Read caption Photo: NRC/Abudallah Bader

NRC in Yemen

Yemen now represents the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Ongoing conflict, economic deterioration and the collapse of public services have left 22.2 million Yemenis in need of aid and protection. NRC responds to emergency needs in Yemen by providing communities with resources, services and information that enable self-reliance and preserve dignity.


Total # of refugees from the country:
Total # of refugees to the country:
Total # of internally displaced:
New refugees from the country in 2016:
New refugees to the country in 2016:
New internally displaced in 2016:
Source: UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). The figures are from the beginning of 2017.


Our impact

We deliver programs in food security, shelter, education, and water, sanitation and hygiene across eight of Yemen's 22 governorates.

NRC reached 762,531 Yemeni people with humanitarian assistance during 2017. Wherever possible, we seek to integrate programs so that people in need have access to information, resources and services that ensure their survival, protection and dignity.

Our programmes promote safety and protection for displacement-affected communities and are accountable to the people with whom we work.

People we helped in Yemen in 2017:

people benefited from our education programme
people benefited from our food security programme
people benefited from our shelter programme
people benefited from our WASH programme

Humanitarian and political background

An entirely man-made catastrophe

The dire humanitarian situation in Yemen is an entirely man-made catastrophe. By mid 2017, 22.2 million Yemenis needed some form of humanitarian or protection assistance, many due to a breakdown in existing support systems and deterioration of all basic services.

Damaged infrastructure, a crumbling economy and constant bureaucratic constraints continue to intensify the crisis and create notable challenges for the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

The imposition of a complete blockade in early November drove dramatic inflation on basic commodities, prevented humanitarian movement into and out of Yemen, and impeded the efficient delivery critically-needed of medicines and medical supplies. Arbitrary policy changes by parties to Yemen's conflict continue to hinder the importation of both humanitarian and commercial supplies, damaging markets and leaving Yemenis exposed to higher risk of hunger and disease.

Changing political dynamics in many parts of the country resulted in an escalation in violent incidents through the last quarter of 2017, further hampering humanitarian response efforts and creating a notable spike in civilian deaths.

More than 2.1 million Yemenis remain displaced as a result of the ongoing conflict, 85% of whom fled their homes more than one year ago. While violence and lengthy bureaucratic processes continue to impede the delivery of supplies to people in need, millions of Yemeni people remain at greater risk of food insecurity, illness and death.

The world’s largest humanitarian crisis

More than 16 million Yemenis are now without access to safe water and basic healthcare.

Only 50% of Yemen's health facilities are still fully functioning. 4.5 million children are now at risk of losing access to education. More than 1700 schools are closed due to damage from airstrikes and ground fighting, use by armed groups, or to accommodate displaced people who have lost their homes, and 17,000 Yemeni teachers have not been paid for more than 16 months.

The specific needs of women and girls have become more acute. Women and children constitute 75% of all displaced people and more than half of all internally displaced people live in female-headed households, often equating to a loss of livelihoods, increasing the risk of sexual and gender-based violence, including early marriage and exploitative labour.

Despite the magnitude of Yemen's crisis, humanitarian agencies received only 70% of the $2.34 billion required to address acute humanitarian needs in 2017, leaving health and education only 37% and 18.5% funded respectively.

Disease: A symptom of the crisis

By the end of December 2017, Yemen had seen one million cases of suspected cholera in just 8 months. The ferocity with which cholera took hold across 21 of Yemen's 22 governorates denotes the enormity of a broader crisis that has left Yemenis without access to safe water, nutritious food and adequate health care.

Towards the end of the year, agencies were grappling with small outbreaks of measles and diphtheria. Policies imposed by parties to Yemen's conflict that obstruct imports and the movement of supplies within Yemen saw fuel supplies plummet and resulted in the suspension of at least 15 medical services through November.

By December 2017, the price of basic food had risen by 41% since the escalation of violence in March 2015, a jump of 8% in November alone. More than 17.4 Yemeni people are now food insecure, 7 million at risk of sliding into famine, and exacerbating vulnerability to cholera and other diseases.

Humanitarian organisations are working extremely hard to deliver aid and assistance to people who need it to survive. If Yemen is to evade impending famine and the deaths of thousands of Yemeni people each day, humanitarian supplies and personnel must be allowed to reach the people they need. Yemen urgently needs a political solution to help arrest and reverse the humanitarian crisis.

NRC activities in the field

Since 2012, NRC has been delivering lifesaving assistance to people affected by displacement in Yemen.

NRC adapted to the rapid shift in context from March 2015 to respond to new and ever-emerging needs. In 2017, we reached more than 762,000 people across Yemen with programs that reduced suffering and helped preserve dignity be assisting individuals and communities with safe shelter, clean water, food and opportunities for education.

Wherever possible, we provide people in need with choices that promote dignity and self-reliance. We seek to buy and employ locally, recognising skills and systems that exist within the communities we support.



Education represents the most neglected sector within Yemen's humanitarian crisis. Displacement, attacks and misuse of schools have left two million children without access to education. We are committed to working with key ministries, local authorities, children and their communities to improve access to school for displaced children and host communities in hard-to-reach areas.

We restore access to education by:

  • Rehabilitating and constructing classrooms and other facilities
  • Training teachers and other education staff to provide quality education
  • Distributing scholastic materials to children Providing sanitary kits to girls to promote their participation
  • Working with communities to keep schools safe

food-securityFood security

The cost of food has increased dramatically since the beginning of Yemen's conflict and is now beyond the reach of many Yemeni families. NRC responds to emergency food needs, working with communities to allow Yemenis to move back towards self-reliance.

We support improved access to safe, nutritious food by:

  • Distributing food
  • Providing unconditional cash transfers to families in need
  • Providing start-up capital and training for youth and women entrepreneurs
  • Supporting trainings on food security and agricultural production
  • Providing livelihood and rehabilitation support for people returning home

ICLAInformation, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA) 

Through 2017, in recognition of the significant gap in Information Counselling and Legal Assistance (ICLA) responses in Yemen, we have worked to strengthen our protection-related programming and expand our ICLA footprint.

We facilitate ICLA support to communities by:

  • 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


Our shelter interventions aim at improving living conditions for conflict-affected families. We recognise that most displaced people in Yemen rely on support from extended family, friends and other community networks, and seek to ensure people can live with privacy and dignity.

  • 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 space for those living in public buildings

WASHWater, hygiene and sanitation (WASH)

The Water and Sanitation sector in Yemen continues to face enormous challenges. The conflict is placing immense pressure on water supplies and creating a breakdown in sanitation services across both urban and rural areas. We are working with communities to ensure that water is stored and managed safely.

  • We ensure people in Yemen can access safe water by:
  • Rehabilitating water supply systems in both the urban or rural settings
  • Developing water supply wells for water abstraction
  • Trucking safe water communities in areas with acute emergencies.
  • Conducting hygiene information dissemination for improved hygiene practices
  • Improving sanitation facilities
  • Constructing latrines/toilets that meet the sanitation needs of the displacement-affected households

About nrc in Yemen

Budget 2017
141 Million NOK
International staff
Field offices
Sana’a, Hajjah, Hudaydah, Amran, Taiz, Lahj and Aden.
Budget 2016
75 Million NOK
National staff


Country Director

Mutasim Hamdan


Donors to our projects in Yemen