jolie, the Special Envoy for UNHCR, recently visited Yemen to draw attention to the devastating consequences of the ongoing conflict which has displaced more than four million people in the past seven years.

At a site in Lahj Governorate in south Yemen, where displaced people are living in flimsy shelters, Jolie heard how the war has destroyed homes, families and livelihoods.

Mudeera, a mother of five from Taiz, said that none of her children went to school, had a birth certificate or had been vaccinated. Every day she struggles to feed them anything other than tea and bread.

In north Yemen, 65-year-old Maryam, who fled home in 2016 and lost her husband to the conflict, told Jolie how three of her granddaughters had passed away because the family was unable afford the healthcare they needed.

Yemen’s protracted conflict has led to multiple crises affecting every aspect of life for ordinary people. It has resulted in thousands of civilian casualties – in January 2022, a civilian was killed or injured every hour – as well as widespread destitution, hunger and economic collapse.

Today, two out of three Yemenis are in need of humanitarian assistance to survive – equating to 20 million people. Ninety-two percent of all displaced Yemenis have no source of income at all and must survive on less than $50 a month.

Marie Hesselholdt, UNHCR Senior Protection Officer in Aden, said that while Yemen is one of biggest crises in the world, it is one of the least known.

“Yemen is an extremely complex situation. For many of us who work here, it is one of the most complex crises that we have worked in. Yemen is primarily a protection crisis, but it is interlinked with issues such as food insecurity and a very bleak economy.

“One of the challenges working here is that even though this is one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world, it is also one of the least known crisis in the world.”

8-year-old Asala lives in Alsalam hosting site in Dhamar governorate of Yemen. She takes care of her younger siblings every day.
© UNHCR/Arwa Al Sabri

“The level of human suffering here is unimaginable.”

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie meets a displaced family at a temporary settlement in Lahj, southern Yemen during her visit in March 2022. © UNHCR/Marwan Tahtah

Jolie urged the international community to increase its support for the severely underfunded humanitarian response.

“The level of human suffering here is unimaginable,” she said. “For every day that Yemen’s brutal conflict continues, more and more innocent lives are lost and more people will continue to suffer."

“We live in a world where suffering and horror dominates headlines, but where such headlines can result in overwhelming displays of compassion and international solidarity. I hope this compassion and solidarity will be extended to the people of Yemen, who urgently need a swift and peaceful resolution to this conflict – and to other displaced people, whoever and wherever they are in the world.”

UNHCR and its partners remain on the ground in Yemen, providing life-saving assistance by delivering shelter, cash assistance and psychological support, as well as programs that specifically help protect children and prevent violence against women. While UNHCR hopes to expand its support in 2022 amid an escalation in fighting, the UN appeal for Yemen remains critically underfunded.

Please donate now to provide urgent protection and assistance for vulnerable Yemenis.

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