We’re responding to the urgent needs of children in Yemen to help them survive and grow to their full potential.

Set in the Middle East along the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen is a fascinating country with a long and complex history that’s intertwined with some of the world’s earliest civilisation. Today, Yemen is in the midst of a brutal conflict and there is no end in sight.

Considered the poorest country in the Middle East, around 80 per cent of Yemenis are estimated to be in debt and struggling to pay for life’s essentials: food, water and vital health services. Combine this with the nation’s deepening economic crisis, disease and displacement, the situation for children and their families is getting worse. That’s why UNICEF is on the ground in Yemen, working to reach every child in need.

8.5 m

Nearly 8.5 million children do not have access to safe water, sanitation or hygiene.

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More than 11.3 million children need humanitarian assistance.

Yemen has become a living hell for children - UNICEF'S Executive Director

Yemeni mother and daughter looking at the camera© UNICEF/UN0671771/Hayyan

Yemen’s many challenges

Every day in Yemen, children and their families face multiple challenges, many of which are being exacerbated by the country’s ongoing conflict and the deepening economic crisis. Children are suffering from malnutrition and preventable diseases, just like baby Arwa here who is being treated for malnutrition at a UNICEF-supported health centre.

Many families do not have access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities, while a staggering number of children are out of school or at risk of dropping out. As the conflict continues in their country, children are constantly at risk of being harmed.

How we’re protecting the rights of children in Yemen

UNICEF has been in Yemen since the 1970s, working with local partners to provide humanitarian care to children and their families. We’re providing children caught in Yemen’s violent conflict with emergency nutrition, clean water and sanitation facilities. We’re vaccinating babies and children against preventable diseases and we’re treating children who are malnourished. We’re also working to keep children in school by distributing school supplies, finding alternative pathways to learning to increase education opportunities for the hardest-to-reach children. And when emergency strikes, we’re on the ground, helping to keep children safe from harm.

4,465

In 2021 alone, UNICEF supported the treatment of severe acute malnutrition in 4,465 primary health care facilities and 34 therapeutic feeding centres.

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UNICEF reached more than 5.1 million people with critical water, sanitation and hygiene supplies (including hygiene items) and services and messages on appropriate hygiene practices.

Malnutrition is a constant threat

A young Yemeni family cuddling after they have immunized their children. © UNICEF and U.S. CDC/ UN0684492/Hayyan

Vaccinating against preventable diseases

During a vaccination campaign visit in Yemen, Fadhel holds his two-month-old son, while his wife Ejlal holds their three-year-old daughter. Sadly, the family lost one of their twin daughters to measles and are now actively ensuring their children are vaccinated against preventable diseases. 

“When the measles hit the family, it was not visible in the beginning. My daughters were sick for two days with fever and joint pain. The condition of one of my daughters worsened, so I had to take her to hospital, but she passed away while we were still on our way to the hospital.

Fadhel continues, “Now I have become more cautious. Whenever one of my kids gets a fever or a cold, I immediately take them to the health centre to get a check-up, get them the medication they need and diagnose their condition.

I want to deliver a message to anyone who rejects immunisation, they should vaccinate their children as soon as a vaccination campaign is launched. If the team does not come to you, you go to the health centre yourself. My mistake was tremendous, and I still regret it until this day,” Fadhel says.

During 2022, in seven governorates, an estimated 1,379 children were suspected of having measles and 15 deaths were associated with the virus. UNICEF is working to improve immunisation against preventable diseases like measles by procuring vaccines, training health workers and sharing accurate information with communities.

In Yemen, we're making a difference in:

Help the children of Yemen

By donating today, you can help children like Ayah who dreams of one day becoming a doctor so that she can treat all the people in her village.

Young Yemeni girl sitting in the classroom at her desk and smiling at the camera
© UNICEF/UN0580159/Gabreez