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

On December 20, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)-led Coalition announced it would reopen access to Yemen’s Al Hudaydah Port for commercial shipments, including fuel, for a 30-day period. The Coalition had closed Yemen’s Red Sea ports, including Al Hudaydah and Al Saleef, on November 6 after the KSA intercepted a missile launched by Al Houthi forces toward the KSA’s capital city of Riyadh. Since the announcement, the Coalition’s Evacuation and Humanitarian Operations Cell has allowed several commercial food and fuel ships to enter the Red Sea ports. The shipments will provide much-needed supplies amid severe fuel shortages and widespread food insecurity.

UN Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock and UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen Jamie McGoldrick recently released statements welcoming food and fuel imports into Yemen’s Red Sea ports. The UN officials emphasized the importance of all ports remaining open to humanitarian and commercial vessels, as Yemenis are critically dependent on imports, and humanitarian assistance is often shipped into Yemen on commercial vessels.

Civilian casualties surged in late December due to ongoing conflict; Coalition airstrikes resulted in at least 245 civilian deaths and at least 160 injuries from December 6–28, according to the UN. In addition, escalated violence in December prompted approximately 25,000 people to flee frontline areas of conflict in western Yemen’s Al Hudaydah and Ta’izz governorates to neighboring governorates.

In addition to a widespread cholera outbreak, Yemen continues to face its first major outbreak of diphtheria—a preventable, highly infectious respiratory disease—in more than 25 years, with more than 580 suspected cases recorded between mid-August and late December.








Total U.S. Government Assistance to Yemen and Neighboring Countries


*These figures are current as of January 12, 2018


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: January 16, 2018

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