• Yemen is today one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises. It was estimated in the April 2017 Periodic Monitoring Report that 20.7 million people – including over 11 million children – required humanitarian assistance, with needs currently under review. The AWD/suspected cholera outbreak, the threat of famine and the undermined national systems, are contributing to exacerbate the suffering of millions of children and families.
• In view of the current situation, UNICEF has revised its Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) appeal. Additional funds of US$ 102.4 million are urgently required to meet the increasing needs of children and families. With this support, UNICEF will be able to reach 9.9 million children with humanitarian programmes across all sectors and more will benefit from the restoration of basic services.
• UNICEF and partners continue working around the clock in coordination with Health and Water authorities and partners to provide services and supplies in response to the Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD)/ suspected cholera outbreak, which by the end of June had left over 246,000 suspected cases.*
• More than 5 million people have been reached by UNICEF integrated efforts in response to the AWD/cholera outbreak, including by supporting case management, establishment and operation of treatment facilities, supporting water systems, providing at household level safe water and essential WASH supplies, and reaching families with key information on how to protect themselves against AWD/cholera.
• AWD and malnutrition are highly related, malnourished children – currently 1.8 million** - with extremely weak immune systems, would be at risk for developing cholera. Furthermore malnutrition makes early diagnose and treatment even more challenging.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
Over the past six months, the humanitarian situation in Yemen has substantially deteriorated. According to recent analysis by the Humanitarian Country Team, the number of people in need of assistance and protection is 20.7 million. Yemen is today one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises.
The country continues to be engulfed in a rampant conflict since March 2015, which follows previous long lasting instability.
Increasing tensions and hostilities in the western coast since January have left over 50,000 people displaced, many of them in locations where humanitarian access has been extremely challenging. Concerns regarding the continuity of operations of the Al Hudaydah port persist and the potential closure of the main port in Yemen would have significant consequences for the humanitarian operation.
Since late-April, an AWD/ suspected cholera outbreak - initially reported in October 2016 - spread at an alarming speed and in just two months the number of cases of acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) / suspected cholera went up to over 246,000, including 1,517 related deaths. Children under the age of 15 account for over 40 per cent of all suspected cases. Years of under-investment in public water and sanitation systems, contaminated water sources, ongoing waves of displacement, families unable to afford basic sanitation and hygiene items, along with the collapsing health, water and sanitation systems –e.g. over 300,000 health workers not receiving salaries for the past ten months, are among the main factors contributing to the outbreak. A total of 540,000 suspected cases are expected until the end of 2017. While UNICEF and humanitarian partners have stepped up and mobilized urgent assistance, the scale of the needs will require additional efforts and resources, as well as sustained support to the weakened national systems.
Adding up to the bleak picture, the food insecurity and nutrition crisis is far from improving. At least 60 per cent of the population are food insecure and require assistance, some 17 million people lacking access to food or consuming an inadequate diet are now at risk of slipping into famine. Currently, more than 1.8 million children in Yemen are suffering from acute malnutrition, including an estimated 385,000 with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM). Severe acute malnutrition and diarrhoeal diseases create a vicious cycle, each making the other more severe and more likely to occur.