Families welcome vaccination campaign in Yemen

By Saeed Al Batati

Abdul Aziz Mohammed Basaad knows the importance of getting children vaccinated, which is why he recently welcomed health workers into his home to inoculate his young grandchildren. The health workers were two among a total of 46,000 who are taking part in a nation-wide campaign in Yemen that aims to vaccinate five million children against polio.

AL MUKALLA, Yemen, 22 June, 2016 – When two young health workers knocked at his door to vaccinate his seven grandchildren, Abdul Aziz Mohammed Basaad welcomed them into his home. Many parents simply bring their children to the door to be vaccinated, but Basaad’s offer of a brief rest in an air-conditioned room and a glass of juice and cold water were his way of showing his appreciation.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Yemen/2016/Al Batati
Abdul Aziz Mohammed Basaad in his home in Mukalla with some of his grandchildren. Mr. Basaad is happy that his grandchildren were vaccinated, as he has seen first-hand the consequences of not getting immunized.

These are angels of mercy. They move from one house to another to help people,” the 61-year-old retired teacher said.

These particular health workers were conducting a polio vaccination campaign. Once they had recharged their batteries, Mr. Basaad brought his grandchildren over one by one to be inoculated.

“I believe in vaccinating my grandchildren and advise other people to do the same because I saw many physically handicapped people whose parents neglected vaccination,” he said.

Spreading the word

Mr. Basaad believes that many families resist vaccination because they are not fully aware of the dangers of leaving their children unvaccinated. He also knows that intensifying public awareness ahead of each new round of vaccination campaigns is crucial.

However, in April 2015, Mukalla’s radio station was burned and shut down after heavy fighting. Mr. Basaad says that the port city and many neighbouring regions have lost an important vehicle for spreading health awareness among people. He suggests speaking to people directly and putting up posters everywhere in the community to reach beneficiaries quickly.

“People should be educated about the importance of vaccination,” he said. “Health workers need to come to public gatherings to tell people why they should immunize their children.”

Mr. Basaad has seen the harmful effects of not vaccinating children. “Ten years ago, a large number of people used to refuse vaccination. Now some of those children are paralysed,” he said. “Vaccination campaigns are part of relief efforts. Relief does not only mean bringing food baskets.”

Reaching all children

In 2015, around 3.9 million children under the age of 5 were given the oral polio vaccination and 4.1 million children from 6-59 months were given Vitamin A supplements. From 10 to 12 April, Yemen launched a new countrywide polio campaign to reach even more children. The campaign covers Yemen’s 327 districts, using more than 19,000 mobile teams and 2,647 fixed health centres. Children in the previously unreachable cities of Taiz city, Sa’ada and Aden also benefited from the campaign.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Yemen/2016/Al Batati
Joma’a Ayedh with her four children and some of their friends in the port city of Mukalla. Ms. Ayedh learned about the polio vaccination campaign from an SMS on her mobile phone.

As the largest contributor to immunization efforts in Yemen, UNICEF procured polio drops and other vaccines for the entire country.  The agency also supported mass communication campaigns, provided technical expertise to the Ministry of Public Health and Population and covered the operational costs of the polio immunization campaign in seven governorates.

Protecting lives, one drop at a time

Joma’a Ayedh lives with her husband and four children in a small house on the outskirts of Mukalla. The family fled the city of Aden in 2015 during the fierce fighting between government forces and Houthis.

Ms. Ayedh says that some people who moved from rural areas to Mukalla don’t want to vaccinate their children. “Those people who used to live in the countryside don’t take children to health centres or allow mobile health workers to vaccinate them.”

She learned about the polio vaccination campaign from an SMS on her mobile phone. She is another example of the many parents who welcome the vaccinators wholeheartedly.

“I have vaccinated all of my children,” she said. “When I was a child, my siblings and I used to contract measles. Now, my children are not suffering from this disease thanks to the vaccination.”

المبعوث الدولي يقدم للأطراف اليمنية تصورا للمرحلة المقبلة

إسماعيل ولد الشيخ أحمد المبعوث الخاص للأمين العام إلى اليمن - الصورة: الأمم المتحدة Mark Garten

إسماعيل ولد الشيخ أحمد المبعوث الخاص للأمين العام إلى اليمن – الصورة: الأمم المتحدة Mark Garten

21 يونيو 2016 – إذاعة الأمم المتحدة

إستماع

قال إسماعيل ولد الشيخ أحمد المبعوث الخاص للأمين العام إلى اليمن إنه سيسلم الأطراف اليمنية خلال الأيام المقبلة تصورا مكتوبا للمرحلة المقبلة.

