Yemen is now the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Five years of devastating war, economic deterioration and the collapse of public services has left 24 million Yemenis dependent on protection or humanitarian aid for survival. Houses, farms, hospitals, schools and water systems have been damaged or destroyed. One third of the population – 10 million people – are only a step away from famine.
The dire humanitarian situation in Yemen is an entirely man-made catastrophe. Though the 2018 Stockholm Agreement offered a glimmer of hope, the process has since stalled, accompanied by further conflict in other parts of the country. This included an escalation in the south, culminating in the Riyadh Peace Agreement. Despite a temporary de-escalation towards the end of 2019 and the announcement of several ceasefires, the fighting continues, leaving over 3.5 million Yemenis displaced from their homes.
As the political situation remains extremely fragile, continued support from the international community will be crucial for the 80 per cent of Yemeni people who rely on that assistance.
People we helped in Yemen in 2019:
NRC Yemen assists people who have fled their homes, the communities who host them, and those who return to rebuild their lives.
We not only provide critical emergency aid, but also help with more durable solutions, such as securing new livelihoods. Wherever possible, we use local products and labour, recognising the skills that exist within the communities we support.
The ongoing conflict and constant bureaucratic constraints continue to intensify the crisis and make it challenging for all humanitarian groups to reach affected communities with aid.
The education sector is one of the most neglected areas within Yemen’s humanitarian crisis. Displacement, attacks and misuse of schools have left more than two million children out of school, and over half of all teachers without pay. We continue to work with key ministries, local authorities, children, families and communities to improve access to basic education for children affected by Yemen’s conflict.
We restore access to education by:
- rehabilitating classrooms and constructing temporary facilities
- equipping and training teachers and other education staff to provide quality education
- distributing learning materials to children and teachers
- Providing sanitary kits to girls to promote their participation
- working with communities to keep schools safe
Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)
People affected by displacement often leave home without documents, which can block them from exercising certain rights or accessing many services. Since early 2018, to fill a significant gap in this area, NRC has provided programmes that help Yemeni people—and particularly women and children—access information, identification papers and legal assistance.
Our ICLA team is currently focused on:
- informing people of their legal rights
- assisting people to access critical identity documents
- referring people for practical support with housing, land and property issues
- establishing community-based protection networks
- advocating for policy changes that affect peoples’ rights
Livelihoods and food security
The cost of food has in many places more than doubled since the beginning of Yemen’s conflict, putting even basic supplies beyond the reach of many Yemeni families. Malnutrition and hunger are rife, and more than 600,000 people have lost their jobs. In emergency situations, our teams provide life-saving food supplies, while in more stable areas we are helping Yemenis become self-reliant again.
We support improved access to safe food by:
- distributing food, such as flour, beans, and cooking oil
- providing unconditional cash transfers to families in need, which also boosts local markets
- providing start-up capital and training for youth and women entrepreneurs
- providing training and support to small-scale farmers and fishermen
- supporting people to secure sustainable incomes
Shelter and settlements
Shelter is essential for health, dignity, privacy, and protection. But vast numbers of Yemeni people have fled their homes, or had those homes destroyed. From erecting emergency shelters to repairing damaged houses, we improve living conditions for thousands of conflict-affected families. Wherever possible, we use local suppliers and labour, helping local economies to recover.
We invest in creating safe, appropriate living conditions by:
- supplying basic household items including blankets, mattresses, jerry cans and kitchen utensils
- constructing emergency temporary shelters
- upgrading shelters for displaced people residing in existing homes
- improving shelters to create safe spaces for those living in public buildings
Camp coordination and camp management (CCCM)
Over 3 million people across Yemen have fled their homes, with most now living in poorly serviced camps or informal sites. Our teams work to protect these families, promote their participation in decision-making processes and ensure that they can access basic services. We help to set up and upgrade camps and to maintain communal infrastructure, including those used by host communities.
Our CCCM team is focused on:
- monitoring services in camps and advocating to fill any gaps
- delivering services and maintaining infrastructure in camps
- building the capacities of displaced people, camp community and local actors
- facilitating and leading coordination between humanitarian actors, local authorities, and the camp community
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion
The conflict in Yemen has overburdened water sources and created a widespread breakdown in sanitation services, with catastrophic consequences for public health. Our teams ensure communities have enough safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene, and help reduce outbreaks of diseases like cholera and Covid-19 by repairing sanitation systems, mobiliszing community health volunteers, and supporting rapid response teams.
We save lives and prevent diseases by:
- rehabilitating water supply systems and transitioning them to solar power
- developing and decontaminating wells
- trucking safe water to communities in acute emergencies
- promoting better hygiene practices through campaigns and materials
- constructing latrines for displaced families
About NRC in Yemen
- The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
- European Civil protection and Humanitarian aid Operations (ECHO)
- The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)
- Department for International Development (DFID)
- The European Union (EU)
- Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
- The World Food Programme (WFP)
- The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
- United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
- German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO)
Reaction to the Yemen Pledging Conference
An international Yemen Donor Pledging Conference, which took place today, sought to raise USD 2.4 billion in aid. Responding to the pledges made, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland said: