Yemen is a state in Western Asia, in the south of the Arabian Peninsula. Its national capital is Sanaa. The country has land borders with Saudi Arabia and Oman and shares maritime borders with Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia. Yemen covers an area of 527,968 square kilometers. In 2022, the country had an estimated population of about 31 million people. Currently Yemen is considered the most unstable state in the world.
The humanitarian situation
More than eight years of armed conflict in Yemen have caused tens of thousands of civilian casualties and forced millions to flee their homes, making Yemen one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises, for many still the world‘s worst humanitarian crisis. More than 11,000 children have been killed or maimed since the beginning of the conflict, and thousands more have been recruited as child soldiers.
The war in Yemen turned a formerly poor country into a humanitarian catastrophe. Nearly 6 million people have been forced to flee their homes since the beginning of the civil war in 2015. 4.3 million people are internally displaced inside Yemen, among them an estimated 2 million children.
Despite a six-month ceasefire in 2022, the suffering of the country's population remains immense, mainly due to the deteriorating economic situation and the collapse of basic services. Moreover, Yemen is at the forefront of the global climate crisis, as recurring natural disasters such as floods and severe droughts threaten people's lives, safety and well-being.
The current level of hunger in Yemen is unprecedented. The rate of child malnutrition is one of the highest in the world and the nutrition situation is improving only slightly. An estimated 2.2 million children in Yemen are acutely malnourished, including nearly 540,000 children under the age of five suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
17 million people in Yemen experience high levels of acute food insecurity, driven mainly by conflict, economic decline and climate change. This number includes 6.1 million people in emergency levels of hunger. Toward the end of 2022, food security projections improved moderately, as the number of people facing famine dropped from 161,000 to 0. However, this progress is extremely fragile and could reverse quickly if aid agencies are forced to reduce or suspend programs due to funding shortfalls.
In 2022, 23.4 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance. The United Nations estimates that 21.6 million people will need humanitarian assistance in 2023, a slight decrease from 2022. Among them are 11 million children in dire need of humanitarian aid. In 2023, aid organizations plan to reach 17.3 million people in need, if they have enough funds.
United Nations and partner organizations need $4.3 billion (€4.05 billion) this year to help millions of people across the country. A pledging conference in early February ended with a total aid commitment of nearly $1.2 billion, just 28 percent of the total required. The UN had requested $4.27 billion in funding for the Yemen crisis in 2022. By the end of 2022, only 2.28 billion had been received from international donors (53% coverage rate).
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in 2022, aid organizations succeeded in delivering life-saving assistance, including food, clean water, shelter, protection and education, to nearly 11 million people across the country each month. More than 200 humanitarian organizations in all 333 districts of Yemen provided this humanitarian support.
The security situation
The conflict between a Saudi-led coalition of Gulf countries and the ousted Government of Yemen against the Ansar-Allah movement - also known as the Houthi rebels - escalated in 2015 as Saudi Arabia began airstrikes against the Houthi and Houthi-affiliated forces. Military support by the United States, the United Kingdom and France for the coalition fueled the conflict and aggravated the humanitarian crisis. The Houthi movement is allegedly supported by Iran. The protracted armed conflict in Yemen has been raging for more than eight consecutive years. In 2020 and 2021, fighting continued on the ground in Yemen as the Houthi gained territory, and also conducted unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and missile attacks against targets in Saudi Arabia.
In March 2022, the Saudi-led coalition announced that it would cease all hostilities within Yemen, in order to facilitate political talks and peacekeeping efforts. Peace efforts gained momentum in April 2022, when the Houthi and coalition forces coordinated a two-month truce, the first nationwide ceasefire in years. In June 2002 the parties to the conflict in Yemen agreed to a United Nations’ proposal to renew the truce for an additional two months. At the last minute, in early August, the warring parties extended the ceasefire again for two months (until October 2).
There was great hope that this would lead to a lasting peace in Yemen. But after it expired, the ceasefire has so far neither been extended nor expanded. Under the six-month UN-brokered truce, which lasted from April 2 to October 2, 2022, civilian casualties and the number of displaced persons declined dramatically. No airstrikes or major military operations took place, although minor clashes continued to occur in frontline areas. However, according to OCHA, the number of displaced people has risen again since the ceasefire expired as the conflict has flared up again. In the last quarter of 2022 and early 2023, increased fighting along the front lines led to the displacement of thousands.
Your donation for the Yemen emergency can help United Nations agencies, international humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and their local partners to rapidly provide water, food, medicine, shelter and other aid to the people who need it most.
- UN Crisis Relief: Yemen crisis
- World Food Programme: Yemen crisis appeal
- UNICEF: Yemen Crisis Appeal
- Oxfam International: Crisis in Yemen
- Save the children international: Yemen Crisis Appeal
- Islamic Relief Worldwide: Yemen crisis
- UNHCR: Yemen emergency
- You can find more organizations to donate to in: DONARE: Humanitarian Crisis Relief , DONARE: Refugees and IDPS , DONARE: Children in Need and DONARE: Hunger and Food Insecurity.
- UN OCHA: Yemen
- Council on Foreign Relations: Background Yemen Crisis
- USA for UNHCR: Yemen Crisis Explained
- International Crisis Group: Yemen
- ACAPS: Yemen complex crisis
- Human Rights Watch World Report 2023: Yemen