Since violence broke out in late March 2015, conditions in Yemen – already one of the poorest countries in the Middle East – have continued to deteriorate. The fighting—and the blockade of major ports—have accelerated the country’s economic collapse and exacerbated inflation, unemployment, poverty, and a shortage of essential goods and services. As the Holy Father stressed, the country is “experiencing one of the most serious humanitarian crises of recent history”, with an estimated 80 percent of the population—nearly 24 million people—needing humanitarian assistance.
Internally displaced Yemenis are most at risk of food insecurity, with some 2.6 million of the 4 million people currently facing life-threatening food shortages – 79% of them are women and children. Studies show that displaced families are four times more at risk of falling into famine than the rest of the Yemeni population. Millions of households struggle to put food on the table, which has led to widespread malnutrition. 16.2 million Yemenis suffer from hunger, including 5 million people on the brink of famine. Water scarcity is another major concern, with nearly 18 million people in urgent need of water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance. Almost 20 million people lack access to adequate health care. The country has witnessed the world’s largest cholera outbreak in recent years and has had a COVID-19 death-rate of nearly 20 percent.
Yemen hosts 137,000 refugees and asylum seekers from Somalia and Ethiopia, making it the world’s second largest host of Somali refugees.