UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock – remarks at stakeout on developments in Yemen (8 November 2017)
The Al Hudaydah port is a major lifeline for Yemen, bringing in food and humanitarian assistance. These cranes have been out of service since mid-2015, with little hope of repair anytime soon. (Photo: Giles Clarke/OCHA)
08 November 2017
Hello everybody. Thanks very much for coming.
I’ve just briefed the Council in closed session on recent developments in Yemen. I’ve made a number of statements on this topic in recent days, including a Member States briefing on Monday. I’m not going to repeat all that. I’m just going to give you an update on recent developments.
I made clear that we condemn the outrageous missile attack on Riyadh over the weekend – just as we condemn all attacks on civilians. As you know, a number of measures have been introduced recently by the coalition, effectively closing air, sea and land access to Yemen.
I have told the Council that unless those measures are lifted and five particular steps that I am going to run through are taken, there will be famine in Yemen.
It will not be like the famine that we saw in South Sudan earlier in the year where tens of thousands of people were affected. It will not be like the famine which cost 250,000 people their lives in Somalia in 2011. It will be the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims.
So what I said to the Council was that in addition to the measures I called for in Sana’a on the 28th of October, in Riyadh on the 29th of October and that I set out again for member states on Monday. I want now to see five additional measures:
· Firstly, an immediate resumption of the regular UN and other humanitarian partners’ air services to Sana’a and Aden.
· Secondly, a clear and immediate assurance that there will be no further disruption to these air services.
· Thirdly, immediate agreement to the prepositioning of the WFP – the World Food Programme – vessel in the water off Aden, and assurances that there will be no further disruption to the functions that it supports.
· Fourth, an immediate resumption of humanitarian and commercial access to all the seaports of Yemen – especially for food, fuel medicines and other essential supplies.
· And fifth, a scaling back of interference with, delays to or blockages of all vessels that have passed inspection by UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism so that they can proceed to port as rapidly as possible. This is really important because humanitarian access through the ports was inadequate even before the measures that were announced on the 6th of November.
What we need to see is a reduction of blockages on all sides, not an increase in them.
I am happy to take your questions.