After five years of war, Yemen remains the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. More than 3.6 million people have been forced to flee their homes and 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. Almost two-thirds of the population - approximately 20 million people - are on the brink of famine.
When did the crisis in Yemen begin?
The current humanitarian crisis in Yemen began in 2015. Over the last five years, a sharp increase in violence has taken a heavy toll on civilians and left nearly 80 percent of the population in dire need of humanitarian aid. Even before the current crisis, Yemen was the most vulnerable country in the region. It ranked among the world’s worst in malnutrition rates and half of its population was living in poverty, without access to safe water.
Where are Yemenis fleeing to?
Although approximately 3.76 million people have been forced to flee their homes since the beginning of the crisis, fewer than 200,000 have sought refuge in neighboring countries. Most of the population have been internally displaced across the country for years, many finding safety in makeshift shelters cobbled together with scrap wood and plastic tarps or in abandoned structures without basic necessities like running water and toilets. The situation is so dire that at least 1.2 million people have lost hope and tried to return home in the last year, despite conditions not being safe.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing people in Yemen?
Personal and food security remain two of the biggest challenges in Yemen. Five years of intense fighting and indiscriminate attacks on civilian infrastructure have claimed more than 100,000 lives and devastated the country’s economy. Poverty rates have risen above 70 percent and the majority of the population lack access to food, safe water and adequate healthcare.
Mass outbreaks of preventable diseases, such as cholera, diphtheria, measles, and dengue fever have also been reported, with nearly one million suspected cholera cases registered since January 2018.
How are Yemeni children being impacted by the conflict?
In Yemen, every ten minutes a child dies from a preventable cause. By the end of 2019, more than 360,000 children were suffering from severe acute malnutrition and half of Yemeni children under five – approximately 2.5 million – had stunted growth, an irreversible condition. Cholera cases were also widespread, with nearly a quarter million suspected cholera cases in children since January 2018.
As of today, there are approximately 1.71 million children internally displaced - more than half of the people forced to flee - and at least 12.3 million in need of humanitarian assistance. The conflict has stolen millions of childhoods and threatens to leave an entire generation displaced and suffering from trauma.
What is the UN Refugee Agency doing to help in Yemen?
The UN Refugee Agency is on the ground delivering lifesaving support in the form of core relief items – such as blankets, sleeping mats, kitchen sets, buckets and other household items –, emergency shelter kits, winter materials and cash assistance to the most vulnerable families. UNHCR is also providing protection and assistance to more than 280,000 refugees and asylum seekers from neighboring countries - mainly from Somalia and Ethiopia - who have sought refuge in Yemen.
As part of the continuing efforts, UNHCR is also working with local partners to treat acute malnutrition and supporting healthcare facilities to prevent and control the spread of cholera as well as provide psychosocial support to those suffering from trauma.
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