Read caption A former resident of Sada'a who fled his home due to airstrikes and now lives in a collective centre in Harf Sufian. Photo: NRC/Nuha Mohammed

NRC in Yemen

Ravaged by war, economic crisis, and hunger, Yemen is pushed to the brink of famine. NRC responds to emergency needs in Yemen, working with communities to support them regain 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.

In 2016 NRC have reached


Individuals, with food security, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene and education.

Our impact

We work in the areas of food security, water, sanitation and hygiene, shelter, and education. We ensure that our programmes avoid causing additional harm to the communities that we assist, along with prioritising their safety and making ourselves accountable to people in need. NRC is present in Aden, Amran, Hajjah, Hudaydah, Lahj, Sana'a, and Taizz Governorates

Humanitarian and political background

One of the poorest countries in the world, Yemen has been in a state of political, economic and humanitarian crisis since 2011. Since the escalation of the conflict in March 2015, life for people in Yemen has been characterised by uncertainty and deteriorating living conditions. Currently a staggering two thirds of the total Yemeni population – or 18.8 million people – are in need of humanitarian assistance.

The conflict has had a devastating impact on ordinary people. An average of 75 people a day have been killed or injured due to the conflict. Over 3 million people have been displaced since March 2015 and about 1 million of them have returned to their homes of origin, in most cases to precarious living conditions.

The population has little access to basic services, and many people lack a reliable source of food. Currently, 14.1 million people are food insecure. Women and girls are among the most adversely affected by the conflict. Food shortages and rising food prices have left an estimated 1.1 million pregnant women malnourished which is likely to result in complications during childbirth. Two million children are out of school, and more than 1,600 schools are unfit for use as a result of damage from airstrikes and ground fighting, occupation by armed groups, or used by Internally Displaced People (IDPs) who have lost their homes. 14.5 million people need support to meet their basic water, sanitation and hygiene needs. 

The specific needs of women and girls have become more acute, as they are at greater risk of sexual and gender-based violence and early marriage.

Despite the enormous need, the 2017 humanitarian appeal only received 14.4 per cent of the requested funding, as of April 2017. Faced with funding shortages, prolonged conflict, increasing food insecurity and cholera outbreak, humanitarian agencies are struggling to meet the most critical needs.

A shameful crisis­: 17 million people are going to bed hungry

More than three million women and children are already suffering from acute malnutrition in the poorest country in the region.

Yemen imports 90 per cent of its food. Restrictions on imports mean that food is not coming in in the volume needed. Severe food shortages and a complete collapse of the economy have left humanitarian organisations trying to fill the gap left by a crumbling commercial sector. Aid is difficult to deliver on the ground, with organisations facing constant bureaucratic constraints and regular interference by authorities as they try to provide assistance.

Cut off from the world and rapidly running out of money

Yemen was already the poorest country in the region before the escalation of the conflict. Crippled by the last two years of war, the economy is now collapsing. GDP per capita has contracted by an estimated 35% since 2015, and the Central Bank of Yemen is running out of money. The salaries of more than 1.2 million Yemeni civil servants not been paid since August 2016. There is a lack of money in circulation – meaning it is difficult for ordinary people to get cash to pay for everyday necessities, and rising prices mean they are finding these harder to afford.

People we helped in Yemen in 2016

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

NRC activities in the field

Since 2012, NRC has been delivering life-saving 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 2016, our interventions met the life-saving needs of 1,214,898 people across Yemen, including 619,598 women and 595,300 men. In 2017 we reached until March 392,544 people across Yemen including 200,197 women and 192,347 men.

We provide those in need with shelter, clean water, food and opportunities for education. Where local markets are safe and functioning, we shift our assistance towards recovery.

We ensure that our programmes avoid causing additional harm to the communities that we assist, along with prioritising their safety and dignity and making ourselves accountable to people in need.


About 2 million school-age children are out of school. More than 1,600 schools are currently unfit for use due to con­flict-related damage, hosting IDPs, or occupation by armed groups.

In response to that we are targeting IDPs and host communities in hard to reach areas and we do :

  • Rehabilitation and construction of classrooms.
  • Distribution of scholastic materials to children.
  • Distribution of sanitary kits to Girls in IDPs schools.


Food security

Where there is food, earning enough to afford it means a whole family must work. With rising unemployment, this is often impossible. Food prices have soared since March 2015 and the minimum food basket currently costs 20% more than it did prior to the escalation of the conflict. NRC responds to emergency food needs, working with communities to allow Yemenis to move back towards self-reliance and dignity.

To do this, we:

  • Distribute food.
  • Provide unconditional cash transfers to families in need.
  • Provide start-up capital and training for youth and women entrepreneurs.
  • Support trainings on food security and agricultural production.
  • Providing livelihood and rehabilitation support for returnees.



NRC’s Shelter interventions in Yemen aim at improving the living conditions of conflict affected families including internally displaced persons (IDPs) returnees and the host communities. We provide the affected families with shelters that protect them from the elements and meet their needs for privacy and dignity. Needy families have also been provided with basic household non-food-items (NFIs) that include blankets, mattresses, sleeping mats, water jerricans, and basic kitchen utensils.

To do this, we:

  • Provide emergency temporary shelters and non-food items for displacement affected population including returnees.
  • Improve or upgrade shelters for those residing with host communities.
  • Improve or upgrade shelters to create a safe space for those living in public buildings, such as schools or other facilities.


Water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH)

The Water and Sanitation sector in Yemen is currently facing enormous challenges. Humanitarian Sector actors are struggling to provide basic water supply and sanitation services to Yemeni citizens. The civil conflict that is currently gripping the country is putting undue pressure on the water supply and sanitation service utilities both in urban and rural areas.  As of today 80% of the total 5000 rural water systems are non-functional. Additional systems are falling into non-functional category are mainly due to shortage of fuel in the country. Community based water supply management arrangements are also inexistent or largely non-functional due to large displacements and loss of local human resources.

In response to that we are working with communities, to ensure that water is stored and managed safely.

To do this, we:

  • Rehabilitation of water supply systems both in the urban or rural setting.
  • Development of water supply wells for water abstraction.
  • Water trucking to the needy communities in Governorates with acute emergencies.
  • Conducting hygiene information dissemination for improved hygiene practices and behaviour.
  • Sanitation facility improvement.
  • Latrines/toilets are constructed to meet the sanitation needs of the displaced households. 

About nrc in Yemen

Budget 2017
123 Million NOK
International staff
Field offices
Sana’a, Aden (Area office South), Hajjah, Hudaydah, Amran, Taiz, Lahj, and Aden
Budget 2016
75 Million NOK
National staff


Country Director

Mutasim Hamdan


+967 736 003 397
Donors to our projects in Yemen