Two years ago, the conflict in Yemen broke out and left millions of Yemenis internally and externally displaced. Even before the war, Yemen was one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, so this conflict has had a devastating effect on the people of Yemen. Here are 10 facts to know about Yemeni refugees.

10 Facts About Yemeni Refugees

  1. Eighty percent of the population requires some form of humanitarian protection or assistance. Almost 2.4 million Yemenis have been displaced by the war.
  2. Most refugees fled to Saudi Arabia, which, as of 2016, hosted 39,000 Yemeni refugees.
  3. Yemenis have no easy outlets to flee their country, which is mainly due to its geographical location. Saudi Arabia has set up a blockade that prevents food and supplies from being delivered and makes it difficult for Yemenis to escape.
  4. Yemen takes in many refugees from other countries. They now have around 280,000 refugees, mostly from Africa. However, because of the war in Yemen, those refugees have had to return to their home countries.
  5. Six million Yemeni refugees are severely food insecure, resorting to having to send their children out to the streets to beg for food and scavenge from restaurants.
  6. Yemen is facing a cholera outbreak, and more than 29,000 people are infected as well as malnourished.
  7. Yemen does not have enough donors for relief. Only three million out of seven million starving people were fed by aid in May of 2017.
  8. Among the externally displaced Yemenis, 75 percent stated that lack of food was their top reason for leaving Yemen.
  9. A Yemeni child under five dies every ten minutes, usually due to starvation.
  10. You can help by donating to the World Food Program that is aiming to provide food to seven million starving Yemenis.

For close to two years, Yemenis have been living in fear, insecurity and famine. They are not dangerous people–they simply need a place where they can have food and be safe from war. They need aid that they are not receiving. The plight of Yemeni refugees cannot be ended without increased aid.

Kelsey Jackson

Photo: Flickr

Stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and self-proclaimed travesti exécutif, Eddie Izzard, traveled to Djibouti in July 2015.

Izzard, a UNICEF UK Ambassador, met with child refugees who escaped the ongoing civil war in Yemen, Izzard’s country of birth. The children he spoke to fled their homes with nothing, traveling across the Red Sea by boat.

According to UNICEF UK, more than 20,000 people, including 10,000 Yemenis, have taken the journey across the Red Sea into Djibouti since March. Many of these Yemeni refugees are living in Markazi, a refugee camp outside the city of Obock.

“For decades, the children of Yemen have been living in fear and danger. They are now living through the hell of civil war and many have had to flee across the Red Sea, to Djibouti via Bab-El-Mandeb – the Gate of Tears” Izzard explains.

“The harrowing stories from Yemenis, particularly those from Aden, the city of my birth, will stay with me forever. I have a responsibility to highlight this crisis to the world, and I hope I can persuade the UK public to help the 10 million Yemeni children that are in danger right now.”

Izzard wishes to help the many children caught within the turbulence of conflict—products of what he calls a “forgotten civil war”.

In his appearance for Sky News, he highlights UNICEF’s efforts, stating that with any donations the organization would be able to provide a week’s worth of nutritious food or even 60 vaccinations against polio.

Out of the 25 million total population of Yemen, he states, nine million children have become extremely vulnerable and have faced much hardship due to the ongoing conflict.

Jaime Longoria

Sources: MSN, UNICEF