The humanitarian situation in Yemen continues to deteriorate at an alarming rate with 20 out of 22 governorates affected by the fighting. The death and injury toll is rising, displacement is growing, communicable diseases – including dengue and malaria – are spreading, malnutrition is increasing, and civilians are facing a severe lack access to basic healthcare and WASH. Latest information indicates that 10 out of 22 governorates are now facing emergency food insecurity (IPC Level 4) and a further 9 governorates are facing a food insecurity crisis (IPC Level 3). The impact on children is particularly worrisome. The psychological trauma alone has devastating consequences, coupled with disruptions to education that mean that 47% of Yemen’s school-aged children are now out of school.
Damage to civilian infrastructure, including private homes, mean that even if the conflict were to end tomorrow, it will take years to undertake the repairs necessary for basic services to resume, for urban and rural livelihoods to be restored, for IDPs to return to their homes and for the threat of unexploded ordnances to be mitigated and finally eliminated.42
Main drivers of the crisis
Heavy air strikes, fighting, massive destruction and general insecurity, deaths of family members and friends as well as loss of property and livelihoods have caused massive stress to families who are directly affected. The situation is evolving rapidly and the end of the war much dependent on a political solution. The humanitarian crisis, even under the best case scenarios, is not expected to be over in the coming months.
Number of people affected
12.2 million affected by the crisis (49% of the population)
21.1 million people in need (84.5 % of the population)
9.9 million affected children
1.3 million IDPs (a 24% increase since mid-June) and 258,000 refugees
1 million migrants
Geographical extent of affected areas
Main characteristics of affected population
Resilience has been exhausted by protracted conflict and chronic humanitarian needs. Over a million people have had to flee their homes due to conflict. At the same time, there have been new arrivals to Yemen of migrants and refugees.
Before the recent intensification of conflict, almost half of all Yemenis lived below the poverty line, two-thirds of Yemeni youth were unemployed (7.7 million) and basic social services were on the verge of collapse. Years of internal conflict, endemic poverty and weak institutions had left 61% of Yemen’s population in need of some form of humanitarian assistance. That number has now increased to over 80% as a result of conflict and a drastic reduction in commercial imports.
The cluster system was activated in Yemen in 2009, and 12 clusters and two sub-clusters - Child Protection and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) - are active. These clusters, as well as a representative from the INGO Forum, meet regularly in a national ICC mechanism.
UNICEF is sub-cluster lead for Child Protection, the main government partner is the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor. The protection cluster is led by UNHCR.
The current leadership model for Yemen includes a Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) double-hatted as an agency representative (Johannes van der Klaauw of UNHCR), a Resident Coordinator (RC)/Designated Official (DO) and a Regional Humanitarian Coordinator (RHC, Amer Daoudi). In addition, the UN Secretary-General has a Special Envoy for Yemen and UNHCR has appointed a Regional Refugee Coordinator. These leadership roles are presently being reviewed.
Further, UNICEF is the cluster lead for Education.
The precarious security situation prohibits the arrival of the necessary humanitarian personnel needed to respond to the needs. Several UN and INGO field offices had been directly affected and damaged by the bombings, staff were hurt, and some offices had been closed due to insecurity between March and June. In July, some are gradually being reopened. Many INGOs have left the country as they were not able to guarantee the security of their staff.
58 humanitarian partners are currently operational in Yemen, including 24 national NGOs1, 24 international NGOs2, 9 UN AFPs, 4 government agencies3 and 1 international organization. However, there are less than 15 partners operational in all except two governorates (Hajjah and Amran).43
Regarding local capacities, there are local NGOs as well as assistance is provided by individuals - men and women - coming together informally to help each other, and to find others who need help. The majority of relief goods and funds are donated by business owners and philanthropists, almost all of whom are male. They have been using social media for outreach, advertising the type of help they can provide. Women tend to be more involved in directing aid to the people who need it. Informants report that the choice to provide or participate in helping others is personal now, no longer organizational.44
Access to services and goods45
The targeting of civilian infrastructure, such as hospitals, schools, power stations and water installations, which are indispensable for the lives and livelihoods of the population, are impacting the population. People across the country are struggling to access food, medicine and fuel (only 20% of needed is available). Drastically reduced imports have limited the availability of these commodities, and the lack of fuel - coupled with ongoing fighting and insecurity - is preventing available supplies from being distributed to the people who need them most. Basic services are collapsing all over the country.
Nationwide, millions of people no longer have access to clean water, proper sanitation or basic healthcare. Outbreaks of deadly communicable diseases – including dengue and malaria – have already been reported. Supplies for acute trauma care are running dangerously low, and medicines for chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer and hypertension have already run out. Additional supplies of medicines and food as well as fuel to generate electricity, pump water, operate hospital generators and mill food grains, are urgently needed.
Children’s access is impacted by women’s ability reach services. Before the conflict, constraints were imposed by social norms on women’s mobility in rural areas. In rural Yemen, women‘s mobility is mostly restricted to areas they can reach walking. Transport costs are significantly higher for women because they need special seating conditions or they have to travel with a male family member.46 Since the intensification of the conflict, most men have lost their jobs, many are dead, gone away, or imprisoned, leaving women to take on more responsibilities. Women cannot move because of the huge increase in transportation cost, fivefold for buses and tenfold for taxis. Shared transportation is the only other way to move around, but women do not have access to this.47
There are various minority groups on the basis of, for example, ethnicity or religion. The consequence of conflicts and political alliances and actions over access to scarce water have also given rise to some tribal or local communities that may be deemed minorities even though they share common religion and language with the wider population. The existence of such minority groups is not necessarily an indication of their marginalization. Minorities include the Mohamasheen, Isma’ilis, Jews and Baha’i. The Mohamasheen (‘the marginalized ones’) are among the most marginalized and their discrimination is increased by the emergency. There exist discriminatory social attitudes against categories of children in marginalized and disadvantaged situations, including children born out of wedlock and children with disabilities.
There is discrimination against women and girls from the earliest stages of their life and through their childhood owing to traditional attitudes and norms by which girls are perceived as inferior to boys.48 This is most evident in the direct denial and devaluing of education of a girl, even for the legally mandated but unenforced period of basic education.49
The complex situation of the diverse groups and settlements of IDPs - alongside refugee, migrant and returnee populations- constitute another especially marginalized and vulnerable population.50 An assessment in Amran Governorate highlighted respondents’ statement that discrimination against IDPs children is high and they are afraid that this risk will continue.51