After 7 years of war, Yemen remains one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. The violence has increased since the second half of 2021, with a marked escalation in the first quarter of 2022.
Millions of Yemenis are displaced, destitute and hungry. In addition, more than half the population is food insecure.
The situation has continued deteriorating in 2022 compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, the shrinking flow of remittances from Yemenis abroad, economic crisis, and regular natural hazards.
There is a need to increase aid, grant 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?
Conflict across Yemen continues to endanger civilians, trigger displacement and damage civilian infrastructure such as hospitals and schools. Imports of food, fuel, and medicines are restricted, leading to acute shortages and high prices.
In 2021 and early 2022, Yemen saw a surge in conflict-related violence on different front lines, heavy rains and floods. They generated large-scale population displacements. 4 COVID-19 waves have stretched the country’s public health system, which was already close to collapsing.
Between 2013 and 2020, maternal mortality has more than trebled. The pandemic has deprived millions of Yemenis of remittances sent by their families abroad after incomes shrunk due to low oil prices, lockdowns, and other restrictions.
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.
Food insecurity is rapidly increasing. Currency depreciation accelerated in 2021. This year, following a fuel shortage from early 2022, food and basic commodity prices are soaring.
In addition, around 2.2 million children under 5 years old and 1.3 million pregnant and breastfeeding women are projected to suffer from acute malnutrition throughout 2022. 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 2022, the EU allocated €135 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 €1.2 billion to respond to the crisis in Yemen. This includes €827 million in humanitarian aid and €407 million in development assistance.
EU humanitarian aid includes food assistance, health care, education, water, and shelter. It also includes improved hygiene services in areas of high food insecurity and malnutrition, conflict-affected areas, and to displaced populations.
Our funding also contributes to reducing malnutrition rates and supports the treatment of severely malnourished children at high risk of dying.
We also help provide emergency assistance and primary health care to migrants who transit through Yemen to Saudi Arabia. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, many find themselves stranded and exposed to hardship and 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 pilot 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, and 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.
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.
We also support mine risk education, given the high contamination with explosives after years of war.
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: 14/03/2022
Picture: © European Union, 2019 (photographer: Peter Biro)
Facts & figures
More than 20.7 million people need humanitarian assistance.
17.4 million people face crisis levels of food insecurity. (IPC 2022)
Over 4 million internally displaced people.
20.1 million people need health assistance.
15.4 million people lack access to safe water and sanitation.
(Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan 2021)
EU humanitarian funding:
€135 million in 2022
€827 million since 2015