Crisis Severity The severity score from 1 to 5 is based on 31 indicators aggregated into 3 pillars (impact, conditions, and complexity)4.60 Very lowVery high 5
Impact This measures the impact of the crisis itself, in terms of the scope of its geographical, and human effects.4.90 Very lowVery high 5
Humanitarian Conditions This measures the conditions and status of the people affected, including info about the distribution of severity.4.50 Very lowVery high 5
Complexity This measures the complexity of the crisis, in terms of factors that affect its mitigation or resolution.4.50 Very lowVery high 5
Access Constraints This measures the level of humanitarian access constraints.5.0No constraintsExtreme constraints
Yemen: Cyclone Gati
Yemen: Understanding conflict and crisis in the Marib district
Yemen: Oil Spill
Yemen Scenarios: Access to basic needs
Yemen: The Houthi Supervisory System
Volatility of the the Yemeni Riyal: drivers and impact
Yemen Analysis Ecosystem
The decade long conflict between the government and the Houthi movement escalated in 2015. The crisis has exacerbated historic vulnerabilities including chronic poverty, weak governance, corruption, over-dependence on imports, dwindling oil revenues, and water scarcity.? After President Hadi fled the capital Sana’a to the southern port city of Aden, an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE began bombing Houthi-controlled areas. At least 24.1 million people in Yemen need humanitarian assistance.? In January 2019, some 64,000 people were in Catastrophe (IPC-5) levels of food insecurity, nearly 5 million people in Emergency (IPC-4) and 10.9 million in Crisis (IPC-3).?
Approximately 19.7 million people lack adequate healthcare, of whom 14 million are in acute need of assistance.? Around 300,000 suspected cholera cases and 578 deaths (CFR 0.19%) have been reported since the start of 2019.? From January to June 2019, there were 517,020 suspected cases and 755 deaths (CFR 0.15%) from cholera, which is already more suspected cases and deaths than what was recorded for the whole of 2018.? All governorates are affected, with 2,500 suspected cases reported daily. 17.8 million people lack access to WASH services, exacerbating the situation.? Fighting and bureaucracy restrict access to affected areas and the rainy season (April to August) will likely accelerate the spread of the disease. In Yemen, both rainy and dry conditions aggravate the spread of disease.
Widespread violations of international humanitarian law, including the targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure by airstrikes and shelling, have resulted in loss of life, displacement, and destruction of infrastructure.? From the beginning of 2018 to the end of June 2019, approximately 6,850 civilian causalities and 2,650 civilian deaths have been recorded as a direct result of the fighting.? A UN-brokered ceasefire in December 2018 reduced violence in Al Hudaydah, however, fighting has continued on numerous active frontlines across the country. In 2019 an additional 300,000 people have been displaced bringing the total number of internally displaced people (IDPs) to an estimated 4 million people dispersed across all governorates. The majority having been displaced since March 2015.? Migrants and refugees, mostly from Ethiopia, continue to arrive in southern Yemen. April and May 2019 have seen some of the highest monthly averages of arrivals. IOM estimates that 18,320 refugees and migrants arrived in April 2019 and 18,904 people arrived in May 2019.? This is despite voluntary humanitarian return (VHR) flights coordinated by the Mixed Migration Working Group throughout May and June 2019 for migrants detained in informal detention centres with little to no services.
INFORM measures Yemen's risk of humanitarian crisis and disaster to be very high, at 7.8/10.?
ACAPS' team is daily monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information related to COVID-19 in Yemen, see content below.
Access continues to be very challenging due to conflict in the south between the Government of Yemen and the Southern Transitional Council (STC), and bureaucratic constraints in the north. Over 6 million people live in 75 hard to reach districts, with bureaucracy and conflict the main impediments to meeting humanitarian needs. Conflict blocks people from markets and services, particularly in Aden, Al Hodeidah, Ad Dhali’ and Hajjah. Fuel and gas shortages disrupt electricity, water, sanitation and health services and raise the cost of basic goods. On 20 June 2019, the World Food Programme suspended food distribution in Sana’a for over a month due to Houthi restrictions on beneficiary selection and monitoring. Project approvals in the north take over 100 days on average. Agencies in the south face challenges at checkpoints, particularly for northern staff. Access could decrease further if the Stockholm agreement, or Saudi-led talks in Jeddah, fail, resulting in renewed conflict.
Read more in the latest ACAPS Humanitarian Access Overview.
