Yemen: Shining a light on a hidden emergency

25 April, 2014
Students in Sana'a. Education for girls in rural areas is a priority for the humanitarian community. Credit: OCHA
Students in Sana'a. Education for girls in rural areas is a priority for the humanitarian community. Credit: OCHA

Humanitarian needs in Yemen are among some of the highest in the world. But despite this, the crisis is at risk of being forgotten.

“Yemen risks becoming a forgotten emergency,” says Johannes Van Der Klaauw, the Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen. “[And] yet, the scale of needs makes it one of the largest global humanitarian emergencies today.”

This stark message from the UN and its humanitarian partners will be delivered ahead of a meeting of the Friends of Yemen in London this week. The Friends of Yemen was established in 2010 to coordinate international support for Yemen and comprises 39 countries and organizations.

More than half the country needs help

The emergency has roots in extreme poverty, lack of basic services and political instability, which, combined with prolonged conflicts in the north and the south of the country as well as  recurrent drought, have left 14.7 million Yemenis – more than half the country’s population – in need of some form of humanitarian assistance. Despite recent political progress, the UN is concerned that a failure to address this could undermine any move towards political stability and development.

An estimated 10.5 million people are food insecure, including more than 1 million acutely malnourished children under five years of age. There are 13.1 million people who have no access to clean water or sanitation, and 8.6 million cannot access basic health care.

“The people of Yemen deserve to live a life where they have access to adequate food, proper nutrition, safe water, health care, education and economic opportunities,” said Mr. Van Der Klauuw.

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