A Scottish aid worker has spoken about her work in Yemen amid warnings that the country is heading towards a humanitarian catastrophe unless more emergency food reaches the millions of people already suffering chronic hunger.

Twenty months of war have brought Yemen, already one of the poorest countries in the world, to breaking point. More than 7 million people in Yemen do not know where their next meal will come from and children are dying from malnutrition.

The Disasters Emergency Committee has announced the UK public has donated £5 million to the Yemen Crisis Appeal in less than 24 hours, with money continuing to pour in. A total of £690,000 has been raised in Scotland, including £250,000 from the Scottish Government. 

Jenny Lamb, 40, from Aberdeen, is a water and sanitation engineer with Oxfam and was seconded to support the emergency response in Yemen earlier this year.

Jenny said: “Yemen has been the world’s forgotten crisis – that must change with more than 7 million people not knowing where their next meal will come from.

I have seen for myself just how drastic the situation is with high rates of malnutrition, a lack of access to basic household essentials, lack of consistent access to drinking water and sanitation facilities, and furthermore, limited access to healthcare.

“People are starving right now and the earlier we act the more lives we can save. If we don’t, we know the situation is highly likely to get much worse. 

“Children face the greatest risk of starvation with almost half a million infants and young children in need of immediate treatment for severe acute malnutrition.

“I urge people across Scotland to donate as much as they can to the DEC Appeal as all of the money raised will allow agencies to provide much needed aid.”

Jenny added: “Alongside enough food, the availability of safe water is also critical and I was working with local partners and Oxfam staff to help ensure this was in place despite the conflict.

“However, even now the already desperate situation threatens to get worse amid an outbreak of cholera. Together, DEC members are providing clean water, repairing water systems, distribution of key hygiene non food items, and the communication of key water, sanitation and hygiene information to help raise awareness of the risks of cholera, and prevent the spread.”

Responding to the money donated so far to the Yemen Crisis Appeal, Ally Thomson, Chair of the DEC Appeal in Scotland, said: “People across Scotland and across the UK are responding generously to this Appeal and we are hugely grateful to them. 

“What is happening in Yemen is a catastrophic humanitarian crisis and every penny raised will help save lives and reduce the suffering of people in Yemen.”

The £5 million funds raised is made up of £3 million given by the UK public by text, phone and online, and £2 million from the UK Government through AidMatch.

Amid the on-going conflict, DEC member charities are already reaching millions of people across the country with lifesaving aid, such as food, treatment for malnutrition and cash, but much more needs to be done to reach those in dire need.

Aid workers say the country could run out of food supplies in the next few months if more is not done. The World Food Programme is already predicting that the number of people with limited or uncertain access to food could rise to 21 million.

The civil war has had a massive impact – many people have not been paid for months, and a huge increase in the cost of basic food commodities has led to growing destitution. With markets not functioning and restrictions on food importations, it is almost impossible for people to feed themselves or their families.

“It’s becoming more and more desperate,” says Wael Ibrahim, Care International’s County Director in Yemen. “Children in particular are increasingly vulnerable and it is common now to see them in villages with red-streaked hair, a tell-tale sign of nutrition deficiency. We’re seeing emaciated adults and children in acute need, unable to find enough food to survive.”

DEC agencies in Yemen are providing cash and food vouchers where local food supplies allow, and in the most difficult situations, food is being distributed to vulnerable communities. But people’s needs significantly exceed the current levels of assistance.

To make a donation to the DEC Yemen Crisis Appeal visit  or call the 24 hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900. You can donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office, or send a cheque. You can also donate £5 by texting the word SUPPORT to 70000.


  • The DEC brings 13 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis: ActionAid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK,Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Oxfam, Plan International UK, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision; all collectively raising money to reach those in need quickly.
  • To make a postal donation make cheques payable to ‘DEC’ and mail to ‘PO Box 999, London, EC3A 3AA’.
  • Donations can be made at any high street bank and at Post Office counters.
  • To donate £5 by text send the word SUPPORT to 70000. The full £5 will go to the DEC Yemen Crisis Appeal. Donors must be 16 years or over and have bill payers permission. Texts are free and donations will be added to the bill.
  • £25 could provide a month’s supply of life-saving peanut paste to a malnourished child.
  • £60 could provide clean drinking water for two families for a month.
  • £100 could provide supplies to a clinic treating severely malnourished children for a week.