Yemen is now in the grip of a devastating crisis. Conflict that worsened in March 2015 and a major cholera outbreak have left more than 70 per cent of Yemen’s people needing humanitarian aid:
- More than 14 million people do not have enough food.
- Around 7 million people face the threat of famine
- Over 400,000 people have been infected with cholera and over 1,880 have died of the disease
- An estimated 63,000 children died last year of other preventable causes, often linked to malnutrition.
- Over 3 million people have been forced to flee their homes.
- Over 8,000 people have been killed and more than 44,500 have been injured, many of them civilians.
- Less than half of health facilities are fully functioning and they face severe shortages of medicines, equipment and staff.
- 14.8 million people have no access to health care.
The provision of clean water and electricity continues to be a problem in many areas, even in the capital Sana’a.
Many businesses have been forced to close and approximately eight million people have lost their livelihoods. This also makes it difficult for people to get basic supplies.
How the Red Cross has helped
Through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Yemen Red Crescent, we have helped more than 3.3 million people, most of whom had left their homes because of fighting. Our support includes:
- Over 734,000 people received food rations such as rice, beans, lentils, oil, tea and sugar.
- 105,000 people received essential supplies such as blankets, kitchen utensils, water containers and personal hygiene items including soap.
- The ICRC has provided over 400,000 chlorine tablets, 37,500 doses of IV fluid and 79,000 oral rehydration sachets to treat and prevent cholera
- The Red Crescent has shared life-saving information on how to avoid cholera with more than 319,000 people
- 3.3 million people received clean water thanks to teams who repaired damaged water points and provided water purification materials.
- Our partners the Yemen Red Crescent Society have provided free health care for over 21,900 people in one of the country’s worst-affected areas. This includes emergency obstetric care for over 4,600 women and their babies.
- 220,600 people in farming areas were helped with irrigation, seeds and tools, and livestock vaccination.
- The ICRC has provided cash grants to 42,700 families so they can buy food and other essentials for their families.
- A Red Cross programme has supported over 70,000 people with disabilities, including people wounded in the fighting.
- Over 80 hospitals benefitted from donations of medical and surgical supplies, which helped them provide medical care to over 27,470 people wounded by the fighting.
- Monthly supplies of medicines and medical supplies 20 primary health centres enabled them to treat more than 292,450 people.
Why is the situation so serious?
Yemen is in the Middle East, south of Saudi Arabia and only about 20 miles across the Red Sea from Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
The country’s 27.4 million people were already among the poorest in the Middle East before the current conflict began. Malnutrition rates were already high and around half of children under five were affected.
While there has been sporadic conflict in Yemen for decades, fighting has been much more intense for more than two years. Tragically, ten staff and volunteers from the Red Cross and Red Crescent have been killed since the fighting started. Several other volunteers have been wounded.
Health centres are particularly badly affected. Civilians are dying unnecessarily or becoming disabled because hospitals have been destroyed and only 30 per cent of essential drugs and medical supplies are reaching the country. Now, medical staff are pushed to the limit caring for people caught up in the cholera outbreak.
For the future
Our Red Cross partners have worked in Yemen since 1962. They have been able to provide life-saving relief aid even in the midst of the conflict.
Work to provide relief supplies, support medical facilities and rebuild the country’s infrastructure will continue as long as it is needed.