وفي إفادته لأعضاء مجلس الأمن الدولي من الكويت حيث تعقد محادثات السلام، قال ولد الشيخ أحمد إن الطرفين أجمعا على ضرورة التوصل إلى حل سلمي ينهي النزاع في اليمن. وأضاف:

الصورة: Loey Felipe

“إن اتفاق السلام الذي نسعى إلى التوصل إليه سيعيد الأمن إلى اليمن ويشكل بارقة أمل للشرق الأوسط الذي يعيش تجاذبات سياسية إقليمية ودولية. الكرة الآن في ملعب الأطراف المشاركة وعليها تحمل مسؤوليتها وإيجاد حل سياسي للمخاوف العالقة والتي تتمحور معظمها حول زمن المرحلة وتسلسلها. المطلوب هو تغليب المصلحة الوطنية والتحلي بالشجاعة السياسية وتقديم التنازلات من جميع الأطراف بهدف التوصل إلى اتفاق شامل وكامل يحفظ أمن البلاد والعباد ويعيد اليمن إلى الأمن واليُمن.”

وقال ولد الشيخ أحمد إن دعم مجلس الأمن الدولي يقوم بدور جوهري في تقدم المشاورات في الكويت. وطلب من أعضاء المجلس الضغط على الأطراف لاحترام التزاماتها بوقف الأعمال القتالية والقانون الإنساني الدولي وحماية المواطنين.

Despite positive talks, delays over peace roadmap ‘needlessly extending Yemen’s agony’– UN envoy

A wide view of the Security Council as Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the Secretary General's Special Envoy for Yemen, briefs the Council via video teleconference on the humanitarian situation in Yemen. UN Photo/Mark Garten

A wide view of the Security Council as Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Yemen, briefs the Council via video teleconference on the humanitarian situation in Yemen. UN Photo/Mark Garten

21 June 2016

The United Nations–supported Yemeni peace talks under way in Kuwait have progressed “slowly, yet constructively,” over the last two months, with agreement still to be reached on the sequencing of the various steps proposed, including the timing of establishing a national unity government, the UN envoy for the country said today.

“In short, the general atmosphere continues to be positive although difficulties remain which need to be addressed,” Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, UN Special Envoy for Yemen, told the Security Council via video link.

Over the previous period of the talks, the parties unanimously agreed on the necessity of reaching a peaceful solution to put an end to the conflict in Yemen, he noted. A number of prisoners and detainees, including children, have been released. The cessation of hostilities has allowed humanitarian aid to reach areas that were previously not accessible.

The participants have discussed the most delicate issues, including military withdrawals, security arrangements and the handover of weapons, sensitive political issues and ways to improve the economic and humanitarian situation, as well as the release of prisoners and detainees, he said.

After intense talks with both parties, the envoy has presented a roadmap outlining a practical plan to end the conflict in Yemen. It provides for implementation of the security arrangements specified in Security Council resolution 2216 (2015) and the establishment of a national unity government that would ensure the delivery of basic services and address the recovery of the Yemeni economy.

According to the proposed roadmap, the national unity government would also be responsible for preparing a political dialogue to define the remaining steps for a comprehensive political solution, including the electoral law, the mandate of the institutions, which would oversee the transition period and the completion of the draft constitution.

The delegations have responded positively to the proposals, but have not yet reached agreement on the sequencing of the different steps provided for in the roadmap. Questions need to be answered as to when the unity government would be created and what to do if particular provisions of the roadmap are implemented and others are not.

The cessation of hostilities declared on 10 April has continued to provide relief from violence in many parts of Yemen, but unfortunately, serious violations have occurred, such as the shelling of a popular market in Taiz on 4 June, which resulted in 18 civilian deaths and tens of injuries, he said. In addition, there were violations of the truce in Marib, al Jawf, Taiz and in the border areas with Saudi Arabia.

The failure to provide basic services over the last year has had a devastating impact, Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed noted. High temperatures and the lack of electricity in Aden, Hodayda and elsewhere have exacerbated the health crisis in these areas and caused a number of preventable deaths.

Since the beginning of 2016, Yemen’s gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by more than 30 per cent. To address this alarming situation, the Central Bank has continued to ensure the import of basic commodities such as rice, wheat and medicines.

Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed welcomed the release of prisoners that took place since the beginning of Ramadan, but tragically, that positive step had still been accompanied by continued and systematic persecution of civilians, including journalists and civil society activists in Yemen. These acts of intimidation and harassment are a clear violation of the international instruments on Human Rights, he said.

“Yemen is on the path to an agreement and each day of delay needlessly extends the country’s agony,” he said, stressing that the unwavering unity of this Council has been a key factor supporting progress in the talks.

All Parties Must Show Courage, Make Concessions for Yemen Peace Agreement, Special Envoy Tells Security Council

21 June 2016 – UN Security Council 

SC/12410

7721st Meeting* (AM)
Security Council
Meetings Coverage

The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen told the Security Council today that he would soon set out a proposal to advance the Yemeni peace talks, now entering their third month in Kuwait, as he called for concessions to be made against the backdrop of a potential humanitarian crisis.

