Al-Garehi Al-Gharbi camp in the Abs district of north-west Yemen. Photo: Zeyad Al-Sulaihi/NRC

Yemen: Families left without aid as international donor support collapses

Published 07. May 2024
International donors have today failed to commit enough support for what Yemenis describe as a ‘daily fight for survival,’ as a Senior Official Meeting of donor states held in Brussels announced just over 735 million USD for the country’s humanitarian response.

The funding announced in Brussels today amounts to a quarter of the 2.7 billion USD required this year in Yemen to meet urgent humanitarian needs.

“Today marks a missed opportunity for the international community to take meaningful steps towards pulling Yemenis back from the brink of severe hunger and widespread disease,” said Samah Hadid, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) Head of Advocacy for the Middle East and North Africa. “Instead, it has sent a bad signal that one of the worst humanitarian crises remains neglected by donor governments and will not receive the support it urgently needs. We are disappointed that all the positive rhetoric was not backed by sufficient levels of funding for Yemen’s aid programmes.

“NRC urges the international community to step up and increase funding that meets the daily needs for Yemenis. This including resuming food aid programming across Yemen and scale up targeted support to food security, nutrition, and water programming.”

In recent months, families in Yemen have been further plunged into severe food insecurity amid shrinking food aid and funding resources. Food insecurity is now predominant among over 17 million people, which means families have to reduce calory intake and meal count, resulting in acute malnutrition among children.

NRC’s survey of different cities and villages across Yemen found that 90 per cent of families had not received any aid in the past three months in some areas across Al Hodeidah, Amran, Hajjah, and Sana'a. Eight in ten people lacked sufficient clean water amid a surge in water-borne diseases including cholera. A separate survey of families in Aden, Marib, Taiz and other areas also found that 80 per cent of families did not eat enough food, including 40 per cent who were resorting to skipping meals.

Prior to today's announced funding, only 16 cents have been provided for every one dollar needed to respond to the mountain of humanitarian needs in Yemen this year. The almost complete absence of support from the richest states in the world stands in stark contrast to the resources funnelled to fuel conflict in the region.

NRC provides humanitarian aid across Yemen. As a result of wide-ranging cuts, NRC will only be able to reach 6 per cent of the total number of people it supported with food aid last year. Water and hygiene services have also been reduced by more than two-thirds.

Suad, who is the only breadwinner for her four children in Amran, northwest Yemen, told NRC, “My earnings aren't enough to cover the basic needs. I used to receive cash assistance and other forms of aid, but that stopped a year and a half ago. I prioritise food over schooling. Without humanitarian aid, how will we survive?"

"We urge prompt action to secure adequate funding and prevent nightmare starvation scenarios in Yemen,” added Hadid. "Millions here will be left without assistance as organisations like ours are forced to slash our support. Desperate people will face unimaginable decisions to endure without vital support. The intersecting crises of displacement, conflict, disease, and hunger will create a devastating cycle of suffering."

Notes to editors

  • According to the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan, 2.7 billion is required for the humanitarian response (HRP Yemen).
  • NRC conducted a Multi-Sectoral Needs Assessment in 23 districts across Al Hodeidah, Amran, Hajjah, and Sana'a City Governorates in January 2024. NRC spoke with 1,350 households including host communities, internally displaced, and returnees. In this assessment, NRC found:
    • Across all locations surveyed, 90 per cent of families (1213 out of 1350) stated they did not receive any humanitarian support in the past three months. Many communities in the northern governorates of Yemen are not receiving support due to aid cuts. There are 9.5 million people have not received food aid for months since the World Food Program announced a dramatic end to general food distributions across much of Yemen in December (WFP).
    • An overwhelming 80 per cent of families (1080 out of 1350) across all assessed governorates indicated their community lacked enough safe water to meet their basic needs.
    • Across all governorates 96 per cent of the people surveyed (1239 out of 1350 ) reported they lacked basics like mattresses, blankets, and kitchen items.
  • NRC also conducted a Multi-Sectoral Needs Assessment among communities in 16 districts across Aden, Abyan, Al Dhale’e, Lahj, Taiz, and Marib Governorates in December 2023 speaking with people from 798 households across host communities and camps for the internally displaced camps. NRC found:
    • 80 per cent of families (638 out of 798) did not eat enough food to meet their daily needs.
    • 40 per cent of households (319 out of 798) were using negative coping strategies like skipping meals.
    • Across all governorates 90 per cent of families (718 out of 798) reported they lacked basics like mattresses, blankets, and kitchen items.
  • A nationwide famine remains a risk for 1.2 million people in Yemen (IPC figures).
  • There are currently 17.6 million people - half of the population of Yemen – that are likely severely food insecure (HRP).

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

  • NRC global media hotline:, +47 905 62 329
  • Ahmed Bayram, MENA Media Adviser, in Amman:, +962 79 0160147