General Overview

2024 has already been a momentous year for Yemen. As many of you are aware, the United States and United Kingdom are now attacking Yemen, in response to the Red Sea shipping crisis. President Biden is now the fourth consecutive U.S. president to be involved in military attacks on Yemen. Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation is one of 40+ organizations across the United States endorsing a bipartisan congressional letter challenging the constitutionality of the ongoing US bombing campaign in Yemen. 

The humanitarian crisis in Yemen continues to rage, now entering its ninth year. According to the United Nations Population Fund, “a staggering 21.6 million people require some form of humanitarian assistance” (out of a population of roughly 32 million). The scale of this crisis is staggering: 

  • Over 17.8 million people lack access to clean water and sanitation 
  • Over 4 million people have been internally displaced 
  • Over 2 million children are out of school 
  • Over 2.2 million children under the age of five are experiencing acute malnutrition (facts from: UNICEF and World Health Organization

The World Health Organization estimates that “46% of all health facilities are only partially functioning or completely out of service due to shortages of staff, funds, electricity, medicines, and equipment.” Compounding this crisis, aid to Yemen has been cut drastically as humanitarian organizations struggle to respond to the multitude of crises worldwide. The World Food Program announced pauses in food distribution in North Yemen, which will impact 9.5 million individuals.  

As in most conflicts, women and children are bearing the brunt. Again, the statistics are grim: over 11,000 children have been killed or injured, and a woman dies during pregnancy and childbirth every two hours from causes that are preventable with access to basic health services. Women often have to travel hours to reach the nearest health services (see this BBC article about a woman who traveled 7 hours by camel to give birth). 

Despite the many challenges that Yemen faces, we are committed to doing our best  to support the people of Yemen. We were still able to accomplish much in 2023, thanks to your support. Some highlights include: 

Overview of the Response in 2023

  • In collaboration with our partners Kareema Care and Zakat Foundation, YRRF distributed 6,000 food baskets supporting 34,000 individuals during Ramadan 2023. 
  • Distributed meat to 6,000 families across Yemen during Eid al-Adha (the Feast of Sacrifice) 
  • Supported 600 orphans/month with healthcare, education, and basic needs. An estimated 1.2 million children have been orphaned since the start of the hostiles in Yemen. 
  • Supported children treated at two malnutrition centers — one in Aden, and one in Lahj. One in five children in Yemen are acutely malnourished. Children and their families received much needed support while at the centers and after they leave the centers. This included counseling, renovation of the unit to make it child friendly, workshops for parents on proper feeding practices, distribution of hygienic and cleaning material, distribution of food baskets to the families and other activities identified by the families and unit’s staff.  We served approximately 350 children and their families at the malnutrition centers.  
  • Supported children treated at four malnutrition centers — two in Hajjah, one in Almahweet, and one in Hodeida.  Once children leave these centers, we provide life saving nutritious food for 6 consecutive months to ensure that these children don’t relapse or die. We served approximately 600 children/month at these centers. 
  • In partnership with Zakat Foundation, YRRF distributed livestock (sheep, roosters and hens) to 243 families in Hajja, Aljawf, Taiz, Hadramout, Sadaa and Almahweet Governorates.  
  • Sponsored 20 women completing a three-year midwifery training program in areas that currently lack any midwives. 
  • Distributed 750 water filters across Yemen. Over 18 million people in Yemen lack access to clean water. 
  • Distributed over 4,000 schoolbags containing school supplies to children across Yemen. 
  • Supported 250 children with blood disorders with funds to celebrate Eid.
  • Distributed 18 handheld ultrasound probes to hospitals around Yemen. 
  • Through a partnership with a Seattle-based organization, launched a campaign to increase awareness of the benefits of vaccination. Diseases such as measles, rubella, whooping cough and polio are on the rise in Yemen, due to declining vaccination coverage. 

Food Security & Livelihoods 

The economic toll of the war on Yemen has resulted in a situation where 80% of Yemenis are reliant on humanitarian aid. The war has devastated local economies, resulting in many Yemenis losing their livelihoods. Basic necessities then become out of reach for these individuals. During Ramadan 2023, in partnership with Zakat Foundation and Kareema Care, YRRF distributed 6,000 food baskets across Yemen, supporting around 34,000 individuals. These food baskets contain staples including flour, rice, sugar, and beans. In addition to food baskets, during Eid al-Adha (the most important holiday in Islam), YRRF distributed meat to 6,000 families. This is in line with the holiday’s tradition of distributing meat to those in need, who otherwise would not be able to afford such a luxury. 

Health 

The healthcare system in Yemen is extremely fragile, with less than half of health facilities functioning. Thousands of patients with chronic or long-term illnesses are unable to receive the proper medical care they need in Yemen, and options for traveling out of Yemen to receive treatment are extremely limited by affordability and the ongoing blockade (see this article published in The Nation – “Biden Says There’s No Blockade. Tell That to Yemenis Who Need Medical Care”).

