YEMEN: Famine threatens millions

Yemen is experiencing what the United Nations has called «the world’s largest humanitarian disater». This crisis is the result of a armed conflict which intensified in 2015. Due to hostilities, the population cannot respond to its basic needs and fight in particular against famine. Oxfam teams are on the field to support communities.


Over 20 million Yemenis in need of humanitarian aid (OCHA)


Over 16 million Yemenis will go hungry in 2021 (OCHA)


4 million people have had to flee their homes since 2015 (UNHCR)

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The world’s largest humanitarian disasteer

Since 2015, airstrikes and fighting have driven more than 4 million people from their homes and killed more than 12,000 civilian victims.

In this country which will become the poorest in the world if the conflict continues, 80% of the population lives below the poverty line. Almost two in five families are forced into debt to buy bread, rice, flour or medicine. And more than 16 million people will go hungry this year if humanitarian aid is insufficient.

Yemen is also grappling with COVID-19 and diseases linked to unsanitary water – such as cholera and dengue. Due to preventable diseases, a child dies every 10 minutes in Yemen, where only half of the health centers are active. Water pipes and hospitals are destroyed in bombings, not to mention the shortage of medicines.

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A country devastated by a civil war that has become internationalized

war in Yemen

Despite the situation and repeated calls by the United Nations for a ceasefire in Yemen, the G20 countries continue to provide military equipment to the parties involved. This is why Oxfam-Quebec has launched a petition asking Canada, a member of the G20, to lead by example and stop participating indirectly in the conflict by selling arms.

“Millions of Yemenis are teetering on the precipice. COVID-19, cholera and escalating conflict threaten to push them.”
— Muhsin Siddiquey, Executive Director of Oxfam in Yemen.

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Oxfam supports people in Yemen

refugee camp in Yemen

Hygiene installations and kits equip the population living in the Jabal Zaid camp, located in At Turbah in Yemen.
Photo : VFX Aden / Oxfam.

While millions of Yemenis lack access to safe water and experience a severe food crisis, Oxfam has helped more than 3 million people since 2015 by providing clean water, sanitation, food vouchers and cash assistance.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and cholera, we are distributing, among other things, hygiene kits and water filters. We are training volunteers to spread awareness of hygiene measures throughout Yemen. We are also working with our partners to ensure that the voices of women and young people are heard in the peace process.

Oxfam supports populations in particular by:

  • Provide safe drinking water and sanitation services, including in hard-to-reach areas to prevent the spread of disease
  • Distributing cash and vouchers to enable Yemenis to buy the food they need to survive
  • Supporting local partner organizations that distribute emergency food aid and support vulnerable people in producing their own food.

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The journey of survivors

Saeed is a community health volunteer for Oxfam in Ammar Bin Yasser camp in Yemen where he lives with his wife and five children.

“I fled Hodeidah with my family because our house was exposed to bombing. Before I ran away, I was working for a company, I was comfortable and I had a house. We left for Aden empty-handed.

Oxfam teams have supported us and taught us how to maintain hygiene to avoid disease, such as the coronavirus. Oxfam trained me and now I help others.

My role as a volunteer is to educate people here about cleanliness and sanitation, to prevent our children from getting sick.”

Hanan fled the city of Hodeidah with his two daughters and his brother’s family to travel over 400 km to a camp in Aden.

“When we saw the shrapnel and other objects flying around our homes, we got scared and ran away. Leaving behind our house, our clothes and our sleeping pads.

Our trip to Aden was really tough. We were scared at checkpoints during inspections. But we made it to the camp.

Today, I want to find a job to feed my daughters. I live on charity. I go to restaurants to ask for leftovers. Sometimes I go out to fill and sell two bags of cans and empty bottles to provide lunch for my children.”

Tawakkul is a public health engineer with Oxfam and oversees the water rehabilitation project in the city of Ad Dali.

“Oxfam has rehabilitated the main water pipes and pumping stations to the town of Ad Dali. But there is still a lot to do, such as network distribution.

Yemen suffers from a lack of water. The unstable security situation, wars and revolutions that are occurring have led to many problems. Many projects were put on hold due to the war.

The project covers 46,000 people, spread over three zones. We strive to provide them with access to water from their homes. It is an indescribable feeling, for the whole population and for me.”

Haneen lives in the town of Ad Dali with her husband and children. She had to make several trips each day to go to the well before the network was rehabilitated.

“Before the implementation of the water project, we did not have enough money to pay for drinking water and our life was in a miserable state.

We only had access to water polluted with garbage. Despite this, we went to get some to drink and the quantity we had was insufficient.

We carried water in cans, with the help of animals or on our heads. Now we have access to safe drinking water near our home.”

An act that changes lives

By acting together, we can continue to improve the daily lives of many people in emergency situations. You can change lives by supporting Oxfam’s activities in Yemen.

25 $

I offer a water filter for a whole family

65 $

I offer meals to a family for a week

250 $

I offer 10 survival kits

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