Responding to the crisis in Yemen

A US$300 million emergency project in partnership with the World Bank supports 2 million Yemenis through cash-for-work programmes. Photo: UNDP Yemen

Already one of the poorest countries in the Arab region, Yemen’s situation worsened considerably amid escalating armed conflict in 2015.

In a country of 27 million people, tens of thousands have been killed or injured while 3 million are internally displaced. Food supplies have been disrupted, causing widespread hunger, acute malnutrition, stunting, and sometimes death—even as prices surge, incomes plunge or vanish, and people are forced to buy food and other basic supplies on credit.

The crisis is threatening Yemen’s future, with millions of children at grave risk.

  • Two out of three Yemenis are “food insecure,” meaning they lack reliable access to enough food to stay healthy.
  • 2.2 million children are acutely malnourished.
  • More than half of Yemeni households are buying food on credit, while 70% of small and medium enterprises have laid off half of their workers.

UNDP's response

Swift delivery of aid, along with urgent recovery and development work, can halt an approaching famine and strengthen Yemeni communities against future shocks. UNDP Yemen has responded by scaling up cash-for-work and other support to communities to directly boost the local economy.

We are helping people get back to work so they can become self-sufficient again, helping restore basic services such as health care, and contributing to peace-building. UNDP is also supporting UN political efforts to prepare for implementation of an eventual peace deal.

Our work includes an innovative partnership among UNDP, other UN agencies, and the World Bank to support hundreds of thousands of Yemenis—including women, youth, and internally displaced people.

In 2016:

  • We cleared more than 3 million square meters of mines and other explosives, benefitting one out of every 20 Yemenis.
  • We helped train more than 300,000 people on how to reduce mine risk.
  • We helped restore services, small infrastructure, and livelihoods.
  • We got cash assistance to the worst-affected women and families, hiring young people as health advocates, and helping farmers, fishermen, and livestock producers fully resume production.
  • In rural areas, we helped stabilize livelihoods, restore basic services, resolve conflicts, and improve access to sustainable energy.

In the coming two years, UNDP’s work will benefit:

  • 410,000 people directly and nearly 2 million indirectly, with cash-for-work programs
  • 2.5 million people through restored community services such as water and sanitation.
  • 27,000 agriculture and fishery businesses and health-care providers
  • 85,000 women and children through nutrition programs
  • 250,000 people through removal of landmines and other explosives.
Our stories
  • Averting famine

    20 million people are at risk of starvation in worst humanitarian crisis since World War II. Swift delivery of aid, combined with early recovery and emergency development work, can address and prevent famine and ensure durable peace.

  • Yemen: On the brink of famine

    Yemen is one of four countries in the world currently facing the threat of famine. Years of war have created the conditions for widespread hunger in the country of 27 million. To help Yemenis in need, UNDP partners with sister UN organizations and the World Bank, with additional funding from donors, to help people get back to work and become self-sufficient again.

  • Economic empowerment puts youth in driver’s seat

    For Mohammed Alshouthmi and other participants in the cash-for-work programme in Yemen, emergency jobs offer respite, allowing families to address urgent needs.

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