In 2023, YRRF health projects focused on four health projects.  

The first was a distribution of 18 advanced handheld ultrasound devices to hospitals in Yemen.  These devices are essential, especially in emergency care as they are small and can be taken to the patient in critical care easily.  

The second is to bring joy to 250 children who suffer from blood disorders.  Our presidents visited them at the Blood Center Treatment Center and distributed funds that they could use for the Eid Holiday. 

The third  included supporting children who were being treated in malnutrition centers.  This project provided support such as medicines, food, and payment for necessary medical services. Also, the project distributed nutritious food to over 600 children who were discharged from these centers for 6 months post discharge to prevent relapse and death. 

The fourth focused on education to promote vaccination. The social media campaign spreads information of the benefits of vaccines, and dispel the rumors and mis-information against vaccination.  This was important as thousands of  Yemeni children are either hospitalized or dying from vaccine preventable diseases such as measles, and diphtheria, due to low vaccination coverage.  This project was in partnership with a Seattle-based organization, YRRF launched a campaign called Safe Childhood to raise awareness of the benefits of vaccines and to dispel anti-vaccine rumors. Yemen is currently experiencing a sharp rise in the number of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, whooping cough, and polio. The World Health Organization notes that “as of 31 July this year, the number of suspected cases of measles and rubella in Yemen has reached almost 34,300 cases and 413 deaths, compared to 27,000 cases and 220 associated deaths in 2022.” Through Safe Childhood social media channels, YRRF provides vaccine education materials that are specific to Yemen and take into account Yemeni cultural norms. 

In addition to the Safe Childhood campaign, YRRF supported children recovering from severe malnutrition at six different malnutrition centers across Yemen. This includes supporting them while at the centers, and after they are discharged in order to prevent relapse. 

Education 

It is estimated that over 2 million children are unable to attend school in Yemen, as a result of multiple factors including the physical destruction of schools by airstrikes, the inability of local governments to pay teachers, and severe economic deprivation. Despite the unbelievable toll the war has taken on their childhoods, children in Yemen want to learn. We believe that all children have the right to an education – in 2023, YRRF distributed over 4,000 school bags containing school supplies across Yemen. 

Orphan Support (Zakat Eligible) 

An estimated 1.2 million children have been orphaned in Yemen over the past nine years. Without support, their future prospects are bleak. YRRF supports over 600 orphans each month with their basic needs, including healthcare and education. 

Income Generation 

As noted previously, the economic devastation of Yemen as a result of the ongoing war has led to many families losing their livelihoods. Over 80% of the population is reliant on humanitarian aid, and as we mentioned above, there is not enough aid to adequately support everyone who needs it. In partnership with Zakat Foundation of America, YRRF distributed sheep, roosters and hens to 243 families across six governorates. YRRF also provided veterinary services, vaccines and feed. YRRF followed up with a few of the families that received egg-laying hens and a rooster, and many reported that their economic prospects have already increased – any excess that they do not consume is sold at the local market. YRRF hopes to expand the number of families receiving this type of support. 

YRRF also sponsors 20 women who are completing a 3-year midwifery training course. When these women graduate from their programs, they will provide critically-needed maternal health services in their communities. 

Water Projects

18 million people in Yemen lack access to clean water. This puts them at an increased risk of contracting water-borne illnesses like cholera. In 2023, YRRF distributed 750 water filters and water containers to increase access to clean water. 

Our Vision for 2024  

We will continue to advocate for an immediate cessation in the violence and a return to diplomacy to restore peace to Yemen and end the humanitarian crisis that has been unfolding for almost nine years. Over the past few months, many of you have been asking how you can help Yemen. Giving is always appreciated (you can make a Zakat-eligible and tax-deductible gift anytime on our website or on our GlobalGiving). Advocacy and education are also equally important. Share our work with your friends and family, and continue to share and amplify our social media posts (make sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. In 2024, we’ll continue doing all we can to alleviate the suffering of Yemeni civilians through our humanitarian projects. Thank you for continuing to support Yemen Relief & Reconstruction Foundation. 

Recent Updates

July – December 2023 Accomplishments

July – December 2023 Accomplishments

Dear friends of Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation –  The need on the ground in Yemen continues to be great, and the response from the international community wholly insufficient. We have had to scale back the scope of our services in response to funding cuts,...

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January – June 2023 Accomplishments

January – June 2023 Accomplishments

March 2023 marked 8 years of a deadly war on Yemen that has left millions living under extreme man-made economic deprivation. Yemen is still facing one of the world’s worst modern humanitarian crises, with over 80% of the population in need of humanitarian aid. While...

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