Poverty in Yemen
Yemen has become increasingly war-torn since 2014, and as a result, poverty in Yemen has significantly increased. In 2014, poverty in Yemen was at 45%. The percentage should reach 75 by the end of 2019.

This war-torn region has not yet recovered from political instability. Because of this, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) estimates that it has lost 21 years of development.

The UNDP published a report, Assessing the Impact of War in Yemen on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, on September 26, 2019, which is the result of five years of research on how war has impacted Yemen’s social and economic structure and how the international community can successfully invest in Yemen.

Poverty in Yemen

The UNDP report found that the instability in Yemen has had disastrous effects on the Yemenese people. It reported that 11.7 million individuals have become impoverished as a result of the war. In addition, 4.9 million are malnourished. Of this number, 600,000 are children under the age of 5. The report also found that the war reduced economic growth in Yemen by $88.8 billion. This resulted in Yemen’s status as the world’s second least equal country in the world in terms of income. Without any change in the status quo, Yemen will become the world’s most impoverished country by 2022.

Yemen is largely reliant on food and imports for economic stability. Because of this, the economy has been unable to recover quickly without international intervention. The public sector employed 30% of the Yemenese population. However, a crash in the availability of assets left those individuals unemployed and unable to contribute to a jumpstart in the economy that would feed, clothe and put money in the hands of the impoverished.

The report concludes that the international response to the extreme poverty, economic crises and inequality in Yemen must be holistic and address both the root of the problem and the result of the issue.

Potential Investment in Yemen

The report examined four criteria: poverty, work and economic growth, hunger and inequality. Increasing international aid and investment can help with all four criteria. The article outlines a method of aid for addressing each area. A combination of efforts would resolve each criterion and address the issue of poverty overall. Increasing household consumption to pre-war levels which reflect “the spirit (though not the magnitude) of current cash-transfer programmes operating in Yemen,” can also combat hunger according to the report. This, combined with the distribution of food that would provide sufficient caloric intake and support Yemenese food exports, would alone prevent 73,600 death by 2030. A focus on improving access to clean water via changes to food prices through sanctions and providing sanitation implementation would save 255,000 lives by 2030.

Direct foreign investment into the Yemenese economy would significantly improve the everyday living conditions of Yemenese citizens. Without increased aid, Yemen will continue to stay on track to becoming the world’s most impoverished country by 2022. Direct aid programs and an increased amount of liquid capital poured into the economy would decrease poverty in Yemen, jumpstart the economy and improve the overall standard of living.

– Denise Sprimont
Photo: Flickr

Facts About Poverty in Yemen
Yemen demonstrates extremely poor standards of life expectancy, education and overall living. Yemen’s ongoing political unrest has been a major cause of the country’s poverty. Regardless of the cause, poverty in Yemen is frightening. Here are seven facts about poverty in Yemen.

7 Facts About Poverty in Yemen

  1. Poor Country: Even prior to its political instability, Yemen was already the poorest country in the region spanning the Middle East to North Africa. It exhibits the lowest rank on the Human Development Index (HDI) among Arab states. Yemen also ranks 178 out of 189 countries on the HDI.
  2. Hunger and Malnutrition: The U.N. estimates that approximately 80% of Yemenis are vulnerable to hunger. About 14.3 million are in need of medical assistance to combat malnutrition along with other issues. Starvation, cholera, measles and dengue fever are some of the main culprits. Roughly 2 million children in Yemen are in immediate need of medical help because of acute malnutrition.
  3. Infant Mortality Rate: Poverty in Yemen contributes to its remarkably high infant mortality rate of 55.4 deaths under age 5 per 1,000 births. In comparison, the United States has a healthier infant mortality rate of 5.8 deaths per 1,000 births. Malnutrition contributes in large part to this statistic.
  4. Water: Almost 18 million Yemeni citizens simply have no access to clean water. UNICEF reports that only around 30% of the population uses piped drinking water services. Contaminated water results in many infant deaths. UNICEF does its best to keep this issue to a minimum in Yemen. It maintains the operational water supply systems in Yemen. It also monitors and disinfects the water supply in urban areas and provides WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) humanitarian aid to displaced Yemeni citizens.
  5. Humanitarian Crisis: Consistent waves in currency depreciation continue to chip away at Yemen’s economy. As a result, inflation threatens and terrorizes the economy and its consumers. It also exacerbates this humanitarian crisis. The Yemeni rial, the official currency of Yemen, lost 75% of its value in the past four years. With a GDP of around $27 billion, Yemen must rely on humanitarian aid.
  6. Education: As poverty in Yemen continues to worsen, about 2 million children remain out of school. Unfortunately, this is due to a lack of teachers and schooling facilities. Without an educated population, Yemen will continue its impoverished conditions. Thankfully, UNICEF secured approximately $70 million for cash incentives for teachers in Yemen. In its efforts, UNICEF also provided access to education for more than 200,000 Yemeni children through the reconstruction of 18 schools and 218 school latrines.
  7. The Economy: Such a blow to the economy devastated Yemeni citizens on an individual level as well. The World Bank reports that more than 40% of households lost their main source of income, placing people under the poverty line. The country is struggling to lift its people out of impoverished conditions. However, the World Bank has several large-scale emergency grants dedicated to Yemen during its crisis. These grants will work with health and nutrition as well as electricity and agriculture.

