23/6 – Climate Change Is Intensifying Humanitarian Crisis in War-Affected Yemen

Important progress has been made in ending violence in Yemen for the first time since 2015 when the Saudi Arabia-led coalition invaded the country. However, the eight years of war have created the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis” in the country. Yemen has 4.5 million internally displaced people and more than 80 percent of its total population of more than 34 million is food insecure.

This is largely attributed to the fact that Yemen imports more than 90 percent of its food needs, and has been facing a strict air, sea, and land blockade imposed by the Saudi-led coalition since the start of the war. The war and blockade have killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and destroyed basic civilian infrastructure and other governance systems in the Arab world’s poorest country.

Now the country faces another challenge: climate change.

According to a fact sheet jointly prepared by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), the mean annual temperature in Yemen is expected to increase by 1.2 to 3.3 degrees Celsius by 2060, leading to large-scale changes in the country’s climate.

With agriculture providing employment to nearly 60 percent of the Yemeni population, any climate catastrophe, such as droughts and flooding, could lead to mass loss of employment. This loss in livelihood in the short and medium term could “negatively impact social cohesion within the affected communities, as competition over arable land and water increases,” the report states.

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