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 largest internal displacement crises globally. More than 21.6 million people (including 11 million children) need humanitarian assistance and protection and more than 3.1 million people have been internally displaced since 2015.
- The six-month United Nations-brokered truce saw decreased civilian casualties related to active fighting. Displacement decreased by 76 per cent during the months of the truce. The greater freedom of movement and increased flow of fuel imports, as well as enhanced humanitarian access in some areas, led to an improvement in the humanitarian situation. However, low-level clashes continued in frontline areas throughout the truce, and explosive remnants of war, including landmines, have devastated civilians as movement increased. The truce has since expired and a peace agreement remains elusive, but major military offensives have not resumed after the expiry of the formal truce agreement.
- UNICEF’s humanitarian strategy in Yemen focuses on providing direct life-saving assistance and building systems to strengthen the link between humanitarian action and development/resilience programming.
- UNICEF requires US$475.2 million to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and meet critical needs in health, nutrition, WASH, child protection, education, and social protection in 2023. Lack of predictable funding for urgent interventions challenges the continuity of key services, putting children’s lives and well-being at risk.
Key planned results for 2023
2.5 million children and women accessing primary health care
504,116 children with severe wasting admitted for treatment
6 million women and children accessing gender-based violence mitigation, prevention, response
3.7 million people accessing a sufficient quantity and quality of water
Funding requirements for 2023
Country needs and strategy
After eight years of conflict, the national socioeconomic systems of Yemen remain on the edge of total collapse, driving major increases in needs across all sectors. More than 21.6 million people, including 11 million children, need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2023. This is almost three-quarters of the entire population (62 per cent). And, with more than 3.1 million internally displaced people since 2015, Yemen remains one of the largest internal displacement crises globally.
Negotiations continue for the extension of the United Nations-mediated truce that came into effect in April 2022 and ended in October 2022. The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, cited important progress that was made during the truce, such as the increased availability of fuel, the resumption of commercial flights from the Sana’a airport, and the reduction in civilian casualties. As a result, the country continues to experience regular outbreaks of cholera, measles, diphtheria, and other vaccine-preventable diseases.
Conflict, large-scale displacement, and recurring climate shocks are creating an environment conducive to communicable disease outbreaks. More than 15.3 million people, including 7.8 million children, lack access to safe WASH services. Yemen’s health system is extremely fragile: only 50 per cent of health facilities are functional, leaving 21.3 million people without adequate access to healthcare. Immunization coverage has stagnated nationally, with an estimated 28 per cent of children under one year of age missing routine vaccinations.
Food insecurity and malnutrition continue to be principal challenges, with pockets of the country experiencing extreme hunger. More than 17.3 million people in Yemen are expected to experience high levels of acute food insecurity between January and December 2023. This includes 161,000 people in a state of extreme food insecurity. In addition, 2.2 million children under five years of age suffer from wasting, including more than 500,000 children (50 per cent girls) who are suffering from severe wasting.
The humanitarian crisis in Yemen has increased the vulnerability of children and women to exploitation, violence, and abuse. Children are at a higher risk of child labour, killing and maiming, recruitment and use of children by parties to the conflict as combatants and in various support roles, domestic and gender-based violence, child marriage, and psychosocial distress. More than 9.03 million children are in need of child protection services, and nearly 8.6 million children require educational support.
UNICEF's humanitarian strategy in Yemen is aligned with the Humanitarian Needs Overview, Humanitarian Response Plan, and cluster priorities. As the lead for the WASH, Nutrition and Education Clusters, and the Child Protection Area of Responsibility, UNICEF supports sector and inter-sectoral coordination and information management at national and subnational levels. UNICEF also supports inter-agency coordination for community engagement and accountability to affected populations through the related Working Group and provides technical leadership to Yemen’s efforts to harmonize system-wide complaints and feedback mechanisms.
UNICEF will pursue a balanced approach between providing life-saving interventions in some of the hardest-to-reach areas, via its robust field presence and network of five field offices, and investing in systems strengthening. Addressing the humanitarian, development, and peace nexus, including strengthening multisectoral approaches, will require a nuanced strategy and dedicated donor support.
Life-saving health and nutrition interventions for affected populations, including internally displaced people, will be provided through community-based activities. At the same time, UNICEF will sustain and strengthen access to high-impact preventive and curative services at the community and facility levels. Following the scale-up of nutrition services in 2022, in 2023 UNICEF will focus on strengthening the quality of service delivery and enhancing the multisectoral response (health, WASH, social protection, and education) to address child wasting.
The WASH programme will focus on rehabilitating and supporting water and sanitation infrastructure to provide a minimum level of service. Given the negative impact that climate change can have on the sustainability of WASH services and behaviours, UNICEF will promote climate-resilient development through the use of expanded solarization and optimization of water systems and other cost-effective solutions. UNICEF will continue to improve access to and enrollment in safe learning environments through the implementation of non-formal education, rehabilitating damaged schools, and establishing temporary safe learning spaces. UNICEF will help to build resilience among affected children by supporting life skills education and psychosocial support in community spaces, schools, and hospitals, while also mitigating the risk of injuries from exposure to landmines and explosive remnants of war through targeted campaigns. UNICEF will provide services to children with acute protection needs and support vulnerable children and their caregivers with specialized services and mental health and psychosocial support. As co-lead of the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting, UNICEF will engage with parties to the conflict to establish concrete measures to prevent and halt grave violations of child rights.
Vulnerable children and families will continue receiving integrated social protection services and humanitarian cash transfers via UNICEF’s cash transfer programme. The programme will be sustainably handed over to national partners towards the end of 2023. The cash transfers will target the most marginalized people to ease the economic barriers they face 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.