Yemen Complex Emergency Fact Sheet #14

August 18, 2017

  • Yemen’s cholera caseload exceeds 522,000 new suspected cases and nearly 2,000 related deaths
  • Revised 2017 Yemen HRP appeal requests $2.3 billion for humanitarian response efforts
  • USAID/FFP partner WFP reaches more than 6 million people with emergency food assistance in July

Numbers At A Glance

27.4 million

Population of Yemen

20.7 million

People in Need of Humanitarian Assistance

14.8 million

People Lacking Adequate Access to Health Care

17.1 million

Food-Insecure People

7.3 million

People in Need of Emergency Food Assistance

2 million

IDPs in Yemen

5.9 million

People Reached with Humanitarian Assistance in 2017


Humanitarian Funding

For the Yemen Response in
FY 2017

USAID/OFDA $115,313,225
USAID/FFP $313,802,384
State/PRM $38,125,000
TOTAL $467,240,609

As of August 17, health agencies had recorded more than 522,000 suspected cholera cases and nearly 2,000 associated deaths in Yemen, according to USAID/OFDA partner the UN World Health Organization (WHO). However, WHO reports that the spread of the disease has slowed in recent weeks compared to peak levels. USAID/OFDA partners are providing critical health, humanitarian coordination, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) assistance in response to the widespread cholera outbreak.

The UN released a revised Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) in early August, which requests $2.3 billion to reach 12 million people across Yemen with multi-sector humanitarian assistance. The revised HRP funding request is approximately 13 percent higher than the original HRP appeal of $2.1 billion, primarily due to increased needs related to cholera. As of mid-August, donors had contributed more than $947 million, or more than 40 percent of the total revised funding appeal.

USAID/FFP partner the UN World Food Program (WFP) reached more than 6 million people in July with general food assistance, including in-kind food distributions and food vouchers—a more than 10 percent increase compared to June. Improved communications between WFP and Republic of Yemen Government (RoYG) authorities have increased access to vulnerable populations, particularly in Sa’dah and Ta’izz governorates, and recent funding contributions from international donors have strengthened WFP’s food distribution pipeline.

Humanitarian space continues to shrink in Yemen due to interference by parties to the conflict, including RoYG-imposed delays on the entry of relief workers into Yemen, interference in the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and obstructions in the conduct of humanitarian assessments. In response, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (RC/HC) in Yemen Jamie McGoldrick issued a statement on August 17, advocating for unhindered humanitarian access and increased efforts by parties to the conflict to facilitate a safe and secure operational environment conducive to the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to all people in need.

The number of airstrikes reported in Yemen between January and July 2017 exceeded the total number of airstrikes reported in 2016, according to the Protection Cluster—the coordinating body for humanitarian protection activities, comprising UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders. Airstrikes, clashes, and military operations have most affected Hajjah, Al Jawf, Marib, Sa’dah, Sana’a, and Ta’izz governorates, including a July airstrike in Ta’izz, which resulted in more than 20 civilian deaths, the UN reports.

On August 4, alleged Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)-led Coalition airstrikes in Sa’dah resulted in at least 12 civilian deaths and 10 injuries, the UN reports. RC/HC McGoldrick released a statement on August 5 urging all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and ensure the safety and protection of all civilians. Humanitarian organizations have emphasized the importance of protecting civilians and civilian infrastructure to prevent humanitarian conditions from deteriorating further.

The conflict in Yemen has displaced nearly 3 million people since March 2015, nearly 2.5 million of whom experienced displacement for more than one year, and approximately 2 million people remained displaced as of mid-August, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Nearly 60 percent of the internally displaced population originates from Amanat al-Asimah, Amran, Hajjah, Ibb, and Ta’izz governorates. Between January and July, Sa’dah and Ta’izz hosted the highest number of new internally displaced persons (IDPs), with approximately 26,000 and 37,000 IDPs, respectively, OCHA reports.

Deteriorating hygiene and sanitation conditions and disruptions to water supply systems have limited access to safe drinking water for large populations throughout Yemen, enabling the rapid spread of cholera and other diseases, WHO reports. Access to quality health care services remains a challenge in Yemen due to the closure of more than half of the country’s health facilities, an inadequate supply of medicines, such as cholera treatment supplies, and a lack of salary payments to at least 30,000 health workers.

