Yemen crisis

After more than five years of war, Yemen remains the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Four out of every five people need some kind of humanitarian assistance, and almost four million people have been displaced by the fighting. Widespread destruction of the country’s health services and water infrastructure have left Yemen acutely vulnerable to the coronavirus.

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Oxfam response to Yemen crisis

Nearly 80 percent of Yemen’s 30 million population is in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the UN. This includes 360,000 children under the age of 5 suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Between January 1st and June 30th 2020 there have been 150, 849 suspected cholera cases recorded -- actual numbers are likely much higher as people are staying away from health centers because of COVID-19. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Oxfam is distributing hygiene kits for the most vulnerable households, and trucking in clean water to camps for people who have had to flee their homes. We have also given cash for food to families affected by flooding. Across Yemen, we’re training community health volunteers to spread the word about coronavirus and the importance of hygiene and hand washing. Oxfam is helping the healthcare system in Yemen by providing equipment including sanitizer, cleaning materials, gloves and buckets, and mobile services for rural areas equipped with toilets, beds, and oxygen tanks.

How we're responding

Since July 2015, Oxfam and its local partner organizations have provided humanitarian assistance to more than three million people in Yemen.

  • To respond to the ongoing food crisis, Oxfam provides the most vulnerable people with cash to cover their basic food needs. We also provide cash grants to small businesses and farmers, as well as providing cash-for-work projects that allow people to be paid for rehabilitating essential infrastructure such as roads and water systems. We reach around 280,000 thousand individuals each year with these kinds of projects, across nine governorates in both the south and the north of the country.
  • To help prevent cholera, Oxfam works with local organizations to disinfect water storage containers with chlorine, distribute water purification equipment and chemicals to households, construct latrines, and conduct public health campaigns with volunteers who spread cholera messages and encourage good hygiene. To treat those suffering from cholera and other water-borne ailments, we also distribute oral re-hydration sachets.
  • Cash and vouchers help people buy food, which has become expensive due to high inflation and import restrictions.
  • Oxfam's Yemen country team is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with public health promotion specifically on virus prevention including training for community health volunteers to engage in community awareness campaigns, and support to health facilities with hygiene care materials. The team is distributing cash, and launching cash-for-work opportunities for women, and other cash-for-work activities focused on environmental health.
  • Advocating for peace: Oxfam is calling for a ceasefire, negotiations to end the conflict, respect for international humanitarian law, and unrestricted imports so that Yemenis can access food, fuel, 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.
  • Arms sales ban: Between 2013 and 2017, 60 percent of Saudi Arabia’s arms imports came from the US. Oxfam is also calling for a ban of sales of weapons from the US to all parties to the conflict in Yemen.

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Stories & updates

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Fighting and COVID-19 intensifying in Yemen war

Six years since the Saudi- and Emirati-led coalition entered the war in Yemen (with US support), the conflict, a pandemic, and a fuel crisis are pushing families to the brink.

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