Nine years on: Economic downturn plunges millions into poverty in Yemen

Published 26. Mar 2024
As the conflict enters its tenth year on 26 March, four in every five Yemenis face poverty.

Today, Yemenis face catastrophic needs driven by the growing economic crisis and ongoing multifaceted conflict, exacerbating poverty1 and hunger. Half the Yemeni population more than 18 million people urgently need humanitarian assistance to survive.

The UN led truce, which expired in October 2022, has resulted in a reduction of hostilities. While truce conditions largely continue to be upheld, parties have yet to reach an agreement on urgently needed
measures to stabilize the economy. Rising inflation, irregular or delayed payment of civil servant salaries, and the collapse of basic services, have left people unable to meet their basic needs.

Yemen's economic landscape severely impacts food security, with staple food prices having surged by up to 45 per cent above the usual rates2. The trend is projected to continue into 2024. This price escalation is paralleled by a worrying devaluation of the Yemeni Rial, which has seen a steep drop in its value in recent months, placing further stress on the purchasing power of Yemeni families.

Recent assessments have identified a 12 per cent increase in the number of people experiencing acute food insecurity at Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Phase 3 (crisis) level or worse in IRG areas alone3. The situation underscores the significant deterioration in the humanitarian crisis, with nearly half of the population in affected areas across the country struggling to meet minimal food requirements. The data reflects the reality of a deepening food security crisis that spans across the country, signaling a need for increased humanitarian assistance and economic support measures to assist those in the most vulnerable situations.

New figures from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reveal that more than four in every five people in Yemen almost 83 per cent of the population live in multidimensional poverty.

These new findings are based on the first in person household surveys collected since the start of the conflict, that measure poverty across a range of dimensions including health, education, and living standards.

Lack of schooling and access to adequate sanitation were two of the most concerning dimensions of poverty affecting more than 70 per cent of the population4. Poverty tended to be higher in rural areas (89 per cent) than urban areas (67 per cent).

As a result, families are being forced to choose between food and education for their children, resulting in an increase in school dropouts, early marriage and child labor , exacerbating protection risks and vulnerabilities5.

By the end of 2023, the Humanitarian Response Plan ( was only 3 39.3 per cent funded, forcing many aid organizations to reduce or close critical assistance programs. This concerning trend continues with only 9.1 per cent of the HRP 2024 funded so far this year. Despite these challenges, humanitarian agencies continue to provid e life saving assistance. However, significant gaps in coverage and access to services persist. In a recent study, 15 per cent of surveyed households in Yemen reported having no access to any basic commodities including water, hygiene items, fuel, and medi cation, increasing to as much as 33 per cent in some governorates6. We urge all parties to uphold the principles that must guide our humanitarian efforts. We note with concern the current humanitarian funding situation. It is imperative that aid is alloca ted based on need alone, to prevent exacerbating the already dire conditions for those most in need. It is our collective responsibility to provide equitable support, fostering unity and healing divisions.

We recognize the complexities involved in coordinating international aid and the challenges that come with it. Yet we must strive to rise above these challenges, ensuring that the aid provided is a bridge to a more stable and prosperous future for all Yemenis. We call on all parties to address the underl ying economic drivers of the conflict and put Yemen on a path to lasting peace. The HRP 2024 of $2.7 billion must be fully funded to meet the urgent needs of approximately 11.2 million people that the humanitarian community aims to reach across the country.

We call upon the international community to respond with increased funding and support, to invest not only in the immediate needs but also in the long term recovery of Yemen.

Only together can we forge a path to recovery and peace for Yemen. As we mark nine years since the conflict, we must not turn away. Every day, the needs grow, and the gap in funding widens our unwavering commitment is more crucial than ever.


  1. Action Contre la Faim (ACF)
  2. Acted
  3. Action For Humanity International
  4. ADRA
  5. CARE
  6. Caritas Poland
  7. CIVIC
  8. Concern worldwide
  9. Danish Refugee Council - DRC
  10. Direct Aid
  11. Geneva Call
  12. Handicap International
  13. International Medical Corps - IMC
  15. Medicine du Monde
  16. Mercy Corps
  17. Muslim Hands
  18. Norwegian Refugee Council - NRC
  19. Oxfam
  20. People in Need
  21. Polish Humanitarian Aid - PAH
  22. Première Urgence Internationale - PUI
  23. Qatar charity
  24. Read Foundation
  25. Relief International - RI
  26. Safer world
  27. Save the children
  29. Triangle Generation Humanitarian “TGH”
  30. War Child Alliance
  31. War Child Canada
  32. Vision Hope International VHI
  33. ZOA
  34. Abyan Youth Foundation
  35. Aden Promising Youth Foundation
  36. Al Haya Foundation
  37. Al-Ghaith for Human Development
  38. Arman Development Foundation
  39. Assistance for Response and Development
  40. Badeel foundation for development
  41. Basmat Development Foundation
  42. Charitability Future society
  43. Democracy School
  44. Enqath Foundation For Development
  45. Experts for Development
  46. Future Pioneers Foundation for Training and Development
  47. Ghadaq for Development
  48. Hajjah Cultural and Development Foundation
  49. Humanitarian Action Library -Yemen
  50. Humanitarian Development Program
  51. Humanity Bridge Organization for Response
  52. Iradat Jareeh Foundation
  54. Maisarah Development Foundation
  55. Modern Social Association
  56. Nahda Makers Organization
  57. National prisoner Foundation
  58. Neda'a Foundation for Development
  59. Qaim Voluntary Team
  60. Rowad Aid for Relief & Development
  61. Sada Foundation for building and Development
  62. Salam Yemen Foundation
  63. Shibam Social Association For Development
  64. Society for Humanitarian Solidarity
  65. Tamdeen Youth Foundation
  66. Welfare Association for student's care
  67. Youth Hayat Group

1 UNDP, Measuring Multidimensional Poverty in Yemen, December 2023.
2 Yemen: IPC Acute Food Insecurity Analysis Update October 2023 February 2024.
3 Yemen: IPC Acute Food Insecurity Analysis Update October 2023 February 2024.
4 UNDP, Measuring Multidimensional Poverty in Yemen, December 2023.
5 in the balance yemeni childrens struggle for education
Cash Consortium Yemen, HIP Needs Assessment Report, November 2023.