After over 8 years of war, Yemen remains one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. The violence escalated in 2021 and early 2022, followed by an UN-mediated truce that lasted from 2 April until 2 October. Negotiations to allow a further extension continue, but the future remains unclear.
Millions of Yemenis are displaced, destitute, and hungry. The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate, compounded by increasing food and fuel prices, reduced remittances from Yemenis abroad, collapsing public services, economic crisis, and natural hazards.
There is a need to increase aid, improve humanitarian access, and address the political and economic drivers of the crisis. The EU is a major humanitarian donor in Yemen.
What are the needs?
Violence across Yemen continues to endanger civilians, trigger displacement and damage critical infrastructure. Imports of food, fuel, and medicine are restricted, leading to acute shortages and high prices.
In early 2022, Yemen saw a surge in conflict-related violence, which diminished with the truce. Loss of life and injuries from anti-personal landmines and remnants of war increased during the ceasefire.
The rainy season in 2022 was extremely dry and was followed by heavy rains, causing flooding, displacement, and destruction of shelters.
Inconsistent payment of salaries of public servants has continued to erode the provision of essential services such as health and education.
The country’s public health system is on the verge of collapse. It is compounded by insufficient access to undertake vaccination campaigns, leading to recurrent epidemic outbreaks and transmissible diseases, including measles, polio, cholera and COVID-19.
Almost 70% of the population requires humanitarian assistance and protection. Some 17.4 million people face acute food insecurity, more than half of them children.
In addition, around 2.2 million children under 5 years old and 1.3 million pregnant and breastfeeding women are suffering from acute malnutrition. This includes 538,000 children facing severe acute malnutrition.
Despite the huge scale of needs, humanitarian organisations are regularly exposed to violence, bureaucratic impediments, and access restrictions to reach people in need.
How are we helping?
In 2023, the EU allocated €136 million in humanitarian aid for those affected by the conflict in Yemen.
Since the beginning of the war in 2015, the EU has contributed over €1.4 billion to respond to the crisis in Yemen. This includes €998 million in humanitarian aid and €487 million in development assistance.
EU humanitarian aid focuses on assisting the most vulnerable people in the country. We focus on those directly affected by the conflict or in displacement, as well as households impacted by the food insecurity and health crises.
Our assistance includes food, health care, education, water, and shelter. It also covers improved hygiene services to displaced populations and conflict-affected areas as well as areas with high food insecurity and malnutrition. In 2022, approximately €30 million of EU assistance was provided in form of cash transfers to beneficiaries.
EU humanitarian funding also contributes to reducing malnutrition rates and supports the treatment of severely malnourished children at high risk of dying.
In addition, the EU supports emergency assistance and primary health care to migrants who transit through Yemen to Saudi Arabia. Many find themselves stranded and exposed to abuse in a country at war.
Better emergency preparedness and response is among the priorities for EU humanitarian aid. This is due to frequent disasters caused by natural hazards and disease outbreaks, including one of history’s largest cholera epidemics.
To reduce illness and death from waterborne diseases, the EU also finances quick impact projects to repair and rehabilitate water and sanitation infrastructure.
EU partner organisations have established infection, prevention and control measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. They raise awareness and adopt a community shielding approach to protect people most at risk of severe infection.
Our partners continue to help populations in active war fronts in the north and south of the country but often face access constraints and security challenges. They help improve living conditions in the numerous displacement camps across the country by ensuring shelter, electricity, water and sanitation facilities.
EU funding contributes to an emergency assistance package with essential household goods and cash for newly displaced populations.
There is special attention for displaced people who have suffered bodily harm and psychological shock, including from mines and unexploded ordnances. The injured and disabled are assisted with comprehensive rehabilitation services. We also support mine risk education, given the high contamination with explosives after years of war.
Yemen’s fragile education system has further suffered from the consequences of war. Some schools have been targeted or used as military premises, while others are overstretched due to an overwhelming number of pupils.
According to the United Nations, 1 in 5 schools can no longer be used due to conflict. The EU funds education projects that aim to get internally displaced children into informal schools with accelerated and alternative learning initiatives.
Finally, EU support to the United Nations Humanitarian Air Services (UNHAS) allows humanitarian aid workers to access the field and populations in need.
Last updated: 20/02/2023
Facts & figures
21.6 million people need humanitarian assistance (OCHA 2023)
17.4 million people face crisis levels of food insecurity (WFP 2022)
Over 4.3 million internally displaced people (HRP 2022)
Over 20.1 million people need health assistance (ICRC 2022)
17.8 million people lack access to safe water and sanitation (OCHA 2022)
EU humanitarian funding:
€136 million in 2023
€998 million since 2015