Yemen continues to struggle through the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. Over 410,000 people were displaced during 2019, primarily, by conflict and, to a lesser extent, natural hazards. Despite global attention on the crisis and political talks, immense suffering persists across the country.
The armed conflict has taken an unthinkable toll on the civilian population. By the end of 2019, more than 100,000 Yemenis had lost their lives over the course of nearly five years of conflict, as a result of fighting and its deadly consequences like severe food insecurity. In the first six months of 2019, Yemen had seen more suspected cholera cases than in all of 2018. The impacts of the conflict and health crises were compounded in areas where heavy rains and floods were experienced periodically throughout the year, with displaced people living in makeshift accommodation bearing the brunt of the extreme weather.
Yemen’s economy, already undeveloped prior to the conflict, has been severely impacted by the crisis. Families throughout the country no longer have a steady income. The dire effects go beyond the individual level, with public institutions crumbling. Just over 50 per cent of health facilities are operating and are doing so with far less than the required staff and supplies. Similar examples can be given in all areas of public services, including education and water and sanitation. Many of the development gains achieved by Yemen prior to 2015 are now more or less reversed.
Despite the conflict, migrants continued to make the journey from the Horn of Africa to and through Yemen, with nearly 140,000 migrants arriving in 2019. With the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia being the intended destination for 88 per cent of those arriving in Yemen, many migrants fall victim to abuse and exploitation by criminal networks, smugglers and traffickers.
With offices in Sana’a, Aden, Al Hudaydah, Marib, Ibb and Hadramaut, and satellite presences in all 22 governorates, IOM supports the most vulnerable throughout Yemen, including displaced people, conflict-affected communities and migrants. IOM’s sub-office in Marib – where the Organization is also setting up a humanitarian hub – and field office in Hadramaut were newly established in 2019. IOM takes in a holistic approach to humanitarian response, incorporating health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), shelter, non-food item (NFI) and cash-based assistance, camp coordination and camp management (CCCM), protection and displacement tracking (DTM). One of IOM’s core focuses in 2019, which will continue in 2020, was operational expansion to underserved districts.