Where We Work


Conflict, Hunger and Disease in Yemen

Yemen’s civil war, which started in 2014, is driving residents of the Middle East’s poorest country deeper into misery.

Already struggling to control communicable disease and chronic malnutrition when the civil war broke out, Yemen today is seen as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. Since the start of the war, more than 230,000 people have died as a direct result of the conflict, while more than 131,000 others are believed to have died from indirect causes, such as starvation and disease.

Children have suffered especially, with 2 million under age 5 classified as acutely malnourished and living in near-famine conditions. A United Nations report in early 2019 concluded: “Yemen now risks losing its youngest generation to a vicious cycle of violence, displacement, poverty and illiteracy.”

Beginning in spring 2017, the country endured the world’s largest cholera outbreak in recent memory, with more than 1 million suspected cases reported before the end of the year. By the end of 2021, the country had recorded more than 2.5 million cases. And the threat continues.

In this challenging environment, International Medical Corps serves areas of Yemen with some of the most pressing humanitarian needs, even though widespread damage to existing infrastructure has restricted access to many areas. More than half of Yemen’s health facilities no longer function, and—with the government unable to support the country’s health system—only outside assistance prevents it from total collapse.


29.3 million

internally displaced

2.3 million

In Need of Assistance

24  million

Conflict, Hunger and Disease in Yemen

The Middle East’s poorest country before the war began, today Yemen ranks among the world’s worst humanitarian disasters, with about three-quarters of its people estimated to be in need of some kind of emergency assistance, and 15%—more than 4.5 million people—internally displaced within the country. Health authorities have struggled for years to control chronic malnutrition in Yemen, but the ongoing civil war has caused food security conditions to worsen dramatically.

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The Challenges

Food Insecurity

Two of every three Yemenis do not know where their next meal is coming from.

Lack of Healthcare

The same proportion—two of every three—lack access to basic healthcare.

Internal Conflict

The toll of Yemen’s civil war is high, with more than 230,000 deaths directly related to the conflict. More than 131,000 have succumbed due to causes indirectly related to the war, including starvation and disease.

Our Response


With 160 staff members in the country, International Medical Corps manages our response from a main office in the capital, Sana’a, with sub offices in Ibb and Aden. From these three offices, we serve communities directly affected by the war in seven of Yemen’s 23 governorates: Aden, Al Dhaleam, Amanat al Asimah, Ibb, Lahj, Sana’a and Taizz. We also work to strengthen existing local national institutions, providing them with supplies and training that enable them to continue functioning.


Drawing from our experience responding to armed conflict and natural disasters in more than 80 countries since 1984, International Medical Corps supports and strengthens local national healthcare staff by providing training that builds sustainability, and creates easier access to communities.

Since 2012, International Medical Corps has supported primary and secondary healthcare facilities in seven governorates, enabling them to remain functional and provide a wide range of services. These services include maternal and child care, sexual and reproductive health, prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases, provision of essential medical commodities and proper waste management. Our use of mobile medical units gives us the flexibility to extend our assistance to those residing in remote locations and unable to reach existing clinics.

Nutrition and Food Security

In a country where food security has been a challenge even in the best of times, International Medical Corps implements emergency nutrition and food security programs to address growing needs in an environment of continued conflict. Years of war have left one of every four Yemenis malnourished.

We conduct community management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) programmes and equip health facilities at all levels to provide nutritional support for pregnant and lactating women and malnourished children under 5. We also deliver lifesaving care for severely malnourished children with complications at two in-patient facilities in Sana’a, and three facilities in Lahj. When required, we refer children from International Medical Corps-supported clinics to nearby hospitals.

In 2022, we supported 44 health centres, five hospitals and six mobile medical clinics in Aden, Lahj, Sana’a and Taizz governorates by providing training, essential drugs and nutritional supplies needed for outpatient therapeutic and supplementary feeding programmes. These programmes ensure that acutely malnourished children receive the best possible outpatient care, as well as appropriate referral services. We also help health workers provide individual counselling to mothers and caregivers on infant and young-child feeding practices.

