• The blockade of critical airports and seaports is impacting humanitarian and commercial supply pipelines affecting millions.
• Suspected cholera cases have declined across Yemen but the threat of cholera remains.
• Humanitarian assistance has reached 2.3 million people in areas covered by Aden hub.
• The YPF 2nd allocation has provided US$70 million to fund 49 projects in 15 governorates.
A blockade compounds a life-threatening crisis
Humanitarian and commercial supply pipelines are disrupted
Yemen is the world’s largest food security crisis; 17 million people are food insecure while a staggering seven million people do not know where their next meal is coming from and are at risk of famine. The country relies almost completely on commercial imports to meet the food needs of its people. The closure of critical seaports and airports enforced since 6 November 2017 by the Saudi-led coalition has disrupted both the humanitarian and commercial supply pipelines with life-threatening consequences for the Yemeni population.
Yemen requires monthly food imports of approximately 350,000 MT (of which 75,000 MT is humanitarian imports). About 80 per cent of these imports arrive through Al Hudaydah and Saleef ports, which together have a total handling capacity of 660,000 MT per month.
The continuing functioning of these ports is essential to sustain the relief operation in Yemen.
Seaports and airports in areas under the control of the Government of Yemen re-opened on 12 November, however these ports lack the capacity to handle the amounts of commercial and humanitarian cargo previously handled by Al Hudaydah and Saleef ports.
Additionally, as shown in the map below, any shipment bound to northern Yemen would have to cross active conflict frontlines to reach areas with people in need, thus increasing transport costs and security risks for aid workers.
Critical supplies, including medicines, are blocked from entry
As of 15 November, the blockade had prevented almost half a million MT of food and fuel on 29 vessels from reaching Yemen. Nine vessels that had received clearance from the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism (UNVIM) were forced to leave Al Hudaydah’s port anchorage area before offloading their cargo. Four other vessels, which had been cleared and were en route to Al Hudaydah, were denied entry to the port on 13 November. Inside Yemen, commercial and humanitarian food supplies have run low. Fuel, food, cooking gas and trucked water prices have skyrocketed, further hurting already impoverished families. Volatile fuel prices are driving up transport costs across the country. As of 20 November, the preliminary impact of the blockade on key sectors is briefly summarised as it follows:
Price of fuel: With limited supplies available, the prices of fuel and petrol have skyrocketed, registering a 170 per cent increase on the informal market. The increase in fuel prices has in turn led to an increase in the price of trucked water by 133 per cent in Sana’a. This will further increase the vulnerability of millions of Yemenis with limited access to water and threatens to reverse the gains made in combating cholera. WHO reports that 15 health facilities had to shut down due to lack of water. Fuel shortages has also implication on commodities’ prices since transport of commodities becomes more expensive. Fuel is also required to mills grains into flour.
Health: Critical medical supplies, including vaccines and treatment to control the spread of the cholera epidemic, remain blocked from entry in Djibouti, putting at risk the lives of millions of people. Failure to deliver maternal medical supplies, will threaten the lives of 400,000 pregnant women and their new born children, including 53,000 at immediate risk of complications during childbirth.
Food: Even with a partial lifting of the blockade, WFP estimates that an additional 3.2 million people will be pushed into further food insecurity. If new supplies fail to arrive 150,000 malnourished children could die within the coming months.
Refugees’ repatriation: Three boat trips planned by UNHCR and IOM to transport at least 329 refugees from Aden back to Somalia has had to been postponed.
Movement of aid workers: Approximately 400 aid workers remain stranded in Djibouti, Amman, Sana’a and other locations as their flights have been cancelled.
Impact of the blockade on households
Food has become unaffordable for most Yemenis
While stock levels of wheat and rice in Yemen are expected to last two to three months, due to rapid price inflation, the impact of the bloackde on the most vulnerable households has already been felt across the entire country, with average increase in the food basket ranging from eight to 28 per cent. Their food security situation is likely to worsen.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.