Yemen: One of the world's largest humanitarian crises

Yemen lays tragic claim to one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises and aid operations. A staggering 21.6 million people require some form of humanitarian assistance in 2023, as 80 per cent of the country’s population struggles to access food, safe drinking water and adequate health services. Multiple emergencies have pummeled the country: violent conflict, an economic blockade, currency collapse, natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Three-quarters of the 4.5 million people displaced in Yemen are women and children. Approximately 26 per cent of displaced households are headed by women.

Maternal mortality rates in Yemen remains one of the highest in the Middle East and Northern Africa region. A woman dies in childbirth every two hours in Yemen, mostly from causes that are entirely preventable. More than 1.5 million pregnant and breastfeeding women are projected to experience acute malnutrition in 2023. They risk giving birth to newborns with severe stunted growth, and nursing malnourished infants, as a result of rising food insecurity.

Women and girls also continue to suffer disproportionately from gender-based violence, which is exacerbated by the crisis. Girls are increasingly vulnerable to child marriage, human trafficking, begging and child labour. Women and girls with disabilities face even greater risk. 

As part of the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan, UNFPA is appealing for $70 million in 2023 to reach 3.9 million people through these strategic priorities:

  • Vital reproductive health services, with an emphasis on emergency obstetric and neonatal care to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity.
  • Crucial protection services for women and girls, with an emphasis on prevention and response to different forms of violence.
  • Emergency life-saving packages for all newly displaced persons through the Rapid Response Mechanism.

Updated on 27 February 2023