At the neighbourhood and village levels, International Medical Corps works with community health volunteers (CHVs) to establish support groups where mothers and caregivers can share experiences on infant and young-child feeding and hygiene practices. Our teams ensure early detection and referral of acutely malnourished children and pregnant and lactating women for specialised care. Our CHVs also trace children and nursing mothers who drop out of treatment or who have been referred but fail to show up for treatment. These volunteers provide families with critical information about the prevention of malnutrition. On average, we reach more than 3,900 people per month with health and nutrition education.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

WASH is one of the key programme pillars of our emergency response in Yemen, focusing on mitigating the increased risk of diseases caused by reduced access to clean water, basic sanitation and hygiene. We provide safe water, promote healthy hygiene practices to prevent the spread of disease, support latrine and water-system construction and rehabilitation, and support responsible solid- and medical-waste management. Since we began WASH programming in Yemen in 2012, we have reached more than 2 million people, providing critical access to water, sanitation and hygiene during major cholera outbreaks over the last three years.

Capacity Building

Regular training on health, nutrition, WASH, food security and protection issues is a central component of International Medical Corps programming in Yemen, to ensure delivery of quality services in line with recognised standards and protocols. Due to the current humanitarian emergency and the severely weakened government healthcare system, we focus on improving healthcare staff members’ knowledge and skills in services offered at the health facilities we support.

Food Security and Livelihoods

Food security and livelihoods (FSL) is a core component of International Medical Corps’ programme strategy in Yemen. In addition to providing conventional food assistance linked with sustainable livelihoods, we have a comprehensive programme for food distribution using vouchers specifically for families affected by malnutrition. Our programme to replace valuable livestock lost in the fighting helps regenerate wealth and strengthen household incomes. Working with our health and nutrition teams, our FSL team selects recipients of new livestock based on criteria developed in consultation with communities. Technical training on business and financial management is also available to support sustainable livelihoods. And we currently are supporting more than 700 households through a cash assistance programme in Al Dhale’e and Ibb governorates.

Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning

International Medical Corps has an MEAL team in Yemen that systematically tracks outputs and outcomes of our programmes and gathers beneficiary feedback for continuous improvement. To this end, we have developed District Health Information System 2 (DHIS2), an open-source data collection, aggregation and reporting software package that enables International Medical Corps to have access to timely data, minimize errors and help us make evidence-based decisions related to our programmes. Whenever possible, the system captures data or information on interventions, disaggregated by sex, age and deprived groups, including the disabled.

We also use other technical systems, including accountability to affected population (AAP) and community-based feedback and response mechanism (CBFRM), based on the global International Medical Corps CBFRM framework.

Protection Mainstreaming

Protection and gender-based violence (GBV) prevention programming remain the most sensitive interventions in Yemen, both because of the extreme cultural sensitivities that surround them and because they often occur in areas where armed conflict and critical food shortages force communities to focus on survival. To promote protection mainstreaming across all sectors, International Medical Corps employs staff devoted solely to protection mainstreaming, ensuring that interventions are aligned to all applicable international protection standards in the health, nutrition, WASH and FSL programs.

Protection mainstreaming efforts within our Yemen mission are conducted in close coordination and communication with the United Nations’ GBV Sub-Cluster and Protection Cluster in the country.  All International Medical Corps programme staff, as well as MEAL staff, are trained on how to include protection in planned activities. International Medical Corps monitoring tools are designed to capture the key elements of beneficiary protection as set out in approved guidelines.


Blog Series: Inside Yemen's Tragedy

Serving as a CHV Transforms a Young Yemeni Woman


Waiving Costs and Restoring Hope: Fighting Cancer and other Non-Communicable Disease for No Charge


A Humanitarian Looks Back at Five Challenging Years Punctuated with Moments of Sheer Joy


Fleeing the War in Yemen: One Family’s Odyssey


How Growing Up with Autism Created a Spirit of Advocacy and Service


On the Edge of Despair, an Aid Worker Knows There’s Only One Choice: Keep Going


Facing Overwhelming Needs, One Life and One Family at a Time


Drawing New Strength from Those Who Have Lost Everything—Except Hope


Rebuilding Healthcare at Ground Zero of a Humanitarian Disaster


Finding New Hope and Resolve in the Midst of War, COVID-19 and Donor Fatigue


A Beacon of Optimism and Resilience Shines in Dark Times


Building a Foundation for Healthcare in Rural Yemen


Blog: Inside Yemen’s Tragedy


Making a Difference and Saving Lives in Yemen


Mobile Healthcare Teams Make a Difference in Yemen’s Southwest


New Treatments Rekindle Hope for Yemen’s Oft-Forgotten Cancer Patients




Situation Report


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