The escalation of war and de-facto blockade in Yemen have resulted in the country's largest ever displacement of civilians and unprecedented levels of poverty. Within one year alone, there has been a six-fold increase of people forced to flee their homes, raising the number to 2.4 million.
Since March 2015, the poorest country in the region has been pushed to the brink of catastrophe as 82 per cent of the population is now in need of humanitarian aid. Up to 48 per cent of Yemenis no longer have access to safe water and sanitation, spiking the total number of people affected to 19.3 million.
Around 3,000 civilians have been killed since March last year, including 2,000 children. 35,000 people have been reported injured.
"With the world looking the other way, the last 12 months of fighting in Yemen have pushed an entire nation into the abyss," said Norwegian Refugee Council Secretary General Jan Egeland. "The ongoing fighting and continued enforcement of a de-facto blockade have caused displacement, hunger and suffering almost without equal, yet world leaders have closed their eyes to this crisis."
Already difficult, life in Yemen has gotten much worse over the past year. More than half the population in Yemen, some 14.4 million people, now struggle to get enough food for their families – with at least 7.6 million women, children and men going to bed hungry each night. Almost 10 million more people do not have access to safe water and sanitation. The number of children out of school has doubled to 3.4 million.
While need for humanitarian assistance exploded, delivery of humanitarian aid remains is becoming harder. Aid agencies face insecurity and movement restrictions by all parties to the conflict. Humanitarian assistance continues to be delayed or blocked. Funding is also a huge challenge. While the needs keep rising, only 11 per cent of the US$ 1.8 billion required for the UN appeal has been funded.
NRC is calling on regional powers and the governments with influence to pressure parties to the conflict to enact a permanent ceasefire and come to a political solution to the crisis.
"We humanitarians are denied the resources and access to meet the scale of needs created by Yemen's man-made crisis. Governments that should be working for peace have instead brought more misery on the lives of millions of Yemeni civilians," Egeland said. "The parties and their sponsors are responsible for the deaths and a scale of suffering that is now out of control. It is their duty to find the path forward for negotiating peace and an inclusive political solution; and in the meantime they have to open all land, sea and air routes to and throughout Yemen so that civilians in Yemen can access badly needed supplies.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
-- For interviews with NRC's Country Director in Sana'a or more information contact Karl Schembri on +962 7902 20159 or [email][email protected][/email]
-- NRC provides humanitarian assistance to vulnerable people in Abyan, Aden, Amran, Hajjah, Hodeida, Lahj and Sana’a.
-- NRC is today releasing video testimonies of civilians displaced by the fighting and how their lives changed in the last year as well as a fact sheet detailing the spiraling figures of the Yemeni crisis over the last year. Photos and case studies can be downloaded and used freely from here, accrediting NRC: https://nrc.smugmug.com/Country-Programs/Yemen/2016/Yemen-1-year-anniversary/