Yemen is one of the world‘s major humanitarian crises, with more than half of the population affected and a third targeted for humanitarian aid. Thirteen million people do not have access to safe water and sanitation, 10.5 million are food-insecure, 431,000 are displaced, and 90,000 children do not have access to education. At least 100,000 vulnerable migrants pass through Yemen annually, and the country hosts over a quarter of a million refugees. Of particular concern are also the increasing returnee flows in the south: over 80,000 have returned and need assistance.
Almost 1 million Yemeni girls and boys under 5 are suffering from acute malnutrition, of whom more than 250,000 have lifethreatening severe acute malnutrition. Even those whose acute malnutrition is moderate, if left untreated, will not grow to their full potential. Epidemics too are a significant concern, with 170 children having died from measles this year. Apart from disease, children continue to be subjected to extreme violence: this year, 174 children have been killed and/or maimed, including 49 victims of mines, far surpassing the numbers for 2011.
Over the last two years, humanitarian programming has increased nearly threefold in scale and the funding received for the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan (YHRP) has increased from US$121 million in 2010 to $329 million in 2012. Coordination efforts amongst cluster partners and the Humanitarian Country Team, as well as partners who are not regular participants of coordination mechanisms, have reinforced the focus and sustainability of humanitarian outcomes. This is enhanced by joint prioritization of geographic areas for intervention and joint planning to deliver programmes to those most in need. There is now closer cooperation among clusters in monitoring, assessments and advocacy. The humanitarian community has also reinforced its coordination with the Government and, in strict adherence to international humanitarian principles, with the de facto authorities in the north and armed groups in the south. Engagement is being strengthened with a wider range of international development and transition actors to ensure that humanitarian activities support longer-term objectives. The aim is to reduce the scale of needs in 2014 and beyond.
In the 2013 YHRP, food security requirements have increased in line with the results of the recent household survey and now include wider agricultural and food security interventions as well as food delivery. WASH requirements have increased in line with new evidence of the need for access to clean water and basic sanitation. Protection activities are being substantially reinforced to respond to the increased needs of victims of human rights and humanitarian law violations (including grave violations against children), with community-based protection and rule-of-law activities within a broader protection-of-civilians agenda. Finally, early recovery, and particularly capacity-building of national partners, is being stepped up with measures including the establishment of a network that links early recovery programmes in all clusters.
Over the last 12 months, the number of humanitarian actors in Yemen has increased, and there are now 89 agencies—appealing organisations and partners—participating in the 2013 YHRP. In addition to a substantial increase in the presence of western international NGOs, and thanks in large part due to significant and sustained advocacy from the Humanitarian Country Team, there are new humanitarian actors from within Yemen and across the Gulf and Middle East region, some of whom are now part of this joint humanitarian strategy. This presents a new opportunity to build a more collective and cohesive response, and to better define areas of comparative advantage in order to efficiently meet humanitarian and recovery needs in Yemen.
The signing of the 2012 Gulf Cooperation Council agreement has improved security in some areas. Ongoing security sector reforms bring new hope for stability as well as an opportunity to find durable solutions for IDPs. Moreover, the substantial pledges of assistance to support the transition and the support brokered through the Friends of Yemen provide a key opportunity to move into recovery and link humanitarian action to a longer-term strategic approach. A well established humanitarian cluster system with a solid presence of NGOs and UN agencies exists, and has proven its capacity to increase both life-saving and recovery interventions; plus cluster strategies are now closely linked with the transitional strategy of the Government.
Pledges and programmes for the transition will, however, take time to materialize into tangible change on the ground, and overall humanitarian needs are forecast to continue rising. Negative coping mechanisms such as falling into debt, child labour and child marriages mean the crisis could further corrode Yemen's long-term development unless short-term measures are put in place. An increased humanitarian response will, therefore, be required in 2013. Until the humanitarian crisis is addressed, Yemen cannot achieve an effective or sustainable transition, and without a well-supported and comprehensive humanitarian plan, the current fragile political process will be further threatened. An investment now will lead to concrete reductions in humanitarian requirements in 2014 and beyond. Based on assessed evidence, the 2013 YHRP‘s requirements are $716 million, a 22% increase from the $585 million requested in 2012.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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