European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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Yemen by Peter Biro
© EU/ECHO/Peter Biro

Yemen remains the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Millions of Yemenis are affected by a triple man-made tragedy: the brutal armed conflict, a looming famine, and multiple outbreaks of preventable diseases. Civilians face constant threats to their lives, safety, well-being, and basic rights. The conflict has been marred by repeated violations of international humanitarian law, including mass civilian casualties, and destruction to infrastructure.

What are the needs?

Imports and distribution of basic food items, fuel and medicine have become more difficult and costlier as a result of restricted access by aid workers. Water and power plants, factories, markets and shops have stopped functioning in many locations.

In 2019, an estimated 24. million people - 80% of the population - are in need of humanitarian assistance or protection. This includes around 10  million Yemenis, who do not know where their next meal will come from.

The public health situation is dire, with several epidemics reported by health organisations. The country has been struggling with a massive cholera outbreak since 2017, with over 10 000 suspected cases still reported on a weekly basis in the five most affected governorates.

The recent rapid and uncontrolled depreciation of the Yemeni rial has worsened the crisis. If current trends continue, an additional 3 to 5.6 million Yemenis could become severely food insecure in the coming months.
More than 4 million people in acute needs live in 83 remote and hard to reach districts where humanitarians face access constraints.

Humanitarian partners report that 70 000 people have been killed since 2016. Since 2015 more than 4 million people  have been forced to flee their homes. 2018, more than 685 000 people have been displaced, in majority because of the fighting in Hodeidah governorate and along the west coast.  Reports of grave violations against women and children have spiked dramatically.

How are we helping?

Since the beginning of the conflict in 2015, the European Union has allocated more than €430 million in humanitarian aid to the Yemen crisis. The latest increase of funding for life-saving assistance to the Yemeni population aims to boost lifesaving efforts of humanitarian organisations. Out of the entire amount, €80 million is pending approval by EU budgetary authorities, which is expected in the coming weeks (February 2019).

The EU’s humanitarian aid programmes provide life-saving assistance, such as food, water, emergency shelter, and hygiene items, to people in war-affected areas and to displaced populations.

EU-funded projects also treat severely malnourished children, as well as provide emergency healthcare and food security programmes. In response to the cholera epidemic, the EU funds treatment centres and prevention activities, while also supporting emergency outbreak response in areas affected by measles and diphtheria.

In addition, the EU supports the United Nations Humanitarian Air Services (UNHAS), which provides critical and reliable air and sea transport to humanitarian aid workers and cargo.

In June 2018, fighting started around the city port of Hodeidah, which still is estimated to host around 250 000 civilians and is a critical facility for both commercial and humanitarian imports to the country. A total of 500 000 people have been displaced from the city and require sustained humanitarian aid. Despite access and security challenges, the EU’s humanitarian partners continue to provide assistance to the affected population in the area.

Aid agencies are implementing the world’s largest humanitarian operation in Yemen, with as many as 8 million people receiving life-saving assistance every month.

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