Humanitarian Action for Children
UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children appeal helps support the agency’s work as it
provides conflict- and disaster-affected children with access to water, sanitation, nutrition,
education, health and protection services. Return to main appeal page.
- Yemen remains one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Protracted armed conflict, widespread economic collapse, and over-stretched national systems and services have left 70 per cent of the total population, including 11.3 million children, in need of humanitarian assistance. The protracted situation severely impacted the health and nutrition of children: nearly 400,000 children are severely malnourished, and 2.3 million children are acutely malnourished. The COVID-19 pandemic further strained the fragile health system and exacerbated the underlying protection and gender-related vulnerabilities of children, adolescents and women.
- UNICEF’s humanitarian strategy in Yemen has a dual focus on direct life-saving assistance and system strengthening, in order to strengthen the linkages between humanitarian action and development/ resilience programming. The COVID-19 response involves protecting children and their families from infection, minimizing mortality, and supporting the continuity of essential services.
- UNICEF requires US$484.4 million to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen in 2022. Children's nutrition is increasingly threatened, with life-long consequences. Across the country, acute malnutrition is now at serious levels.
Key planned results for 2022
366,358 children admitted for treatment for severe acute malnutrition
2.5 million children and women accessing health care
5.9 million people reached with critical WASH supplies
6 million women and children accessing gender-based violence mitigation, prevention, response
Funding requirements for 2022
Country needs and strategy
Almost seven years since the conflict began, Yemen remains one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, with 20.7 million people – 70 per cent of the total population – in need of humanitarian assistance. The conflict has left nearly 4 million people, including 2 million children, internally displaced, in addition to 422,000 migrants and asylum seekers.
The operating environment in Yemen consists of warring parties and separate governance structures and continues to pose significant challenges in delivering critical life-saving services to women, children and their families throughout the country. More than 45 districts remain directly affected by conflict across active frontlines, mainly in the Marib, Hodeida, Al Bayda, Abyan, Al Jawf, Taiz, Ad Dali and Sa’ada governorates. Children are the primary victims of the war: over 8,526 grave violations against children were recorded between 2019 and 2020, including denial of humanitarian access, killing and maiming, and the recruitment and use of children. More than 3,500 children suffered one or more grave violations.
The war's impact on children is staggering. Close to 400,000 children under 5 years of age suffer from severe acute malnutrition, and more than 15.4 million people urgently need WASH services. These conditions heighten the risk of cholera, malnutrition, and other WASH-related diseases. Immunization coverage has stagnated at national level, with 37 per cent of children under 1 year missing routine vaccinations. The country is experiencing regular outbreaks of measles, diphtheria, and other vaccine preventable diseases. Since 2019, Yemen confirmed 35 cases of vaccine-derived poliovirus, 34 of which were in the Sa'ada governorate.
By September 2021, Yemen confirmed 9,143 cases of COVID-19, including 5,661 recoveries and 1,735 deaths. The pandemic has put added pressure on the already fragile health system, with more than half of health facilities not functioning. Global shortages and breaks in the supply chain could cause further loss of household income, rising food prices and general inflation. The number of out-of-school children in Yemen has doubled since the conflict began, reaching over 2 million school-aged girls and boys by 2021. More than 400,000 have been pushed out of school directly by the war: 2,575 schools have been damaged, used as shelter by internally displaced people, or occupied by armed groups.
The current humanitarian crisis in Yemen has increased the vulnerability of children and women to exploitation, violence and abuse, including child labour, forced recruitment, domestic and gender-based violence, child marriage and psychosocial distress.
UNICEF Yemen's humanitarian strategy is aligned with the Humanitarian Needs Overview, Humanitarian Response Plan, and cluster priorities. As a cluster lead for WASH, nutrition, education and the child protection sub-cluster, UNICEF effectively supports sector and inter-sectoral coordination and information management at national and sub-national levels. UNICEF will pursue a balanced approach between providing immediate life-saving interventions and investing in systems strengthening. This balancing of humanitarian and development programming will require a nuanced approach in different parts of the country at different paces, as well as dedicated donor support.
UNICEF will continue to provide life-saving assistance for children in some of the hardest-to-reach districts via its robust field presence and network of five field offices.
With public services near collapse, UNICEF will continue to provide life-saving health and nutrition interventions through community-based activities for affected populations, including internally displaced persons, while sustaining and strengthening access to a set of high-impact preventive and curative services at the community and facility level. UNICEF’s COVID-19 strategy involves protecting children and their families from infections including adherence to prevention protocols, risk communication and community engagement (RCCE), and early referral and treatment when infected.
UNICEF will prioritize life-saving treatment and preventive acute malnutrition services. Following optimal scale-up of nutrition services, in 2022, UNICEF will focus on strengthening quality of service delivery and enhance multi-sectoral response with WASH and education.
UNICEF WASH interventions will include providing durable, cost-effective solutions that strengthen the resilience of local institutions and communities. UNICEF will provide immediate life-saving assistance: sustain existing WASH services to mitigate exposure to disease in high-risk communities and avert further deterioration of humanitarian needs, support public institutions to reduce risks of COVID-19, and support health actors to reduce secondary contamination in health facilities.
UNICEF will support interventions that build the resilience of affected children through life-skills education and psychosocial support in community spaces, schools and hospitals; mitigate the risk of injuries from exposure to landmines and explosive remnants of war through targeted campaigns; and provide services to children with acute protection needs. The Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting will engage with parties to the conflict to establish concrete measures to prevent and halt grave child rights violations.
Vulnerable children and families will receive integrated social protection services, including humanitarian cash transfers. These will target especially the most vulnerable, including children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) complications and pregnant women and lactating women, in order to ease the economic barriers to accessing services and treatment.
UNICEF will integrate gender-responsive initiatives to ensure protection from sexual exploitation and abuse and strengthen interventions to prevent, respond to, and mitigate gender-based violence.
Humanitarian Action is at the core of UNICEF’s mandate to realize the rights of every child. This edition of Humanitarian Action for Children – UNICEF’s annual humanitarian fundraising appeal – describes the ongoing crises affecting children in Yemen; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.