In June 2014, armed conflict between the government and militias spread across much of the country.  In September 2014, Houthi militias, supported by Saleh forces, exploiting public discontent, drove their way into Sana’a and gradually took over government institutions during the first quarter of 2015. Interim President Hadi and his government fled the country. An Arab coalition of nine countries led by Saudi Arabia initiated a military campaign to restore President Hadi’s government to power. The government to date is still grappling with serious security issues. The conflict has caused major loss of life, internal displacement, and the destruction of infrastructure and service delivery across main sectors, further exacerbating the preexisting difficult economic conditions.

The conflict situation is further complicated by the resurgence of al-Qaeda (AQAP) and other radical Islamist groups, including Islamic State, particularly in the south and the east of the country. Such radical groups benefited from the absence of government and a security vacuum to expand their territorial gains and local recruitment. The failing economy made it easier to recruit fighters.  In late April 2016, the AQAP’s attempt to create its own state failed when pro-government forces supported by the United Arab Emirates troops recaptured the oil terminal, as well as the city of Al-Mukalla.

The conflict has resulted in catastrophic humanitarian conditions, a large number of civilian deaths and causalities across the country, and a severe impairment of public services.  Prior to 2014, Yemen was facing challenges on several fronts that have been exacerbated by the conflict—high population growth, severe urban-rural imbalances, food and water scarcity, female illiteracy, widespread poverty, and economic stagnation. According to UN agencies, between March 2015 and February 2016, the conflict left over 7,600 people dead, including 3,000 civilians and another 6,000 injured. About half of Yemen's population of about 26.8 million is in areas directly affected by the conflict. Severe food insecurity affects 7.6 million people, and an estimated 2 million are malnourished, including 1.3 million children, of whom 320,000 are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Basic services across the country are on the verge of collapse. Chronic drug shortages, unpaid salaries, and conflict-related destruction restrict around 14 million Yemenis, including 8.3 million children, from accessing health care services.

More than 1.8 million additional children have been out of school since the start of conflict, bringing the total number of children out of school to more than 3 million. Over 1,600 schools remain closed either due to insecurity, physical damage, or their use as shelters for displaced people. Aid delivery in the Republic of Yemen has been affected by violence and security concerns.

Last Updated: Oct 01, 2016

As of January 2015 and following a thorough review of the political and security environment in Yemen, the Bank has suspended all missions to Yemen. All disbursements to projects financed by IDA and Bank managed trust funds have been suspended since March 11, 2015.  However, the Bank has continued coordinating with Yemeni stakeholders and partners to respond to the fast-evolving deteriorating situation.  In December 2015, given the critical health needs on the ground, the Bank lifted the suspension on an exceptional basis- and disbursed funds to two health projects, the Schistosomiasis Control Project and the Health and Population Project, to allow for an arrangement with two specialized UN agencies for procurement and distribution of essential drugs, medical supplies and related activities.  The two projects are being implemented by the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

In July 2016, the World Bank Board approved a Country Engagement Note with Yemen for fiscal years 2017–18 to provide emergency support utilizing local service delivery, support conflicted-affected families and communities and prepare for post-conflict recovery and reconstruction in partnership with the UN.  In addition, a US$50 million Emergency Crisis Response Project was approved to support households and communities hard hit by the ongoing crisis. Building on the positive experience of implementing the Bank’s health portfolio through UNICEF and the WHO, the proposed grant to the UNDP will finance emergency interventions to ease the impact of conflict on the welfare and livelihood of affected households and communities in Yemen with a particular focus on women and youth, and to restore capacity for service delivery.

The World Bank will continue and expand its analytical work to prepare for the post-conflict recovery and reconstruction.  Phase II of the Damage Needs Assessment will continue to expand key data on conflict-related damage in Yemen. The ongoing analysis in energy and local government capacity will also be completed.

Last Updated: Oct 01, 2016

Health and Population Project:

Since the Yemen Health and Population Project (HPP) activities resumed in January 2016, around 1.5 million Yemeni children under five years old were reached by the national polio campaigns supported by the project, which represents about 30 percent of the whole target population nationwide. The project has a simple, evidence-based outreach delivery model for health services in coordination with UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), in order to procure some of the essential medications and medical supplies needed for the outreach campaigns.  This has enabled the Bank to continue its support to the project, when the war escalated and the Bank's whole portfolio in Yemen was suspended, through channeling grants from the International Development Association (IDA) directly to UNICEF and WHO to deliver vaccinations and basic health services such as nutrition and reproductive health to children and women, respectively.  

Emergency Crisis Response Project:

The operation will help provide short-term employment opportunities through labor-intensive works and initiate restoration of livelihood and service delivery in water, nutrition, schooling, small-scale roads, and small infrastructure while preserving existing local service delivery capacity in the SFD (Social Fund for Development) and PWP (Public Works Project) entities.

Last Updated: Oct 01, 2016