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Nine years on: Economic downturn plunges millions into poverty in Yemen

A woman with a black Burqa inside a shop with 3 young boys standing outside the shop

As the conflict enters its tenth year on March 26, four in every five Yemenis face poverty.[1] 

Today, Yemenis face catastrophic needs driven by the growing economic crisis and ongoing multifaceted conflict, exacerbating poverty and hunger. Half the Yemeni population – more than 18 million people – urgently need humanitarian assistance to survive.

The UN-led truce, which expired in October 2022, has resulted in a reduction of hostilities. While truce conditions largely continue to be upheld, parties have yet to reach an agreement on urgently needed measures to stabilize the economy. Rising inflation, irregular or delayed payment of civil servant salaries, and the collapse of basic services, have left people unable to meet their basic needs.

Yemen’s economic landscape severely impacts food security, with staple food prices having surged by up to 45 per cent above the usual rates.[2] The trend is projected to continue into 2024. This price escalation is paralleled by a worrying devaluation of the Yemeni Rial, which has seen a steep drop in its value in recent months, placing further stress on the purchasing power of Yemeni families.

Recent assessments have identified a 12 per cent increase in the number of people experiencing acute food insecurity at Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Phase 3 (crisis) level or worse in IRG areas alone.[3] The situation underscores the significant deterioration in the humanitarian crisis, with nearly half of the population in affected areas across the country struggling to meet minimal food requirements. The data reflects the reality of a deepening food security crisis that spans across the country, signaling a need for increased humanitarian assistance and economic support measures to assist those in the most vulnerable situations.

New figures from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reveal that more than four in every five people in Yemen – almost 83 per cent of the population – live in multidimensional poverty.

These new findings are based on the first in-person household surveys collected since the start of the conflict, that measure poverty across a range of dimensions including health, education, and living standards.

Lack of schooling and access to adequate sanitation were two of the most concerning dimensions of poverty – affecting more than 70 per cent of the population.[4] Poverty tended to be higher in rural areas (89 per cent) than urban areas (67 per cent).

As a result, families are being forced to choose between food and education for their children, resulting in an increase in school dropouts, early marriage and child labor, exacerbating protection risks and vulnerabilities. [5]

By the end of 2023, the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) was only 39.3 per cent funded, forcing many aid organizations to reduce or close critical assistance programs. This concerning trend continues with only 9.1 per cent of the HRP 2024 funded so far this year. Despite these challenges, humanitarian agencies continue to provide life-saving assistance. However, significant gaps in coverage and access to services persist. In a recent study, 15 per cent of surveyed households in Yemen reported having no access to any basic commodities including water, hygiene items, fuel, and medication, increasing to as much as 33 per cent in some governorates.[6] We urge all parties to uphold the principles that must guide our humanitarian efforts. We note with concern the current humanitarian funding situation. It is imperative that aid is allocated based on need alone, to prevent exacerbating the already dire conditions for those most in need. It is our collective responsibility to provide equitable support, fostering unity and healing divisions.

We recognize the complexities involved in coordinating international aid and the challenges that come with it. Yet we must strive to rise above these challenges, ensuring that the aid provided is a bridge to a more stable and prosperous future for all Yemenis. We call on all parties to address the underlying economic drivers of the conflict and put Yemen on a path to lasting peace. The HRP 2024 of $2.7 billion must be fully funded to meet the urgent needs of approximately 11.2 million people that the humanitarian community aims to reach across the country.

We call upon the international community to respond with increased funding and support, to invest not only in the immediate needs but also in the long-term recovery of Yemen.

Only together can we forge a path to recovery and peace for Yemen. As we mark nine years since the conflict, we must not turn away. Every day, the needs grow, and the gap in funding widens—our unwavering commitment is more crucial than ever.



  1. Action Contre la Faim (ACF)
  2. Acted
  3. Action For Humanity International
  4. ADRA
  5. CARE
  6. Caritas Poland
  7. CIVIC
  8. Concern worldwide
  9. Danish Refugee Council – DRC
  10. Direct Aid
  11. Geneva Call
  12. Handicap International
  13. International Medical Corps – IMC
  14. IRC
  16. MedGlobal
  17. Medicine du Monde
  18. Mercy Corps
  19. Muslim Hands
  20. Norwegian Refugee Council – NRC
  21. Oxfam
  22. People in Need
  23. Polish Humanitarian Aid – PAH
  24. Première Urgence Internationale – PUI
  25. Qatar charity
  26. Read Foundation
  27. Relief International – RI
  28. Safer world
  29. Save the children.
  31. Triangle Generation Humanitarian “TGH”
  32. War Child Alliance
  33. War Child Canada
  34. Vision Hope International – VHI
  35. ZOA
  36. Abyan Youth Foundation
  37. Aden Promising Youth Foundation
  38. Al Haya Foundation
  39. Al-Ghaith for Human Development
  40. Arman Development Foundation
  41. Assistance for Response and Development
  42. Badeel foundation for development
  43. Basmat Development Foundation
  44. Charitability Future society
  45. Democracy School
  46. Enqath Foundation For Development
  47. Experts for Development
  48. Future Pioneers Foundation for Training and Development
  49. Ghadaq for Development
  50. Hajjah Cultural and Development Foundation
  51. Humanitarian Action Library -Yemen
  52. Humanitarian Development Program
  53. Humanity Bridge Organization for Response
  54. Iradat Jareeh Foundation
  56. Maisarah Development Foundation
  57. Modern Social Association
  58. Nahda Makers Organization
  59. National prisoner Foundation
  60. Neda’a Foundation for Development
  61. Qaim Voluntary Team
  62. Rowad Aid for Relief & Development
  63. Sada Foundation for building and Development
  64. Salam Yemen Foundation
  65. Shibam Social Association For Development
  66. Society for Humanitarian Solidarity
  67. Tamdeen Youth Foundation
  68. Welfare Association for student’s care
  69. Youth Hayat Group

[1] UNDP, Measuring Multidimensional Poverty in Yemen, December 2023.

[2] Yemen: IPC Acute Food Insecurity Analysis Update – October 2023 – February 2024.

[3] Yemen: IPC Acute Food Insecurity Analysis Update – October 2023 – February 2024.

[4] UNDP, Measuring Multidimensional Poverty in Yemen, December 2023.

[5] https://resourcecentre.savethechildren.net/document/hanging-in-the-balance-yemeni-childrens-struggle-for-education

[6] Cash Consortium Yemen, HIP Needs Assessment Report, November 2023.

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