Emergency alert

The UN reports that 14 million people in Yemen may be on the brink of famine. More than half of Yemenis do not have enough eat.

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  • Photo: Cassandra Nelson/Mercy Corps

The context

We have been working in Yemen since 2010. Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East, faces deep, systemic problems that have resulted in protracted conflicts throughout the country for many years.

In March of 2015, violent clashes between government and non-government forces erupted, fueling ongoing warfare that has since forced more than 2 million people from their homes and left 22.2 million people — 75 percent of the population — in need of humanitarian aid. Get the quick facts about the crisis in Yemen ▸

Yemen is now at risk of famine. 14 million people, more than half the population, do not have enough to eat. Years of war have devastated huge segments of the population and exacerbated food insecurity.

The cholera epidemic in Yemen is now the largest and fastest-spreading outbreak of disease in modern history. In May of 2017, authorities declared a state of emergency in the capital city of Sana’a following an outbreak of cholera, compounding the already dire situation in much of the country. 2,000 cholera deaths have been reported since April 2017. The numbers of affected individuals is at more than 500,000 and growing exponentially — the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 7.6 million people in Yemen live in areas at high risk of cholera transmission. By the end of the year, at least 1 million people, including 600,000 children, are likely to be affected.

Because cholera is a water-borne illness, we’re working to address this deadly issue by rehabilitating community water infrastructure and improving sanitation and hygiene practices.

Agricultural production has drastically declined while the cost of living has risen 40%. Yemen relies on imports for 90% of its food supply. As conflict intensifies, food access will only become more limited and the situation more desperate. Get the quick facts about famine ▸

The situation is already so dire that a child under the age of five dies every ten minutes from preventable causes, including hunger, disease and violence.

Our work

  • Emergency response: Providing food and hygiene supplies, and increasing access to water and sanitation for the most vulnerable families.
  • Agriculture & Food: Distributing food vouchers. Helping sesame farmers increase their yields.
  • Water: Constructing and rehabilitating water systems, irrigation channels, toilet facilities and other community infrastructure. Promoting proper hygiene in schools and communities.
  • Economic opportunity: Providing urgently needed income through cash-for-work projects and creating new livelihoods through cash transfers and vocational training.