Looking Ahead

Poverty in Yemen stems from a range of unfortunate events, primarily its state of political instability under Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. Such instability affects sanitation, infrastructure, economy and medical assistance. These seven facts about poverty in Yemen demonstrate areas of weakness where humanitarian aid can effectively assist. Organizations like UNICEF and the U.N. are already doing their part in the pursuit of aiding and providing for not only Yemen but many countries in similar situations. With UNICEF and the U.N.’s help, Yemen has a better chance of sustaining itself.

Colin Crawford
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts About Yemen Child Soldiers
Yemen, a relatively small country located south of Saudi Arabia and east of the Red Sea, currently has one of the worst humanitarian crises on the planet. Similar to situations is most conflicts, Yemeni children have suffered immensely since the war began in 2014. In particular, Yemen has seen the recruitment of child soldiers as a common practice. Since this is a very serious issue, in the text below top 10 facts about Yemen child soldiers are presented.

Top 10 Facts About Yemen Child Soldiers

  1. The year 2014 witnessed the beginning of the crisis in Yemen when Iranian-backed Houthi rebels took over most of the country’s cities, including the capital Sanaa. In response, Saudi Arabia has led a coalition in support of the government that was led by Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi.
  2. Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners have mainly waged a campaign of air strikes and an ongoing land, air and sea blockade. According to the World Health Organisation, as of early 2018, over 8,600 people have died and around 50,000 have been injured. In addition to this fact, Yemen is experiencing one of the worst modern world’s cholera outbreak.
  3. Although both Houthi forces and pro-government forces claim child soldiers are frowned upon on, the number of child soldiers has increased in Yemen over the years. The U.N. reports that an estimated 517 children were recruited in Yemen during 2016. In 2017, however, this number expanded to 842. This includes children as young as 11 years old. In total, an official tally approximates that around 2,369 children have been used in combat since 2015.
  4. Of these confirmed cases, Houthi rebels share the most responsibility for the recruitment of Yemeni children. Out of the 842 recruited child soldiers in 2017, 534 fought under the Houthi rebels. Of course, Houthi rebels are not the only ones who participate in using child soldiers for their cause, since another, pro-government side, recruits child soldiers as well.
  5. Poverty has become a significant factor for child recruitment in Yemen. The USAID reports that 80 percent of Yemenis need humanitarian assistance. Consequently, the recruitment of children becomes an economic exchange. These young boys are voluntarily and involuntarily recruited for the purpose of bringing the money home. With families living in poverty and in war-torn areas, fighting for the rebels or pro-government forces becomes one of the few ways to make a living at such a young age. In fact, Amnesty International stated that Houthi forces would offer to pay $80 to $120 in monthly pensions to the family of a killed child soldier.
  6. The degradation of Yemen’s educational system has also resulted in a major recruitment boom for local forces. As of March 2018, the U.N. estimated that around 2 million school-aged children were out of school and 2,500 schools were left in rubbles. The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund has concluded that the risks or children recruitment for war purposes rapidly increase when there is no educational or social security net for them to grow up in. Armed groups are able to distort the perceptions of parents and children into thinking that recruitment is the only path left for the future, in order to gain cheap soldiers.
  7. While Yemen child soldiers are increasingly being recruited in the current crisis, international groups are using foreign aid to stop and eventually reverse this trend. For instance, UNICEF has recently launched a campaign that emphasizes education and advocacy. It is their plan to rebuild Yemen’s educational system and make sure that children at-risk always have schooling as the best option for their future. Moreover, the U.N. has called on all parties of the conflict to return these children to schools and better protect them and their futures.
  8. The U.S. Agency for International Development has initiated numerous projects for keeping children educated and protected. As of 2017, USAID has funded the day-to-day expenses and repairs for over 200 schools, resulting in 70,000 children staying in school and receiving a basic education. Working alongside the Yemen Ministry of Education, 15,000 high-risk children were able to continue their education at home when the security environment proved too dangerous for schools. S.A.I.D. and local governments are continuously developing security and emergency plans for over 100 schools in order to better protect school children across the country.
  9. The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) was launched in Yemen’s Marib province with the hope of helping former child soldiers recover from the emotional and phycological scars of combat. As of 2017, 215 children were rehabilitated in addition to 2,000 that are currently undergoing treatment.
  10. The U.N.’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen stated he was “deeply disturbed” by the conflict and the “complete disregard for human life that all parties, including the Saudi-led coalition, continue to show in this absurd war.”

