Yemen: The world's single largest humanitarian crisis

Topics: Middle East and North Africa, Emergencies and Disasters Worldwide
November 16, 2018

A young girl sits in a waiting room at a rehabilitation center in Yemen.

The humanitarian situation in Yemen is catastrophic. Almost every aspect of daily life has been affected by the conflict – fuel and food prices, access to clean water and the ability to move around. The resilience of Yemenis is reaching a breaking point as more than 80 percent of the population is in need of aid.

The spike in commodity prices has increased vulnerability, forcing families to buy less food, or go for cheaper options. People are resorting to credit to purchase food and falling into debt.

The conflict has led to an overall weakening of the healthcare system and the disruption of services. This has resulted in a sharp drop in immunization levels among Yemeni children. Additionally, malnourished children have weaker immunity systems, thus becoming more prone to diseases such as measles.

Together, the Red Cross and the Yemen Red Crescent co-ordinate and deliver emergency aid. Donate to the Yemen Appeal.

The Biggest Need

Indra Adhikari knows first-hand what this is like. He works in disaster management at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Yemen.

“More than 80 per cent of the country has felt the terrible impact of the conflict and other emergencies and they need help. The biggest need in the country is food, of course,” Indra said.

More than 18 million people in Yemen are going hungry, with over 14 million at risk of starvation, according to the United Nations.

From all over the world, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is rallying to help.

Delivering Relief

“During any emergency we distribute food and water, and our ambulance services take people to hospitals and our health centres,” said Nessren Ahmed, from the Yemen Red Crescent.

The Red Cross and Red Crescent gave food parcels to over half a million people and provided hundreds of thousands with clean water, in addition to helping 24 health centres stay open and treat patients.

The conflict in Yemen has significantly weakened already fragile health and water infrastructures leading to the re-emergence of infectious diseases such as cholera, diphtheria and measles. In addition to decimated infrastructure, the rainy season as well as the movement of population in light of the intensification of the conflict contribute to the spread of infectious diseases.

“The Yemen Red Crescent has around 8,000 volunteers across Yemen. Their motivation is to alleviate the people’s suffering,” Nessren said.

“The principles behind the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement are part of this. The Red Crescent holds regular sessions on the Movement and our values.”

“We have plans in place before we take action in an emergency and then learn from our experience to improve on them,” Nessren added.

Canadians wishing to support the Red Cross response to the crisis in Yemen can make a financial donation to the Yemen Appeal.

Donations to this fund allow us to respond within hours of a disaster or emergency. This flexibility is essential to help minimize suffering through the quicker delivery of supplies to those in need. 

Photo: Finish Red Cross