Where We Work

Introduction to Yemen

Yemen is one of the oldest inhabited areas on Earth, dating back to thousands of years of ancient advanced civilizations. With a current population of 29.8 million, Yemen hosts one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, oldest skyscraper city, and rich traditions of coffee drinking. 

Although Yemen used to be known as the “Happy Land” with rich fertile land and advanced civilizations, today the country suffers from many economic, political and social issues, making it one of the poorest and least developed countries in the Arab world. 

The humanitarian crisis in Yemen remains one of the worst in the world. After over 6 years of continuous war, millions of people are hungry, ill, destitute, and vulnerable. A staggering 20.1 million people require humanitarian assistance and protection, as the conflict and economic decline have left families struggling to find food and access services.

In Yemen, 18 million people lack access to safe water and sanitation, 17.9 million people lack access to adequate healthcare, and 5 million people are on the brink of famine. With the conflict continuing to wreak havoc, women and children are left vulnerable to heightened violence and food insecurity. It’s estimated that over 2.3 million Yemeni children under the age of 5 suffer from acute malnutrition. 

High illiteracy rates, lack of education, and a lack of employment opportunities further stifle Yemen's population from progress toward building better futures for themselves and their children.

Why do the people of Yemen need your support?

For people across Yemen, life is incredibly challenging:

  • 16.2 million Yemenis are food insecure (WFP, 2021)

  • Less than 55% of the population have access to safe drinking water, with only 22% of rural and 46% of urban populations connected to water networks (UNDP) 

  • An estimated 17.9 million people lack access to adequate healthcare as 50% of health facilities are non-operational (WHO) 

  • 65% of the female population and 27% of the male population aged 15 and over are illiterate (UNESCO)

Islamic Relief in Yemen

Islamic Relief started its work in Yemen in 1998, shortly establishing a main office in Sanaa and running operations across the country. In Yemen, Islamic Relief Canada implements WASH, livelihood, health and nutrition, food security and protection emergency and development projects. 

In the past, we provided food rations to decrease school dropout rates, rehabilitated public water sources to increase sanitation and hygiene practices, and distributed Covid-19 vaccines in support of UNICEF’s COVAX operation. Our humanitarian work has resulted in Islamic Relief Canada receiving over $5 million in Global Affairs Canada funding to continue the important work we do throughout Yemen. 

Through this funding, we are rehabilitating multiple water systems across Sana’a, Amran, Al Dhale’e and Dhamar governorates to improve access to safe drinking water and safe hygiene practices for over 35,000 people in conflict affected communities. This consists of installing new solar-powered water pumps, training a committee of locals who can take over management of these sources, performing routine water quality testing and distributing chlorine tablets. 

To address healthcare needs, we are supporting health centers and 4 hospitals, as well as making healthcare accessible to pregnant women and malnourished children in Hodeida through targeted supplementary feeding programs.

Your donations in action

The Global Affairs Canada funded project provided conflict affected communities with economic recovery, livelihood opportunities and access to water and sanitation facilities. Islamic Relief Canada supported the economic recovery and empowerment of vulnerable individuals through cash-for-work activities. 

Ahmed Qaed Al-Salami participated in the cash-for-work program, where he worked on road rehabilitation in a village that links several villages together. Through Ahmed’s efforts and the completion of the road, children will now be able to access school and villagers can easily access resources from neighbouring villages. 

This project has a significant impact on this village, as it not only provides better access to neighbouring areas but also provides cash to families in return for their work on rehabilitating important roads. Ahmed expressed his gratitude to Islamic Relief, stating,

“We are thankful to Global Affairs Canada and Islamic Relief who have made a great contribution and effort targeting this road and alleviating our village’s struggles.”

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