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, speaking by video teleconference from Kuwait City, said the talks — which began on 21 April — had been moving slowly, yet constructively, and while some difficulties remained to be addressed, he was reassured by the commitment of the two delegations.

“I will provide the Yemeni parties, in the next few days, with a written proposal for the upcoming period before we resume consultations after a short break aimed at allowing parties to consult with their respective leaderships,” he told the Council.

“We are working towards reaching a comprehensive and sustainable peace agreement that will create security and stability for Yemen and its people, and constitute a signal of hope for the Middle East,” he said, calling “on all parties to show political courage” and make the concessions necessary for a pact.

So far, the talks had been characterized by “an extraordinary openness”, Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed said, explaining how he listened carefully to both parties’ views and concerns before coming up with a road map leading to implementation of security arrangements specified in Security Council resolution 2216 (2015), the establishment of a Government of National Unity and the setting up of national and international monitoring mechanisms.

“The delegations have responded positively to the proposals, but have not yet reached agreement on the sequencing of the different steps provided for in the road map”, such as when a Government of National Unity would be created, he said.

Despite progress at the negotiating table, living conditions for Yemen’s people had declined severely, he said. The failure to provide basic services had had a devastating impact, while hot weather and a lack of electricity in Aden, Hodayya and elsewhere had exacerbated a health crisis, causing several preventable deaths.

At the same time, Yemen’s economy had deteriorated, with gross domestic product (GDP) shrinking by more than 30 per cent since January, he said. The Central Bank was ensuring the importation of basic commodities, such as rice, wheat and medicines, but such support would become more difficult in the weeks ahead.

“The humanitarian situation in Yemen is alarming and there are credible reports by humanitarian organizations warning of a humanitarian catastrophe should the situation not be addressed rapidly,” he said.

The cessation of hostilities declared on 10 April was providing relief from violence in many parts of Yemen, he said, with the De-escalation and Coordination Committee and local disengagement councils playing a key role. Nevertheless, serious violations had still occurred, including the shelling of a popular market in Taizz on 4 June that had resulted in civilian casualties, and violations in Marib, Al Jawf, Taiz and border areas with Saudi Arabia.

He welcomed the release of prisoners since the beginning of Ramadan, including 54 children returned to their families by the Government and more than 400 detainees, including prisoners of war, released by Ansar Allah. However, the limited release of prisoners had been accompanied by a systematic persecution of civilians, including journalists and civil society activists, he said, calling on all parties to halt such acts and fulfil their obligations under international human rights law.

Khaled Hussein Mohamed Alyemany (Yemen) said that, in spite of the difficult circumstances surrounding the negotiation process in Kuwait, his Government had committed itself to peace. Expressing faith in ability of the process to bring an end to the suffering of the Yemeni people — which was a direct result of the coup d’état by Houthi rebels — he said his Government had examined the ideas put forward by the Special Envoy. Nevertheless, there remained a “lack of seriousness” on the part of those who had carried out the coup, and those parties must renounce all unilateral measures.

The Government had proposed a plan for lasting peace, he said, noting that, among other things, the road map must include the release of heavy weapons and the withdrawal of the Houthi militias. Indeed, the success of the transitional period and the creation of a federal State hinged on those preconditions. From the first moments of the Kuwait negotiations, his Government had called for a full cessation of hostilities, but the other side had continued its acts of war without pause. In particular, the Houthi militias had continued their assaults against Yemen’s southern provinces. Those who committed such acts would be held accountable.

Since capturing Sana’a, he continued, the rebel forces had worked systematically to destroy Yemen’s national economy, including by wasting some $5 billion on their criminal activities and by trading oil on the black market. In addition, they had released some 52 Al-Qaida elements who had been imprisoned in Yemen, demonstrating their close ties to that terrorist group. In contrast, the Yemeni Government had coordinated with coalition forces in the fight against terrorism, conducting strikes against Al-Qaida, and it would continue to pursue both that group and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh).

Drawing attention to the plight of prisoners who had been unjustly detained by rebels in “flagrant violation” of humanitarian and human rights law, he called on the Council to continue to pressure the militias to release prisoners in line with resolution 2216 (2015), and reaffirmed his Government’s commitment to work towards a lasting peace in Yemen.

The meeting began at 11:05 a.m. and ended at 11:32 a.m.

* The 7720th Meeting was closed.

For information media. Not an official record.

Statement by the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, at the briefing to the Security Council

21 June 2016
Mr. President,

I am grateful for the opportunity to brief the Security Council once again on progress in the Kuwait talks and on the prospects for Yemen’s return to peace.

Today I am providing this briefing from Kuwait, two months after the launch of the peace talks.  These talks have been characterised by a positive spirit at times, and also by a certain apprehension.  Progress has been made in some cases and further efforts are still needed in others.

Over the previous period of the talks, the parties unanimously agreed on the necessity of reaching a peaceful solution to put an end to the conflict in Yemen.  The parties have met directly in several sessions and agreed on solid foundations to build on.  A number of prisoners and detainees, including children, have been released.  The cessation of hostilities has allowed humanitarian aid to reach areas that were previously not accessible.

