Millions at risk as Yemen’s displacement crisis continues

As the displacement crisis in Yemen continues, humanitarian organisations and UN agencies working with IDPs, returnees and host communities in Yemen call on the donor community to better respond to the ongoing shelter crisis. Currently the Shelter/NFI/CCCM Cluster remains only 7% funded, which impacts upon the overall response capacity of the cluster and leaves countless vulnerable people without support. Host communities have so far been generous in accepting displaced people, but there are indications that tensions are rising as an increasingly severe financial crisis is felt across the country. Extra resources are urgently needed to ensure that those affected by displacement have access to adequate shelter and do not resort to more desperate coping mechanisms.

A crisis of displacement

Yemen is currently experiencing an unprecedented crisis of displacement. Since the conflict escalated in March 2015, more people fled their homes than in any other country in the world during the same period. Yemen hosts over one quarter of the world’s population of people internally displaced by conflict in 2015.

Figures from August 2016 indicate that there are currently 2.2 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in Yemen – around eight per cent of the country’s population. This figure represents a population larger than the entire city of Hamburg, twice the size of Birmingham, and almost three times the size of Amsterdam. More than four fifths of Yemen’s IDPs (approximately 1.8 million people) have been displaced for twelve months or more.

In addition, almost 1 million people are identified as ‘returnees’. However, returnees often face new challenges – some of them return to houses completely destroyed, or find that their homes are littered with unexploded ordinance or other explosive devices. Often, the only option they have is to move yet again.

Recently, severe flooding and landslides have presented new challenges and increased hardships for the Yemeni population, leading to the displacement of thousands of families in eight governorates. Preliminary assessments have revealed significant damage caused by the floods, including loss of livelihood (i.e. livestock) and destruction of farm lands and other household belongings (e.g. furniture).