Health organizations recorded more than 522,000 suspected cases of cholera and 1,991 cholera-related deaths between April 27 and August 17, WHO reports. In response, humanitarian organizations and UN agencies have scaled up critical health and WASH assistance to vulnerable populations across Yemen. As of early August, health agencies had established nearly 90 percent of the 250 planned cholera treatment centers (CTCs), nearly 80 percent of the more than 5,000 planned beds in CTCs, and 60 percent of the approximately 2,000 planned oral rehydration points in affected areas, the UN reports. As of mid-August, more than 99.6 percent of people with suspected cholera who access health services survived.

While the overall rate at which cholera is spreading in Yemen has declined since late July, humanitarian agencies caution that the July-to-September rainy season may lead to an increase in cholera transmission as flooding caused by heavy rains can contaminate safe drinking water and contribute to the transmission of the waterborne disease.

WHO reports that malnourished children are more likely to contract cholera due to weakened immune systems, and malnourished children who do contract cholera often have little chance of recovery. Children ages five years and younger represented approximately 23 percent of suspected cholera cases recorded between April 27 and August 6, according to WHO.

In early August, nearly 7 million USAID/OFDA-procured water purification tablets—sufficient to provide safe drinking water for approximately 135,000 households, or approximately 812,000 people, for one month—arrived in Djibouti for onward shipment to Al Hudaydah Port. The UN plans to distribute the supplies to implementing organizations in Yemen for onward distribution. In addition, USAID/OFDA partners disseminated critical information related to cholera prevention to more than 18,000 people across six governorates between April and June.

In an effort to support the cholera response and improve humanitarian access and coordination in Yemen, a USAID/OFDA partner is conducting data collection and leading database management efforts that provide humanitarian organizations with accurate and timely information related to the crisis and international response efforts. The partner’s information management services facilitate better planning and monitoring, enabling relief agencies to address gaps in humanitarian assistance and avoid duplication of effort.

As of July, vulnerable populations in Yemen continued to experience Emergency and Crisis—IPC 4 and IPC 3—levels of food insecurity, particularly in areas severely affected by conflict, despite large-scale emergency response efforts, according to a recent USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) report.4 In addition, the ongoing lack of salary payments to government personnel has contributed to a reduction in household purchasing power and adversely affected food security across the country.

FEWS NET reports that food security conditions in Amran, Hajjah, Al Hudaydah, Sa’dah, Sana’a, and Ta’izz governorates would likely deteriorate to Emergency levels in the absence of continued humanitarian assistance between September and January. Approximately 75 percent of IDPs and more than 50 percent of returnees identified food assistance as their most urgent humanitarian need, according to an August OCHA report.

USAID/FFP partner WFP reached more than 6 million people in Yemen with general food assistance in July; the distributions included 53,000 metric tons of in-kind food assistance to approximately 5.2 million people across 19 of Yemen’s governorates and food vouchers to more than 860,000 individuals. From February to July, WFP reached an average of 4.9 million people per month with general food assistance.

Prices of basic food items and fuel in Yemen were generally stable as of June 30, WFP reports. Stable prices have contributed to functioning markets in several districts, enabling voucher distributions and cash transfers for food. In July, nearly 268,000 Yemeni households—or approximately 1.6 million people—received food vouchers and direct cash transfers, according to the UN.

USAID/FFP partner the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Bank announced a $36 million project to support food security in Yemen in early August. The Smallholder Agricultural Production Restoration and Enhancement Project aims to support Yemen’s most vulnerable populations, including IDPs, returnees, and rural women, to resume crop and livestock production, leading to improved livelihoods and nutrition outcomes.

Relief agencies reached more than 680,000 people—approximately 28 percent of the planned beneficiaries—with critical nutrition assistance between January and July, the Nutrition Cluster reports. During that period, health organizations treated nearly 101,000 children—approximately 26 percent of the population in need—for severe acute malnutrition.

To date in FY 2017, USAID has provided more than $313 million to FAO, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), WFP, and implementing partners to support emergency food and nutrition response efforts in Yemen.

