Almost six years ago, Yemen slipped into a deadly conflict that provoked the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Since its escalation in 2015, at least 7,825 civilians have been killed including 2,138 children and 933 women and more than 12,000 have been injured, and over 4 million people are estimated to have been internally displaced.
Indiscriminate attacks and the repeated use of explosive weapons continue to be the distinguishing features of the conflict. Almost all types of explosive weapons are believed to have been used in Yemen.
These weapons are notorious for failing to precisely hit intended military targets and for causing damage hundreds of meters away from their original target.
The use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas has been particularly alarming, with civilians reportedly making up 95 percent of casualties caused in such incidents.
In 2020, more than 2,000 civilians were killed or injured, and over 172,000 people were displaced (DTM. Yemen). The proximity of fighting to residential areas has resulted in widespread damage to civilian property, with over 4,600 houses and farms damaged, mostly in Al Hudaydah and Taizz governorates. In a country that struggles with already weakened infrastructure, armed attacks have damaged critical infrastructure including transport, health, education, water and telecommunications. In disregard of International Humanitarian Law, the parties to the conflict are often accused of placing military objectives near civilian population, which likely contributed to the devastating impact on civilians.
The conflict continues to impede physical and economic access to food, leaving an estimated 13.5 million people in food crisis, which is expected to rise to 16.2 million in the first half of 2021.
Flooding caused casualties, displacement and destruction of property, while the Covid-19 pandemic, with an already overstrained health system, worsened existing protection risks. Meanwhile, years of conflict combined with other factors has led to the collapse of public institutions and diminished their capacity to prevent and respond to violations and abuse of rights.
Amid a deepening crisis with multiple driving factors, restricted humanitarian access and lack of funding remain a significant challenge, disrupting life-saving response to the plight of millions of Yemenis. In 2020, more than 4,200 access related incidents were reported, affecting the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid for up to 7.8 million people in need. As of December 2020, 58 percent of the requested funding under the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) was received, and the Protection Cluster remains critically underfunded. In view of the funding situation, ongoing conflict, Covid-19, and threats emanating from the safer tanker, for consecutive years, Yemen is ranked among the worst humanitarian crises to watch in 2021.