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For eight years, 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 had been killed by the conflict through direct and indirect means, to the end of 2021.

Yemen is considered one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. 75% of the population—23.5 million people—needed assistance in November 2022.

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 has now handed power to a presidential council. While a ceasefire was in place from April to October 2022, it has not been renewed.

For a background to the conflict in 2021/22 and attempts to negotiate peace, see the accompanying Library Briefing: Yemen in 2021/22: Conflict and peace.

This briefing summarises the humanitarian situation in the country, including the impact of the conflict on civilians and the significance of the conflict in Ukraine on food supplies to Yemen. It also describes the funding shortfalls in UN appeals, and the amount and purpose of UK aid.

The UK has provided more than £1 billion in aid to Yemen since 2015. However, partly reflecting the wider reduction in UK aid spending from 0.7% to 0.5% of Gross National Income, UK assistance has fallen from a peak of £260 million in 2019 to £114 million in 2021.

For 2022/23, the UK has pledged £88 million compared to £87 million in 2021/22. At the UN pledging conference in March 2022, the UK was the fourth largest donor to the country.

Update log

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


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