Contributing author: Maya Osman-Krinsky
The armed conflict in Yemen has brought famine, displacement, and violence to its residents since 2015. The country faces one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises with more than 24 million people requiring assistance, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
And Yemen is expected to see a catastrophic peak in both cholera and COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks, according to a report released by Oxfam America.
“[Yemen] is incredibly vulnerable to shocks,” says Annabel Symington, head of communications for the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) in Yemen. “And obviously we are seeing those kinds of shocks as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.”
Yemen imports 90 percent of its food, but due to restrictions on the country’s commercial ports, resources have been stretched thin, according to WFP. More than 20 million people — over half of Yemen’s population — have been rendered food-insecure, as reported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
“It is not that there is a lack of food in Yemen,” Symington tells Food Tank. “It is that people are unable to afford the food.” Food prices have soared, possibly because of persistent instability and COVID-19, leaving Yemenis facing immediate food shortages.
Despite the immense unrest, many organizations are still trying to help Yemeni communities through this period of turmoil. Food Tank is highlighting 12 organizations providing food aid to communities in Yemen.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency Yemen (ADRA Yemen) provides humanitarian relief services to Yemenis during the conflict. More than eight of ADRA Yemen’s 12 programs are focused on providing governorates with food assistance and vouchers, nutrition counseling, malnutrition screening, and local agriculture support to address the dire health conditions present in the region. ADRA works in 14 out of Yemen’s 22 governorates and has served over 2 million people.
2. Al-Khair Foundation, United Kingdom
The Al-Khair Foundation (AKF) is a United Kingdom-based Muslim charity that began with a focus on education and has since grown to provide emergency aid. AKF provides food aid to families in Yemen, particularly in Al Hodeidah governorate, one of the areas most affected by food insecurity. AKF’s food packs have reached more than 400 families, and the organization hopes to reach another 800 more individuals in the near future.
3. CARE Yemen, Yemen
Based in Yemen’s capital of Sana’a since 1992, CARE Yemen is an organization dedicated to ending poverty. Because the armed conflict disproportionately impacts women exposed to violence and abuse, CARE seeks to empower women and girls through livelihood programs, small loans, and literacy training. CARE Yemen works in 12 of Yemen’s governorates and reaches over a million people every month through cash assistance, agricultural skill training, and direct food provisions.
4. INTERSOS, Italy
Founded in 1992, INTERSOS is a humanitarian aid organization based in Rome. INTERSOS has provided refugee relief assistance programming since 2008 and now contributes medical and food assistance as well. INTERSOS works in the governorates of Sana’a, Aden, Hadramout, Taiz, Ibb, Mahweet, and Lahj, and has treated over 14,000 cases of malnutrition.
5. Mercy Corps, International
Mercy Corps is a global team of over 6,000 humanitarian leaders spanning more than 40 countries. Since 2010, Mercy Corps has worked in Yemen to provide direct food aid and nutrition assistance to families. Mercy Corps has reached over 600,000 people with their food assistance, health education, and malnutrition treatment programs.
6. Migrant Offshore Aid Station, International
Founded in 2013, Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) responds to forced migration and other humanitarian crises around the world. In collaboration with ADRA, MOAS delivers famine relief and pharmaceutical aid to Yemenis. MOAS has provided 78 tons of nutritional aid to 48 health facilities in Yemen since 2019.
7. Mona Relief, Yemen
Based in Yemen’s capital of Sana’a, Mona Relief assists Yemeni families by providing locally sourced food aid. MonaRelief’s team redistributes funds and donations into local economies by creating baskets of food purchased from local vendors. Since 2015, Mona Relief’s food aid program has reached more than 43,000 families in 11 governorates across the country.
8. Oxfam, International
Oxfam has worked globally to eradicate poverty in more than 90 countries and has worked in Yemen for over 30 years. The organization provides agricultural and humanitarian aid in the form of cash aid for food, livestock and seed provision, and water system rehabilitation. Since July 2015, Oxfam has reached over 3 million Yemenis with its food and water aid programs and agricultural assistance.
Sanid Organization for Relief and Development (SORD) is a Yemen-based non-governmental organization (NGO) specializing in humanitarian relief and development programs. SORD’s food security and agriculture project implements malnutrition relief programs to rehabilitate families. They have reached over 29,000 individuals with this initiative, and over 146,000 individuals across all of their programs.
10. World Food Programme, International
The World Food Programme works in over 80 countries to provide aid and support food security and nutrition measures for vulnerable populations. WFP’s emergency response in Yemen is its largest project, aiming to feed 12 million people each month. WFP distributes food and food vouchers, as well as cash assistance, nutrition assistance, and in-school snacks to over 12.5 million Yemenis. They also created Freerice, a browser-based game that uses ads to financially support WFP’s work around the world.
11. Yemen Aid, Yemen
Since its establishment in 2016, Yemen Aid has provided long-term and sustainable aid to Yemeni people. Yemen Aid’s food assistance projects operate in the form of food basket distribution, meal packaging programs, and livestock provision to vulnerable families. These initiatives have reached over 20,000 people around the country.
12. Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation, United States
The Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation (YRRF) aims to increase awareness of the Yemen crisis in U.S. policymaking while providing relief to those in need. YRRF’s food security project aims to distribute food and meat baskets to families and support local bakeries and kitchens. This project has reached tens of thousands of families in need, particularly those in hard-to-reach areas of the country.