Humanitarian crisis in Yemen: German aid provided under difficult conditions

01.11.2016 - Article

The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is getting ever worse. Over 21 million people in Yemen are in urgent need of assistance. Germany has donated €28 million to help those affected in 2016 alone.

The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is getting ever worse. More than 21 million people in the country are in urgent need of assistance. The Federal Foreign Office has provided €28 million this year to pay for humanitarian aid for those affected.

UNHCR refugee camp
UNHCR refugee camp© Oxfam

One of the biggest humanitarian crises worldwide

The extent of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen is huge: of the 27.4 million inhabitants of the country on the southern rim of the Arabian Peninsula, more than 21 million are reliant on humanitarian assistance. Famine is widespread. 370,000 children and young people are suffering from acute malnutrition. Diseases like cholera are additionally weakening the civilian population, which has been hard hit by the continuing fighting in the country. The health care system is facing collapse due to the destruction of infrastructure and a lack of medicines. Most people have no access to clean water or sanitation. Almost all food and medicines have to be supplied by aid organisations in the extremely poor country.

Difficult conditions for humanitarian workers

The conditions for providing humanitarian aid are truly dire. The relief plans for Yemen are chronically under-financed. The violent conflict has claimed over 10,000 lives and is making it hard for humanitarian workers to access those in need of help. Aid workers have repeatedly come under fire and have paid for their altruism with their lives. Agreed ceasefires, such as that on 20 October 2016, are not upheld. The fact that millions of people have been displaced within the country and that a further 280,000 or so refugees from other countries (above all Somalia and Ethiopia) also live in Yemen make it even harder to provide for all those in need.

German assistance increased fourfold

Water pump
Water pump© Oxfam

The Federal Foreign Office has significantly increased humanitarian assistance to Yemen this year to around €28 million – more than four times the amount donated in 2015. The Federal Foreign Office works closely with German and international NGOs, members of the Red Cross Movement and UN aid organisations to implement aid projects.

German-funded projects focus on supplying food, water, medical care and hygiene items, and on protecting refugees. For example, Oxfam is implementing a project that will bring drinking water in tankers to more than 60,000 people in the Governorates of Hajjah and Al Hudaydah. The German Red Cross and local partners from the Yemeni Red Crescent are operating mobile and stationary health centres (with maternity wards) in Taiz, Hajjah and Shabwah, which provide care for several thousand people each month. The ADRA Adventist Development and Relief Agency is also active on the medical side, providing assistance such as tetanus vaccinations for pregnant women, as well as midwifery and family planning classes, and providing general practitioner care for up to 80,000 people. Both ADRA and the German Red Cross are helping malnourished children in Yemen through lifesaving therapeutic nutrition programmes. German assistance is focused in those regions of Yemen that have taken in particularly large number of displaced persons.

Find out more:

Jemen Country profile

Foreign Minister Steinmeier on the latest escalation in Yemen

German humanitarian aid

Related content


Top of page