Humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, statement on the humanitarian situation in Yemen two years into the escalation of the conflict
Individuals displaced by recent hostilities in Mokha in Taizz governorate, western Yemen, receive UNHCR emergency assistance. (Photo: UNHCR/Adem Shaqiri)
Sana'a, 28 March 2017
Two years of relentless conflict in Yemen have devastated the lives of millions of people. An alarming 18.8 million of them- almost two thirds of the population- need some kind of humanitarian or protection support. This man-made disaster has been brutal on civilians. Some seven million women, children, and men could be put at risk by famine in 2017.
Ordinary Yemenis are bearing the brunt of a conflict which is not theirs; caused by warring parties who are conducting themselves in a manner that totally disregards their responsibilities to do their upmost to protect civilians while they wage a war that is pushing Yemen further into despair. Over 50,000 civilians have been killed, injured or maimed. Atrocities, including at least 1,540 children killed; 2,450 children injured; and over 1,550 children recruited to fight or to perform military related duties have been reported. Hundreds of people have been killed in mosques, markets, funeral wakes, schools and hospitals.
Deliberate military tactics to shred the economy have moved an already weak and impoverished country towards social, economic, and institutional collapse. Half of the population lack access to basic healthcare. Thousands have died from preventable diseases, which shockingly include one child every ten minutes. With malnutrition amongst children at an all-time high and at least two million children out of school, the conflict and its consequences is jeopardizing future generations in Yemen More than eleven per cent of Yemen’s entire population has been forced to move from their homes in search of safety and livelihoods. One million of these people have sought to return to their areas of origin only to find destruction and lack of opportunities to re-start their lives.
Prolonged displacement and the lack of sustainable return options are putting people in greater jeopardy, as humanitarians struggle to meet their daily needs and host families deplete their resources. In the past few weeks alone, intensified fighting in Yemen’s Western Coast has forced more than 48,000 people to move.
A continuation of this conflict only increases the suffering across Yemen and makes matters worse.
Despite the lack of money and adequate humanitarian access, humanitarian partners have provided coordinated aid to millions of people across Yemen’s 22 governorates during the past two years. Donors can now help us avert this humanitarian catastrophe, including famine, by funding the US$2.1 billion requirement to help deliver life-saving food, nutrition, water, shelter and protection support to over 12 million people that are in desperate need of help.
Granting humanitarians safe and unhindered access to those in need and safe movement to those seeking assistance is also something I call on all warring parties to ensure.
The people of Yemen have suffered long enough and no humanitarian response can meet the increasing needs that the war is causing. Only peace can end the suffering and I continue to call on all the parties to return to the negotiating table and to make effective their responsibilities to civilians across Yemen. The time has come for the warring parties to place the very people they claim to be fighting for at the center of their concerns and end the fighting.