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CARE welcomes announcement of re-opening of Yemen’s Sana’a Airport for medical transportation

Over 230,000 people are estimated to have died since the war in Yemen began due to conflict, disease, and malnutrition

SANA’A, 27 November 2019 – After more than three years of closure, it has been announced that Sana'a International Airport is to be re-opened to allow sick patients to travel overseas for life-saving treatment. In August, CARE & NRC reported that up to 32,000 people may have died because they were not being able to travel overseas for medical care.

"It has been three long years since Sana'a airport was closed," said Aaron Brent, CARE Yemen's Country Director. "Now we have a very positive signal that parties to the conflict are taking the well-being of Yemen's people seriously, and we hope they will follow through on this gesture of goodwill, which could ultimately pave the way for peace."

While opening the airport to medical patients will be a critical first step, the Saudi-led coalition must go one step further and open it up to commercial flights, which will bring in commercial and humanitarian goods and give Yemenis the freedom to travel overseas – something that in most countries is taken for granted.

"As the UN and international organisations have cautioned repeatedly, there is no military solution to the almost five-year conflict in Yemen," said Brent. "Only a truly inclusive political solution will lead to peace, and to the beginning of the end of suffering for millions of men, women, and children who have seen their country decimated."

Yemen is in the fifth year of a conflict that has been relentless for the vast majority of the population, with 24 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, including over 7 million women and girls who are in acute need. The economy has collapsed, 3.6 million people have been displaced, and millions are malnourished and at risk of famine.

Notes to editors:

  • 24.1 million people in Yemen are in need of humanitarian and protection assistance, of whom 14.3 million are in acute need (including over 7 million women and girls).
  • Over 3.6 million people in Yemen have been displaced since the conflict began, with 383,000 displaced in 2019 so far – 83% of whom are women and children.
  • Only 51% of health facilities in Yemen are fully functional and approximately 20 million people are food insecure, with 10 million at risk of famine.
  • There are 1 million acutely malnourished pregnant and breastfeeding women and girls in Yemen today.
  • There have been 100,000 deaths due to direct conflict since the war in Yemen began, with 20,000 in 2019 so far.
  • Over 230,000 people are estimated to have died since the war began due to conflict, disease, and malnutrition.
  • 385,000 families (2.69 million people) are estimated to be at risk of being affected by low temperatures between November and February, with an urgent need for shelter items like thermal blankets, warm clothes and heating materials as well as rehabilitation of shelters to ensure cold-proofing.

CARE reaches 1.5 million Yemenis every month, across twelve governorates of Yemen. We provide lifesaving food, cash, water, and sanitation services to those in need. As well as our emergency interventions, we work to ensure people have sustainable incomes and community structures like schools, wells, and roads. We empower women and young people economically by developing their skills and enabling them to start their own businesses and we work in reproductive health, ensuring safer childbirth through training midwives and rehabilitating maternity health facilities. CARE has worked in Yemen since 1992.

CARE has spokespeople available. For media inquiries, please contact:

Lama Alsafi
media@care.ca | 613-228-5641


About CARE Canada

Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE develops solutions alongside women and girls in developing countries to lift themselves, their families, and their communities out of poverty and out of crisis. CARE stands with women and girls around the world in economic empowerment. We bring women, girls, and their communities together to challenge inequality while facing issues like food insecurity, climate change, and emergency relief in times of crisis or disaster. CARE works in 100 countries around the world.

To learn more about CARE Canada, visit www.care.ca.

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