Analysis Main Publications News The Yemen Review Publications Index

Sarah Vuylsteke worked as the Access Coordinator for the United Nations World Food Programme in Yemen from February to December 2019. In this position, she traveled throughout the country, interacting with representatives from all sides of the conflict trying to facilitate aid delivery. Since 2015, she has worked for the United Nations and other international organizations in South Sudan, Yemen, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, and Afghanistan. Prior to 2015, Vuylsteke worked on human rights and conservation issues in Uganda, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. She has an LLM in Public International Law from the University of Amsterdam, and has authored and co-authored articles and reports for various agencies on political, economic, and humanitarian issues, including the Sana’a Center series on humanitarian aid in Yemen, “When Aid Goes Awry.”

Sarah's latest contributions

A Principled Response: Neutrality and Politics

October 29, 2021
On paper, Yemen is a principled humanitarian response, much like any other. Strategic documents from the past six years set out frameworks and codes of conduct that clearly reference the four fundamental principles that guide any response: humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence as well as the principle of first do no harm. While the … Read more

A Centralized Response is a Slow, Ineffective Response

October 28, 2021
Centralization with its concentration of efforts, energy and resources in Sana’a is at the root of many of the problems and inefficiencies of the Yemen humanitarian response. Despite pressure to decentralize since early in the response, decision-makers in Sana’a have been reluctant to cede autonomy and authority to the field. This lack of support … Read more

To Stay and Deliver: Sustainable Access and Redlines

October 28, 2021
Access to populations in need is essential to humanitarian operations, and in conflict situations, how unimpeded and sustainable that access is depends heavily on how willing warring parties are to cooperate with humanitarians in territories they control. In the case of Yemen, aid delivery, therefore, depends largely on the willingness of the … Read more

To Stay and Deliver: Security

October 28, 2021
Protracted complex conflicts that expose aid workers to risky operating environments are changing the way security is managed in the humanitarian community. Some of the world’s largest and longest-standing humanitarian operations — South Sudan, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Syria — are examples of such contexts that have … Read more

Challenging the Narratives: Is Yemen Really the Worst Humanitarian Crisis in the World?

October 27, 2021
Once a small-scale intervention in a forgotten crisis, the humanitarian response in Yemen has grown in the past decade into one of the biggest, highest-profile and costliest responses in the world. In its attempt to address what is often described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, the United Nations’ 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) … Read more