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.
In a statement this week, UNICEF called Yemen “one of the worst humanitarian crises the world has ever known,” placing it among the three countries in the world with the highest number of acutely malnourished children.
A blockade on Yemen’s ports that started in November 2017 cut off crucial imports of food, fuel, medicines, and humanitarian relief supplies in a country where 90 percent of the population depends on imports for survival. Despite partial reopening of ports, the prices of essential goods such as rice have skyrocketed by as much as 130 percent between January 2015 and January 2018.
According to warnings from UNICEF, more than 11 million Yemeni children are in acute need of humanitarian assistance ─ nearly every child in the country. An estimated 1.8 million children are acutely malnourished, including nearly 400,000 severely acutely malnourished children.
“It’s not only bombs that are killing people in Yemen. Illness, lack of food and health care, and the exorbitant costs of basic necessities are also killing people. People are exhausted. Hundreds of thousands do not know where their next meal or paycheck is coming from, or if their children will be cared for. This must stop.” - Lapo Samigli, Action Against Hunger Country Director, Yemen
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.
Six Lives Altered Forever: "The War Changed Everything"
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Mohammed Awn, Action Against Hunger Deputy Nutrition Survey Program Manager, Yemen
“My own people’s suffering motivates me to work hard and to be a better person. I am trying to help them and to carry out a better life.”
Caitlin Cockroft, Action Against Hunger Head of Mental Health and Care Practices, Yemen
“In Yemen, people can’t leave. They’re stuck. They’re sitting targets, and this is why this can’t continue.”