Humanitarian Action for Children 2012


© UNICEF/NYHQ2010-2846/Stirton

Eight-year-old Abbas, injured in a landmine blast that killed other family members, sits in a displacement camp in Hajjah Governorate. High rates of undernutrition and poverty characterize a country now beset by violent political unrest.

Mid-Year Review of the Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen


Children and Women in Crisis

The civil unrest that began in February 2011 exacerbated pre-existing political and tribal tensions, heightening levels of violence in the main cities and towns of Yemen. This added new sources of instability to an already volatile and impoverished country that has very high levels of undernutrition among children and, increasingly, among pregnant women. The total number of displaced people in the northern, southern and central governorates reached 420,000 people, of whom about 80,000 are children under 5 and another 80,000 are pregnant or breastfeeding women in the emergency sites alone.1 A lack of safe water resulted in increased outbreaks of waterborne diseases, such as cholera and acute watery diarrhoea.

The unrest led to disrupted education and return to school has been hindered for more than 280,000 children, as their schools are inaccessible, occupied by armies or hosting internally displaced persons.2 The recruitment of children by anti- and pro-government militia in the north and by both government formal forces3 and other armed groups in other parts of the country is increasingly a concern.  The unrest has also impacted the psychosocial well-being of children and has increased child labour, child trafficking, and the likelihood of forced early marriage for girls as an economic coping mechanism.4

Security, political instability and conflict are major constraints to programme implementation that are partially being overcome through remote programming, strengthening local capacity and expanding partnerships with NGOs.

Meeting Urgent Needs in 2012

UNICEF will provide leadership and coordinate the education, nutrition and WASH clusters and the child protection sub-cluster, as well as participate actively in the health cluster to achieve the following results:

Humanitarian Funding at Work: Highlights from 2011

UNICEF had received US$23,352,808 as of end October 2011. Full funding enabled UNICEF to accomplish the following results. UNICEF provided nutrition supplies to 37,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition; the community management of the moderate malnutrition programme reached 36,000.

An immunization campaign reached 180,000 children under 5; some 54,000 children received measles vaccines.  More than 102,000 children received vitamin A supplementation. Of the programmatic goal of reaching 13,000 infants, 86 per cent received oral polio vaccines and 67 per cent received measles vaccines.

UNICEF established a biweekly household survey to monitor key areas related to child health and well-being, providing the only current household data for Yemen.

UNICEF provided WASH assistance to 80,000 people (half of them children), including internally displaced persons, migrants and vulnerable host communities. Out of some 14,000 cases of identified vulnerable children, 79 per cent were referred to protection and other services. The psychosocial well-being of some 102,000 children was promoted through community- and school-based services.

Advocacy on grave child rights violations continued and resulted for the first time in the listing of two parties in Yemen in 2011 in the annual Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict. Concerns about these violations were also raised at the Human Rights Council in September 2011. 

Funding Requirements for 2012

In line with the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) requirements, UNICEF is seeking US$49,807,000 to procure essential supplies and implement proposed interventions across all governorates in Yemen. Funding shortfalls will seriously compromise the protection of children from violence, exploitation, abuse, neglect and recruitment by armed groups. In addition, some 53,000 children will be at serious risk of undernutrition, and the lack of water and sanitation will increase death and illness.

More information on humanitarian action planned for 2012 can be found at

1 Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – IDP Executive Unit, 26 September 2011, and UNICEF population estimate.
2 United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Yemen Humanitarian Emergency Situation Report No. 9’, OCHA, New York and Geneva, 14 October 2011, p. 2.
3 The Human Rights Council (A/HRC/18/21) report issued on 13 September 2011 and presented to the Council highlights the use and recruitment of children by armed forces/ groups (including security forces); as well as Children and Armed Conflict, Report of the Secretary General (A/65/820– S/2011/250), United Nations, New York, 25 April 2011.
4 Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, ‘Yemen: New displacement due to unrest  displacement due to Sa’ada conflict continues’, IDMC, Geneva, 3 October, 2011, p. 6.