The conflict-driven humanitarian crisis in Yemen is the largest emergency globally, with more than 24.1 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. Conflict has led to internal displacement of 3.6 million people, including 2 million children, left millions of public sector workers without salaries for years and undermined humanitarian access to many vulnerable populations. An estimated 12 million Yemenis, including 7 million children, will depend on food assistance in 2019. The economic deterioration continues, with the rial losing nearly 50 per cent of its value since September 2018, and affected families struggling to purchase food. Escalation of violence in the port of Hudaydah has threatened the delivery of essential food and medicines throughout the country. Nearly 358,000 children under 5 years suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM), and require treatment. Only 10 per cent of children under 6 months are exclusively breastfed and majority of children are deprived of a healthy diet. Only 15 per cent of children are eating the minimum acceptable diet for survival, growth and development. Rising food insecurity, with poor sanitation and lack of safe water has increased preventable diseases. Immunization coverage has stagnated at the national level with declines seen in many areas resulting in outbreaks of measles, diphtheria and other vaccine preventable disease. Access to primary healthcare for mothers, their newborns and children remains an issue. Since late 2016, over 1.3 million cases of suspected cholera have been reported, with over 311,000 cases reported in 2018. UNICEF and partners integrated cholera response has been effective, however, cholera remains endemic in Yemen, and resurgence remains a real risk in 2019. Children are the primary victims of the crisis. According to the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting on grave child rights violations, more than 6,700 children have been verified as killed or maimed since the start of the conflict and more than 2,700 boys have been recruited into armed forces and groups ; however, the actual figures are likely to be higher. Children remain under extreme risk of death or injury from unexploded ordinances, landmines and explosive remnants of war. The damage and closure of schools and hospitals are threatening children's access to education and health services, rendering them vulnerable to serious protection concerns. At least 2 million children in Yemen are out of school.
UNICEF's strategy in Yemen is informed by the 2019 Yemen Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO), and the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), cluster strategies and programme priorities. UNICEF’s operations are decentralized with five field offices managing humanitarian response locally with partners. UNICEF is focusing on health system strengthening, improving access to primary healthcare by providing supplies and responding to communicable disease outbreaks, and community prevention and management of malnutrition. Water, sanitation and hygiene programme supports rehabilitation and sustainability of local water management systems to increase access to safe water. Acute watery diarrhea/cholera prevention and response is focusing on highrisk districts, including through provision of oral cholera vaccines. Vulnerable children are supported through survivor assistance, education on mines/ explosive remnants of war and resilience building. UNICEF continues to rehabilitate damaged schools, establish temporary safe learning spaces and provide learning/pedagogical kits. School-based staff will receive incentives to ensure education for children. The Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting continues to engage with warring parties to prevent and halt grave child rights violations. The multi-sector Rapid Response Mechanism ware assisting newly displaced families. UNICEF is incorporating gender and conflict sensitive planning, Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) and accountability training for partners.
Results from 2019
As of 28 February 2019, UNICEF had US$149.2 million available against the revised appeal of US$536 million. This ensures access to primary healthcare services to children and women, including the provision of common childhood illnesses, antenatal care, delivery and UNICEF’s response to the AWD/suspected cholera outbreak through an integrated health, nutrition, WASH and communication for development plan. Over 3.3 million people accessed safe drinking water and over 1 million people were engaged in awareness and behaviour change activities.
Health facilities received supplies and operational support. Over 11 million children were vaccinated against measles and rubella, over 269,000 children under 5 received primary healthcare and more than 25,700 children with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) received treatment. Child Protection services have so far reached over 85,000 children with psycho-social support and over 342,800 people were reached with mines/unexploded ordinance risk education. 80 per cent of reported incidents of grave violations against children were verified through Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism. 18,705 children accessed education services in safe learning spaces. Psycho-social support services in schools benefited more than 6,515 students.
Activities for provision of incentives for teachers and school staff commenced in late February.