After more than 24 months of conflict in Yemen, humanitarian needs persist on a massive scale. According to the 2017 Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO), an estimated 18.8 million people are in need of some kind of assistance or protection in order to meet their basic needs, including 10.3 million who are in acute need. This represents an increase of almost 20 per cent since late 2014. An estimated 14 million people are currently food insecure, of whom seven million are severely food insecure. More than two million people remain displaced across 21 governorates and close to one million have sought to return to their homes with no real access to basic services or livelihoods.
The conflict has had a devastating impact on the economy and social services. The public budget deficit has expanded and foreign exchange reserves have fallen considerably, limiting the import of basic commodities, the maintenance of public service institutions and the payments of civil servant salaries. For the last five months, 1.25 million public employees and their families – one quarter of Yemen’s population – have not received regular salaries. The decline of public service provision, notably in the health sector, is of particular concern. The humanitarian community is facing enormous pressure to substitute for faltering or absent public service institutions, which is beyond both its capacity and remit. The situation is also worsened by difficulties faced by the commercial sector in securing letters of credit to import goods, thereby impacting the level of food stocks in-country, including wheat.
Under the leadership of the Secretary-General, and his call to ensure a coordinated approach between humanitarian and development actors in the four countries facing famine or at risk of famine (South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and North-East Nigeria) the UN in Yemen is further stepping up the cooperation between humanitarian and development agencies, to strengthen collaboration, coordination and alignment and working towards common goals.