Humanitarian crisis in Yemen
Yemen is in the middle of a complex humanitarian crisis driven by a brutal civil war.
Indiscriminate attacks and chronic shortages of medical staff and supplies have led to the closure of many of Yemen's healthcare facilities.
More than 4.5 million people have been displaced since the war started in 2015. With an estimated 21 million currently in need of humanitarian assistance, our activities in Yemen are among our most extensive worldwide.
As well as treating people injured in the violence, MSF teams are also providing vital care for people affected by the long-term impacts of the war – high rates of malnutrition, low vaccine coverage, a lack of access to maternity services and complex mental health needs.
In 2022, we admitted more than 108,000 people to hospital and performed 36,500 surgical interventions.
PEOPLE ADMITTED TO HOSPITAL BY MSF IN YEMEN IN 2022
SURGICAL INTERVENTIONS BY MSF IN YEMEN IN 2022
BIRTHS ASSISTED IN BY MSF IN YEMEN IN 2022
Why are we in Yemen?
Warring parties have destroyed much of the country's public infrastructure, including health facilities. Following the imposition of a blockade by the Saudi-led coalition (SLC) in 2015, import restrictions coupled with high inflation have crippled Yemenis’ access to healthcare and other essential services.
Many of the country’s 50,000 health workers stopped recieving salaries and have consequently left the public health system, forced to look for other sources of income.
With fierce fighting due to the conflict, trauma care and surgery is a vital part of our work in Yemen.
Our teams in hospitals closer to the frontlines regularly respond to mass-casualty incidents, and work throughout the year to increase their capacity to deal with frequent influxes of war wounded and other trauma patients.
As a result of the war, it is even harder for people to access clean water, dispose of waste and get medical care. Combined with the lack of access to vaccinations, this has left Yemenis more vulnerable to preventable diseases and new epidemics.
In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic had a severe impact. In 2021 Yemen had one of the lowest rates of vaccination against the virus worldwide, leading MSF to open some of the country's only intensive care units in response to the crisis.
A cholera outbreak in 2017 saw our teams admitting 101,475 patients. The same year we began to see cases of diphtheria, a disease eradicated from most countries thanks to systematic childhood vaccinations.
Even where medical facilities are operational, most people are no longer able to afford the transport costs to go to them.
This means they are unable to seek timely care, and easily curable health conditions are turning deadly when left untreated.
Women often give birth at home and seek care only when complications occur. Malnutrition among children also remains high.
Malnutrition rates are alarmingly high in Yemen.
Food insecurity and a lack of access to basic healthcare services mean that many children lack the ability to fight off infectious diseases.
Inflation is also another contributing factor, making it increasingly difficult for Yemenis to feed their children and afford the cost of transporting them to hospital.
In 2022, we admitted more than 6,400 children in intensive feeding units.