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Yemen: Prolonged fuel shortages have become a key driver of the largest humanitarian crisis


A current fuel shortage aggravates the humanitarian situation and complicate humanitarian aid in Yemen. Humanity & Inclusion (HI)'s country Director for Yemen Caroline Dauber explains the desperate situation for civilians.

Destruction in Aden

Destruction in Aden | © ISNA Agency / HI

During a meeting with donors last May, Humanity & Inclusion (HI) and NGOs in Yemen alerted the United Nations and States on the profound consequences of the fuel crisis in Yemen already hit by the worst humanitarian crisis.

Prices skyrocket

The current fuel shortage is the direct consequences of the war. It has recently taken on unprecedented proportions: Fuel imports from Hodeidah, Yemen’s main port and lifeline, have decreased by 91% between January and April of this year, and for the first time, the number of imports dropped to zero in February.

The consequences are that prices of goods and services have skyrocketed. Fruits and vegetables are becoming luxury commodities, and food basket prices continue to increase on a monthly basis. In some areas, even the price of water has doubled.

Delivering humanitarian aid

This also affects our ability to deliver assistance to those most in need. Transportation costs are soaring, preventing people from reaching lifesaving assistance and medical treatment.

Health providers report struggles with operating medical equipment, which require high wattages of electricity that can only be provided by generators. The fuel shortage has forced some health agencies to reduce their activities and triage in order to save those most in need.

Some agencies struggle to deal with water disposal services and provision in camps for displaced persons. As waste removal trucks are ceasing operations due to increased fuel prices, waste in displacement camps accumulates rapidly, increasing the risk of spreading disease.

Moreover, the water office in Hajjah, which used to provide water to displaced communities twice a month, is now only able to do so once a month. This forces those unable to purchase from water trucks, to drink dirty or saline water. Other vital services such as food distributions are also affected, as contracted transporters report delays of 3 to 4 days due to the lack of fuel.

Some Aid agencies might be compelled to scale down their activities and reduce the number of people assisted, to meet increasing costs for contracted goods and services. It will leave a growing numbers of people in desperate need unassisted.

Yemen is one of the worst humanitarian crises:

  • 20 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, that is, 66% of the population

  • 16 million people are food insecure.

  • 15 million people struggle to access clean water

  • 4 million people have been forced from their homes.

HI in Yemen

80 HI staff members, in 9 health structures, have been working in Yemen since 2015.

  • Rehabilitation sessions and instruction: 30,633 people

  • Psychosocial support and counseling sessions: 22,999 people

  • Crutches, wheelchairs, etc. provided: 35,371 (Mobility Aids, specific items and splints)

  • 522 people fitted with prostheses and orthoses 

  • 2,250 hygiene kits distributed

  • 807 medical staff trained in rehabilitation

  • Financial support for close to 700 households

Date published: 06/21/21


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