YEMEN: AN OVERVIEW OF THE CRISIS
Conflict has escalated significantly in March, spreading to many parts of the country. Airstrikes began on 26 March and have affected 18 of Yemen’s 22 governorates. In the south, armed conflict has continued to intensify, particularly in Aden, where widespread fighting continues, including in residential neighbourhoods.
The conflict has taken a significant toll on civilians. Comprehensive casualty estimates are not available. However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), health facilities in Yemen reported 767 deaths and 2,906 people injured between 19 March and 13 April. These estimates almost certainly under-count total casualties, as people may not have the means to seek treatment in hospitals, and families may bury their dead before reports can be collected. According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), 364 civilians had been killed and 681 injured as of 12 April. UNICEF estimates that at least 77 children have been killed and 44 injured since 26 March.
Large-scale displacement is occurring due to the intensity of the fighting. Overall displacement estimates have not been verified. However, local sources indicate that around 150,000 people have been displaced. IDPs are reportedly mainly staying with relatives or acquaintances. Increasing reports have been received of IDPs staying in at least 24 schools, including three in Aden, six in Lahj and 15 in Abyan. One health facility has also reportedly been used by IDPs for shelter. Many of the most vulnerable people do not have the means to flee for safety.
Civilian infrastructure has been destroyed, damaged and disrupted as a result of the fighting, including at least five hospitals (Sana’a, Al Dhale’e and Aden), 15 schools and educational institutions (Aden, Al Dhale’e, and Sana’a), the three main national airports (Sana’a, Aden and Hudaydah), and at least two bridges, two factories and four mosques in Al Dhale’e. Reports have also been received of damage to local markets, power stations, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure in Aden, Hajjah and Sa’ada. Civilians’ private homes are being directly affected by airstrikes and armed clashes, particularly in the south.
Food insecurity is rising. The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that the number of food insecure people in Yemen has increased to 12 million people – a 13 per cent rise since the start of the crisis. Prior to the escalation of the conflict, over 90 per cent of Yemen’s staple food was imported, but the closure of ports and other restrictions on imports have decreased availability. The Food Security Cluster estimates that food prices have risen by up to 40 per cent; a percentage exceeded in some locations. Farmers are likely to miss the next planting season, which will further reduce food availability.
Fuel has run out in many areas. Where fuel is available, prices have skyrocketed - Oxfam estimates that fuel prices have quadrupled in some locations. Fuel is urgently needed to pump water from the ground and to maintain services at hospitals and other critical facilities facing frequent power outages.
Even before the current escalation in conflict Yemen was facing a large-scale humanitarian crisis: 15.9 million people – or 61 per cent of the population – were estimated to require some kind of humanitarian aid at the end of 2014. The current escalation will significantly exacerbate needs among many of these already vulnerable people, in addition to affecting people who were not previously in need of humanitarian assistance.
Basic services in Yemen are on the verge of collapse. The Government is largely unable to pay civil servant salaries, which is having a direct impact on the provision of basic services. Increasing reports have been received of health and nutrition facilities closing or drastically curtailing services in affected areas, particularly in the south and in Sa’ada. Schooling has also been suspended for over 1.5 million children since the crisis began. Despite challenges, humanitarian partners are responding to the crisis. The ability to reach people in need varies on a daily basis due to the security situation. However, operational capacity in Yemen remains high, with local communities, national non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and national staff on the frontline of the response. Before the conflict, 46 national NGOs were trained in strategic planning, project management, good governance and conflict-sensitive aid delivery and these organizations are stepping up their efforts. An operational overview of efforts to date is available in OCHA Yemen Situation Reports. Advocacy with all parties to the conflict is essential if humanitarian access is to be ensured.
This Flash Appeal calls for $273.7 million to respond to the most urgent humanitarian needs for the next three months. These priorities are based on initial results of ongoing assessments, the 2015 contingency plan finalized by the Yemen Humanitarian Country Team in March and a rigorous assessment of operational capacity to deliver against assessed and evolving needs. The Flash Appeal covers all vulnerable groups, including internally displaced persons (IDPs), host communities, migrants, refugees and other affected people and prioritizes life-saving and protection programmes. The targets presented in this document are realistic and are based on partners’ calculations as to what they can actually deliver. Over the next week partners will develop individual projects in support of cluster activities and requirements identified in this appeal.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.