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Yemen

The people of Yemen are coping with years of conflict, an economic and public health crisis, and the threat of hunger and cholera.

Yemen is the location of one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world, according to the United Nations. Seven years of ongoing conflict have created a sustained economic crisis and severely damaged the country’s water infrastructure and public health system. The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed the delivery of humanitarian assistance and only further strained health care across the country. Yemen’s most impoverished people, most of whom are women, children, and elderly—who have been displaced from their homes by conflict more than once—are the most severely affected.

More than 24 million Yemenis need assistance, and there have been over 14,000 civilian casualties since recording by the Civilian Impact Monitoring project started in 2017. Lack of access to clean water and decent sanitation has created a severe risk of cholera, which has affected millions of people. People are one step away from famine in some areas of the country. Overall, there are 17 million people currently severely hungry in Yemen—and that number could increase to 19 million by the end of 2022, according to the UN. The high price of fuel in Yemen is also partly responsible for rising prices for nearly everything, including food. The conflict in Ukraine is making the crisis even worse: Yemen imports 42 percent of its grain from Ukraine.

With local partners, Oxfam is fighting inequality by responding to both the immediate and long-term needs of people in Yemen. We’re improving access to clean water and sanitation, providing cash to help people buy daily essentials, and disseminating information about how to avoid cholera and COVID-19. We’re also helping people start businesses and support themselves, working with allies to advocate for an inclusive and sustainable peace, and working with Yemeni partners to reduce violence against women and other vulnerable people.

What are Oxfam’s solutions to help people in Yemen?

Oxfam is helping people in Yemen displaced by conflict to survive the current crisis, while also providing training, cash, and other assistance for people starting businesses so that in the long term they can support themselves. We also work with organizations that advocate for the rights of women and girls.

Helping people in Yemen survive in the short term

Helping people in Yemen thrive over the long term

Advocating for peace

Oxfam is calling for negotiations to end the conflict, respect for international humanitarian law, and the unrestricted importation and distribution of fuel, food, and other humanitarian aid. We also work to ensure that civilians are well protected, and work with civil society organizations in both the south and the north to ensure that the voices of women and youth are heard when it comes to the peace process.

In the US, Oxfam worked in a broad coalition to successfully urge the Biden administration to end the sales of weapons being used by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in Yemen starting in 2021. In 2018 and 2019, Oxfam supporters sent more than 25,000 emails to members of Congress and made more than a thousand phone calls. In 2022, Oxfam is now advocating for the US government to refrain from designating the Houthis in Yemen a terrorist organization, which would likely precipitate economic collapse and drastically increase the suffering of civilians caught up in the conflict.

Yasmin is a seamstress from Al Dhale’e who received support from Oxfam to help grow her business.
Yasmin is a seamstress from Al Dhale’e who received support from Oxfam to help grow her business. VFX Aden / Oxfam

Encouraging small business creation

As part of Oxfam’s efforts to help vulnerable people access food, we provide cash grants to help displaced people start businesses and grow food. Oxfam helped train women in sewing and hairdressing, enabling them start businesses, earn an income, and provide for their children.

“Oxfam assisted me a lot because they provided me with financial and moral support,” says Yasmin Ali Mohammed, a 35-year-old mother of four. "They organized training courses in sewing … which has made me successful in my life. The number of clients increased, and thus my profits increased, which helped me to provide proper education to my children and cover my household expenses. I bought a washing machine and other things. After the intervention of Oxfam, my living conditions improved.” In 2020-2021 Oxfam helped 1,462,58 people improve their food security and livelihoods.

A group of women next to their tents. Hundreds of people displaced by the armed conflict fled their communities of origin in the north of Yemen and sought refuge on this waste ground in Al-Mashkafa, Toban District, Lahij Governorate.
A group of women next to their tents. Hundreds of people displaced by the armed conflict fled their communities of origin in the north of Yemen and sought refuge on this waste ground in Al-Mashkafa, Toban District, Lahij Governorate. Pablo Tosco/Oxfam

Helping women and the most vulnerable people

Oxfam is working with organizations in Taiz governorate to address violence against women, unaccompanied children, and other vulnerable people by collaborating with community-based protection networks to raise awareness of threats and connect people to organizations that can provide services to survivors of violence. Services include psychosocial support and legal assistance. Oxfam has reached several thousand people with key messages about gender-based violence in Taiz and Ibb governorates.

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