Photo: WFP/ Hebatallah Munassar/2022


Fighting Conflict & Famine

Yemen is one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, suffering from both climate extremes and internal conflict.

Looming Starvation

More than 17 million Yemenis – over half the population – don’t know if or when they’ll eat another meal. With multiple threats closing in from all sides, untold numbers of innocent people could starve.

We’re fighting hard to feed over 10 million of the most vulnerable people, but we desperately need more funds to do so.


people are internally displaced


people in need of humanitarian assistance


people are food insecure

Yemen Facts

Population: 34.4 million people.

Background: North Yemen gained independence in 1918. By 1967, the People’s Republic of Yemen is created in the south. The two countries merged into one in 1990.

Geography & Climate: Yemen is located on the southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula in the Middle East. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, Oman to the east, the Gulf of Aden to the south and the Red Sea to the west. The region is mostly a dry and hot desert landscape with mountains in the west.

Economy: Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The country’s economy has been severely weakened by years of civil war. Its main industries include oil, gas, agriculture and fishing.

What’s Causing Hunger in Yemen?

Yemen, Saada (Sa’dah), Sajed district, 22 July 2018 Bombed gateway to Saada city, destroyed homes in the old town. Saada, on the border with Saudi Arabia, is the Houthi heartland and one of the areas most affected by the conflict. Food markets, municipal buildings and transport have been destroyed from the fighting. The rural areas of Saada have always had some of the highest rates of malnutrition in Yemen but destruction of infrastructure and displacement of people in the area has made childhood malnutrition worse. In the Photo: Photo: WFP/Fares Khoailed
Photo: WFP/Fares Khoailed

Civil War

Decades of civil war in Yemen have displaced 4.5 million people displaced from their homes and and pushed 17 million people into acute hunger. Conflict destroys lives, uproots communities and wrecks food systems, making it the primary cause of hunger.

little girl in pink head scarf carrying jug
Three-year-old Fatooma lives in an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp. She and her family fled when airstrikes flattened in their village in Yemen.
Photo: WFP/Annabel Symington

Weakened Economy

Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the MENA region. On the Human Development Index, it ranks 168th out of 177 countries. An estimated 80% of the population lives below the poverty line. Ongoing conflict has damaged the economy and made the situation even worse. With a devalued currency and high cost of goods, millions are pushed into hunger.

The rapid economic decline in Yemen’s southern governorates during 2021 has pushed food prices out of reach for many families and lead to rising hunger and malnutrition. Ras alarrah district in Lahj is one of the areas with the highest rates of food insecurity. Najwa fled from Al waze’yah village in Taiz, Yemen, after airstrikes flattened her house. She now lives in Al gudaima village in Lahj. Her husband was a soldier, but he has not worked since the beginning of the war. Since then, Najwa’s family has had no house or stable income. An acute lack of food has had a devastating impact on Najwa’s children. Three out of Najwa’s eight children have been hit by malnutrition. Two of them were previously treated at a WFP supported mobile clinic in Lahj and have since been discharged. The youngest child, Hamoud, still receives regular nutrition assistance from the clinic. Najwa also receives humanitarian cash assistance from WFP every month. The cash assistance allows Najwa to buy basic food items like wheat flour, rice, oil, tomato paste, and sugar. Most meals are just bread and rice. Nawja says that is the only way she can make the money stretch for the full month. Otherwise the family would go hungry.

Intense Drought

Yemen’s severe water scarcity and land degradation already make it difficult to grow food, but climate change is making conditions worse. Heavy storms cause flash floods that erode the soil and uproots vegetation. Intense droughts cause desertification. These two climate extremes destroy crops and make it difficult to sustain agriculture. Being on the coast, rising sea levels also causes saltwater intrusion which contaminates clean water and hurts agriculture.


Nutrition Support

In Yemen, WFP provides both malnutrition prevention and treatment services for children under 5 and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. In addition to specialized nutritious food, we provide cash-based assistance and nutrition awareness sessions.

Photo: WFP/Mehedi Rahman/2023

School Meals

In 2023, WFP reached an estimated 1.8 million children with school meals and snacks – including fortified date bars and high-energy biscuits.

Since 2020, WFP has run a Healthy Kitchens project which provides locally sourced and freshly prepared meals to students. The integrated project provides a market for small-scale farmers to sell their crops, jobs for low-income households and nutritious meals for children to eat. 

Photo: WFP/Mohammed Awadh/2022

Resilience Programs

WFP works with communities in Yemen to rebuild assets like roads, agricultural land, irrigation systems, schools and health facilities. These projects contribute to people’s long-term food security by bolstering community assets, supporting small-scale agriculture and equipping participants with essential skills. Project participants also receive cash assistance. 

Photo: WFP/Naseem Saeed/2023
Imagery for slide 0 Imagery for slide 1 Imagery for slide 2


The U.N. World Food Programme has been working in Yemen since 1967. Through all the ongoing conflict and natural disasters, WFP is determined to bring food to vulnerable families. Today, it uses smart, innovative solutions including ships, mobile cranes, e-cards and mVAM.


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.

30The number of ships WFP uses on any given day
176,000Tons of food sent from Oregon to Yemen in Aug 2018
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.

90%Of all Yemen’s food is imported
60 tonsAmount of food each mobile crane can handle
Photo: WFP/Fares Khoailed
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.

1 millionPeople able to buy their own groceries
38,000Yemeni refugees with greater choice in Djibouti

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.

2,000Mobile survey calls monthly to families
84%Accuracy of mobile information
Photo: WFP/Jean-Martin Bauer
Photo: WFP/Fares Khoailed
Photo: WFP/Annabel Symington

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

Help us build people’s knowledge, skills and resilience. Help us create economic opportunities for Yemeni families so they can get the food they need to reach their full potential.

Stories from Yemen

The U.N. World Food Programme is a lifeline for over 40% of Yemen’s people each month. People like Domoaa, Amani and Maika.


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

Photo: WFP/Hayat Al Sharif

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.”

Photo: WFP

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.

Photo: WFP/Mohammed Awadh
Photo: WFP/Hayat Al Sharif

Help Save Lives

Despite our efforts, a child in Yemen dies every 10 minutes from preventable causes, including severe hunger. People in Yemen are suffering from years of civil war. You can help save lives by donating to send food to countries like Yemen experiencing conflict.