Yemen Crisis Getting Worse and Worse
A survey by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in southern Yemen found that almost one out of every two families who were already vulnerable had recently reduced the number of daily meals because they could no longer afford them. Besides cutting down on their meals, 99 per cent of people interviewed said they could no longer afford to buy meat, chicken, fruit, milk or rice, because of the rising costs.
“Millions of Yemen’s most vulnerable families are now caught in this torrent of despair unleashed by the warring parties,” said NRC’s Country Director in Yemen, Erin Hutchinson. “Children have been going to bed hungry, and now they have even less food than the little they had before. We need more aid funding to help them urgently. Governments, donors and international financial institutions need to ensure an economic rescue package to avert famine.”
Respondents told NRC that their costs of transportation doubled in 2021. More than 60 per cent had stopped buying propane gas for cooking and were forced to resort to firewood. The cost of flour went up drastically, and it keeps increasing. Six years ago, Yemen’s domestic currency traded at 215 Yemeni riyals (YER) against the US Dollar (USD). By early December 2021, the riyal traded for YER 1,700 per USD due to inflation.
Key survey findings and statistics:
- NRC contacted 760 beneficiaries from the four selected districts (Al Silw, Mukha, Al Shamaytein, and Tuban). The survey was conducted by phone in early November.
- 97% said they were affected by the increase in food prices
- 46% said they reduced the daily number of meals recently
- 99% of them mentioned that there are some products they can't afford anymore (meat, chicken, fruit, milk, rice, and many other kinds)
- 63% of the beneficiaries switched to firewood instead of propane this year to cook as it is less expensive. Price of propane skyrocketed (20 000 YER now, used to be 5000 a few months ago).
- 70% of the tenants' beneficiaries mentioned that the rental cost has increased by around 30,000 YER this year
- On average, our beneficiaries get 7 hours of electricity a day.
The war in Yemen has turned an already poor country into one of the world’s most devastating humanitarian disasters. The United Nations has estimated the war killed 377,000 people by the end of 2021, both directly and indirectly through hunger and disease. Four million people have been forced to flee their homes and more than 20.7 million - 71% of the population - are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance or protection for their survival. Since the conflict escalated in March 2015, the country has become a living hell for the country’s children. Less than half of health facilities are functioning, and many that remain operational lack basic equipment. Many health workers have not received a regular salary in several years.
As a result of the escalation of hostilities in 2021 the prospects for a nationwide ceasefire and a political solution appear slim. However, UN efforts to reboot peace talks were boosted by changes to the US policy towards Yemen announced by President Joe Biden in 2021. He revoked the Trump administration's designation of the Houthis as a terrorist group and ended support for what he called "offensive operations" by the Saudi-led coalition.