Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock – Statement on Yemen, 12 February 2018
Two unrelated children, one eight and the other ten, share a bed at a cholera treatment centre in Sana'a, Yemen, due to lack of resources. (Photo: OCHA/Ahmed ben Lassoued)
I reiterate the Secretary-General’s statement welcoming the generous US$1 billion pledge by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to support humanitarian action in Yemen, as well as their commitment to raise an additional $500 million from other donors in the region.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates agreed today with the United Nations on the modalities to transfer, by 31 March, $930 million in support of the 2018 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan (YHRP). The two Member States have been clear that the funds are to be used on the basis of humanitarian need alone, without regard for other considerations. An additional $70 million will be provided bilaterally by the two countries to support port rehabilitation and infrastructure in Yemen. This is part of the Yemen Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations Plan issued by the Saudi-led coalition in January 2018.
The funds being provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to the UN represent almost one third of the $2.96 billion required under the YHRP. Once converted, the pledge will reduce hunger, contain disease, maintain essential health, water and education services and relieve the suffering of millions of Yemenis across the country. If fully funded, the UN and its partners will provide, among other assistance, emergency food to more than 8.5 million Yemenis, nutritional services to 5.6 million children, pregnant women and mothers, and safe water to 5.4 million people. The UN and its partners will also rehabilitate more than 1,400 schools and 650 health facilities destroyed by the ongoing conflict.
I thank the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for moving forward with this generous and much needed infusion of funds. I hope this generosity will encourage more donors to contribute to the YHRP, including ahead of the international pledging conference on Yemen to be held in Geneva on 3 April.
The humanitarian situation in Yemen continues to deteriorate because of ongoing conflict, collapsing basic services and economic decline. A record 22.2 million people are now in need of humanitarian assistance – 3.4 million more than last year. I call on all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law by protecting civilians and civilian infrastructure and facilitating rapid, safe and unfettered humanitarian access to Yemen and within the country.
Brave humanitarians are committed to saving lives. Yet only a political solution and ending the conflict will end the suffering of the Yemeni people. We renew our call on all parties to cease hostilities and to engage meaningfully with the United Nations to achieve a lasting political settlement.
New York, 12 February 2018