Participants to the Kuwait peace talks held a number of important sessions characterised by an extraordinary openness and they have discussed the most sensitive issues including: military withdrawals, security arrangements and the handover of weapons, sensitive political issues and ways to improve the economic and humanitarian situation, as well as the release of prisoners and detainees.

After intense talks with both parties during which I listened carefully to their respective views and concerns, I presented a roadmap outlining a practical plan to put an end the conflict in Yemen and bring the country back to a peaceful political process.  The roadmap provides for the implementation of the security arrangements specified in Security Council resolution 2216 (2015) and the establishment of a national unity government that would ensure the delivery of basic services and address the recovery of the Yemeni economy.

According to the proposed roadmap, the national unity government would also be responsible for preparing a political dialogue to define the remaining steps for a comprehensive political solution, including: the electoral law, the mandate of the institutions, which would oversee the transition period and the completion of the draft constitution.  It is essential that this political dialogue also finds ways to ensure more effective participation of women, youth and representatives from the South of the country in determining Yemen’s future.  I note that the roadmap also included the need to establish national and international mechanisms to monitor and support the implementation of an agreement between the parties.

The delegations have responded positively to the proposals, but have not yet reached agreement on the sequencing of the different steps provided for in the roadmap: when would the Government of National Unity be created? What if particular provisions of the roadmap are implemented and others are not? These are important concerns that need to be addressed carefully in order to ensure a comprehensive solution with solid foundations.  I look forward to the support of Member States in the region and this Council to encourage the delegations to overcome their differences quickly, strengthen the common ground and demonstrate good faith. Yemen is on the path to an agreement and each day of delay needlessly extends the country’s agony.

Mr. President,

The Cessation of Hostilities (CoH) which was declared on 10 April 2015 has continued to provide relief from violence in many parts of Yemen.  The De-escalation and Coordination Committee (DCC), based in Kuwait, and the Local Disengagement Councils (LDCs), have continued to play an important role in de-escalating outbreaks of violence and reducing violations of the CoH.

Unfortunately, the work of the committees has not been successful at stopping serious violations, such as the shelling of a popular market in Taizz on 4 June, which resulted in 18 civilian deaths and tens of injuries. In addition, there were violations of the CoH in Marib, al Jawf, Taiz and in the border areas with Saudi Arabia.  I encourage you to call on all parties to fully cease all hostilities and respect their obligations under international humanitarian law.

In order to strengthen the effectiveness of the CoH, my team has pursued several initiatives to support and incentivize the members of the DCC and LDCs, with the support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the European Union, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Turkey and the Netherlands.  This has included training workshops to build the capacity of LDC members in several Governorates.  This training will be repeated and broadened over the coming weeks to cover all remaining LDC members.

I would note that Prime Minister Ahmed Ben Dagher, and members of his cabinet, retuned to Aden on 4 June in order to support the resumption of basic services and reinforcement of security and stability. His efforts deserve our support. I also acknowledge the continuous work in countering terrorism in the South, which has led to a relative improvement of security.

Mr. President,

While progress in the Kuwait talks brings hope for the future, we must be mindful of the severe decline in living conditions for people throughout the country.  The failure to provide basic services over the last year has had a devastating impact.  High temperatures and the lack of electricity in Aden, Hodayda and elsewhere have exacerbated the health crisis in these areas and caused a number of preventable deaths.  In this regard, I welcome the efforts made by the United Arab Emirates to urgently provide fuel and emergency power to Aden.

Over the last few months, the Yemeni economy has seen a dangerous deterioration. Since the beginning of 2016 Yemen’s GDP shrank by more than 30%.  To address this alarming situation, the Central Bank has continued to ensure the import of basic commodities such as rice, wheat and medicines.  Such support will however become more difficult in the weeks ahead leading to a deterioration in the living standards of Yemenis, especially vulnerable groups. In this regard, my office is coordinating with the Government of Yemen, the Central Bank and certain Member States to find quick solutions to the rapidly deteriorating economic situation.  I have recently met with the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Central Bank –who is playing a very constructive role – and we discussed practical and rapidly implementable initiatives that can help prevent the deteriorating economic and humanitarian situation in the country. The humanitarian situation in Yemen is alarming and there are credible reports by humanitarian organisations warning of a humanitarian catastrophe, should the situation not be addressed rapidly.

I very much welcome the release of prisoners that took place since the beginning of the Holy month of Ramadan based on the recommendations of the Committee for prisoners and detainees established within the framework of the Kuwait talks which communicates data on the release of prisoners. In this regard, the Government of Yemen has handed 54 children to their families in coordination with support from UNICEF and ICCR. Likewise, more than 400 detainees, including prisoners of war, have been released by Ansar Allah in the past weeks. I emphasize the obligation of the parties to immediately and unconditionally release all children, and to prioritize the release of vulnerable detainees, such as the elderly, sick and wounded, as well as those individuals specified in Security Council resolution 2216 (2015).

