23 May 2012 – Yemen is facing increasing social, economic, security and humanitarian challenges. The nationwide political, humanitarian and security crisis has only added to an already high health burden.
Overall, between 500 000 and 700 000 people require humanitarian assistance. Displacement has increased, access remains limited, security is uncertain, basic social services are barely functioning and the political situation is unstable. Yemen’s instability is likely to remain consistent with spikes in intensity based on sudden changes in the situation.
The crisis has had a dire effect on the already overstretched, underfunded and weak health system.
The crisis is disrupting the delivery of essential health services such as immunization programmes and the management and treatment of common childhood illnesses, as well as increasing vulnerability to disease outbreaks such as diarrhoea, cholera, poliomyelitis (polio) and measles.
Immunization activities in hospitals have been affected due to the closure of 30% of all health facilities becuse of the ongoing situation, resulting in disruption of the cold chain system.
Due to the crisis, access is limited in conflict-affected areas, particularly in large areas of Abyan, Al-Jawf, Amran and Sana'a governorates.
Population displacement has also increased, with 330 000 long-term internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the north and around 135 000 more recent IDPs in the south due to the ongoing conflict in Abyan.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that there was an almost 100% increase in the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants crossing from Africa to Yemen in 2011 compared to 2010. It is estimated that 103 000 migrants arrived in 2011, compared to an estimated 53 000 in 2010.
Since the beginning of 2011, an average of 7000 registered refugees have arrived in Yemen each month. The severity of the drought in the Horn of Africa is accelerating the flow of migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia.