The name of Shabwa is referred to the name of the historic city of Shabwa, which was the capital of ancient Hadhramaut that was known as a trade centre for gum (Luban) and incense, and station from which trade convoys were travelling towards the rest of Arabian Peninsula and the Mediterranean regions.
Shabwa Governorate is one of the eastern governorates of Yemen that extend from the Arabian Sea Coastal in the South to the Rub Al Khali Desert in the North. The Governorate is bordered by Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden in the South, Hadhramaut Governorate in the East, Rub Al Khali Desert in the North, and governorates of Marib, Al Baidha and Abyan in the West, with an area of 42,584 square kilometres (13.3% of the country area) and a population size of 619,000 as the per 2016 projection (2.3% of the country population) with a sex ratio of 1.07 male: 1 female.
Administratively, the Governorate consists of 16 districts, Arma, Dhar, Jardan, Usaylan, Al Talh, Ain, Bayhan, Merkhah As Sufla, Merkhah Al Ulya, Nisab, Ataq (that includes the City of Ataq, the capital of the Governorate), Ar Rawdah, Hatib, As Said, Habban, Rudum, and Mayfa’a. Ecologically the Governorate is desert in the north, plateaus in the centre, coastal lowland in the south, and with a chain of mountains in in the west close to maintains of the neighbouring Governorate of Abyan.
The Governorate has a desert climate of hot summer and mild winter tend to be cold during the night.
Spring and summer are the rain seasons for Shabwa, and on the other hand, the Governorate receives large amounts of the floods from the mountains of neighbouring governorates at the West. The minimum temperature in the Governorate winter is ranged from 3 degree Celsius, and the maximum in summer is around 31 degree Celsius.
Shabwa Governorate contains 181 health facilities (16 hospitals, 29 health centers and 136 health units), however, 15% of these facilities are not functional due to the current conflict.
Agriculture, apiculture, fishing and fish canning, and oil extraction are the most important economic activities in the Governorates. However during the last two years, these sectors were negatively affected by the conflict.
The peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins started in Shabwa as in other southern governorates in 2007 organized by the Southern Movement (Herak). It was gradually raised from reclaiming the rights of the southern public employees both civilian and military to the restoration of the State. As for Abyan, Shabwa was a theatre for AQAP operations since 2011. In 2011 Shabwa joined other governorates in peaceful sit-ins that led to signing the GCC Initiative by different political parties followed by the National Dialogue Conference. After Houthi forces have controlled the Capital Sana’a in September 2014 and allied with forces loyal of the former president, a severe political/military crises raised that Figure 1. Shabwa Governorate map shows the survey strataended as an internal war. In Shabwa, war started in the oil-rich Usaylan District by end of March 2015 involving army forces, Houthis, tribal forces, and airstrikes of the Arab Coalition at the time AQAP captured Azzan. Most recently, clashes between military forces and Houthis are restricted in the two districts of Bayhan and Usaylan, while AQAP is somehow still active but not restricted to known places and they sporadically do some offensive operations.
The level of acute malnutrition in the Governorate was below 10% before the crisis. The Comprehensive Food Security Survey (CFSS) conducted in April 2014 indicated that global acute malnutrition (GAM) in the Governorate is 7.5% with prevalence of the severe type (SAM) of 1.1%.
During the crisis, the Emergency Food Security and Nutrition Assessment (EFSNA) conducted in November 2016 indicated a prevalence of GAM of 11.8% with 2.1 SAM. Although SAM levels shown by EFSNA is similar to that in the neighbour governorate of Hadhramaut, GAM in Shabwa is almost half of that of Hadhramaut.
The national nutrition information system has shown that number of SAM admitted children increased from 3,448 (reported by 36 sites) in 2014 to 4,144 case (reported by 69 sites) in 2015 that in 2016 increased to 4,662 (reported by 100 sites)
The pre-crisis IPC that was made in September 2014 has classified Shabwa as Phase 4 (Emergency) governorate with estimation of 54% of households as food insecure. Shabwa still in phase 4 (as per the IPC of June 2016) but food insecurity increased to 64%. The EFSNA conducted in November 2016 indicate that 86% of Shabwa households are food insecure.