News Alert: Yemen Designation Will Undermine Already Stretched Humanitarian Response

On January 11, the Trump Administration announced its designation of Ansar Allah, also known as the Houthis, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. This designation will undermine the overstretched humanitarian response in Yemen, threatening the lives of millions of Yemenis who rely on humanitarian assistance. We also expect to see it restrict food imports and remittances from overseas Yemeni workers exacerbating the extreme vulnerability of ordinary Yemeni families.


Tjada D’Oyen McKenna, Mercy Corps CEO says:

“Mercy Corps is deeply concerned about the harmful effects this decision will have on the 24 million Yemenis who rely on humanitarian assistance for survival. A designation of this nature will immediately handicap the ability of humanitarian organizations like Mercy Corps to provide lifesaving assistance to the most vulnerable communities in northern Yemen, where three quarters of the population lives.

“Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, and the severity of the situation for millions of people continues to deteriorate. On the current trajectory, even without these sanctions, 3 million more Yemenis will fall into acute food insecurity in the coming months. Already one of the most difficult operating environments for aid responders in the world, this designation jeopardizes the ability of aid agencies to continue operating at the scale required to prevent a catastrophe. We worry that any additional obstructions will hamper the delivery of aid and lead to closures of lifesaving emergency programs, magnifying the health and hunger crises facing over 80% of Yemen’s population.

“We urge the U.S. Government to immediately reverse this decision to ensure that robust humanitarian operations can continue unimpeded.”


Mercy Corps has worked in Yemen since 2010, and remains committed to the people of Yemen to save lives and rebuild livelihoods of all communities across the country. This year we have reached more than 1.1 million Yemenis with food, access to clean water and health care, and opportunities to improve their own ability to earn an income and support their families.