Today, 26 March 2023, the people of Yemen enter their ninth year of conflict since its escalation in 2015. The conflict in Yemen has left nearly no aspects of life in the country untouched, leading to one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.
The Global Peace Index 2022 ranked Yemen as the second least peaceful country in the world, after Afghanistan, and the conflict remains one of the deadliest for civilians by global measures. In this article, we share snapshots of stories that show how the lives of the people of Yemen have been affected by eight years of conflict.
A disproportionate impact on women and girls
Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE
Women and girls in Yemen have often been among those most vulnerable to the devastating effects of conflict. The crisis has heightened existing risks affecting women as they continue to bear a disproportionate impact of the crisis, including experiencing high levels of displacement, challenges accessing services, and compounded forms of violence.
Nearly 26 percent of displaced households are headed by women. The conflict, intense deprivation, and lack of services have left many women in charge of providing and caring for their families with little education, vocational training, or sources of income.
I only had one blanket which I used as a mattress and another to cover all my children with for warmth."
Salma* is one of over one million internally displaced persons (IDPs) who sought refuge in one of Marib’s displacement sites. Her husband and son were killed in the fighting seven years ago, and she became the family's sole protector and provider. She lives with her seven children and her mother-in-law in a makeshift shelter.
* name has been changed
Yemenis are refugees in their own homeland
Yemen faces the sixth largest internal displacement crisis globally, with nearly 4.5 million people internally displaced since 2015. Although internal displacement offers relative protection from direct fighting, it poses significant challenges and risks to displaced families forced to live in poor shelter conditions without enough food, water, healthcare, and other essentials. Many displaced families have experienced displacement multiple times.
After displacement, my life became hard. I lost most of my livestock, and I can barely provide necessities for my family who live in a humble makeshift tent in the mid of desert land.”
Zabn, father of five, Yemen
Over two million children are out of school
Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE
“We, the generation who were born in the war, are oppressed in many ways, especially in terms of education,” says Nawarah, a 15-year-old student. “We don’t have safe schools, nor chairs, boards, or medicine at schools. All this has distracted our attention while attending classes, and we haven’t been able to fully focus on our lessons.”
During conflicts, children suffer first and suffer most, and the eight-year-long conflict in Yemen has had its toll on children's education and well-being. Over two million school-age Yemeni girls and boys are out of school as poverty, conflict and lack of opportunities disrupt their education.
When children are out of school, they face many risks and challenges, which can have dire consequences on both their present and their future. Boys and girls deprived of education are more likely to be trapped in a cycle of poverty and unfulfilled potential for the rest of their lives. They are more likely to be victims of violence, child labor and early marriage.
Climate change contributes to displacement and increases vulnerability
Climate change and extensive environmental destruction caused by eight consecutive years of conflict threaten to exacerbate existing vulnerabilities in Yemen. According to INFORM Climate Change Risk Index for 2022, Yemen ranks third among the most vulnerable countries to climate change and least prepared for climate shocks, after Somalia and South Sudan.
In 2022, Yemen experienced two successive extreme weather events, swinging from severe drought conditions to heavy rainfall and flooding. Both floodings and drought risks lives, livelihoods and well-being of Yemeni population, often contributing to displacement and increased vulnerability, and putting additional pressure on infrastructure and essential services.
Photo: Abdulrahman Alhobishi/CARE
Mohammed, a 40-year-old father of two children, fled the fighting in Al Hodeida and was displaced to Amran Provence.
“I rented a derelict house in Amran’s countryside, yet this year’s heavy flooding destroyed the roof of the house. The rain has also damaged some of my furniture and I can’t afford to pay to have it repaired. I’ve given up on thinking about whether I need to provide food for my family or stop the rain flooding our home,” says Mohammed.