Yemen

Conflicts in Yemen have had devastating impacts on people, leading to one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. The country is one of the priority zones of the Humanitarian Aid of SDC whose activities are primarily focused on water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as the protection of civilians. 

Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Middle East, has experienced many natural and manmade disasters and is currently also facing famine. Because of population growth, massive displacement and poor water management, water scarcity is becoming an increasingly serious problem. Lack of access to fresh water is the biggest cause of malnutrition, morbidity and mortality in rural areas. The conflict that started in March 2015 has exacerbated the situation, leaving almost 19 million people in need.

Switzerland’s humanitarian assistance in Yemen focuses primarily on water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as the protection of civilians. Support is also given in the field of food security.

Improved access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene

Yemen is one of the most water-scarce countries in the world. Poor management, protracted conflicts, massive displacements and insecurity have also contributed to water shortages. In the absence of state structures, arbitrary pumping of groundwater has increased and public water facilities have collapsed.

Switzerland’s humanitarian assistance not only addresses immediate needs but also works on the sustainable use of limited water resources. The SDC supports multilateral organisations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and international NGOs to improve access to clean water and sanitation facilities. Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit specialists are deployed to transfer skills and knowhow on water management, prevention of water borne-diseases and sustainable use of water.

Water – a vital resource under threat

Protecting women, children and other vulnerable groups

People in Yemen suffer from the indiscriminate use of weapons that do not differentiate between civilians and combatants. Cluster munitions, drones and landmines have caused disproportionate loss of civilian life and property. Switzerland continues to call on all parties to comply with international humanitarian law.

The conflict has also aggravated existing gender inequalities in Yemen. Cases of sexual and gender-based violence are on the rise. Switzerland supports access to protection services for women, young people and internally displaced people, including shelter, counselling and health services.

Disaster risk reduction, emergency relief, reconstruction and protection

Approach and partners

Since the SDC’s Humanitarian Aid office in Sana’a was closed in December 2014 because of the country’s deteriorating security situation, its activities in Yemen have been coordinated from the head office in Bern. However, a number of Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) specialists are deployed in the Yemen for short term missions and some are also seconded to UN agencies or the ICRC.

Most of the SDC’s humanitarian aid budget for Yemen goes to its multilateral partners, namely the ICRC, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and World Food Programme (WFP).

Current projects

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Yemen Pledging Conference 2019

20.02.2019 - 30.04.2019

In support of the Humanitarian Response Plan and to reduce the suffering of the Yemeni population, Switzerland will organize a high-level pledging conference on 26 February 2019 together with Sweden and the United Nations for the third time. Since the escalation of the conflict in mid-March 2015, Yemen faced enormous levels of humanitarian needs stemming from years of poverty, intermittent conflict and weak rule of law. Entering the 5th year of war have exacerbated these chronic vulnerabilities, leaving more than 24 million people – more than 80% of the population - in need of humanitarian aid.


Yemen WFP ICSP, contribution 2019

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2019

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to WFP operations allows the World Food Programme (WFP) to respond proactively and to provide immediate food assistance in life-threatening situations.


Allocation of SDC Funding to ICRC Operations in 2019

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2019

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to ICRC operations allows the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to respond proactively and to provide immediate protection and assistance for people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence.


Yemen WFP Emergency Operations EMOP 201068 / ICSP, contribution 2018/19

01.12.2018 - 31.12.2019

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to WFP operations allows the World Food Programme (WFP) to respond proactively and to provide immediate food assistance in life-threatening situations.


Improving the Respect of Humanitarian Norms by Armed Actors in Yemen

01.11.2018 - 31.10.2020

The project aims to contribute to the protection of Yemeni civilian population from the effects of armed conflict. The awareness of Yemeni armed non-state actors’ (ANSA) on humanitarian norms, notably on landmines and explosive remnants of war, and children and armed conflict is raised which positively influences standards, policies and practices of armed groups.


OCHA - Support to the Yemen Humanitarian Pooled Fund (HPF)

01.01.2018 - 30.06.2019

The Yemen Humanitarian Pooled Fund (YHPF) aims to promote a coordinated response towards the highest humanitarian priorities identified in the 2018 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan (YHRP) through the provision of funding for international and national NGOs and UN entities and with the involvement of sectorial coordination groups (clusters).


UNFPA: My safety, our future: women and girl’s empowerment and protection from GBV in conflict-affected Yemen

15.07.2017 - 14.07.2019

The conflict in Yemen has increased the vulnerability of women and girls to abuse and exploitation. The coping mechanisms of individuals and communities have changed, the protection systems broken down and the available services have low quality. The project aims at scaling up UNFPA’s gender-based violence (GBV) responses and to empower the most vulnerable among the GBV survivors through multisector approach and specialised services. The project has a strong component to sensitize communities as well as the humanitarian community on GBV.




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