Yemen A country in humanitarian crisis

The United Nations considers the current situation in Yemen to be the worst humanitarian crisis worldwide. The armed conflict that has been under way since 2015 has significantly exacerbated the situation in the country, which had already been critical before.

Straight to

Yemen is one of the world's least developed countries (LDCs). High population growth, water scarcity, high levels of unemployment and poor education and health systems are causing serious problems. The agricultural sector is unable to feed the people. Dependency on food imports is rising. Yemen's oil and gas reserves will soon be exhausted.

Yemen no longer has a single national state system. The government has lost control over large parts of the country. In the current situation, it is impossible for the country to implement the reforms that are urgently needed in areas such as, in particular, the rule of law, political participation, gender equality, decentralisation and economic development.

Current situation

Political situation
Air strike in Sanaa, Yemen, 5 November 2015
Humanitarian situation
A child in Raymah, Yemen

German development cooperation with Yemen

Yemen is one of the so-called nexus and peace partners of German development cooperation. The cooperation programme focuses on drinking water supply and sanitation as well as education. Through its development cooperation, Germany also assists the Yemeni people in the fields of health, sustainable economic development, employment, food security, peacebuilding, good governance, and efforts to strengthen civil society and empower women.

Cooperation during the current crisis

In the current crisis, Germany has not suspended its cooperation with Yemen. Rather, it has adapted the programme to the challenges. Projects are implemented with as little government-to-government cooperation as possible.

Due to the security situation, no German personnel is permanently on the ground at present, but more than 140 Yemeni staff members of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) are keeping a large number of projects running, based on continuous dialogue with GIZ headquarters. Germany also supports the work of non-governmental local partners and international organisations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

In the last few years, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has significantly increased its support for Yemen, bringing it to more than 150 million euros in 2021 (up from about 60 million euros in 2018).

A destroyed building in Al Qahirah district of Taiz, Yemen

A destroyed building in Al Qahirah district of Taiz, Yemen

A destroyed building in Al Qahirah district of Taiz, Yemen

Ensuring the continuation and expansion of services

A pupil in Sanaa

A pupil in Sanaa

A pupil in Sanaa

The purpose of Germany's activities is to stabilise the living conditions of Yemen's people in the short term and to improve them in the medium term. Germany is providing support to what public institutions still exist for the provision of basic services (water supply, health, education). The BMZ builds flexibly on the humanitarian assistance provided under the lead of the Federal Foreign Office.

For example, some 2.3 million people have been given better access to drinking water and sanitation services. In 2019 and 2020, about 470,000 children benefited from the construction and/or rehabilitation of schools. Some 130,000 pupils and 4,200 teachers received psychosocial support.

Since 2017, thanks to German support more than 30,000 children have been born in attended home deliveries or at certified health care facilities. More than 76,000 women received medical care during pregnancy.

According to current plans, the new funding that is envisaged for efforts in these fields will go towards the distribution of about 100,000 health care vouchers and towards assisting some 18,000 pupils. There are also plans for modernising and equipping about 600 classrooms.

Emergency COVID-19 Support Programme

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BMZ shifted more than 36 million euros to health projects in 2020. A similar level of extra funding has been earmarked for 2021. Among other things, the BMZ has helped to set up twelve health posts and 16 COVID-19 isolation wards, and it has provided personal protective equipment, benefiting a total of more than one million people in Yemen.