Yemen

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

The UN has called for increased support for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response efforts and health care services in Yemen, as the outbreak has overwhelmed the capacity
of Yemen’s deteriorated health system. The U.S. Government is supporting international non-governmental organization and UN partners to provide urgent health and other emergency assistance to address the impacts of COVID-19 throughout the country.

An estimated 19 million people in Yemen may be experiencing acute food insecurity by September, representing an increase of 2 million people, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network. The projected increase is primarily a result of ongoing conflict and worsening economic conditions, compounded by the global economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a June 2 high-level pledging conference hosted virtually by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, international donors pledged more than $1.3 billion to support emergency response efforts in Yemen. During the event, U.S. Department of State Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker—who led the U.S. delegation— reiterated the U.S. Government’s recent $225 million contribution to support the UN World Food Program's emergency food assistance operations in Yemen. 


Background

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: June 22, 2020

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