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Since 2014, Yemen has been engaged in a conflict between its internationally recognised Government, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, and the Houthi group, supported by Iran. The UN Development Programme estimates that up to 377,000 people have been killed though both direct and indirect means, to the end of 2021.

A ceasefire was in place from April to October 2022. Though expired, high-level conflict has not resumed in 2023. Negotiations for a new agreement are ongoing, with a major prisoner swap occurring in April 2023.

Yemen is considered one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Sixty-nine percent of the population—21.6 million people—need assistance in 2023.

Yemen is now divided between the Houthi group in the west, which includes the country’s capital, and the internationally recognised Government, which controls much of the south and east. In 2015, a Saudi-led coalition intervened in support of Yemen’s government. Until April 2022, this was led by President Hadi, who since handed power to a presidential council.

For a background to the conflict and attempts to negotiate peace, see the accompanying Library Briefing: Yemen: Conflict and peace, 2021-2023.

The UK has provided more than £1 billion in aid to Yemen since 2015. However, UK assistance has fallen from a peak of £260 million in 2019 to £77 million in 2022. For 2022/23, the UK has pledged £88 million compared to £87 million in 2021/22. At the UN pledging conference in February 2023, the UK was the fourth largest donor to the country, again pledging £88 million for 2023/24.

This briefing summarises the humanitarian situation in Yemen, including the impact of the conflict on civilians, and describes UK aid to the country.

Update log

December 2022: Updated data on humanitarian situation and UK aid spending

May 2023: Updated UK aid pledge for 2023/24 and details on humanitarian situation 

September 2023: Section 2 on aid statistics 

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