Damaged and destroyed buildings are surrounded by rubble and debris in Aden Yemen

Fuel shortage exacerbates world’s largest humanitarian crisis

A prolonged fuel shortage is complicating the delivery of humanitarian aid, worsening the crisis in Yemen. Caroline Dauber, Humanity & Inclusion’s country director for Yemen, explains how civilians are impacted.

In May 2020, Humanity & Inclusion and other NGOs alerted the United Nations and States on the profound consequences of the fuel crisis in Yemen, exacerbating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Prices skyrocket 

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

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

Delivering humanitarian aid 

The ability of Humanity & Inclusion and other humanitarian organizations to deliver assistance to those with the greatest need has also been affected. Transportation costs are soaring, preventing people from reaching life-saving assistance and medical treatment. 

Health providers report problems operating medical equipment that requires generators. The fuel shortage has forced some health agencies to reduce their activities and triage patients to treat those with only the most serious conditions.

Some agencies are struggling with water disposal services and provision in camps for displaced people. As waste management trucks cease operations, trash in displacement camps accumulates rapidly, increasing the risk of disease.

The water office in Hajjah, which used to provide water to displaced communities twice a month, can only do so once a month. People unable to purchase clean and safe water from water trucks are resorting to drinking dirty or saline water. Other vital services such as food distribution are also affected, as delivery teams report delays.

Some aid agencies may scale down activities and reduce the number of people assisted to meet increasing costs for contracted goods and services. A growing number of people in desperate need will be left unassisted. 



Millions in need

  • 20 million people—or 66% of the population—in Yemen are in need of humanitarian assistance
  • 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 

Humanity & Inclusion has 80 staff members in nine health facilities working to serve the Yemeni population. Since Humanity & Inclusion began working in Yemen in 2015 teams have:

  • Offered rehabilitation sessions and instruction to 30,633 people
  • Provided psychosocial support and counseling sessions to 22,999 people
  • Equipped people with 35,371 mobility aids, including crutches and wheelchairs
  • Fitted 522 people with artificial limbs and braces
  • Distributed 2,250 hygiene kits
  • Trained 807 medical staff in rehabilitation
  • Offered financial support to nearly 700 households


Image: Destruction in Aden, Yemen. Copyright: ISNA Agency/HI