The Yemen conflict has caused a severe humanitarian crisis. This study aims to evaluate the Yemen crisis by making use of time series nighttime light images from the Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite sensor (NPP-VIIRS). We develop a process flow to correct NPP-VIIRS nighttime light from April 2012 to March 2017 by employing the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Operational Linescan System (DMSP-OLS) stable nighttime light image. The time series analyses at national scales show that there is a sharp decline in the study period from February 2015 to June 2015 and that the total nighttime light (TNL) of Yemen decreased by 71.60% in response to the decline period. The nighttime light in all provinces also showed the same decline period, which indicates that the Saudi-led airstrikes caused widespread and severe humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Spatial pattern analysis shows that the areas of declining nighttime light are mainly concentrated in Sana’a, Dhamar, Ibb, Ta’izz, ’Adan, Shabwah and Hadramawt. According to the validation with high-resolution images, the decline in nighttime light in Western cities is caused by the damage of urban infrastructure, including airports and construction; moreover, the reason for the decline in nighttime light in eastern cities is the decrease in oil exploration. Using nighttime light remote sensing imagery, our findings suggest that war made Yemen dark and provide support for international humanitarian assistance organizations.
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