Fighting famine
in Yemen
Image depicting Fighting famine in Yemen
Photo: WFP/Reem Nada
The Yemen people are caught in the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Now COVID-19 risks pushing them beyond their limits.
Photo: WFP/Reem Nada
On the brink of starvation

Nearly 20 million Yemenis – two thirds of the population – don’t know where their next meal is coming from, and millions more could starve if COVID-19 takes hold. WFP is rapidly scaling up operations to assist 12 million of the most vulnerable people.

Fleeing War: The Evolution of Hunger

April 2020

On April 10th, the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in Yemen. With nearly all facets of the country's infrastructure in shambles, including health care, an outbreak could be devastating. WFP has rolled out prevention measures at its food distribution points to curb the spread.

Photo: WFP/Mohammed Awadh

June 2019

On June 3rd, WFP makes a breakthrough in rebel-held Nihm district for the first time since conflict began. By partnering with Islamic Relief, over 5,000 people receive a 2-month ration of life-saving aid. On June 20th, WFP is forced to suspend food distribution in Sana’a after negotiations stall on an agreement to prevent food diversion. Nutrition programs for malnourished children, pregnant and nursing mothers continue.

Photo: WFP/Fares Khoailed

May 2019

A WFP team visits the Red Sea Mills for the first time since September, when they were cut off due to heavy fighting. Days later, gunfire forces them away again. The silos contain enough grain to feed 3.7 million people for a month. Despite the obstruction, WFP continues to feed 10 million Yemenis every month.

Photo: WFP/Ahmed Basha

September 2018

Renewed fighting erupts in the vital port of Hodeidah, threatening food deliveries and pushing millions to the brink of famine.

Photo: WFP/Fares Khoailed

March 2018

WFP relaunches its school meals program for children in Yemen, now serving 600,000 students every month.

Photo: WFP/Micah Albert

January 2018

WFP makes plans to scale up its assistance to reach 8 million people every month who are severely hungry.

Photo: WFP/Fares Khoailed

November 2017

A military coalition of countries involved in the conflict starts a blockade of all of Yemen’s ports, further restricting vital supplies and food.

October 2017

An outbreak of cholera begins, becoming the fastest-growing outbreak ever.

Photo: WFP/Marco Frattini

March 2017

WFP says Yemen is in a "race against time" to prevent famine.

March 2015

The civil war begins in Yemen, pitting the government against Houthi rebels.

Photo: WFP/Ahmed Basha

The United Nations World Food Programme is scaling up to feed as many as
12 million people in Yemen each month.

Square photograph of Domoaa Detailed photograph of Domoaa
Photo: WFP/Hayat Al Sharif

Domoaa

Domoaa means 'tears' in Arabic. "I cry every day for the pain and suffering we go through just to get food," her mother says.

Read Domoaa's story +
Detailed photograph of Amani
Photo: WFP/Mohammed Awadh

Amani

Two-year-old Amani was carried to a WFP feeding center by her 10-year-old brother. More than 2 million Yemeni children require treatment for acute malnutrition.

Read Amani's story +
Detailed photograph of Maika
Photo: WFP

Maika

Maika Alaslemy is the head nurse at a health center in Yemen and works around the clock to save children from starvation. “Hunger doesn’t differentiate between children,” she says. “We work out of our obligation to save lives and preserve the future of Yemen.”

Read Maika's story +

scaling up operations

The U.N. World Food Programme uses smart, innovative solutions to reach and feed Yemeni families in need. These innovations include ships, mobile cranes, e-cards and mVAM.

Photo: WFP/Fares Khoailed
Ships

WFP is the only U.N. agency with its own shipping unit, delivering food assistance through the Red Sea and into strategic Yemeni ports. Dedicated staff negotiate shipping lines and navigate tricky routes to keep cargo safe. A single ship can carry 25,000 tons of wheat, enough to feed 2 million people for a month.

Photo: WFP/Fares Khoailed
Mobile cranes

Mobile cranes boost the capacity of the Yemeni port of Hodeidah, which handles 70 percent of the country’s imports. This lifeline for families includes critically-needed food and humanitarian supplies. The cranes significantly increase the speed of unloading humanitarian cargo and other relief items.

Vouchers & eCards

When local markets are functioning and food is available, but unaffordable, food vouchers give Yemenis the power to purchase food on their own terms. They can be used at WFP food shops to buy fresh produce, fish and meat. E-cards work like debit cards, helping to stimulate the local economy and support local producers.

Photo: WFP/Jean-Martin Bauer
mVAM

In countries around the world and in Yemen, the mobile Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (mVAM) unit equips families with mobile phones so they can share information with WFP about their needs. Families call a hotline and WFP uses the information it collects to better plan assistance and track changes in food prices.

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But there is more to be done. As of April 2020
$200 million
is needed to continue operations each month

Help us realize a future beyond emergency assistance where our help is no longer needed.

Let’s build people’s knowledge, skills and resilience. Let’s invest in economic opportunities and sustainable food systems so that all Yemeni families can get the nutrition they need to reach their full potential.