On 6 November the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition announced a temporary closure of all Yemen’s airports, seaports and land crossings, effectively halting access to commercial and humanitarian goods to 27 million people. The blockage was announced after Houthis launched a missile from Yemen targeting Riyadh airport, Saudi-Arabia on 4 November. Yemen is heavily reliant on imports for around 80-90% of its food, fuel and medical needs. On 13 November, Hadi government-controlled ports in Aden, Mokha and Mukalla as well as al Wadea land crossing were reopened. Al Hudeidah and Saleef ports, on Houthi controlled area, which process 80% of commercial and humanitarian imports, remain closed. Government-controlled ports cannot function as substitutes for the country’s main ports due to their limited offload and storage capacity. The location of these ports would require the crossing of conflict frontlines to reach the northern areas most heavily affected by food insecurity and cholera. Prior to the current blockade, the Saudi-led coalition had imposed a naval blockade on Yemen's coast, and restricted travel by air, land, and sea, therefore severely restricting the inflow of commercial and humanitarian cargo for the last two and a half years. This has left the country with critically low stocks of necessary goods, reducing capacity to cope under the current conditions.
A cholera outbreak was reported in Yemen on 27 April. Since then, the number of acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) or suspected cholera cases has increased to reach over 17,200, including 209 deaths, and the infection rate is rising quickly. The outbreak has affected 18 districts: Sana’a City (Amanat al Asemah) is the most heavily affected area, with over 4,000 suspected cases. A state of emergency has been declared in the governorate.
The UN has warned that Yemen is at risk of falling into famine if the international community does not take immediate steps to address the severe food and nutrition crisis. 6.8 million people (25% of the population) are facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels of food insecurity, only one phase before the declaration of famine. A further 10.2 million (38% of the population) are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3). The population in Crisis and Emergency has increased by 20% compared to June 2016.
Since 23 March, more 150,000 people have been displaced, over 1,000 were killed and 4,350 injured. Access conditions are severely restricted while urgent humanitarian needs are increasing. This adds to the already dire situation of 16 million people in need of assistance over a total population of 26 million. This represents 60% of the population.
Access has deteriorated and led to significant shortages of fuel and electricity. These have affected the functioning of hospitals, the availability of drinking water and food.
19 out of 22 governorates are affected by the conflict, which has escalated since 23 March. Alliances are complex, at times transitory. Several local militias have supported the Government. Armed Sunni tribesmen and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have been fighting the Houthi advance, although AQAP continues to oppose the Government as well.
On 26 March, a Saudi Arabia-led coalition launched air attacks. Nonetheless, Houthis continued advancing south. Airstrikes and fighting have continued unabated, particularly in the southern governorates, with no reported progress on a political settlement in the short term.
About 150,000 people are facing Famine in Nigeria and South Sudan. Another 9 million face Emergency food security outcomes (IPC 4) in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen, and could face Famine (IPC 5), if no assistance is provided between May and August, when the lean season takes hold.
In all four countries, conflict is resulting in a high level of displacement and limited humanitarian access. Insecurity is preventing food production and driving prices up. All four countries are experiencing economic problems: falling revenue, currency depreciation, and inflation. Somalia is particularly hard hit by drought. The situation is likely to deteriorate with the lean season. Longstanding vulnerabilities, such as poverty and chronic malnutrition, are also contributing to the crisis. Households have exhausted their coping mechanisms.
The Crisis Overview 2016: Humanitarian Trends and Risks for 2017, outlines the countries where needs are greatest, and growing, as we approach the end of 2016.
Based on our weekly Global Emergency Overview (GEO), and four years of data on humanitarian needs across 150 countries, we have identified ten countries where humanitarian needs are likely to be highest in 2017, as well as four that merit attention, as they face a potential spike in needs. We also consider the humanitarian situation in the northern triangle region of Latin America, where the wide-ranging humanitarian impact of pervasive gang violence is chronically underreported.
The Crisis Overview 2015: Humanitarian Trends and Risks for 2016, outlines the countries considered to be in greatest humanitarian need as we approach the end of 2015.
Based on our weekly Global Emergency Overview (GEO), and three years of data on humanitarian needs across 150 countries, we have identified eleven countries where humanitarian needs are likely to be highest in 2016, as well as seven that merit attention, as they face a potential spike in needs. A final section considers the potential impact of the current El Niño event across a number of regions.