Tragically, the limited release of prisoners has still been accompanied by continued and systematic persecution of civilians, including journalists and civil society activists in Yemen.  These acts of intimidation and harassment are a clear violation of the international instruments on Human Rights.  I call on all parties to halt these acts and to fulfil their obligations under international human rights law.

In short, the general atmosphere continues to be positive although difficulties remain which need to be addressed. The Kuwait talks have progressed slowly, yet constructively, over the last two months.  I am reassured by the commitment of the two delegations, but I am appealing to them to finalise these difficult negotiations and reach a comprehensive settlement as soon as possible.

The unwavering unity of this Council has been a key factor supporting progress in the talks.  The parties have received a clear and consistent message from the international community that a solution must be reached here in Kuwait.  I appreciate the encouragement and support of Member States in reaching a negotiated and peaceful end to this conflict and remain profoundly grateful to the General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council and to the League of Arab States. I also extend my sincere and utmost gratitude to the Emir of Kuwait, His Highness Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, for his generous and steadfast support, and for the hospitality of the Government and People of Kuwait.

Mr, President,

Yemenis are watching the talks in Kuwait with hope and impatience. The people of Yemen have experienced the indignity and suffering of war for too long. I am confident that the unprecedented international support to the ongoing process will encourage the different parties to overcome obstacles and difficulties and reach a comprehensive political agreement. The delegations of the Government of Yemen, the General Popular Congress and Ansar Allah have demonstrated over the past weeks a true commitment to make peace, and a political wisdom in negotiations, which did not shy away from broaching sensitive and complicated issues. We have to recognize that any agreement emerging from the Kuwait talks takes place in a very difficult context and implementation will present a serious challenge. Those responsible should listen to their patriotic and political conscience and ensure implementation for the sake of national interest.

I will provide the Yemeni parties, in the next few days, with a written proposal for the upcoming period before we resume consultations after a short break aimed at allowing parties to consult with their respective leaderships. We are working towards reaching a comprehensive and sustainable peace agreement that will create security and stability for Yemen and its people and constitute a signal of hope for the Middle East which is afflicted by a series of regional and international disputes. The parties to the negotiations now have a responsibility to find a political solution for the issues still pending and which evolve mainly around the timeline and sequencing of the different steps. I call on all parties to show political courage and make their highest national interest prevail by making the concessions necessary to reach a comprehensive agreement that will preserve the safety of Yemen and its citizens. Thank you very much.

For use of the information media; not an official record

الأمين العام والأمير سلمان يبحثان وضع تدابير لتحسين حماية الأطفال والمدنيين في اليمن

الأمين العام وولي ولي العهد السعودي. الصورة: مارك غارتن-الأمم المتحدة

الأمين العام وولي ولي العهد السعودي. الصورة: مارك غارتن-الأمم المتحدة

21 يونيو 2016 – إذاعة الأمم المتحدة

إستماع

التقى الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة بان كي مون الأمير محمد بن سلمان بن عبد العزيز آل سعود ولي ولي العهد ووزير الدفاع السعودي.

وشكر الأمين العام الأمير سلمان على دعم السعودية السياسي والمالي القوي لكثير من أنشطة الأمم المتحدة، بما في ذلك العمل الإنساني ومحاربة الإرهاب.

وتبادل الأمين العام وولي ولي العهد السعودي وجهات النظر حول طائفة واسعة من القضايا الإقليمية، بما فيها الصراع في سوريا والوضع في ليبيا ولبنان واليمن وعملية السلام الفلسطينية الإسرائيلية.

وحول اليمن، شكر الأمين العام السعودية على دعم العمل السياسي الذي يقوم به مبعوثه الخاص إسماعيل ولد الشيخ أحمد، وشدد على الحاجة الملحة لإنهاء الصراع.

وبشأن قضية حماية الأطفال والمدنيين في الصراع المسلح في اليمن، بحث الأمين العام والأمير سلمان وضع تدابير حاسمة يمكن أن تحسن الوضع على الأرض.

وأعرب الأمين العام عن الأمل في أن يتمكن من الإشارة إلى التقدم المحرز على مسار حماية الأطفال والمدنيين في اليمن، بحلول الوقت الذي سيقدم فيه تقريره إلى مجلس الأمن الدولي حول الأطفال والصراعات المسلحة في أغسطس آب.

وكان الأمين العام قد قبل اقتراحا من السعودية بشأن القيام بمراجعة مشتركة من قبل الأمم المتحدة والتحالف الذي تقوده السعودية فيما يتعلق بالحالات والأرقام الواردة في تقرير الأمين العام الخاص بالأطفال والصراعات المسلحة.

