Worsening Yemen Water Crisis: Long-term Water Development Projects Halt

More than fifteen million Yemenis currently lack access to clean drinking water

21 Oct 2021 by The Water Diplomat
SANAA, Yemen

Yemen’s water crisis continues to worsen amidst long-running civil war, with increased water shortages prompting the Government to replace long-term development plans with immediate action in the form of aid programmes.


Tamuna Sabadze, IRC Yemen Country Director at the International Rescue Committee said in a statement: “Yemenis cannot afford to see even more lifesaving services halted because of a lack of funding.”

“The cost of underfunding this year is clear. 15 million Yemenis do not have access to safe water and sanitation and require assistance, but the water, sanitation and hygiene sector is funded at less than 10%,” he added.


Long-term plans to improve and maintain the country’s water infrastructure for the collection and distribution of clean water have been halted.

Water maintenance work has been severely restricted by the current conflict, particularly in Houthi-controlled areas where authorities have no control.

This comes after International Rescue Committee (IRC) called out world leaders for insufficient funding of Yemen’s humanitarian response plan last month.

Water scarcity has severely affected hygiene and sanitation efforts, contributing to the spread of COVID-19 and other water-borne diseases including cholera.

According to Najib Mohammad Ahmad, an adviser to Yemen’s minister of water and environment, most of the country’s water supply is sourced from groundwater which isn’t enough to offset current consumption rates.

With most of the country’s rainfall feeding directly into desserts or water basins, many locals have resorted to digging wells in an attempt to gather water.

Ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland next month both local and international humanitarian groups have been working to improve water availability in Yemen, however without sufficient funding millions of Yemeni lives remain at risk without access to clean water.

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