With the deadly conflict still raging in Yemen with no end in sight, it may be easy to lose hope. However, humanitarians at home and abroad are continuing to fight, especially for the children that are being manipulated into seeing their future as soldiers as the only way out. The hope is still alive that the joint effort of local authorities and international organizations will secure that these children go to school, not armories.

– Tanner Helem
Photo: Flickr

Yemen child soldiers
As of March 2015, the United Nations has confirmed that at least 2,369 children have been recruited as Yemen child soldiers. Some of these children are engaged in active combat.

Child recruits in the Middle East and North Africa have doubled within a year as of 2017. According to southern Yemeni officials, there may be as many as 6,000 child soldiers throughout the country and 20,000 are in need of war rehabilitation. The situation in Yemen has been called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with 18.8 million people needing aid and seven million going hungry.

The United Nations has argued that children and young people are receiving the worst of the conflict’s repercussions. The organization claims Houthis were responsible for 359 of 517 cases of Yemen child soldiers in 2016; 76 were recruited by government-backed groups like the Popular Resistance and the coalition. Others were recruited by Al Qaeda and its associated groups.

The Yemen conflict was set in motion in 2014 when the northern Shiite Muslim rebels, or the Houthis, allied themselves with the military and took over the Yemeni capital of Sana and other cities due to discontent with the government and president. In retaliation for the Houthis’ strike against the government, Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations became involved in the conflict.

Since 2015, Saudi airstrikes have been led in an attempt to restore President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi to power. The Houthis, backed by Iran, and the Saudis, backed by the U.S., U.K. and France, effectively tore the country apart with their fighting, splitting it between the north and the south.

In some ways, the destruction and conflict have forced families to view their children as valuable resources. The child soldiers’ pay of $55 every three months may be necessary to keep the family afloat, while female children are married off in exchange for a dowry. Furthermore, recruits are given a hot meal daily; 47 percent of Yemeni children suffer from stunting due to malnourishment.

The Houthis have promised monthly allowances of $80-120 to the families of child soldiers in the event that their children were to die. The group will print posters in memory of fallen Yemen child soldiers, as well.

Continuous violence and destroyed infrastructure puts civilians, and especially children, in a precarious situation.“With no end in sight to these conflicts and with families’ dwindling financial resources, many have no choice but to send their children to work or marry their daughters early,” UNICEF’s Regional Director Geert Cappelaere explained to The Guardian.

In 2014, the Yemeni government signed an action plan with the U.N. that contained a list of stipulations to ensure that there would be no more use of child soldiers. Unfortunately, progress on this front has been stalled due to the conflict and the issue of Yemen child soldiers has not yet been resolved.

Still, organizations like U.N. relief agencies continue to help where they can. “We remain committed to helping the people of Yemen. We have reached nearly six million people with clean water, distributed 3.7 million liters of fuel to public hospitals [and] treated more than 167,000 children for severe acute malnutrition,” U.N. leaders conveyed.

– Camille Wilson

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Yemen : Why the Country Is So Poor?
Poverty in Yemen holds one of the highest rates in the Arab world. Half of the population lives on less than two dollars per day.

The main reason for poverty in Yemen is a lack of basic resources, such as water, healthcare and education. Rural and remote areas make it physically, intellectually, economically and socially isolated from rest of the region.

Beyond this, Yemen faces may other problems as well. Most of the population does not have access to clean water and proper sanitation. Ten million people–nearly half of the population–go without enough food to eat. Child malnutrition rates are the highest in the world. Half of the children under the age of five are stunted. Girls often get married before the age of 15 and never receive a formal education. Illiteracy among women is currently at 49 percent. Yemen ranks 140th out of 182 countries on the United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index.


