Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab Peninsula. Over 47% of the population lives below the poverty line on less than €2 a day. It has the world's third highest rate of malnutrition. Poverty combined with conflict, refugee and migrant flows and rising food prices has aggravated an already serious humanitarian crisis during the last year. Currently the most worrying humanitarian issues are malnutrition rates in parts of the country and the fact that almost one out of two Yemenis do not know where their next meal will come from.
Since 2004 recurrent armed clashes in the north have seen six major cycles of fighting and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. More than 284,000 have not yet been able to return to their homes. Those who have gone home now struggle with slow reconstruction and a lack of even the most basic services. The conflict has also had a severe impact on the livelihoods of a million people living close to the former fighting zones. People fleeing fighting has also displaced over 180,000 people in the south. 162,000 have no returned home but struggle with difficult living conditions and a destroyed infrastructure.
Yemen is also directly affected by the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa. Almost 242,000 refugees, mainly from Somalia and Ethiopia, are stranded in the country and live in precarious conditions either in Kharaz (the only refugee camp) or in poor urban areas. These challenges are amplified by the political turmoil and economic meltdown of an already poor country.
In 2013, the European Commission has allocated € 33 million for populations across the country suffering from malnutrition or affected by food insecurity and armed clashes. The bulk of the funding is used to provide appropriate treatment and relief to children suffering from acute malnutrition. The remaining funding goes to providing food and cash, water and sanitation, basic health care, shelter and basic household items for the internally displaced people, the refugees from the Horn of Africa and the communities who are hosting these uprooted people. With the worsening conditions faced by an increasing number of migrants stranded in Yemen, ECHO decided to fund shelter, health care, protection, as well as water and sanitation assistance for 15,000 of the most vulnerable ones.
A small portion of the Commission funding is also used to ensure monitoring of the rapidly evolving humanitarian situation and security, as well as coordination among humanitarian actors and donors. Advocacy work, disseminating information about the principles of humanitarian aid: neutrality, impartiality and independence, is also being conducted. In addition, EU Member States have allocated €53 million in 2013 to cover humanitarian needs in Yemen.