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.
- The national socioeconomic systems of Yemen remain on the edge of collapse as the country experiences its ninth year of conflict. More than 21.6 million people, including 11.1 million children, require humanitarian assistance and protection and 4.5 million people are internally displaced. Despite truce-like conditions, which have reduced civilian casualty numbers significantly, intermittent fighting and exchanges of fire continue in many areas. While the high levels of humanitarian response to date have been extremely effective in protecting millions of children, the lack of a comprehensive political resolution to the country's conflict means that the needs of children and their families continue to increase.
- UNICEF’s humanitarian strategy in Yemen is to provide direct life-saving assistance – and at the same time undertake programming along the humanitarian–development nexus to create a coherent approach to meeting critical needs.
- UNICEF requires $142 million to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and meet needs of children and families in 2024. Lack of predictable funding to carry out urgent interventions will compromise the continuity of key services, putting children’s lives and well-being at risk.
Key planned targets
495,000 children and women accessing primary health care
504,000 children with severe wasting admitted for treatment
2.6 million children provided with explosive weapons prevention and/or survivor assistance
1.4 million people accessing a sufficient quantity and quality of water
Funding requirements for 2024
Country needs and strategy
Now in its ninth year of conflict, Yemen's national socioeconomic systems remain on the edge of total collapse. More than 21.6 million people, including 11.1 million children, require humanitarian assistance and protection, and 4.5 million people are displaced inside the country. While unprecedented levels of humanitarian response have helped to protect millions of children, the lack of a comprehensive political solution to the country's conflict continues driving major increases in needs. Despite truce-like conditions that have reduced civilian casualties significantly, intermittent fighting continues in many areas.
The ongoing fragility of Yemen’s economy in 2023 – manifesting in the depreciation of its currency, macroeconomic instability, diminishing purchasing power and the de facto bifurcation of economic institutions by competing factions – heightened the vulnerability of poor families and communities. At the same time, the people of Yemen are no strangers to the impacts of the changing climate: floods and drought cause additional threats that have the potential to aggravate the malnutrition status of the population. Around 17.3 million people experience high levels of acute food insecurity and, as of July 2023 , more than 227,228 children had been admitted to therapeutic feeding centres suffering from wasting.
Only 50 per cent of health facilities are functional, leaving 20.3 million people without access to adequate health care. Yemen remains vulnerable to disease outbreaks. From January to September 2023, 42,452 suspected cases of measles and rubella and 514 associated deaths were reported, with 1,772 laboratory-confirmed cases. In the northern governorates, vaccinations administered outside health facilities continue to be banned and the emergence and rise of misinformation, including anti-vaccination messages, has led to an increase in vaccine hesitancy among the population.
Access to water and safe WASH services is lacking for 15.3 million people, including 7.8 million children. Yemen is highly prone to cholera and acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) outbreaks, with 5,674 cases of AWD/suspected cholera (including seven associated deaths) reported between January and September 2023.
The vast humanitarian crisis in Yemen has increased the vulnerability of children and women to exploitation, violence and abuse. Negative coping mechanisms are on the rise, including increased gender-based violence, sexual exploitation, child marriage, child labour, military recruitment of children and interruption of education. All told, 9 million children require child protection services. And 8.6 million children, including 2.7 million out-of-school children, require educational assistance (e.g., reintegration into formal education), due to conflict-related damage and disruption to education facilities and services.
UNICEF’s humanitarian strategy in Yemen is guided by international human rights law, particularly the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and it aligns with the inter-agency Humanitarian Needs Overview, Humanitarian Response Plan and cluster priorities. As lead for the WASH, Nutrition and Education Clusters and the Child Protection Area of Responsibility, UNICEF supports sector and intersectoral coordination and information management at the national and subnational levels.
The immediate needs of populations at risk – people affected by conflict, floods, climate change and disease outbreaks, including those who are currently or may be displaced – will be addressed through life-saving, protective and multisectoral interventions, including early childhood development. UNICEF also seeks to provide humanitarian assistance to immigrant communities, who are some of the most marginalized in the country.
UNICEF developed and will maintain a network of partnerships to provide critical nutrition, WASH, education, health, social protection and child protection services while engaging in strategic high-level advocacy and influence campaigns for more sustained outcomes. As the co-lead of the country task force on monitoring and reporting in Yemen, UNICEF will engage with parties to the conflict to establish concrete measures to prevent and halt grave violations of child rights. Some efforts will foster greater coherence and complementarity between humanitarian and development programming to secure and build upon gains made for children. Through its extensive field office presence, UNICEF will continue to identify and respond to people's needs, with a focus on the most vulnerable. Protecting existing humanitarian access – and expanding it wherever possible through specific access strategies – will be critical.
Use of anticipatory action (including rapid response mechanisms) will underpin effective preparedness to ensure gender-responsive multisectoral actions ahead of predicted hazards. Implementation of integrated approaches (including a package of gender- and disability-sensitive services) to multisectoral emergency responses will enhance humanitarian effectiveness. UNICEF will mobilize community volunteers to support social and behaviour change and will strengthen community participation to ensure programmes respond holistically to vulnerable people's diverse needs, priorities and feedback on quality of assistance, part of UNICEF's commitment to accountability to affected populations. Commitments to protecting the assisted population from sexual exploitation and abuse will be sustained and UNICEF will hold partners accountable for preventing and reporting sexual exploitation and abuse and enhancing community awareness of the organization's zero tolerance policy. UNICEF will use its comparative advantage in supply and logistics to procure life-saving commodities, using economies of scale to deliver critical interventions to the most vulnerable people.
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.