Exploring Leading Causes of Poverty in Yemen


The poverty crisis is related to the violence and chronic hunger in Yemen. An 18-month civil war in Yemen has killed 10,000 people. It pushed the country toward a famine and increased the poverty in Yemen. Eighty percent of the population requires humanitarian assistance.

The civil war has made conditions difficult for economic growth. There are two internal conflicts in the country. The southern conflict is between the government and extremist religious groups called the Houthis. The north of Yemen faces a conflict between the government and Al Qaeda. This conflict has lasted for more than 10 years.

Government corruption and nepotism is also widespread, and government officials only elect relatives or those who are going to pay bribes. A lack of jobs even among graduates has forced young adults to the streets, leading to even more widespread poverty in Yemen.

Furthermore, the country’s infrastructure is very inadequate, and only 15 percent of the rural population is covered by the national electric grid. Transportation is expensive and the poor road networks obstruct travel.

The Gulf crisis led to the massive return of migrant workers who do not have an income or prospects of employment, further exasperating poverty rates in Yemen.

The United Nations World Food Programme delivers hope by working to fight poverty in Yemen. The organization reaches six million Yemenis with lifesaving food, meals for school children and sustainability projects such as rainwater conservation and irrigation. Ending poverty in Yemen will require the government to take responsibility of its citizens at the end of the civil war.

Aishwarya Bansal

Photo: Flickr

Yemeni_CiviliansOngoing conflict in Yemen continues to take its toll on the civilian population. According to the United Nations Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), 21.2 million Yemeni civilians of the total 26 million in the population are in need of humanitarian assistance.

15 million people no longer have adequate healthcare as a result of the conflict in Yemen. Fuel and medical supply shortages have severely hindered functioning of hospitals and health facilities.

The deterioration of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services further aggravates the situation — approximately 20.4 million people lack adequate WASH services, says UNOCHA.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently working with other health partners to “ensure the continuity of health services” in Yemen.

Mobile clinics, for example, serve as “primary healthcare centers” in more remote areas of the country. WHO, partnered with Field Medical Foundation, have set up mobile clinics which specifically cater to the treatment of children between six months and five years of age in Aden, Lahj and Hadramout.

Approximately one million liters of fuel have been delivered to health facilities. The WHO and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have been working together to bring water to different regions of the country.

According to BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner, the conflict in Yemen began in the 2011 Arab Spring.

In an attempt to contain protests within Yemen’s borders, Yemen and its Gulf Arab neighbors made a deal that ultimately led to the replacement of President Ali Abdullah Saleh by Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

In retaliation, Saleh supported a rebellion by Houthi rebels in late 2014. By January 2015, President Hadi had lost power and immediately made for Saudi Arabia, where he currently lives in exile.

Yemen now finds itself torn between Houthi/pro-Saleh forces in the West and Hadi forces in the East. As the fighting continues, WHO and other organizations continue to make major efforts toward supporting Yemeni civilians caught up in the violence.

Jocelyn Lim

Sources: BBC, World Health Organization (WHO) 1, World Health Organization (WHO) 2, World Health Organization (WHO) 3, UNICEF, UNOCHA
Photo: Google Images

The Youth of Yemen Promoting Peace

Yemen has been through a whole lot in the past few years. While political unrest has plagued the nation for years, in the recent months, the country has been dealing with ongoing airstrikes.

“Some days it’s calm, and some days it’s not. It’s so unpredictable. Right now, we’re on day four with no electricity. When it does come on, it will only be one for an hour,” Hana reports. At 26-year-old, Hana is a youth assistant project manager for the Foundation for Peace project.

The project was founded in 2012 by the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE), with the goal of teaching members of the community to effectively prevent and resolve conflicts. They focus on women and youth that typically do not have the opportunity to be influential or participate in dialogue.

So far, 560 youth, women, and local community leaders have received training. In addition, CARE has provided 15 water tanks for poor neighborhoods.

Many people in the country do not have nearby access to water sources and have to walk for miles every day. The limited amount of water sometimes results in clashes within communities.

In the past, wealthy business owners and merchants have paid for trucks to bring water to the poor. However, the trucks wasted a lot of water since they did not offer an effective method of collection. To rectify this inefficiency, the water tanks that CARE installed are permanent. They allow for people to obtain water with ease and less conflict.

