About the Situation
By the Numbers
More than 24,770,000 people live in Yemen
45% of the people in Yemen live below the poverty line
35% of the population is unemployed
(Source: U.S. government)
Yemen—one of the oldest inhabited areas on Earth—is also one of the poorest and least developed countries in the Arab world. The country’s economy depends heavily upon its oil supply, but these resources are fast-depleting.
Nearly one in six people in Yemen are unemployed and nearly half of its 24 million people live in “unusually deep and severe” poverty, according to the United Nations:
- Yemen has the third highest rate of malnutrition in the world
- Some 43% of children under 5 years old in Yemen are underweight
- Almost half of the population lives on less than $2 a day
High illiteracy rates and a lack of education further stifle the Yemeni population from progress toward building better futures for themselves and their children.
In 2011, political turmoil turned the dire living conditions in Yemen even more desperate. Clashes between civilian protesters calling for governmental change and security forces resulted in hundreds of deaths. The violence left thousands of Yemenis with no place to go—thousands were rendered homeless.
How Islamic Relief is Helping
Islamic ReliefTM has been working in Yemen since 1998, implementing seasonal Ramadan and Udhiyah/Qurbani food distributions. Islamic Relief Yemen was registered in 2003 to implement and oversee long-term development projects. Islamic Relief teams have also responded to emergencies in the area to alleviate distress for people in the region.
Here’s a breakdown of some programs Islamic Relief has supported in Yemen:
RAMADAN FOOD DISTRIBUTION
AL-SELO WATER AND HEALTH PROJECT
Relief teams constructed a new health center and rehabilitated two existing health centers in Al-Selo. All three centers, which serve some 25,000 people in the area, were supplied with vital equipment. The program, which concluded in February 2011, also improved access to safe drinking water for locals.
In 2011, Islamic Relief provided emergency aid, including food packages, hygiene kits and more, to internally displaced Yemenis, victims of political turmoil.
YEMEN WATSAN PROJECT: WATER, HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT PROGRAM
Households in Al Farsha in the Tour Al Bahah district now have access to safe drinking water because of this Islamic Relief program that served to raise community awareness on health, hygiene and environmental issues. The project also aimed to improve dental health, and placed special attention on women and children who are often responsible for water collection for their households. More than 7,000 individuals benefitted from this effort.