Foreign currency is of vital importance to the Yemeni economy, as the country imports around 90% of food and fuel requirements.? All main inflows of foreign currency in Yemen have been hit hard by the conflict, and by the global oil prices crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. Earnings from Yemen oil exports have halved because of the fall in global oil prices and interrupted exports. A Saudi deposit of US$2.2 billion in March 2018 to cover letters of credit 2 for staple food imports is nearly depleted and no additional funding has been confirmed. Humanitarian funding has been severely reduced and major aid programmes scaled down or suspended?; remittances have fallen largely as a result of the effect of COVID-19 on the earnings of Yemenis abroad. ? These all combine to reduce the total inflow of foreign currency.? The internal economic warfare enabled by a divided monetary system has driven a divergence of exchange rates – currently a 15% difference – in areas controlled by the two main parties to the conflict. The exchange rate has remained fairly stable in Ansar Allah territories at an average of 600 Yemeni Riyal (YER) to the USD since April 2020, while it spiraled from less than 700 YER to over 800 between April and October in areas under the internationally recognised Government of Yemen (IRG).? In mid-September the YER reached an all-time low. Importers are resorting to more expensive formal and informal sources to obtain foreign currency, as usual sources are shrinking. Increased demand for foreign currency will further weaken the YER in both systems. Currency speculation will also destabilise the exchange rate. Reduced foreign currency, increased economic warfare, and increased currency speculation will result in a continued depreciation of the YER, possibly reaching a record of 1,000 YER per 1 USD by the end of 2020 in IRG areas, leading to uncontrolled inflation.?
Food and basic commodity prices continue to increase, in line with the inflation of the YER and at different rates based on the difference in the exchange rate between the north and south.
In August, the average price of the monthly food basket stood at 39,375 YER – 30% higher than in August 2019 and surpassing the 2018 crisis level by 15%.? State and business salaries in the north mostly go unpaid, mainly because of economic warfare, and the severe liquidity shortage is worsened by the continued ban on new YER banknotes. In IRG-controlled areas, erratic payment of civil servant salaries could continue, financed by the issuance of additional YER banknotes that would drive further currency depreciation and inflation.?Reduced income and increased prices will reduce households’ purchasing power, pushing more people under the poverty line and unable to afford basic goods. The additional financial stress could increase the adoption of negative coping mechanisms including food rationing, child labour, child marriage, crime, illegal migration, and families sending their children to fighting fronts. Any significant deterioration of living conditions would lead to mass demonstrations that weaken the IRG’s credibility which, in turn, may lead to renewed conflict in the south, as either the Southern Transitional Council or Houthis seek to exploit this weakness. High inflation compounded by the funding shortfall will reduce humanitarian operations even more in a time of rising needs and high dependency on food aid.
Read the latest October Risk Analysis here
COVID-19 is likely to be aggressively spreading through community level transmission in Yemen. The virus has likely been circulating undetected and unmitigated within communities and current predictions state it is likely that around 55% of the Yemeni population is going to get sick and over 42,000 people are going to die.
As of 20 July, Yemen officially reported 1,623 cases and 448 deaths from COVID-19, with the highest number of cases in Hadramawt, Aden, and Taiz governorates.
Houthi authorities officially reported only four cases, including one death, in Sana'a city. Reports from inside the country suggest that the number of cases in northern Yemen are being seriously under reported. Authorities in the north have been accused of covering up positive tests and deflecting blame for the spread of the virus onto outsiders. In the south, increased mortality has been reported since early May in Aden city with an estimated 800 deaths due to symptoms similar to COVID-19. The full caseload is likely being under reported due to challenges with testing and reporting in Yemen's divided capital which is currently battling several disease outbreaks.
There's a concern that people experiencing multiple diseases are not tested for COVID-19 once they are diagnosed with another sickness. Many Yemenis in the north are reportedly afraid to seek medical attention due to reported harassment of those with symptoms. Humanitarian actors are concerned about protection issues and xenophobia against people associated with COVID-19 transmission like migrants, refugees, Yemenis moving between southern and northern governorates, and Yemenis returning from Saudi Arabia. Up to 100 Somali refugees were recently deported from areas under Houthi control to the south of Yemen. The spread of the virus is going to be exacerbated by population movements. An estimated 1,500 people fled Aden to other southern governorates like Lahj, Abyan and Ad Dali due to the spread of diseases and lack of services like electricity and water.
Both the internationally recognized Government of Yemen (GoY) and the Houthis have imposed measures to control the disease. Movement between governorates was severely restricted for people and goods, except fuel and food imports. Both authorities announced restrictions including the closure of markets, shops, restaurants, and mosques. The authorities announced a partial curfew in Sana'a on all markets starting from 6:00pm to 6:00 am. Reports indicate that people are not following restrictions which increases the risk of spreading the virus.
The COVID-19 response is placing additional pressure on Yemen's health-care system, which is operating at roughly 50% of its pre-conflict capacity. It is likely that the impact of COVID-19 will result in further deterioration of public services, exacerbate food insecurity, and increase needs of WASH and health services, especially for those living in displacement sites. Delays of delivery of COVID-19 supplies have been reported, particularly of cargo arriving to northern governorates. ??
Yemen Analysis Hub
The ACAPS Yemen Analysis Hub provides inter-sectoral, forward-looking analysis to support a stronger evidence base for humanitarian decision making in Yemen. Learn more about the Yemen Analysis Hub.
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Information Gaps and Needs
More granular information is required to better understand the specific needs of vulnerable groups.?