Support Needed for People on the Move in Yemen as Funding Shortages Loom

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Sana’a – Over six years of conflict and a year of the COVID-19 pandemic have sent needs escalating in Yemen. Internally displaced persons fleeing fighting and migrants looking for a better life are among the worst affected and could face disastrous consequences because of funding shortages predicted for later this year.

“Humanitarian organizations were ringing alarm bells earlier this year in order to raise enough funds to continue lifesaving operations in Yemen and the international community responded,” said Christa Rottensteiner, IOM Yemen Chief of Mission.

“I want to express gratitude to the generous donors who are funding the Yemen Humanitarian Appeal. The vital funds have meant that millions of people have food, clean water and shelter. However, as we look to the second half of this year, there is a huge funding gap - the Humanitarian Response Plan currently faces a shortage of USD 2.35 billion [approximately EUR 1.93 billion].  We encourage all donors to meet their pledges, take timely funding decisions, and commit to maintaining their flexible and sustainable support to Yemen, so we can avert famine and continue to provide essential services,” added Rottensteiner.

In January, the UN warned of a looming famine, highlighting that 47,000 Yemenis were already in famine-like conditions and a further 5 million in imminent danger. Responding generously to this unfolding horror, the injection of funds at the March pledging conference enabled humanitarian organizations like IOM and partners to deliver food security and nutrition programmes on the scale and speed needed to stabilise the situation until August.

Acute food insecurity in Yemen raised major concerns over the impact of hunger on particularly vulnerable groups, especially internally displaced people and migrants. An estimated 4 million people are displaced across Yemen, with nearly 35,000 displacements so far this year, and around 90,000 migrants are in need of humanitarian support, many of whom are stranded—both groups worryingly cite access to food as among their critical needs. For example, nearly 20 per cent of newly displaced families report food to be their main need, while more than half of displaced people are sheltering in locations characterized by emergency food insecurity.

Food security is not the only programming area in need of further funding. Displacement continues to drive needs for many families, particularly in places like Ma’rib where there is an active frontline and a large population of over 1 million internally displaced persons. And COVID-19 is hitting Yemen in a second wave, with over 11.6 million people in need of health care continue to suffer, as health programmes remain majorly and worryingly underfunded.

Reaching vulnerable populations remains paramount to addressing needs, yet Yemen is a challenging environment to carry out a humanitarian response. Some 16.5 million people in need—80 percent of total people in need—are living in hard-to-reach areas, often due to bureaucratic blockages.

Today (01/06), countries will come together to discuss the situation in Yemen at a meeting hosted by the European Union and the Government of Sweden. It is a chance to work on solutions to increase humanitarian access, aid and impact, as well as sustainable development solutions. While better access and increased funding will alleviate emergency needs, the only real solution to the crisis in Yemen is a political one.

“IOM calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities, particularly in the active frontline of Ma’rib, and a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Yemen,” said Rottensteiner.

For more information, please contact:

  • IOM Yemen: Olivia Headon, Tel: +353833022648, Email: [email protected]
  • IOM’s Regional Office for MENA: Mohammedali