Yemen is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.

Almost four years of war have devastated Yemen, already one of the poorest countries in the Middle East. Over 2 million people have been forced to flee their homes, and an estimated 22.2 million are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.

Today, 2 out of 3 Yemenis can no longer afford basic food items. An estimated 14 million people face imminent starvation, the majority of them children.

The dire conditions in Yemen have been worsened by extreme shortages of safe drinking water, shelter and healthcare, and deadly outbreaks of cholera and diphtheria. According to the UN, almost half the country is now 'one step away from catastrophe.'

Yemen is also sheltering over 280,000 refugees and asylum seekers who have fled from violence in the neighbouring Horn of Africa region.

UNHCR is one of the few humanitarian aid organisations working in Yemen. With 190 staff across the country, we provide life-saving assistance to displaced families struggling to survive. But we need your help to continue.

You can help give Yemeni families:

  • cash assistance to help displaced Yemeni families pay for food and rent
  • emergency nutrition for refugees to treat acute malnutrition
  • relief items such as shelter kits, mattresses and blankets
  • community outreach and early detection services to reduce the spread of cholera
“People are eating leaves because they have no other form of sustenance… In Aden, I met emaciated children so malnourished they could barely open their eyes.” 

Mark Lowcock, UN Chief Humanitarian Coordinator

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Your donations in action

Shamha, a displaced Yemeni child, is recovering from malnutrition with the help of UNHCR

Food Food

Mariam and Sukaina want nothing more than an education

Education Education

UNHCR has managed to secure access to Mokha.

Supplies Supplies

Ahmed helps his family collect UNHCR aid items in Taiz, Yemen.

Supplies Supplies

Get the facts about our impact

Shelter Shelter Shelter
Food Food Food
Education Education Education
Protection Protection Protection
Cash Assistance Cash Assistance Cash Assistance
Supplies Supplies Supplies

Providing Shelter

UNHCR provides refugees with emergency shelter — tents, tarpaulins and demountable housing — in the immediate aftermath of displacement. More broadly, we are responsible for site planning and camp management to ensure refugee settlements are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. For those living outside camps, UNHCR funds the rehabilitation of communal shelters, the construction of new homes and rental assistance for those in urban situations. UNHCR also provides materials that displaced people need to build a home themselves under self-help schemes.

Providing Food 

Malnutrition is a common consequence of conflict and displacement. UNHCR works with the World Food Programme (WFP) to ensure that all refugees have access to adequate nutrient-rich food. UNHCR assists with the distribution of food rations in camps and provide urban refugees with vouchers and cash assistance for the purchase of food and groceries. In acute situations, UNHCR supports emergency nutrition and therapeutic feeding programs, supplying fortified milks and ready-to-use therapeutic foods.

Providing Education

Education is a crucial part of refugee relief, even in emergencies. School provides a safe and stable environment for children, restoring their sense of normality and routine, and allowing them to receive important health and safety messages. Education also helps people rebuild their communities and pursue productive, meaningful lives. Where refugees live in the community, UNHCR negotiates with governments to allow them access to local schools. In refugee camps, UNHCR promotes education for children and adults, operating schools and vocational training programs.

Providing Protection

Children and families fleeing violence, war, disaster or persecution can be very vulnerable. UNHCR supplies displaced people with essential items, food and shelter to protect them from having to make dangerous decisions to survive. On a larger scale, UNHCR negotiates safe passage, asylum spaces and humanitarian access, upholding the rights of refugees and minimising the threat of violence, including sexual assault.

During the registration process, UNHCR workers identify displaced Yemenis who may be in need of additional protection. These include unaccompanied children, children at risk of being subjected to child labour, and survivors of gender-based violence. Protection outreach teams also visit hospitals in search of injured refugees and displaced people, and monitor houses accommodating the war-wounded. This allows them to identify people in need of specific support or legal assistance.

Providing Cash Assistance

Most refugees live in places where they have access to markets and services in the same way that local communities do. Providing refugees with cash, by way of a secure biometric system, enables them to make decisions about their personal needs. This also helps prevent refugees being forced into desperate measures such as undertaking dangerous journeys, taking children out of school or survival sex. Cash assistance also helps refugees to support the local economy, aiding social integration.

Humanitarian access is a major concern in Yemen. UNHCR has established new partnerships with local organisations in order to reach more people affected by the crisis. UNHCR uses cash-based interventions to provide protection, assistance and services to the most vulnerable. Cash and vouchers help the displaced meet their specific needs for food, water, healthcare and shelter and allow them to establish and support their livelihoods.

Providing Supplies

UNHCR distributes life-sustaining items such as mattresses, blankets, kitchen sets, jerry cans, stoves and fuel, soap and other sanitary items to refugees under its care. These supplies are tailored to the specific needs of the refugee population: for example, winterisation kits are distributed in camps and communities where sub-zero temperatures occur. UNHCR maintains global stockpiles of core relief items for immediate delivery in emergency situations.

UNHCR has distributed relief items including blankets, sleeping mats, buckets, plastic sheeting, kitchen sets, tents and emergency shelter kits to hundreds of thousands of displaced people inside Yemen. As part of its winterisation program, UNHCR sends protection outreach teams to conduct home visits and assess living conditions. The most vulnerable families receive thermal blankets and advice on how to prepare for winter storms.

Get the latest statistics on the emergency in Yemen.

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