Now at the end of the seventh year of war, Yemen remains the largest emergency globally, with 24 million people out of the population of 30.5 million in need of humanitarian assistance. The conflict has left 4 million people, 3.2 million of them are women and children, internally displaced, and at least 500,000 public sector workers have been without salaries for almost 6 years. Humanitarian access to vulnerable populations remains severely constrained with rising food insecurity, poor sanitation and lack of safe water.
The water supply and sanitation systems have been severely affected by the conflict. An estimated 12.6 million people are in acute need of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services and more than 17.8 million people require WASH assistance in general. Immunization coverage has stagnated at the national level, resulting in outbreaks of measles, diphtheria and other vaccine-preventable diseases, and leaving the population vulnerable to polio. Thirty-seven per cent of children under 1 year are not fully vaccinated and therefore at higher risk of vaccine-preventable diseases.
Children are bearing the brunt of the conflict: over 10,000 children have been killed or wounded since the conflict began; and over 395,200 children under 5 years are suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM). 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. While an estimated 46 per cent of girls and 54 per cent of boys are enrolled in school, secondary-level girls are more likely to drop out due to security issues, lack of female teachers and the lack of appropriate WASH facilities.
Yemen’s socio-economic situation continued to worsen in 2021 due to factors including the ongoing fuel crisis, steep devaluation of the Yemeni rial, effects of COVID-19, and climate and natural disasters. The number of districts directly experiencing fighting increased from 45 to 51, complicating aid delivery and increasing internal displacement. The oil crisis worsened in 2021, resulting in the price of basic goods to increase and the minimum cost for food baskets to rise by about 23%. Critical areas of daily life have also been negatively impacted by the pandemic, such as access to income, food, social assistance, and remittance. Lastly, climate change events including flash floods and drought continued to destroy infrastructure and crops, as well as increase the chance for people to contract cholera and malaria.
In 2020, the UN and other agencies warned that the window for preventing famine in Yemen is closing. 2021 saw famine-like conditions returning for almost 50,000 people, and 5 million pushed to the verge of famine. In December 2021, WFP announced it is running out of funding; this comes on top of the dire economic circumstances in the country, forcing WFP to reduce the rations of 8 million people starting in January 2022.
Yemen is a country plagued by violence, pain and suffering. The ongoing war has left more than 1 million children without proper support. In fact, 1.2 million children have been reported in 2019 as orphans in Yemen from—which less than 5% have been sponsored.
Overview of YRRF’s Response in 2021
- 226,494 people (including 151,297 children) benefited from food baskets and 32,000 people received 2 kilograms of meat during major holidays.
- 67 families received financial assistance towards healthcare and 520 visually impaired children received eye medicine.
- 6,121 children received school bags holding school supplies and textbooks.
- Over 200 medical and educational devices were distributed to schools and hospitals.
- 900 orphans received sustained financial support and about 270 orphaned children attended vocational training and capacity building courses.
- Sheep and hens were distributed to 455 families for income generation and sustenance.
- 14,142 blankets and pullovers were disturbed to help fight Yemen’s harsh winters.
- Over 5,000 people now have daily access to clean drinking water via distribution of water tanks, filters, and buckets.
- 100 families received Water Tanks to allow safe and clean water storage.
- 500 families received water filters and buckets to ensure that they have access to clean water.
Food Security and Livelihoods
The Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation (YRRF) provides food baskets to families in need, reaching the places that are often inaccessible. Each food basket supports an average Yemeni family of 6 for one month. During the reporting period from January to December 2021, 37,749 families received food baskets across 18 Governorates and 35 districts— benefiting 226,494 people, including 151,297 children—benefited from these food baskets.
YRRF also supports local charitable bakeries and kitchens. During major holidays such as Feast of the Sacrifice, YRRF distributed 2 or more kilograms of meat per family. In 2021, we reached 4,587 families—amounting to over 32,000 people.
COVID-19 has exacerbated the already dire situation in Yemen. The pandemic continues to exacerbate Yemen’s underlying vulnerabilities as it comes on top conflict, economic collapse, hunger, disease, and displacement. YRRF provided COVID-19 reagents to all public health labs in Yemen.
Only about 50% of health services in Yemen are operational due to the war. Furthermore, import restrictions and the economic crisis have made medicine extremely expensive and hard to attain. In 2021, the Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation provided eye medication to 2 centers for the visually impaired in Sana’a, reaching 520 children. In December, we donated 35 medical devices to the Altahali Society for Disabled Girls and 5 boxes of medical equipment to the Alamal Mental Health Hospital. We also gave financial support to 67 families so they could procure essential health services and medicine.
The Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation aims to support Yemeni children by distributing school supplies and school bags to families who cannot afford them. This includes printed textbooks, as many families cannot afford to print them. Through our volunteers and partners in the field, YRRF reached 6,121 children in regions ranging from the highlands of Hajjah and the seashores of Hudaydah to Al-Jawf and Saada areas that are experiencing active fighting.
Between August and November, YRRF expanded its response to the need for educational support by donating 58 devices to a school for children with disabilities and 121 devices to a new school for gifted girls. In December, we donated a 65-inch smart-board to the High Institute of Health Science for use in educational classes.
The Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation’s Orphans Project provides sustainable support for over 900 orphans less than 18 years of age across Yemen. This allows families to access minimum basic needs, such as food, shelter, education for the children, and healthcare. Without this support, these families would be homeless and struggling to feed their members as many have lost their sole provider.
In 2021, YRRF began vocational training and capacity building initiatives to orphaned children preparing them for jobs after high school or increasing their chances of university acceptance. Classes began in the first quarter of the year, where 25 older children learned basic computer skills. More were added in the following months on cell phone repair; solar panel installation, maintenance, and repair; and attaining an international computer license. A workshop on women’s empowerment was also held. In sum, 268 children benefited from these courses.
The war has exacerbated food prices for a country that imports more than three-quarters of its food needs. Protein food sources have been especially affected, which heavily impact the poor and vulnerable. YRRF has multiple projects that aim to enable poor and vulnerable families in Yemen to generate income in a sustainable way in order to improve their food security, self-reliance, and dignity in a time of severe deprivation. In 2021, YRRF distributed sheep and hens to 155 families and 300 families, respectively. This livestock serves as a source of protein, nourishment, and income to families in need.
There are now over 4 million internally displaced people in Yemen, most of whom lack protection against severe temperatures that can reach as low as –6°C. The Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation distributes winter blankets and clothing to families and children who are not able to purchase their own. In 2021, we distributed a total of 14,142 blankets and pullovers to families and children in need.
About 18 million people in Yemen lack access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services. This puts them at risk of contracting water-borne diseases, such as cholera. YRRF provides safe and clean drinking water to neighborhoods daily to ensure the health of families and children. In total, we reached 13 neighborhoods across Yemen, helping over 5,000 people daily. YRRF also provided 100 water tanks to families in a mountainous area in Taiz so to allow for safe and clean storage of water. Finally, we distributed 500 water filters and 100 buckets to families in Saada to ensure access to clean water, as the community water system was damaged by airstrikes.
Thanks for supporting our aid efforts in 2021
Thanks to all our donors for the support in 2021. If you’d like to continue supporting our efforts, consider making a recurring $45 donation to support a family of 6 for one month. In 2022, we’ll be posting updates every two months to keep our donors up-to-date.