The current conflict in Yemen is a result of many years of political stagnation coupled with several regional and tribal conflicts and exacerbated by scarce resources and widespread poverty. Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab world. It has extreme water scarcity, soaring food prices, a growing population and collapsing state services.
Since 2004, growing tensions between government forces, Houthis rebels, anti-Government revolutionaries, the Southern Movement and militant Islamist groups have grown leading to civil strife and periodic outbreaks of armed violence between the state and opposition groups. In 2011, the Yemeni ‘Arab Spring’ revolution led to a change of government and the launch of a National Dialogue and a constitutional drafting process.
On 21st of September 2014, the Houthis forcefully took over Yemen’s capital Sana'a. President Hadi was led to resign and he secretly fled to Aden from where he made a statement that he was still the legitimate president.
On 25 of March 2015, Houthis and the forces of former president Saleh, invaded the South taking under control of many Southern governorates including Lahj governorate and parts of Aden leading to huge devastation and displacement of local populations. The Houthis met resistance from the Popular Resistance, an unexpected Saudi-led coalition of 10 countries who launched airstrikes against key Houthis and Saleh's locations in Sana'a. The governments of Yemen have been put under the surveillance and control of the coalition forces. In late July 2015, the pro-Hadi forces ousted, with the help of the coalition, the Houthis and Saleh's forces from Aden.
Yemen faces a large scale humanitarian emergency. According to UNOCHA, an estimated 21.1 million people need humanitarian assistance (80% of the population) which is a 33% increase since only late 2014. 11.2 million people need protection assistance including 7.3 million children and in August 2015, it was estimated that more than 1.439.000 people were internally displaced in Yemen.
Yemen has the second highest estimated level of civilian firearms possession in the world (Small Arms Survey 2007) with an average of 54 firearms per 100 people. Land disputes are recognised as the most common cause of armed violence in Yemen, but inter-tribal/regional conflicts and insurgency are also common and stand in the way of a positive and rational development and equity in national political governance.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is present and active in Yemen. The risk that local conflicts will escalate into broader regional violence and destabilise the country increases as both formal state institutions and informal conflict management mechanisms are eroded by the current political hiatus.
In Yemen, Danish Demining Group (DDG) and Danish Refugee Council (DRC) collaborates closely in the implementation of livelihoods and protection projects to provide support to refugees and host populations, especially in the regions of Abyan, Saada, Harad and Aden.
The overall goal of the DDG and DRC joint interventions is to contribute to the stabilisation of fragile areas in Yemen by enhancing community safety and improving the quality of lives and livelihoods among conflict-affected populations. In collaboration with the Yemeni national mine action center, YEMAC, and local partners, DDG delivers Mine Risk Education (MRE) to children and adults in communities affected by the presence of landmines/Unexploded Ordnances (UXOs) and Explosive Remnants of Wars (ERWs).
DDG and DRC are also currently implementing a Community Driven Recovery and Safety (CDRS) project, funded by the UK and Norway, in the southern governorates of Abyan and Lahj. CDRS recognises that communities are at the center of their own development, resources and safety and as a result, the program initiatives seek to enhance the capacities of community members and organizations to determine their own path to community development and safety.