What is driving the conflict in Yemen, and why is the country on the brink of famine?

Yemen is currently the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. It is a result of the bitter civil war, starvation, and a failing economy.

ShelterBox is planning a way to help with partners in-country as violence flares again.

Read more about the crisis in Yemen, how people are affected, and get some crucial facts and figures.


Since 2004, The Houthi movement has been leading an insurgency against the military in Yemen. The movement is known officially as Ansar Allah. In 2014, tensions between Houthis and government forces escalated into outright civil war.

Protests around the 2011 Arab Spring had pressured Yemen’s President Saleh to hand power to his deputy, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. The transition was not smooth.

As security forces withdrew from outlying provinces, the Houthi rebels took advantage and captured territory in the north. They also had growing support from Yemenis, tired of Saleh’s decades-long regime.

By the end of 2014, Houthi forces had occupied Yemen’s capital city, Sanaa. In early 2015, President Hadi fled Yemen.

After Hadi appealed to the international community, Saudi Arabia led a coalition of Arab states to try and restore full power to the Yemen Government. Relentless airstrikes and ground offensives killed thousands of civilians.


A war meant to last weeks has dragged on for years with Yemenis caught in the crossfire.

Since the offensives of 2015-16, there has been a political stalemate, punctuated by failed ceasefires and collapsing alliances.

As a result, the UN released a bleak report in 2018 calling this “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world” with war crimes committed on all sides.

In the same year, the UN negotiated the Stockholm Agreement between the Yemen Government and Houthis in a desperate bid to protect the vital port of Hudaydah from further fighting.

Hudaydah is a lifeline for two-thirds of Yemen’s people. They depend on it for food, medicine, and aid. Its destruction would have been catastrophic.

Since 2020, violence has flared at an alarming rate in the Marib region.

It’s caused rapid displacement – 10,000 people in September 2021 alone – and many families are crowded into single shelters.

The region is already home to 1 million displaced people, the highest number in Yemen.


The crisis in Yemen bleeds far beyond the conflict itself. Intense deprivation and lack of services create new and spiraling crises every year.

21 million people – that’s two-thirds of the entire population – need humanitarian support.

13% of the population is internally displaced. Only half of Yemen’s medical facilities are open, and children have little hope of education.

Most displaced people have been away from home for more than 2 years, moving again and again. They are exhausted and extremely vulnerable.

What Life is Like in Yemen

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