The conflict in Yemen: Humanitarian support for people of Yemen

Yemen is enduring the world's largest humanitarian crisis. Supported by the British Red Cross, volunteers are delivering vital aid to support the people of Yemen, providing medical supplies and PPE as well as crisis response training to over 30,000 people.

Last updated 8 November 2023

What's happening in Yemen: a desperate situation for Yemeni women and children

The protracted armed conflict in Yemen has now been raging for eight consecutive years. 


Violence, economic hardship, and a lack of health services are impacting women and girls in particular, keeping them from accessing the essential healthcare.


in Yemen today, less than 50% of births are attended by skilled health professionals. One mother and six newborns die every two hours because of preventable complications during pregnancy.


Among the estimated 4.2 million people and refugees from Yemen have been displaced since the beginning of the conflict, 73% are women and children. Many of these women have lost husbands in the Yemen conflict and are reluctant to travel to healthcare facilities for fear of violence and harassment.


As funding shortages force humanitarian organisations and charities in Yemen to scale down support, it's likely their situation will only get worse. 


Please donate to our Yemen Crisis Appeal if you can.


How is the Red Cross helping in Yemen?

The Red Cross works with other charities in Yemen: the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Yemen Red Crescent. Together we provide aid in Yemen, delivering food, clean water, medical help and essentials such as blankets, water containers and soap.

In 2022, our we'll be prioritising four main sectors: Health, Economic Security, Water and Protection. But only a political solution to the war and ongoing conflict in Yemen, can bring an end to the suffering of the Yemeni people and prospects of hope for a better future.

Food and nutrition

The current level of hunger in Yemen is unprecedented. Despite ongoing humanitarian support, more than 16 million Yemenis are enduring extreme hunger.

The rate of child malnutrition is one of the highest in the world and the situation is getting worse. A recent survey showed that almost one third of families have gaps in their diets, and hardly ever consume foods like pulses, vegetables, fruit, dairy products or meat.

2.3 million children under five need treatment for acute malnutrition.

In 2021, the ICRC and Yemen Red Cross provided nutritious food, unconditional cash grants and basic household items to more than 1,603,605 people.

Water and sanitation

Years of conflict and neglected water infrastructure are depriving millions of Yemenis from access to clean and drinkable water.

It is estimated that 17.8 million people now lack access to safe water and adequate sanitation services in Yemen. The current water network reaches less than 30% of the Yemeni population. Millions of Yemenis, including women and children, need to walk for miles to fetch water.

A lack of clean water is also causing major health outbreaks, including cholera and acute diarrhoea. This has lead to the country’s worst cholera outbreak in modern history (2.5 million cases reported, and more than 4,000 people have died in the Yemen cholera outbreak).

The ICRC has been addressing the most urgent needs by repairing boreholes and water stations, reducing water related outbreaks in prisons and repairing sewage systems.

It also helps to maintain water networks and provision of chlorine tablets, fuel, generators and maintenance tools to local water and sanitation corporations (LWSC) to ensure continuous provision of safe water.

In 2021:

  • Over 5 million people benefited from the ICRC’s sanitation programme in different parts of the country.
  • 3 million litres of water were donated and distributed to one prison and one hospital through an emergency water trucking response.
  • 17 generators were donated to different water projects, local water boards, prisons, and health facilities.
  • Three boreholes were supported with wall construction and four solar systems were donated to different water supply and health facilities.
  • 1,228,577 chlorine tablets were donated to health facilities and local water boards, along with disinfectant

This vital aid The Red Cross has provided for Yemen is possible because of your donations.

Healthcare in Yemen

Eight years of humanitarian crises – from conflict to the impacts of COVID-19 – have left over 20 million people in Yemen struggling to access the medical care they need for both their physical and mental health.

Ongoing conflict has resulted in widespread damage to and destruction of hospitals and health centres. There are not enough trained medical staff in the country to support with the huge levels of need; and remaining clinics often report shortages of medicines.

Women and children are deeply affected by this lack of care. In particular, maternal healthcare remains a challenge across Yemen.

Many communities don’t have trust in local health centres and may be unlikely to seek formal healthcare, whilst also lacking skills within their communities to address urgent needs through first aid.

So the Yemen Red Crescent Society, in partnership with the British Red Cross, Danish Red Cross and German Red Cross, supports three health centres in Hajjah, Al Mahweet, and Hadramawt governorates. These health centres offer free essential health care, as well as emergency obstetrics treatment, and community outreach programmes.

Trained expert staff at the centres ensure that people have access to the care they need. Each centre is stocked with critical equipment and medical supplies to ensure people can receive the treatment they need when they face ill health. To share information about the centres and improve access to health services, we also run community outreach programmes, as well as training volunteers in first aid.

Contact us for more information