Since the conflict began, Yemen’s economy has shrunk by more than half. Indicators show no sign of improvement – the Yemeni Riyal (YER) hit a historic low in October trading at over YER 1,450 to USD 1. This triggered food prices to soar further across the south and Ma’rib, eroding the purchasing power of most Yemenis and leaving many unable to meet their basic needs. At the same time, COVID-19 continues to take a toll on communities amid low vaccine supply. As of 31 October, Yemen has only received enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to cover 1.5 per cent of its population.
Violence continued to escalate and exacerbate the humanitarian needs in Yemen this month. October saw one of the highest rates of displacement with IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) recording at least 28,488 displaced individuals, bringing the total number of people who experienced displacement at least once since the beginning of this year to 108,396 people. According to a needs assessment conducted by DTM, approximately 40 per cent of displaced individuals in October reported that their main need is shelter, followed by lack of access to food (25%), highlighting alarming levels of needs amid restricted humanitarian access.
Ma’rib remained the worst affected with escalating hostilities driving displacement and humanitarian needs at an unprecedented rate. Nearly 5,000 households were displaced between September and November – 3,500 in October alone – making it the highest rate of displacement recorded in 20211. In the 34 IDP sites that IOM manages, more than 4,100 new arrivals have been registered and referred for emergency assistance and IOM teams scaled up response to the growing needs by providing cash, shelter and other emergency support. The Organization renewed its call on all parties of the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and protect civilians. Hostilities have also escalated significantly in Shabwah and Al Bayda Governorates resulting in civilian casualties, renewed displacement and further restricted civilians’ movements as well as humanitarian organizations’ access to people in need.
Humanitarian needs continued growing on the west coast of Yemen as a result of conflict-driven displacement, weakened public services and limited presence of humanitarian organizations. IOM scaled up its multi-sectoral response activities, improving services in hard-to-reach areas in the region. The Organization expanded lifesaving interventions in 13 displacement sites, providing shelter, clean water, healthcare, latrines, cash and essential relief items to thousands of families in need.
Thousands of migrants remain stranded in Yemen, often trapped between frontlines with inadequate access to basic services. Many are held against their will by smugglers and are at grave risk of exploitation and abuse. They often face movement restrictions and exploitation by smugglers, being forced to work to pay off debts or to work as domestic labourers for example. Despite the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis, migrants in desperate search of work opportunities continue to travel through dangerous, irregular routes with smuggling networks to arrive to Yemen in hopes of reaching neighbouring Saudi Arabia. IOM’s DTM estimated that 4,300 migrants arrived in Yemen during October, with an estimated total of 20,380 migrant arrivals since the beginning of the year. IOM has supported the return of 1,948 migrants since January 2021, including 277 migrants in October – of whom 264 were Ethiopian. Registration for VHR continued this month. To date, more than 1,850 Ethiopian migrants whose documents were verified in 2021 by Ethiopian officials have all returned home. Future VHR operations to Ethiopia are currently suspended because of the current conflict dynamics in Ethiopia. IOM is working closely with partners to assess the situation and hopes to resume movements as soon as possible.