وحول سوريا، قال السيد بان إنه يتطلع إلى أن تقوم السعودية بتشجيع كل الأطراف على دعم جهود وقف إطلاق النار على الأرض، والانخراط بشكل إيجابي مع مبعوثه ا لخاص المعني بسوريا.

وشدد بان على أن الأسابيع المقبلة ستكون حرجة لعملية السلام السورية.

More than half of Yemen’s population now food insecure – UN

At least 7 million people across Yemen are living under emergency levels of food insecurity. A further 7.1 million people are in a state of crisis, according to the latest assessment. Photo: WFP/Asmaa Waguih

At least 7 million people across Yemen are living under emergency levels of food insecurity. A further 7.1 million people are in a state of crisis, according to the latest assessment. Photo: WFP/Asmaa Waguih

21 June 2016

Vast swathes of war-torn Yemen – 19 out of 22 governorates – are facing severe food insecurity, and the situation within affected areas is likely to deteriorate if conflict persists, according to a new assessment by the United Nations and partners.

The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis confirms that over half the country’s population is living in ‘emergency’ or ‘crisis’ levels of food insecurity, with some governorates seeing as much as 70 per cent of their population struggling to feed themselves.

At least seven million people, a quarter of the population, are living under ‘emergency’ levels of food insecurity, or ‘phase 4’ on the five-tier IPC scale. This reflects a 15-per cent increase since June 2015. Another 7.1 million people are in a state of ‘crisis,’ or ‘phase 3.’

“The IPC results clearly show the huge magnitude of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen,” saidJamie McGoldrick, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen. “This is one of the worst crises in the world and is continuing to get worse.”

Drivers of food insecurity

Fuel shortages and import restrictions have reduced availability of essential food commodities in the country, which imports some 90 per cent of its staple foods. Food and fuel imports in March 2016 were the lowest since October 2015. Fuel imports satisfied only 12 per cent of the country’s needs.

Shortages of seeds and fertilizers have crippled crop production across Yemen, where around 50 per cent of the labour force earns their living from the agriculture sector and related activities.

Two cyclones in November 2015, plus flash floods and locust swarms in April 2016 further plagued already struggling communities, limiting their ability to produce and access food.

“Ongoing conflict, displacement and limited access to farmland and fishing sites continue to cause significant losses to agriculture and threaten farmers’ livelihoods,” said Salah El Hajj Hassan, Yemen Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), stressing that it is now essential to help communities feed themselves through back-yard farming and small poultry production, among other interventions.

“With the fluidity of the situation and until a political solution is in place, we will continue to see an increase in the number of people struggling to feed themselves and their families and further deterioration in food security across Yemen,” said Purnima Kashyap, Country Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), urging parties to ensure unrestricted access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance to affected people.

Malnutrition

Some three million children under the age of five, and pregnant or nursing women, require services to treat or prevent acute malnutrition, the report said, citing data from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) is at an alarming stage in most of the country’s governorates, reaching levels of 25.1 per cent in Taiz Lowland and 21.7 in Al Hodeidah.

The same areas have seen a significant decrease in traditional fishing – by about 75 per cent in Taiz and Al Hodeidah. In other governorates fishing operations have halved compared with 2014.

Under these circumstances, both food and agricultural assistance are critical to saving lives and livelihoods across Yemen.

“From January to 30 April 2016, about 3.6 million people received emergency food assistance, but the overall response is significantly underfunded,” said Mr. McGoldrick, urging donors to increase humanitarian funding.

Severe food insecurity widespread in Yemen

Situation expected to deteriorate if fighting continues – over half of the population living in crisis

Joint FAO-WFP news release

21 June 2016, Rome/Sana’a

Vast swathes of Yemen – 19 out of 22 governorates – are facing severe food insecurity according to a new joint assessment by the UN and partners, which warns that the situation within affected areas is likely to deteriorate if conflict persists.

The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis confirms that over half the country’s population is living in “crisis” or “emergency” levels of food insecurity, with some governorates seeing as much as 70 percent of their population struggling to feed themselves.

At least 7 million people – a quarter of the population – are living under Emergency levels of food insecurity (Phase 4 on the five-tiered IPC scale). This reflects a 15-percent increase since June 2015. A further 7.1 million people are in a state of Crisis (Phase 3).

“The IPC results clearly show the huge magnitude of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen,” said Jamie McGoldrick, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen. “This is one of the worst crises in the world and is continuing to get worse. Conflict has taken a very heavy toll on the country and its people, exacerbated widespread vulnerability and virtually destroyed household coping mechanisms. As a result, food insecurity, remains unacceptably high.

Drivers of food insecurity 

Major drivers of food insecurity include fuel shortages and import restrictions that have reduced availability of essential food commodities in the country, which imports some 90 percent of its staple foods. Food and fuel imports in March 2016 were the lowest since October 2015 and satisfied only 12 percent of the country’s fuel needs.

