After nine years of conflict, 4.5 million people are displaced and over 21 million people depend on humanitarian assistance.
Yemen is one of the world’s largest and most underfunded humanitarian crises. Over the past nine years, conflict and a collapsed economy have pushed two-thirds of the population below the poverty line. The security situation in the country remains fragile and civilians are bearing the brunt of the crisis.
In April 2022, civilians witnessed a glimpse of calm when the warring parties signed a truce. The six-month UN-brokered truce led to a decline in civilian casualties. Throughout the truce, new internal displacement fell by 76 per cent. But the current absence of an official truce is leaving people in limbo as the country continues to grapple with a fragile political and security situation.
“We mustn’t forget the plight of those desperately in need in Yemen. The magnitude of this crisis has touched every family across the country — now nine years into this conflict,” said Maya Ameratunga, UNHCR’s Representative in Yemen.
“We know well the heart-rending stories. Far too many have lost their homes, their loved ones and their livelihoods. They lack a social safety net or access to essential services, making them more vulnerable to all kind of threats and risks, resulting in severe psychological distress.”
Yemen has always been one of the poorest countries in the Middle East. But the war and economic collapse have pushed millions of families to the brink of starvation.
With rampant inflation and few livelihood opportunities, families can no longer afford basic meals. To put food on the table, many displaced families are selling off belongings, taking children out of school and sending them to work, begging on the streets or eating just once a day.
Sharp increases in global food and fuel prices have put more pressure on Yemenis, including families displaced by the conflict, as well as refugees and asylum seekers from other countries. While the recent truce opened a window to deliver more humanitarian aid, pressures on the fragile economy are getting worse. Yemen imports 90 per cent of its food, with over 30 per cent of its wheat coming from Ukraine. The war in Ukraine has seen already high prices rise further, making basic items like bread unaffordable to many.
UNHCR is providing life-saving aid to displaced Yemenis, as well as refugees and asylum-seekers, across the country. We’re providing families with shelter kits to help them repair bomb damaged homes and cash assistance to help them access food and medicine. In addition, we’re supplying mattresses, blankets, sleeping mats, kitchen sets and other emergency items to those who have lost everything in the war.
UNHCR is also providing legal assistance and psycho-social support to help those affected by the war, along with a wide range of protection services such as prevention of gender-based violence and specific interventions focusing on women and children.
Only 50 per cent of the health facilities in Yemen are fully functioning due to the conflict – and a fatality rate among the highest worldwide
Over seven years into the conflict, Yemen faces an unrelenting humanitarian crisis.
The majority of funds raised by Australia for UNHCR are directed to UNHCR’s emergency operations, providing the ready funds and resources to respond quickly and effectively in situations of crisis and disaster.