Protection concerns persist in Yemen, with approximately 2.6 million women and girls at risk of gender-based violence (GBV), according to the UN. In July, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) provided more than 770 multi-sector services—primarily health and psychosocial support services—for GBV survivors in Yemen. In addition, UNFPA reached approximately 1,300 people in July with GBV awareness trainings, which included awareness of the important role of women in cholera prevention

Despite ongoing insecurity in several parts of the country, more than 940,000 IDPs have returned to areas of origin. As of July, five governorates accounted for approximately 77 percent of returns, including 333,000 returns to Aden, 186,000 returns to Amanat al-Asimah, and 86,000 returns to Ta’izz, OCHA reports. As of July, nearly 90 percent of the identified returnee population had returned to their original house of habitual residence, with less than 10 percent of returnees relying on other housing options, such as living with host families, renting accommodation, or returning to a second home. In addition, less than 1 percent of the identified returnee population sought shelter in collective centers or spontaneous settlements, which often lack basic facilities and protection measures, according to the Task Force for Population Movement co-led by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Households face threats of eviction and overcrowding in shelters that lack adequate humanitarian protection measures, according to the Shelter Cluster. Some households are residing in caves or in basic emergency shelters that lack safe drinking water and protection from extreme weather, the UN reports. The Shelter Cluster is coordinating with humanitarian partners, facilitating information sharing, and providing technical support to respond to these needs. In addition, OCHA and UNHCR are training local authorities and communities on how to ensure protection for IDPs.

Following a July visit to Sa’dah’s Majz District, where approximately 2,700 displaced households currently reside, the UN identified shelter support and core relief commodities as the most urgent humanitarian needs in the area. In response, U.S. Government partner UNHCR is providing shelter materials and enhancing protection monitoring in Majz.

The revised 2017 Yemen HRP plan funding appeal increased by approximately 13 percent, primarily due to the absorption of requirements outlined in the July 2017 Integrated Cholera Response Plan. The total cholera funding requirement in the HRP has increased by approximately $254 million, including nearly $109 million for the health sector and more than $145 million for the WASH sector.

The 2017 Yemen HRP had received more than $947 million, or more than 40 percent, of the total revised funding request of $2.3 billion as of mid-August. In addition, donors had contributed more than $406 million to organizations working in Yemen outside the framework of the Yemen HRP.

On July 30, the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center fulfilled a pledge of $33 million to UNICEF for programs aimed at containing the cholera outbreak in Yemen. The funding is part of a larger $66.7 million package pledged for cholera in June.

The Government of the United Arab Emirates recently provided approximately $10 million to support WHO’s cholera response activities and the Government of New Zealand provided approximately $1.5 million for International Committee of the Red Cross emergency food, health, and WASH interventions in Yemen and Nigeria

Between 2004 and early 2015, conflict between the RoYG and Al Houthi opposition forces in the north and between Al Qaeda-affiliated groups and RoYG forces in the south affected more than 1 million people and repeatedly displaced populations in northern Yemen, resulting in humanitarian needs. Fighting between RoYG forces and tribal and militant groups since 2011 limited the capacity of the RoYG to provide basic services, and humanitarian needs increased among impoverished populations. The expansion of Al Houthi forces in 2014 and 2015 resulted in the renewal and escalation of conflict and displacement, further exacerbating already deteriorated humanitarian conditions.

In late March 2015, the KSA-led Coalition began airstrikes on Al Houthi and allied forces to halt their southward expansion. The ongoing conflict has damaged public infrastructure, interrupted essential services, displaced many people, and reduced the level of commercial imports to a fraction of the levels required to sustain the Yemeni population. The country relies on imports for 90 percent of its grain and other food sources.

The escalated conflict, coupled with protracted political instability, the resulting economic crisis, rising fuel and food prices, and high unemployment, has left more than 17 million people food-insecure. In addition, the conflict had displaced nearly 3 million people, including more than 900,000 people who had returned to areas of origin, as of July 2017. The volatility of the current situation prevents relief agencies from obtaining accurate, comprehensive demographic information.

In early 2015, Yemen hosted approximately 248,000 refugees and a large population of third-country nationals (TCNs). The escalation in hostilities prompted IOM to organize large-scale TCN evacuations from Yemen.

On October 26, 2016, U.S. Ambassador Matthew H. Tueller re-issued a disaster declaration for the complex emergency in Yemen for FY 2017 due to continued humanitarian needs resulting from the complex emergency and the impact of the country’s political and economic crises on vulnerable populations

The most effective way people can assist relief efforts is by making cash contributions to humanitarian organizations that are conducting relief operations. A list of humanitarian organizations that are accepting cash donations for disaster responses around the world can be found at

USAID encourages cash donations because they allow aid professionals to procure the exact items needed (often in the affected region); reduce the burden on scarce resources (such as transportation routes, staff time, and warehouse space); can be transferred very quickly and without transportation costs; support the economy of the disaster-stricken region; and ensure culturally, dietary, and environmentally appropriate assistance.

More information can be found at:
- USAID Center for International Disaster Information: or +1.202.821.1999.
- Information on relief activities of the humanitarian community can be found at