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Country Reports

Yemen Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Yemen has been undergoing a civil war since March 2015 between the Houthi Movement and the internationally recognised government, supported by Saudi-led military forces. Despite the increasing Saudi and Houthi interest in ending the conflict given the impossibility of achieving a decisive military victory, prospects for an expedited deal capable of ending the civil war are low in 2019. Overall marine risks in Yemen are currently severe, given the ongoing civil war. Such risks vary significantly between locations, depending on the faction in control of each port and the nature of fighting in the local area. The main risk to vessels along the Red Sea coast continues to stem from the improved offensive and defensive maritime capabilities of the Houthi militant group, which extend outside the 11-nautical-mile limit delineating Yemeni territorial waters. The primary marine target for Houthi anti-shipping missile attacks are Saudi-led coalition naval vessels, and commercial vessels flagged by countries participating in the coalition.The persisting security vacuum in Yemen, the erosion of central authority, and the fragmentation of the Yemeni army are likely to continue to benefit Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). AQAP's main bases of operations are scattered across Abyan, Shabwa, Lahij, al-Bayda', Taiz, and Hadramawt, where co-operation with local Sunni tribes has enabled the group to maintain its influence despite military setbacks and an ongoing offensive spearheaded by UAE-backed local forces across southern provinces.For 2019, Yemen's economy is expected to expand about 1.8% owing to higher financial support from other countries and stronger hydrocarbon production from fields in southern Yemen. Nonetheless, expansion is limited by Yemen's continuing civil war, which will deter foreign investment, while productive infrastructure has been destroyed after several years of conflict. IHS Markit estimates that Yemen's GDP almost halved between 2013 and 2018.
Last update: August 6, 2019

Operational Outlook

The ongoing civil war is the key obstacle to investment in Yemen. Foreign companies entering the country have to factor in severe risks to personnel and property, although the intensity of such challenges vary considerably by province, with potential future partition between the north and south key areas of risk. Severe operational obstacles also exist in the form of poor infrastructure and an underdeveloped and poor-quality road network.

Last update: May 25, 2019

Terrorism

Extreme

Since January 2018, the UAE has intensified its operations in southern Yemen aimed at degrading AQAP's presence in the area. UAE-led efforts have followed a two-fold approach: first, restoration of a measure of authority in those cities under its control and, second, mounting clearing operations from there aimed at dislodging AQAP and intended to progressively expand the area controlled by its local proxies. However, AQAP's ongoing attacks against UAE-backed forces point to a still-fragile risk environment across southern provinces that calls into question UAE claims that its counter-terrorism operations have greatly degraded the jihadists' capabilities.

Last update: June 21, 2019

Crime

Given the corruption that is endemic in the country's police and security forces, many Yemenis prefer to deal with tribal authorities when it comes to crime. The power and influence of tribal mechanisms are more common in the north than in the south. Tribal authorities operate their own tribal courts, as they have for generations, where urf tribal law is used to decide cases.

The risk of kidnapping, particularly to foreign workers, is severe, and is fuelled by AQAP's calls to target Westerners. It has long been common for armed tribesmen in remote areas or public places in big cities as Sanaa or Aden to kidnap or rob expatriate workers for financial gain or to obtain services from the government, such as the release of detained relatives. Generally the tribesmen are appeased by the government and the kidnappings end peacefully. Nonetheless, kidnappings in Yemen have taken a more sinister turn in recent years, with criminal gangs kidnapping foreigners and attempting to ransom them to the government and international actors, and even selling them onto Al-Qaeda affiliates for substantial profit. Previously, those kidnapped would typically eventually be freed unharmed, and with respect to tribal customs treated relatively well during their detention.

Insecurity has increased throughout Yemen due to the ongoing civil war. Reports of looting and banditry are on the increase as state security forces are withdrawn from their posts. However, most Yemenis are well equipped to deal with looters and acts of banditry. As a result, despite the almost complete lack of police, there has been no widespread looting in Yemen's major cities.

This is likely to change with the deterioration of the situation and international sanctions accompanying the war as food stores are depleted and increasing numbers of people are forced to do without basic necessities.

Last update: June 18, 2019

War Risks

On 16 December 2018, the UN sponsored a ceasefire agreement in Hodeidah between the Houthi militia and the Yemeni legitimate government. The agreement has led to a de-facto suspension of the coalition offensive to capture the port city, but it has not stopped fighting between the warring sides in Hodeidah province, Taiz, Ibb, al-Bayda, and Saada.

Last update: August 9, 2019

Social Stability

Severe

As long as Houthi militias remain in Sanaa, protests against the movement are likely to recur in Yemeni cities, with a high risk of Houthi militia dispersing public gatherings with lethal force. Protests carry severe risks of triggering localised confrontations with Houthi supporters involving small-arms fire, especially when staged in conjunction with pro-Houthi demonstrations. Similarly, the risk of economically driven protests and pro-independence protest marches across southern provinces, especially Abyan, is likely to increase through 2019.

Last update: June 18, 2019

Health Risk

Severe

Vaccinations required to enter the country

No country requirement. 

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Severe

Due to the ongoing conflict, Sana'a's El Rahaba International Airport (SAH) is only open to humanitarian and military flights and those with specific authorization. It is subject to closures on short notice.

Main roads are in good condition but can be dangerous in rainy weather and at night. It is strongly advisable to hire a chauffeur car. Fuel shortages are common.  

Piracy threatens all those traveling by sea along the Yemeni coast. The Gulf of Aden as a whole remains very unstable as a result of the structural weakness of Yemen and its neighboring states. Emirati and American ships have also been targeted by missiles, likely launched from Houthi land positions.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Yemen, with the exception of the desert zones in the north and the east of the country, experiences a rainy season which lasts from March until August. The climate is hot and humid along the coast and can be very unpleasant in July and August. Conditions are the most pleasant between December and February. Along the reliefs, temperatures are more temperate with humid summers and dry winters. At high elevations (2000 meters), temperatures vary considerably between day and night.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: 967
Police: 199
Tourist police in Sanaa: 00 967 1 226 623

Electricity

Voltage: 220/230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019