28,667,230 (Jul 2018)
Saana, Yemen’s capital, is one of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world. Yemen was ruled by the Ottomans in the 1500s and again from the mid-nineteenth century. The southern city of Aden came under British rule in 1839.
After becoming independent in 1918, North Yemen was ruled by feudal leaders until 1962, when army leaders seized control. In 1967, the last British troops left the south, which adopted a Communist-oriented government. North and South Yemen were unified as the Republic of Yemen in 1990, but civil unrest and armed conflict between the two continued with various foreign militants intervening. The security situation worsened drastically in 2014 when northern rebels seized control of Sanaa.
Today Yemen has over 28 million citizens.(1)
Yemen is a republic, with the incumbent president, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, having been in office since 2012. Mr. Hadi briefly resigned from office in 2015, fleeing to Saudi Arabia when rebels took over the capital. He returned to power with the support of loyalists and Saudi-led troops and set up a temporary capital in the southern city Aden. The rebels have their own revolutionary government in place that they hold to be legitimate, but Mr. Hadi is still the internationally-recognized leader.(2)
The ongoing civil war has put additional pressure on the Yemeni economy, which was already struggling. The impoverished country was dependent on dwindling oil revenues. Since the takeover, exports have further declined and the rebels have also appropriated government funds for their own purposes.
Nearly 80% of the population is now in need of humanitarian assistance.(3) A staggering 20 million people do not have access to basic health care, and more than five million are suffering borderline famine conditions. The humanitarian crisis requires large-scale efforts from outside aid sources, and basic supplies like food, fuel, and medicine are critically needed to be delivered throughout Yemen. There are over 2 million IDPs within the country.(4) Also, human trafficking is a major issue for men, women, and children in Yemen due to the lack of security and conditions of poverty.
TV and radio are the main sources of media utilized in Yemen. The Internet is prone to being shut down due to rebel control over online communication.
Although no official statistics exist, it is thought that 65% of Yemenis are Sunni Muslim and 35% are Shia Muslims belonging to the Zaidi order. Christians, Jews, Baha’is, and Hindus together make up less than one percent of the population. Yemen’s legal system is based on both Islamic sharia law and a secular civil code. Freedom of thought is protected by the constitution, but proselytizing to Muslims is illegal, and conversion from Islam is officially a capital offence.
While Yemen’s government controlled the country, members of minority religions could worship in relative freedom. However, religious freedom has deteriorated since a rebel coalition led by Zaidi Houthis seized control of the country in 2014. Among other targets, Shia mosques and Christian churches have since been attacked by armed groups.
It is estimated there are 40,000 Christians living throughout Yemen (5).
- Pray for stability in Yemen: for an end to conflict and bloodshed and for freedom for all citizens.
- Pray for investment and economic success, so that it may overcome its crippling poverty.
- Pray for greater religious freedom in Yemen and that the tiny Christian minority will be able to practice their faith in freedom and security.
 CIA World Factbook
 CIA World Factbook
 Pew Research Center