Yemen crisis explained - your questions on the Yemen Crisis Appeal answered

17 December 2016

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CAFOD works with the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to respond to crises around the world.

Two years of conflict have pushed Yemen, already one of the world’s poorest countries, to the brink of catastrophe. Half of the population – 14 million people – are going hungry and need help before it’s too late. A child is dying every ten minutes because of preventable diseases and child malnutrition is at an all-time high.

Latest Update 2 February 2017

You responded with generosity and compassion just before Christmas, to our Yemen Crisis Appeal raising more than £127,000 for the people of Yemen, and we joined forces with the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal,which raised £17 million.

Our partner is on the ground making sure aid reaches those who need it most. They have been working in conflict affected communities of Abyan and Aden providing nutrition services; which involves screening and identifying children under 5 and breast-feeding mothers for acute malnutrition. Their work also includes training community volunteers to spot the worst cases of malnutrition in their communities, and get mothers and babies treated at available health facilities or in the home. In addition, vulnerable families will also receive monthly food vouchers.

Our partner will be reaching nearly 7,000 people with this life-saving aid.

We have also given a solidarity grant to Caritas Djibouti of £12,000, in support of more than 500 families from Yemen, who have fled the conflict into neighbouring Djibouti. This grant will provide emergency medical care, food assistance and support for small microcredit businesses so that refugee families can be more economically independent.

We are unable to name our partner in Yemen or state exactly where they are working. This is because they are operating at great risk to their own safety; publicising their work could endanger both them and the life-saving programmes they are delivering.

Is CAFOD part of the DEC Yemen Crisis Appeal?

In response to the launch of the DEC Yemen Crisis Appeal, Director of CAFOD, Chris Bain, said:

“We cannot fail to be moved by the heart-breaking news coming from Yemen; of families ripped apart by the conflict, without the basics of food, water, and protection from violence. We see immense suffering in the faces of people in Yemen, of the children whose young lives have been stunted by malnutrition, and of those who find themselves homeless, because of the conflict, and in need of the basics of life – food, clean and safe water, and shelter.

“CAFOD is supporting a partner in Yemen, and as a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), we support our DEC colleagues who have a strong operational presence in Yemen and are well placed to reach vulnerable families most in need.  When a family receives a blanket, food parcel, hygiene kit, or medical attention, dignity and a sense of hope is restored.

What is the situation in Yemen?

In Yemen there has been a 21-month long bloody civil war between the Houthi ethnic group and supporters of Yemen’s government led by President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

At the request of the Yemeni government, an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia have carried out air strikes across the country against the Houthi. For ordinary Yemenis, the consequences have been devastating.

The UN now estimates that more than 10,000 people have been killed since the start of the conflict, with 6,000 people killed in 2016 alone.

What are the humanitarian needs in Yemen?

Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the Middle East, and ordinary people are bearing the brunt of an increasingly brutal conflict.

Severe water shortages combined with airstrikes, sniper attacks and a fuel blockade have rapidly turned this conflict into a humanitarian crisis. Demand is rapidly increasing to get food, water, shelter, sanitation and medical care to vulnerable families in the greatest need.

According to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the conflict has left millions of desperate people in need of humanitarian aid and protection. Yemeni families were already dealing with dire and extreme poverty but this conflict has exacerbated their suffering.

The economy and public services such as hospitals and clinics face collapse, and many Yemeni families have exhausted their savings as they struggle to earn a living;women, children and men face a humanitarian catastrophe. 

Two thirds of the population (18.8 million out of 27.4 million) is in urgent need of some form of life-saving humanitarian assistance such as food, water, medical care and shelter.


More than 7 million people in Yemen do not know where their next meal will come from and 462,000 children under five are suffering from severe acute malnutrition.


More than 3 million people have been recorded by the UN as internally displaced, nearly half of whom are children. Aden governorate is hosting the highest number, 393,508 individuals, followed by Taiz 300,585 individuals and Hajjah, 280,821 individuals (as of October 2016,).


More than 1,900 of the country's 3,500 health facilities are currently either not functioning or partially functioning, leaving half the population without adequate healthcare. To date, there has been 61 confirmed cases of cholera,with more than 1,700 more suspected cases in ten governorates (districts).

How can I support CAFOD during emergencies?

CAFOD’s ongoing emergency appeals help people affected by emergencies such as conflict, droughts and typhoons, both in the immediate aftermath and in the longer term.

Join our Emergency Response Team by giving a monthly donation so that we can respond as soon as disasters happen.

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