Escalating fighting and hunger threaten millions in Yemen

News and Press Release
Originally published
Ali (3), Modrek (7), Shumookh (4), Obaid (9), Ali (7), baby Hussein (4months) and Fairoz (10).   460 families who fled war in Sa'ada more than two years ago, have sought shelter in an informal settlement in Houth. NRC provided NFI kits (basic food, buckets, blankets and hygiene items) upon their arrival. © NRC/Alvhild Stromme


Donor governments that are meeting today to discuss Yemen’s crisis need to pledge generously to avert famine and massive loss of lives. “The world needs to ramp up aid to Yemen at this critical moment, when millions of people are at risk of dying of hunger,” said Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

NRC today joins other humanitarian agencies on the ground in Yemen in warning that an escalation in fighting -- especially around the port of Hudaydah—will undermine efforts to provide humanitarian aid to the country on the brink of famine.

Yemen is dependent on imports to meet the basic needs of the population for food, fuel, and medicine. Before the conflict, around 80% of imports arrived via Hudaydah port. There is growing concern that fighting might disrupt the imports.

“If the fighting worsens and cuts the lifeline through the port of Hudaydah, the survival of millions of civilians is at risk,” said Egeland.

The humanitarian community is requesting USD 2.1 billion in order to reach 12 million of the most vulnerable people in need of live-saving aid. Four months into the year, only 15 per cent has been funded. Without an immediate infusion of cash, the humanitarian response will struggle to keep famine at bay.

Humanitarian aid is meant to help the most vulnerable who are unable to cope with a crisis. However, Yemen is turning into a country where nearly everyone needs aid. Nearly 19 million people – two thirds of the population – are in need of some kind of humanitarian assistance.

NRC calls on the governments with influence on the parties to the conflict to push for an inclusive peace process, three years into the war that has crippled an entire nation.

“Today governments must fund the humanitarian response to this unfolding disaster and save lives. But funding alone will not resolve the root causes of this catastrophe—it is only through a comprehensive and inclusive peace process that Yemen will be allowed to get back on its feet,” Egeland said.

Key facts:
• Some 19 million people – over two thirds of the total Yemeni population – require some form of humanitarian assistance or protection to meet their basic needs.
• More than 3 million people have been displaced by violence.
• Around 17 million people suffer from food insecurity, including more than 3 million children, pregnant and lactating women suffering from acute malnutrition.
• An additional 462,000 children face immediate risk of death from severe acute malnutrition. • Achieving all targets in the Humanitarian Response Plan will cost an estimated USD2.1 billion. Only 8 per cent of that funding has been received thus far.

NRC in Yemen:
• In 2016, NRC reached 1,2 million people with lifesaving assistance
• NRC’s assistance in Yemen includes food, shelter, water, and education.
• NRC serves people in the governorates of Amran, Hajja, Taiz, Al Hudaydah, Lahj, Aden and Amanet Al Asima