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Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster with millions of lives at risk

Posted by Christina Corbett Humanitarian Press Officer

23rd Jan 2015

More than half of Yemen's population needs aid and a humanitarian crisis of extreme proportions is at risk of unfolding in the country if instability continues, Oxfam warns today.

Throughout the country there are 16 million people in need of aid, meaning one in three people needing help in the entire Middle East is Yemeni.  Ten million Yemenis do not have enough to eat, including 850,000 acutely malnourished children.  Millions have no clean water and are unable to access basic healthcare services.  

Unless the deepening crisis in Yemen is addressed soon it will be almost impossible to prevent this dangerous situation from becoming deadly, putting huge numbers of lives at risk. 

Oxfam is urging the international community to do more to support national and regional bodies to bring a sustainable end to the conflict in Yemen and to increase donations to the vital humanitarian response.

Grace Ommer, Oxfam's Country Director in Yemen said: "It is simply unacceptable that the real story of 16 million Yemenis in need of help keeps going unnoticed. Despite the challenges, we continue to deliver desperately needed aid to Yemenis in some of the poorest areas outside the capital.  But if the international community continues to stand by and watch while Yemen risks going from a fragile to a failed state we will find it even harder to maintain this lifesaving support."

Oxfam has been working in Yemen for more than 30 years and has reached over 600,000 people with programmes bringing clean water, cash grants, sanitation facilities and hygiene promotion since 2011.  But as the ongoing instability wracks the country and the fragile economy continues to decline Oxfam fears the lives of millions will be at even greater risk.

Ommer said: "Our focus here is on the millions of ordinary Yemenis struggling to survive. Oxfam has reached many people but the international governments - and aid agencies - must do more to prevent a humanitarian disaster unfolding.  Without more sustained commitment to help these vulnerable people, they will continue to face disaster and their stories will continue to be lost amid the complex political and security context." 

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For an interview please contact Kate Wiggans on +44 (0) 7825 198033 or Christina Corbett on +44 (0) 7557 48 37 58 

Notes to editors:

The figures come from OCHA:

Blog post written by Christina Corbett

Humanitarian Press Officer

More by Christina Corbett