Emergency Update: Children at Risk as Conflict Escalates in Yemen
Children in Yemen are facing a massive crisis. Volatile armed conflicts and rapidly shifting frontlines have been happening in the midst of growing poverty and an already large-scale humanitarian crisis. From the start of the Yemen emergency in 2012 to the end of 2014 we have reached nearly 1.5 million children with vital assistance. But as the conflict rages on, the needs of vulnerable children continue to grow.
Every day, children around the world are severely affected by crises and events which are out of their control. No one knows when, or where, the next crisis will occur. For nearly 100 years, Save the Children has been on the front lines of emergency and humanitarian responses around the world. Our Children’s Emergency Fund was established to provide assistance to children in their time of greatest need.
Our History in Yemen
Save the Children has been working in Yemen since 1963. The first international aid group in Yemen, we work nationally and locally to promote and protect children's rights, with programs in education, protection and survival.
Yemen is among the most challenging places in the world to raise a family. Mothers and children have alarmingly poor health and education, even when compared with other impoverished nations.
A fragile peace exists in Yemen, where thousands of children have been affected by long-term conflict. Many children and their families are displaced, having no homes or services to return to after years of struggle.
Our Results in Yemen
Boys and girls are growing up in the poorest country in the Arab world with little opportunity for education and development. In the war-torn north, children suffer from malaria, diarrhea and other illnesses. Others have been separated from their parents, emotionally scarred by the conflict and troubled by upheaval in their lives. Complicating matters are refugees from nearby Somalia, fleeing from abject poverty and anarchy.
Nearly half of Yemeni children are at risk of malnutrition and are underweight for their age. Sadly, rampant food insecurity means many children do not know when their next meal will be.
Things are particularly hard for girls in Yemen, who are worse off for almost all indicators. Yemeni girls traditionally marry young exposing them to different forms of gender-based violence. Watch Malak’s animated film, a powerful video about her fight against child marriage.
Conflict in northern Yemen has subsided, but threats of unrest looms in light of the political crisis in the Middle East. Historically, hundreds of children have been killed or maimed by artillery, drones and other explosives in Yemen. Read our exclusive report about Yemen and around the world: Devastating Impact: Explosive weapons and children
To help families affected by the violence, Save the Children’s response includes protection, education and health programs, strengthening existing structures and services in the communities. In 2010, a new program to improve families’ food security was launched that empowers people to help earn a living and feed their families.
Other programs have benefitted over 16,000 children who have taken part in activities at our Child Friendly Spaces and in schools. Health services are provided for 70,000 children and women who would otherwise go without even the most basic medical care.
Save the Children has responded to the influx of Somali refugees since the start of the conflict in the early 1990’s. Refugee children are provided basic health, protection and education services both at the one camp and among the host population in several communities throughout the country.
In 2010, Save the Children reached over 850,000 people through child protection, education, health and other essential programs. Save the Children also launched a new initiative to improve child survival through lifesaving health and nutrition support. For girls in Yemen, a major obstacle to good health is shame about their bodies and lack of access to information.
In Yemen, a key factor contributing to poverty is the lack of education. Despite recent gains in enrollment, school statistics in Yemen remain among the lowest in the Arab world. That’s why Save the Children is targeting an increase in education programs to more than 45,000 boys and girls. To support over 40 class and resource rooms, clean water and sanitation facilities were built or repaired.
Save the Children has also conducted successful youth leadership and development programs that helped vulnerable youth in Yemen make informed, practical and positive life choices that contribute to the stability of communities. Read about Ahmed, who was rescued from life as a gang member thanks to a youth development program.
Yemen Facts and Statistics
Unless otherwise noted, facts and statistics have been sourced from Save the Children’s 2014 State of the World’s Mothers report.You can access detailed data here.
Other sources as follows: Population and Life Expectancy: CIA World Factbook 2014; Human Development Rank: United Nations Development Programme 2014; Underweight Children: World Health Organization Report 2014
Last Updated April 2015