Domestic prices of wheat, meanwhile, were 12-15 percent higher in May 2016 compared with pre-crisis levels, even though global wheat prices have decreased in recent months.

Shortages of seeds and fertilizers have crippled crop production across Yemen, where around 50 percent of the labour force earns their living from the agriculture sector and related activities.

Two cyclones in November 2015, plus flash floods and locust swarms in April 2016 further plagued already struggling communities, limiting their ability to produce and access food.

“We managed to provide support across the most affected governorates under these challenging conditions, but ongoing conflict, displacement and limited access to farmland and fishing sites continue to cause significant losses to agriculture and threaten farmers’ livelihoods,” stressed FAO’s Yemen Representative Salah El Hajj Hassan. “With access to many staple foods limited through import and transport restrictions, helping communities feed themselves through back-yard farming and small poultry production, among other interventions, is essential now.”

“With the fluidity of the situation and until a political solution is in place, we will continue to see an increase in the number of people struggling to feed themselves and their families and further deterioration in food security across Yemen,” said Purnima Kashyap, WFP Representative and Country Director. “We appeal to all parties to ensure unrestricted access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance to affected people.”

Malnutrition 

Some 3 million children under the age of 5 and pregnant or nursing women require services to treat or prevent acute malnutrition, the report said citing UNICEF data.

Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) is at an alarming stage in most of the country’s governorates, reaching levels of 25.1 percent in Taiz Lowland and 21.7 in Al Hodeidah.

The same areas have seen a significant decrease in traditional fishing — by about 75 percent in Taiz and Al Hodeidah. In other governorates fishing operations have halved compared with 2014.

Under these circumstances, both food and agricultural assistance are critical to saving lives and livelihoods across Yemen.

“From January to 30 April 2016, about 3.6 million people received emergency food assistance, but the overall response is significantly underfunded,” said McGoldrick. “I urgently appeal to donors to increase humanitarian funding so that more food assistance can be delivered to millions of other people in urgent need.”

The joint IPC analysis is the result of weeks of information gathering by a partnership of UN agencies, including UNICEF and WFP, and NGOs under the leadership of the European Union-funded Food Security Information Systems (FSIS) programme and the Food Security Technical Secretariat of the Yemeni government’s Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation.

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About FAO

FAO leads international efforts to defeat hunger. It helps countries to modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices and ensure good nutrition for all. FAO focuses special attention on developing rural areas, home to 70 percent of the world’s poor and hungry people. For more information visit: www.fao.org or follow FAO on Twitter @FAOnews.

About WFP

WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists 80 million people in around 80 countries. For more information visit: www.wfp.org or follow WFP on Twitter @WFP_Media.

read this story online |[2016/21en]

Contact
Kim-Jenna Jurriaans
FAO Media Relations (Rome)
(+39) 06 570 54277
KimJenna.Jurriaans@fao.org

Abeer Etefa
WFP/Cairo
(+202) 2528 1730 ext. 2600
Mob. +201066634352
Abeer.Etefa@wfp.org

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الأمين العام – رسالة بمناسبة اليوم العالمي للاجئين

20 حزيران/يونيه 2016

          لقد بلغت حدة التشريد القسري مستويات غير مسبوقة، حيث أن عدد المشردين من ديارهم يصل إلى أكثر من 65 مليون شخص في العالم كله. ذلك أن النزاعات الجديدة والمتكررة وأشكال العنف والاضطهاد التي تبعث أكثر من أي وقت مضى على القلق تضطر الناس إلى الفرار بحثا عن الأمان داخل بلدانهم، أو إلى عبور الحدود الدولية بصفتهم ملتمسين للجوء أو لاجئين. بينما يعيش آخرون في منفى طويل الأجل، حيث تظل تسوية النزاعات التي طال أمدها بعيدة المنال. وفي نهاية عام 2015، كان هناك 21.3 مليون لاجئ، و 3.2 ملايين شخص هم في صدد التماس اللجوء، و 40.8 مليون شخص من المشردين داخل بلدانهم.

          واليوم العالمي للاجئين هو لحظة يراد بها الوقوف على الأثر المدمر للحرب والاضطهاد على حياة أولئك الذين أجبروا على الفرار، ولكنه أيضا فرصة للتنويه بما يتحلون به من شجاعة ومن قدرة على الصمود. وهو أيضا لحظة للإشادة بالمجتمعات والدول التي تستقبلهم وتستضيفهم، في كثير من الأحيان في مناطق حدودية نائية تعاني من الفقر وعدم الاستقرار والتخلف، وبعيدا عن أنظار المجتمع الدولي. ويعيش اليوم تسعة من كل عشرة لاجئين في بلدان فقيرة ومتوسطة الدخل توشك النزاعات على الاندلاع فيها.

