Osama, one of Yemen's displaced children.

Three Years of Conflict in Yemen: Osama'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

Osama, 13, is the oldest of his siblings, and their only source of income. “My father died in Aden two years ago. We became orphans soon after because my mother had a nervous breakdown, became ill and died. We, as children, had to take care of ourselves because we had no parents to do it for us.”

After their parents died, the brothers were passed from one family member to another. One aunt took them in, and then married and left. They lived with another aunt, but she left to look after their grandmother, who lives in a different town. When fighting reached the town they were living in, they fled to Al-Garrahi to stay with their grandfather.

We, as children, had to take care of ourselves because we had no parents to do it for us.
Osama, 13, and his younger siblings.

Osama, 13, and his younger siblings.

Action Against Hunger, Yemen

“But we do not have a lot to live on. My grandfather also takes care of one of my uncles, who has cancer and whose medical treatment is very expensive.”

Osama and his family’s only source of income comes from humanitarian aid organizations and handouts from neighbors and family.

“At first, we received food aid, but we had to sell some of it to buy other things and pay the rent. Right now, we are receiving some essential supplies and direct financial aid, which lets us be more independent and meet our needs. I want to say thank you for all the efforts you are making to help displaced people.”

Osama waits in line at a recent humanitarian aid distribution.

Osama waits in line at a recent humanitarian aid distribution.

Action Against Hunger, 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. 


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.