Aaliyah, a 7-year-old IDP, fetches clean water from a newly rehabilitated water.
Aaliyah, a 7-year-old internally displaced person (IDP), fetches clean water from a newly rehabilitated water point funded by USAID/OFDA and installed by a USAID partner in Sana’a Governorate, Yemen.
USAID partner photo

Key Developments

Despite extensive advocacy efforts by donors, international non-governmental organizations and UN agencies, Al Houthi officials in northern Yemen continue to interfere in relief operations, including by impeding critical needs assessments, imposing extreme bureaucratic demands, and obstructing monitoring and oversight activities. In response, USAID has notified INGO partners it plans to partially suspend humanitarian programming in northern Yemen starting in late March, and State/PRM has informed partners of the potential for aid suspensions, barring sufficient improvements in the operating environment. The U.S. Government continues to coordinate with other donors and relief actors to monitor the situation and support strong advocacy efforts for the principled delivery of humanitarian assistance. 

Escalated hostilities between Al Houthi and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia-led Coalition forces in Al Jawf, Marib, and Sana’a governorates displaced at least 35,000 people in affected areas between January 19 and February 17 and continued to cause civilian casualties and mass displacement as of early March, according to the UN. With U.S. Government and other donor support, UN agencies have scaled up assistance to meet the immediate needs of internally displaced persons in affected areas. 

As of March 6, there were no confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Yemen, according to the UN World Health Organization. Relief actors are implementing preparedness measures and closely monitoring the situation, including some confirmed cases in neighboring countries.  


Between 2004 and early 2015, conflict between the Republic of Yemen Government (RoYG) and Al Houthi opposition forces in the north and between Al Qaeda-affiliated groups and RoYG forces in the south, forced people in northern Yemen to repeatedly flee their homes, resulting in the need for humanitarian aid. At the same time, fighting between RoYG forces and tribal and militant groups since 2011 limited the capacity of the RoYG to provide basic services, and humanitarian needs increased among impoverished populations. In late March 2015, a coalition led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia began airstrikes on Al Houthi and allied forces to halt their southward expansion. The ongoing conflict has damaged public infrastructure, interrupted essential services, displaced populations, and reduced the level of commercial imports to a fraction of the levels required to sustain the Yemeni population. The country relies on imports for 90 percent of its grain and other food sources. The escalated conflict, coupled with protracted political instability, the resulting economic crisis, rising fuel and food prices, and high unemployment, has left nearly 19 million people in need of humanitarian aid, and has put more than 17 million people at risk of starvation.

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Last updated: March 23, 2020

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