Yemen: conflicts impact access to food and livelihoods

Published on Thursday 2 July 2020

Yemen faces one of the world’s biggest humanitarian crises, with 24 million people in need. Conflicts have claimed thousands of civilian lives, public services have collapsed and access to food has been challenged in most of the country.


More than 20.1 million Yemenis – or more than 67% of the total population – need emergency food assistance. In addition, 3.6 million people have been displaced since 2015 and remain so today. Trapped by their proximity to the front line or made vulnerable due to their having been displaced, the populations of Al Hudaydah governorate are particularly affected and, faced with a lack of access to food and basic services, their lives are in danger.

Only a few NGOs, including SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL, are able to intervene, thanks to their expertise and knowledge of the field. Thus, with the support of OCHA (the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), our teams have set up an emergency assistance food security programme for those persons most at risk, who are threatened by famine and who face the catastrophic conditions in the area.

Mohamed has a wife, three daughters and a son. They lived in the hills of Al-Tahita district, in a house that belonged to him. They had good living conditions before the start of the war and Mohamed provided for the needs of his whole family. His wife suffers from a mental illness and cannot work. He bought a motorbike in 2011 which allowed him to start earning a living. But, when he still had to repay half of the price he paid to the seller, the war began.

  • 32.98 million inhabitants
  • 183rd out of 191 countries on the Human Development Index
  • 341.280 people helped
Yemenite family livelihood
Mohamed and three of his children standing in front of the bike, the family's sole means of subsistence

“When the war reached our region, I found myself in the middle of the front line with my family. My wife,my children, my mother and I lay on the ground for 36 hours without eating, as bullets and shells flew above us. The shooting stopped for about an hour the day after, so I left for Al-Khokha with my family. I left my bike and all my belongings with one of my relatives and we reached the town with just the clothes we stood up in. We lived with a family friend for ten days, while also looking for another place to live in the city. A landowner then lent me a small piece of land and I bought a tent with the money that was left over from my motorbike work.”

At first, this family allows itself only two meals a day, which has a strong impact on their nutritional status. Mohamed has got his motorbike back, but it often has to be repaired; this means he cannot work every day, which is why he has to adopt negative coping behaviours.

SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL rapidly came to his aid and provided him with six cash allowances which enabled him to improve his family’s standard of living and provide them with three meals a day. He manages to save some of the money he receives each month, and has had his motorbike repaired. He now works full time and earns enough money to take care of his family and pay off his loan.

“I’ve taken care of my twelve children on my own since my husband died; we live in a small house in Al-Khokha, which has a main room, a bathroom, and a kitchenI was completely shattered when my husband died and had to find a new source of income. I collect firewood that my epileptic son sells in the street. Two of my other sons also work: one sells ice cream and the other one sells sweets. I found husbands for two of my daughters, aged thirteen and fourteen.

For six months, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL supported Halitit by paying her a monthly cash allowance which enabled her to improve the nutritional status of her family and pay the school fees for two of her children, who no longer have to work in the street.

Yemenite woman who has to financial help resource
Halitit collects firewood to provide for the needs of her whole family.



Translated by George May