Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East, is in the midst of a massive humanitarian crisis that only continues to deteriorate. Deadly clashes and airstrikes have forced over 3.1 million people to flee their homes since March 2015. As many as 21 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, a shocking 82% of the population, and 14.1 million people cannot afford enough food for their families.
Oxfam in Yemen
Oxfam has been in Yemen for more than 30 years, working with government authorities, as well as civil society organizations, to improve the water and sanitation services, and livelihoods of thousands of people living in poverty. Our focus is on women's rights, health care, disaster preparedness, and helping people have a say in the decisions that affect them.
Peace talks and a partially observed cessation of hostilities are at an end since early August, with airstrikes and ground fighting on the rise yet again. We are delivering essential aid in the north and south of the country and have reached more than 913,000 people with clean water, food vouchers, cash transfer and hygiene kits, across the frontlines, since July 2015.
Helping people to recover
Yemen’s humanitarian crisis has left the economy in tatters. Almost half of the population is unable to access the food they need to survive and millions of children are malnourished. Millions have been pushed from their homes and out of work, while food prices continue to rise. The ongoing lack of decisive steps towards peace is deepening the cycle of poverty and suffering across the country.
Oxfam is providing agricultural and humanitarian assistance to help people recover from the crisis and prepare for the future, and empowering women to play a role in their country. In Al Hodeidah and Hajjah in Western Yemen, Oxfam has given cash to 400,000 people since 2011 to help them buy food and support their basic needs. We are also providing about 4500 people with livestock, as well as seeds and tools to grow their own food.
Since 2012 Oxfam has rehabilitated water systems in 41 rural communities in Western Yemen, providing more than 125,000 vulnerable people with safe drinking water. A cholera outbreak in October 2016 has put 7.6 million people at risk. In response Oxfam has been coordinating with relevant INGOs, and already reached more than 330,000 beneficiaries in the region.
Strong civil society
Oxfam works to strengthen civil society in Yemen so that people can have a say in decisions that affect them most. Oxfam is providing training to seven networks that in turn work with around 140 civil society organizations. We also work to empower young people to participate in political life and have their say in the country’s transition process, and train students, parents and teachers to work on reducing violence in schools.
In Yemen, thousands of women lack access to education, economic opportunities and basic legal protection. Together with its partners, Oxfam has launched a new programme to empower women to have a say in political life and play a role in the future of their country. Since 2005 Oxfam has worked with local partners to help advocate for a safe minimum legal age for marriage, because early-marriage is often considered a barrier to women’s development in Yemen. Our awareness campaign has reached thousands of people.
Averting future crises
Yemen has a rapidly growing population and is prone to natural disasters such as droughts and flooding. The effects of climate change are increasingly being felt in Yemen, which is one of the most water scarce countries in the world. Oxfam is working with local partner organizations to raise awareness on how to cope with future natural disasters.