UNFPA Humanitarian Response in Yemen - 2018

No. of pages: 16

Publication date: 21 February 2018

Author: UNFPA Yemen

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Yemeni civilians have been bearing the brunt of a conflict that led to the collapse of the economy and social services, and to the severe disruption of livelihoods in the three years since its escalation, making Yemen the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.

An estimated 22.2 million people – over three fourths of the population  are in need of some kind of assistance or protection, including 11.3 million who are in acute need - an increase of more than one million people since June 2017. Two in three people do not know where their next meal will come from.

The coping mechanisms of Yemenis are stretched to their limit. Women and children make up 76 percent of those displaced and are paying the heaviest price, as in most humanitarian crises.

In a country with one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the Arab region, the lack of food, poor nutrition and the eroding healthcare, worsened by epidemics such as cholera and diphtheria, can mean an increase in premature or low-birth weight babies and severe postpartum bleeding. The process of giving birth thus becomes more life threatening.

As a result of the precarious security situation and the difficulty of access across the country, reproductive health personnel, commodities and services in health facilities have become much more scarce and difficult for women and girls to reach.

The escalation of the conflict and the ensuing humanitarian repercussions have further weakened the position of women and girls in Yemeni society, leading to a near erosion of their protection mechanisms and increasing their vulnerability to violence and abuse. An estimated three million women and girls are at risk of gender-based violence (GBV), with an increase in women seeking GBV services by 36 percent in 2017.  Rates of child marriage have also jumped from 52 percent of Yemeni girls marrying under the age of 18 in 2016 to nearly 66 percent in 2017.

There are an estimated three million women and girls of childbearing age who need support.  Rising food shortages have left an estimated 1.1 million pregnant women malnourished, and threaten the lives of 75,000 women who are likely to develop complications during childbirth, including risks of stunted growth of their newborns.