Aid Workers Name Challenges to Yemen Humanitarian Crisis Response

Lack of funding, security concerns and logistical complexities are increasingly making it difficult to deliver aid and run relief programs in Yemen even as the country’s already fragile humanitarian situation is getting worse, aid officials said.

Yemen is among the poorest countries in the the North Africa and Middle East region and it has been beleaguered with conflict and insecurity for the past year. These are in addition to food price hikes and a fuel crisis. Together, these factors have made chronic problems such as malnutrition into acute crises.

But as the humanitarian situation in Yemen worsens, aid delivery is also becoming increasingly difficult, according to aid workers, who identified funding, insecurity and complex logistics as the main challenges hampering relief programs in the country.

“Ironically… with Yemen facing one of its greatest humanitarian challenges ever, donors are pulling funds,” Oxfam’s Ashley Clements said, according to IRIN. “Some money is talked about and never pledged. Some is pledged and never given.”

There’s also a problem of insecurity across the country due to rebel and secessionist movements, al-Qaida presence and a violent crackdown on recent pro-democracy protests. Security concerns have forced some aid groups to scale down their operations or even close shop, affecting thousands of people in need of assistance, IRIN notes.

Lack of quality infrastructure and basic facilities is also a problem, according to aid workers. A planned vaccination campaign, for instance, has been delayed because of lack of electricity, gas and transportation services, among others.

An Oxfam report says there are innovative solutions such as cash vouchers and cash programs to get around these challenges.

“Aid can get through, even in highly complex, challenging, and insecure environments,” the report notes, as quoted by IRIN. “Donors may need to think further outside the box in order to get support to those in need.”

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.