          وفي السنة الماضية، وصل ما يزيد على مليون من اللاجئين والمهاجرين إلى أوروبا بعد عبور البحر الأبيض المتوسط على متن زوارق غير صالحة للإبحار وفي قوارب واهية. لكن الآلاف منهم لم يصلوا إلى بر الأمان، مما يشهد شهادة مأساوية على فشلنا الجماعي في معالجة محنتهم. وفي الوقت نفسه، أضحت الخطابات السياسية المثيرة للشقاق بشأن قضايا اللجوء والهجرة، وكراهية الأجانب المتنامية، والقيود المفروضة على اللجوء بادية للعيان أكثر فأكثر في بعض المناطق، وحلت محل روح المسؤولية المشتركة خطابات مفعمة بالكراهية والتعصب. ونشهد تزايدا يثير القلق في اللجوء إلى إجراءات الاحتجاز وإلى بناء الأسوار وغيرها من الحواجز.

          وضوضاء الخطابات المناوئة للاجئين من الشدة بحيث أضحى أحيانا من الصعب سماع أصوات الترحيب بهم. ولكن هذه الأصوات موجودة فعلا في شتى أنحاء العالم. ففي السنة الماضية شهدنا، في كثير من البلدان والمناطق، مظاهر رائعة لروح التعاطف والتضامن الجياشة، حينما فتحت عامة الناس والمجتمعات أبواب منازلها أمام اللاجئين وأخذتهم في أحضانها، ورحبت دول بالوافدين الجدد رغم أنها تستضيف فعلا أعدادا كبيرة من اللاجئين.

          وهناك حاجة ملحة إلى الاقتداء بهذه الأمثلة الإيجابية وتعظيم أثرها. ومواقفنا من اللاجئين يجب أن ترتكز على قيمنا المشتركة المتمثلة في تقاسم المسؤوليات، وعدم التمييز، وحقوق الإنسان والقانون الدولي للاجئين، بما في ذلك مبدأ عدم الإعادة القسرية. وفي 19 أيلول/سبتمبر، سيتيح الاجتماع العام الرفيع المستوى للأمم المتحدة المعني بحركات النزوح الكبرى للاجئين والمهاجرين فرصة تاريخية للاتفاق على ميثاق عالمي تتبوأ فيه مبادئ الالتزام بالعمل الجماعي من أجل اللاجئين وزيادة المسؤولية المشتركة إزاءهم مكان الصدارة.

          ويجب علينا أن نقف جميعا إلى جانب الملايين من الرجال والنساء والأطفال الذين يفرون من ديارهم كل سنة، لكفالة حماية حقوقهم وكرامتهم أينما كانوا، ولجعل مبدأي التضامن والتعاطف في صميم استجابتنا الجماعية.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL MESSAGE ON WORLD REFUGEE DAY

20 June 2016

Forced displacement has reached unprecedented levels, with more than 65 million people uprooted from their homes globally. New and recurring conflicts, and ever-more disturbing forms of violence and persecution, are driving people to flee in search of safety within their own countries, or to cross international borders as asylum seekers or refugees. Others are living in long-term exile, as solutions to protracted conflicts remain elusive. At the end of 2015, there were 21.3 million refugees, 3.2 million people in the process of seeking asylum, and 40.8 million people internally displaced within their own countries.

World Refugee Day is a moment for taking stock of the devastating impact of war and persecution on the lives of those forced to flee, and honouring their courage and resilience. It is also a moment for paying tribute to the communities and States that receive and host them, often in remote border regions affected by poverty, instability and underdevelopment, and beyond the gaze of international attention. Nine out of ten refugees are today living in poor and middle income countries close to situations of conflict.

Last year, more than 1 million refugees and migrants arrived in Europe across the Mediterranean, in unseaworthy dinghies and flimsy boats. Thousands did not make it — tragic testimony to our collective failure to properly address their plight. Meanwhile, divisive political rhetoric on asylum and migration issues, rising xenophobia, and restrictions on access to asylum have become increasingly visible in certain regions, and the spirit of shared responsibility has been replaced by a hate-filled narrative of intolerance. We see a worrisome increase in the use of detention and in the construction of fences and other barriers.

With anti-refugee rhetoric so loud, it is sometimes difficult to hear the voices of welcome. But these do exist, all around the world. In the past year, in many countries and regions, we have witnessed an extraordinary outpouring of compassion and solidarity, as ordinary people and communities have opened their homes and their hearts to refugees, and States have welcomed new arrivals even while already hosting large numbers of refugees.

There is an urgent need to build on and amplify these positive examples. Our responses to refugees must be grounded in our shared values of responsibility sharing, non-discrimination, and human rights and in international refugee law, including the principle of non-refoulement. On 19 September, the UN High-Level Plenary of the General Assembly on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants will offer a historic opportunity to agree a global compact, with a commitment towards collective action and greater shared responsibility for refugees at its core.

We must stand together with the millions of men, women and children who flee their homes each year, to ensure that their rights and dignity are protected wherever they are, and that solidarity and compassion are at the heart of our collective response.