Three Years of Conflict in Yemen: Ahmed's Story

As Yemen enters its fourth year of war this week, 22 million people ─ more than 80 percent of the population ─ are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Nearly 10,000 lives have been lost as a result of the conflict between Al Houthi forces and government forces supported by an international coalition. The conflict has contributed to the collapse of the economy and basic services, as well as an elevated risk of famine and a massive cholera epidemic. Today, more than 8.4 million people are on the brink of starvation. Learn more here

“There is no reason to be ashamed for holding out your hand and asking for help.”─Ahmed, father, former mechanic, Yemen

On a visit in Al-Garrahi district, located in Hodeïda, our emergency response team met Ahmed in front of his makeshift shelter that he built by hand out of sticks and straw. At 30 years old, he and his family fled his home in the Al-Mukka district along with hundreds of others, all leaving behind their land and livelihoods.

“The time before we moved out were filled with very dark nights when we could not see anything," said Ahmed. "All we could hear were loud explosions close to our village. The fighting was getting closer to us and, every night, my wife and I found it more and more difficult to get our children to go sleep. They were petrified by the sounds of exploding shells. Sometimes, we turned on the radio to take our minds off what was happening around us or we listened to music on the phone. Other nights, we told them stories and tales from long ago. All of this comforted them and helped them forget the situation.” 

As the conflict raged, Ahmed and his wife saw their friends and neighbors flee their village for safer areas. Eventually, they made the same decision: to leave their home in order to keep themselves and their six children from harm. “My wife and I left to save our lives and those of our children. Our youngest was only a few months old.”

“When we arrived in Al-Garrahi, I rented this plot of land and built this shelter to protect us,” says Ahmed. “It is really difficult to find work. We have been here nearly over a month now and I still have not found anything.”

Originally a motorbike mechanic, Ahmed ended up buying a motorbike to transport people and deliver items – the family’s main source of income in Al-Garrahi. His wife also collects and resells plastic bottles for additional funds. Price fluctuations and the high cost of fuel mean that their income changes frequently.

Action Against Hunger's Response

Despite access and security challenges, Action Against Hunger has been present in Yemen since 2012. Our 260-strong team is currently providing humanitarian assistance in the areas of Abyan, Hajjah, Hodeidah and Lahij.  Our emergency programs deliver lifesaving treatment to severely malnourished children, improve families' access to food, and deliver vital clean water and sanitation to communities.

Nutrition and Health

  • We perform health screenings and provide lifesaving treatment for malnourished children under five years of age. 
  • We provide health screenings for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, as well as pre- and post-natal screenings for malnutrition, and we administer micronutrient supplements.

Food Security and Livelihoods

  • Where local markets are still functioning, we distribute cash and food vouchers to enable families to meet their daily survival needs.
  • Where markets no longer exist, we provide food assistance and essential relief supplies.

Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

  • In communities, schools, and healthcare centers, we build and repair water sources and latrines to improve access to safe water and sanitation 
  • To prevent the spread of waterborne disease, we educate communities about sanitation and hygiene, and distribute hygiene kits and ceramic water filters. 


Action Against Hunger is the world’s hunger specialist and leader in a global movement that aims to end life-threatening hunger for good within our lifetimes. For 40 years, the humanitarian and development organization has been on the front lines, treating and preventing hunger across nearly 50 countries. It served more than 21 million people in 2018 alone.