Airstrikes and a naval blockade, however, have been preventing essential supplies, such as fuel and food, from reaching Yemen. Because of the lack of fuel, prices have soared and the cost to ride the bus has doubled. Service has also become undependable and people have switched to riding bikes for transportation.

The closure of many Yemeni schools poses another issue. Yemen has a very large population of young people and the majority of them are unemployed and out of school. This leaves them susceptible to recruitment into dangerous militant groups.

Yet, Yemen’s youth are finding ways to stay out of trouble and bring about dramatic change. For example, they initiate groups that spread awareness about issues like women’s rights. Women are fighting for the right to ride bicycles, which is traditionally not allowed in Yemen.

They turn destroyed buildings and windows into art and paint messages of peace all over their cities. Young people are passionate about promoting peace and developing their nation.

The United Nations Development Program gives out a yearly National Award for the Best Innovative Small Business Plan to Yemeni youth. Young people are able to submit smart business ideas for a chance to make their ideas into an entrepreneurship opportunity.

The goal of the award is to kick start the motivation and genius of Yemen’s youth, as well as generate new opportunities for employment. With the award, young people start their own businesses to contribute to their community and the nation’s developing economy.

The youth’s ability to take their lives and future into their own hands also grants them a hearty amount of satisfaction and self-esteem. There are five winners chosen who each are given $20,000 and support from the UNDP while executing their idea.

At the moment, Yemen receives funding from organizations like CARE. But even without aid in the future, the youth hope to keep inspiring progress and peace.

Lillian Sickler

Sources: CARE, Yemen Innovation And Creativity Award, The Globalist
Photo: Care

Poverty in Yemen
As one of the poorest countries in the Middle East, Yemen is currently faced with some of the most extreme poverty issues in the world. There are several issues that are unique to Yemen that contribute to this magnitude of poverty, issues that are on track to only get worse unless direct action is taken to mitigate these circumstances. If basic problems, such as lack of access to water, are not properly addressed, other matters, such as sub-par literacy rates, will continue to plague the region and exacerbate poverty in Yemen.


Top 5 Facts about Poverty in Yemen


1. Yemen’s population stands at 25.4 million and approximately 54% of those people live in poverty.  In other words, 54% of the population survives on fewer than 2 dollars per day.

2. Approximately 45% of the population is malnourished.

3. Life expectancy in Yemen is 64 years old, 14 years younger than the average life expectancy in the United States.

4. Major infectious diseases plaguing the country include Bacterial diarrhea, Typhoid fever, Dengue fever and Malaria, all of which are preventable, curable and in some cases largely unheard of anymore in the western world.

5. There is less than 1 physician for every 1,000 people in Yemen.


Major Causes Behind Poverty in Yemen Today


  • The dire water shortage: The use of the word ‘dire’ cannot be stressed enough. According to Maplecroft, a global risk analysis organization, Yemen is ranked as the seventh most water-stressed country on the planet. Even though there is a water shortage in Yemen, approximately 90% of the country’s water is put towards its largely ineffective agricultural practices. In Yemen’s capital city, Sana’a, tap water is only available once every four days for its 2 million people. Even worse, in Taiz, a major city in the south, tap water is only available every 20 days. It is estimated that in 10 years, Sana’a will literally run out of water for its citizens.
  • On the brink of famine: In mid-2012, several major humanitarian relief organizations issued a warning that 44% of the population’s food needs are not currently being adequately met. Five million of these malnourished Yemeni citizens require emergency aid and immediate action. The warning cited a surge in food and fuel prices and political instability as the cause behind the number of malnourished people doubling since 2009. Though there is food available in some cases, many Yemenis cannot afford to buy nourishment because they have been displaced from their homes due to conflict.
  • Lingering political instability: Like most of the Middle East, Yemen felt the effects of the Arab Spring in 2011. The initial uprising was centered on protesting high unemployment, economic conditions and government corruption, which included the then president’s plan to alter the constitution to allow the direct transfer of power to his son. Al-Qaeda also has a presence in the region, which further contributes to political instability. For these reasons and many others, the attempt to reach stability within the government and the region is an ongoing process. After significant fighting and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of citizens, a new president was placed in power after running uncontested in an election. The new president is responsible for overseeing the drafting and implementation of a new constitution and further presidential and parliamentary elections in 2014.

– Colleen Eckvahl


Sources: BBC: Yemen’s President cedes power, BBC: Yemen on brink of food crisis, Green Profit, Maplecroft, The World Bank