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Yemen: faces from the front lines of a humanitarian emergency

Yemeni child stands in the ruins of a building

A Yemeni child stands in a bombed-out house in the Old City of Sana’a, Yemen, February 2017. © UNHCR/Mohammed Hamoud

Yemen remains the world’s worst humanitarian disaster with more than 24 million people who require humanitarian or protection assistance. Since 2015, Yemen’s conflict has killed 17,000 civilians and displaced 3.65 million. Escalating conflict continues to cause extensive damage to public infrastructure. UNHCR is providing shelter, legal and financial assistance to those in need. Despite the severe protection crisis, these are some faces of Yemen embodying resilience and hope as they rebuild their lives in the wake of this forgotten tragedy.


Lina, refugee & entrepreneur

Woman from Yemen holds a woven piece of furniture

© UNHCR/Saleh Bahulais

Lina is an Ethiopian refugee who has been living with her husband and children in Sana’a, Yemen, for the past 15 years. UNHCR supported Lina with a micro-loan, which helped her buy equipment and furniture for her restaurant business. She cooks Ethiopian food and serves Yemeni coffee. Lina hopes to expand her restaurant and welcome more customers.


Adham, born into conflict

A child sits in the ruins of a home in Yemen

©UNHCR/Shadi Abusneida

Six-year-old Adham was born in Yemen. He is sitting inside a destroyed home in Aden. Adham has his whole life ahead of him, but his future is uncertain as civilians continue to bear the brunt of the ongoing conflict.


Children’s Parliament

Children sits at a table speaking into microphones in Yemen

© UNHCR/Shadi Abusneida

Children’s Parliament in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a. UNHCR has been supporting refugee children’s participation in the Yemeni Youth Parliament since 2012. It now has 71 members, including 10 refugee and displaced children who are supported by UNHCR. In July 2019, the representatives attended the Parliament’s biannual event where they conveyed messages concerning refugee and internally displaced persons’ rights in Yemen. Throughout the year, the representatives also hold other activities in their schools, including advocacy for children rights and the importance of child protection with the support from UNHCR.


Obadi, rebuilding what war ruined

Older man standing in front of the ruins of a building in Yemen

©UNHCR/Saleh Bahulais

Obadi, a 67-year-old Yemeni man, stands in the middle of the ruins of his neighbourhood in Aden. When asked about his displacement, he says leaving his house and life due to the violence was the most difficult decision he had ever made. Obadi says, “War forces you to give up on many things and leave them behind. But eventually when the conditions got better, I took the decision to return to my house and life.” When asked about his needs and future hopes, he responded, “We need the authorities to make some serious steps for reconstruction and development. Now is the most suitable time to rebuild what war ruined.”


Ala’a, hope for tomorrow

A young man stands in the ruins of his old home in Yemen

© UNHCR/Shadi Abusneida

Ala’a visits what remains of his house in Aden. The 23-year-old says his neighbourhood was a hot spot for clashes in 2015. He left his house and moved to Alshaikh Sa’ad and came back after things calmed down. “In order to have better life conditions we need income source, and job opportunities. I hope that our city goes back to its old flourish.”

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