UNICEF Yemen Humanitarian Situation Report: 1 January - 30 June 2020 [EN/AR]

Situation Report
Originally published



  • As of 30 June, there are a total of 1,162 COVID-19 confirmed cases, 313 associated deaths, and 490 recovered cases.

  • As the health systems in Yemen already deteriorated before the spread of COVID-19, the pandemic is increasing the vulnerability of Yemenis. More than a quarter of the confirmed cases have died as a result of the pandemic: over five times the global average.

  • Approximately 6.5 million Yemenis are highly reliant on critical WASH services, which can prevent the spread of COVID-19. The UNICEF WASH programme has a critical funding gap of $30 million and will require urgent funding before the end of August in order to remain operational.

  • During the first half of 2020, the United Nations Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting verified 354 incidents of grave violations against children. Over 100,000 people were newly displaced. UNICEF, through partners, provided rapid response mechanism kits to 325,121 newly displaced people.

  • 145,155 Acute Watery Diarrhoea/cholera suspected cases, and 41 associated deaths were reported recorded (0.03 per cent of case fatality rate). 43 per cent (62,425) of the national caseload were treated in the UNICEF-supported Oral Rehydration Centres, and Diarrhoea Treatment Centres.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

Conflict and sporadic clashes across 42 active frontlines continue to affect millions of Yemenis across the country. 6.5 million people, including 4.1 million who are under acute humanitarian needs, are currently living in 83 hard-to-reach districts. 4.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), including 1.7 million children, are heavily impacted by the ongoing conflict, disease outbreaks, natural disasters, socio-political and economic context. Humanitarian access and delivery of assistance are affected by the bureaucratic impediments and delays in sub-agreements approval, affecting 8.3 million people across Yemen. Throughout the first half of 2020, more than 100,000 people were newly displaced or left their location of displacement towards a safer destination. The highest numbers of displacements are linked to the increased level of conflict observed during January and June particularly in Marib and Al Dhale'e.

During the first half of 2020, the United Nations Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (UN-CTFMR) documented 369 incidents of grave violations against children, in which 354 incidents were verified . There was a continued trend of a large number of child casualties reported, including 110 children killed (71 boys and 39 girls) and 294 children maimed (208 boys and 86 girls), by various parties to the conflict. 36 children (34 boys and 2 girls) are verified to be recruited and/or used by armed forces and armed groups. 30 boys abducted or detained, and two children (1 boy and 1 girl) have been exposed to sexual violence or rape. There were 9 attacks on schools, 12 attacks on hospitals, and 11 incidents of military use of education and health facilities (10 education facilities and 1 health facility) were reported. Most of the documented and verified incidents were in Taiz, followed by Al Hudaydah, Sa'ada, Al Dhale'e, and Marib. While the global COVID-19 impact suggests a possible increase of violence against children and women during the lockdown, the data in Yemen shows a 51.1 per cent reduction in the reported cases of violence against children and women. This is mainly attributed to the reduced outreach by social caseworkers and should not be interpreted as a decrease in the trend of violence.

The spread of COVID-19 is most probably underestimated due to lack of testing capacity, and as only critical COVID-19 cases are being tested in Southern governorates; the situation in Nothern governorates remains unclear due to lack of information.

As of 30 June, 1,162 COVID-19 officially confirmed cases, 313 associated deaths, and 490 recovered cases in Yemen, with 26.9 per cent of CFR. More than a quarter of Yemenis confirmed to have the disease have died; this is five times the global average.

This spectacular CFR reflects a large under-reporting of cases due to the fact that only symptomatic patients attending health facilities are tested. The officially confirmed cases were reported in Amanat Al Asimah, Marib, Hadramaut, Al Maharah, Taizz, Lahj, Aden, Abyan, Al Dhale'e, and Shabwah. As the ongoing conflict has already deteriorated the health infrastructure, weakened people's immune systems, and increased vulnerabilities, COVID-19 in Yemen could spread faster and more widely than in other countries. In parallel, the COVID-19 suppression measures have led to significant access and programme challenges. Authorities in Yemen suspended all child protection awareness-raising activities, schools, child-friendly spaces, and public gatherings, which resulted in the lower reach of services for children and families in need. Schools across Yemen have been suspended since 15 March due to COVID-19. More than 55 schools are being used as quarantine centers, and an additional 102 identified for potential use.

Since the onset of the second wave of Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD)/cholera outbreak on 27 April 2017, the cumulative total of suspected cholera cases as of 30 June 2020 reached 2,398,477 with 3,799 associated deaths (0.16 per cent case fatality rate, CFR) across the country. Children under five represent 23.4 per cent of the total suspected cases in 2020. Between 1 January - 30 June 2020, there have been 145,155 AWD/cholera suspected case and 41 associated deaths recorded (0.03 per cent of CFR) which decreased 68 per cent, compared with the same period of 2019 (452,797) suspected cases and 721 associated deaths in 2019 (0.16 per cent of CFR). This high reduction may be the result of the enormous efforts of UNICEF and its partners put in the response to this epidemic, but could be also linked to the secondary impact of the COVID19 epidemic. The fear of infection and the reduced access to health facilities due to population movement restriction may have resulted to a decrease of attendance to primary health services by the population. A total of 324 out of the 333 districts in Yemen have reported cases during this year, with a national attack rate of 50 suspected cases per 10,000 people. The top three governorates with high numbers of cholera suspected cases include Al Hudaydah, Sana'a, and Taizz.

In May, one vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) type 1 case, not confirmed by the authorities, was reported from Sa'ada, around the border with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. VDPV is rare strains of poliovirus that has genetically mutated from the strain contained in the oral polio vaccine (OPV). The surveillance team from the World Health Organization (WHO) conducted the investigation and informed the required response. The National Certification Committee on Polio Eradication Programme recommended vaccination campaigns in Sa'ada and across the country. According to the Yemen Socio-Economic Update (YSEU) , which was published by the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MoPIC) with UNICEF's support, the Yemeni economy is likely to contract by about -10 per cent due to the COVID- 19 crisis. The contracted economy will further increase poverty rates and, in turn, increase child poverty and vulnerability. It estimates that remittances have dropped between 60 -70 per cent pushing dependent households into poverty. Furthermore, contractions on global trade between countries and a decline in global production have reduced commodities and supply stocks in local markets, as Yemen imports 90 per cent of its needs. As a result, it leads to a significant increase in the prices of basic commodities and services in Yemen.