زروقي تدعو إلى حماية الأطفال في اليمن

صبي يحمل قطعة كبيرة من قذيفة مدفعية سقطت في المحجر في ضواحي صنعاء، عاصمة اليمن. المصدر: / محمد حمود

صبي يحمل قطعة كبيرة من قذيفة مدفعية سقطت في المحجر في ضواحي صنعاء، عاصمة اليمن. المصدر: / محمد حمود

2015/8/25

 معربة عن قلقها حيال تزايد حجم وتأثير الانتهاكات الجسيمة ضد الأطفال في اليمن بشكل هائل، دعت الممثلة الخاصة للأمين العام للأمم المتحدة المعنية بالأطفال والنزاعات المسلحة ليلى زروقي جميع أطراف النزاع إلى احترام التزاماتها بموجب القانون الدولي لحماية المدنيين – بمن فيهم الأطفال – من الضرر. 

وقالت السيدة زروقي في بيان لها، “يدفع الأطفال ثمنا غير مقبول، وتؤكد أعداد القتلى التي تتزايد بشكل مأساوي الحاجة إلى اتخاذ إجراءات عاجلة لحمايتهم وغيرهم من المدنيين”. 

ومنذ تصاعد حدة الصراع في أواخر مارس آذار الماضي، قتل 402 طفل على الأقل، وجرح أكثر من 606. ويشير تحليل لمعلومات موثقة للأمم المتحدة للفترة من الأول من أبريل نيسان إلى 30 يونيو تموز، إلى أن عدد الأطفال الذين قتلوا أو أصيبوا ارتفع ثلاثة أضعاف مقارنة بالربع الأول من عام 2015. 

وتعزى معظم الإصابات بين الأطفال (73في المائة) إلى الضربات الجوية.

وتشعر السيدة زروقي بالهلع إزاء الخسائر الكبيرة بين المدنيين في تعز، حيث لقي 34 طفلا مصرعهم وأصيب 12 آخرون بجراح خلال الأيام الثلاثة الماضية. 

وشددت الممثلة الخاصة للأمين العام قائلة “يتعين على أطراف النزاع التقيد بالالتزامات القانونية الدولية المتمثلة في التمييز بين الأهداف المدنية والعسكرية، واتخاذ الاحتياطات اللازمة لتجنب وتقليل الخسائر في صفوف المدنيين”.

كما استنكرت السيدة زروقي الهجوم على المدارس والعاملين في مجال التعليم، والتأثير المدمر على حق الطفل في التعليم.

رسالة الطفلة اليمنية نور: أنا لا أحب الحرب، أنا أحب السلام

25 أغسطس 2015 – إذاعة الأمم المتحدة

إستماع

لا يؤثر النزاع في اليمن على حياة الأطفال في الوقت الحالي فقط، ولكن ستكون له آثار مروعة عليهم في المستقبل أيضا.

ومن آثار الصراع المسلح، الذي يدمر واحدة من أفقر دول العالم العربي، تَعطّل الخدمات الصحية وارتفاع معدلات سوء التغذية بين الأطفال وإغلاق المدارس وارتفاع أعداد الأطفال المجندين في الجماعات المسلحة.

المزيد حول طفولة اليمن المهددة في هذا التقرير:

يصل متوسط عدد الأطفال الذين يُقتلون أو يشوهون في اليمن بشكل يومي إلى 8 أطفال نتيجة للحرب الدائرة في البلاد، بحسب تقرير نشرته اليونيسف اليوم.

ووفقا لتقرير “اليمن: طفولة مهددة” قتل 398 طفلا ، وأصيب 600 آخرون منذ تصاعد العنف قبل أربعة أشهر.

ووصفت الطفلة نور فؤاد والبالغة من العمر سبعة أعوام شعورها قائلة:

“أنا وأخواتي نخاف عندما نسمع الرصاص، ونحن نخشى أن نموت. أنا لا أحب الحرب، أنا أحب السلام“.

ويحتاج حوالي 10 ملايين طفل في مختلف أنحاء البلاد بشكل ملح للمساعدات الإنسانية – حيث أن 80% من سكانها هم دون سن الـ 18. وأُجبر 1.3 مليون شخص على النزوح من ديارهم.

وقد تضاعف عدد الأطفال المجندين أو المستخدمين في النزاع من 156 طفلا سنة 2014 إلى 377 سنة 2015، وهو العدد الذي تم التحقق منه حتى الآن.

وهناك 15.2 مليون شخص غير قادرين على الوصول إلى الرعاية الصحية الأساسية، حيث تم إغلاق 900 مرفق صحي منذ 26 آذار.

ووصف الطفل أمجد مغابلي الذي يبلغ من العمر 12 عاما وهو من صنعاء شعوره وقال:

أخاف عندما أسمع المتفجرات والطائرات والقصف. وأنا لا أستطيع النوم، وأنا أخاف على نفسي وعلى أخوتي وعلى جيراني، وأخاف أن تنتشر هذه الحرب والناس يقتلون بعضهم البعض، وأخاف أن أفقد زملائي وأصحابي في هذه الحرب.”

ويُحتمل أن يصل عدد الأطفال الذين يعانون من سوء التغذية في نهاية العام إلى 1.8 مليون طفل. وقد أغلقت 3,600 مدرسة أبوابها، مما أثر على 1.8 مليون طفل.

ويقول التقرير إن 20.4 مليون شخص يحتاجون للمساعدة في تأمين القدرة على الوصول للمياه المأمونة والصرف الصحي.

وخلال الستة أشهر الماضية، عملت اليونيسف على توفير الدعم النفسي لمساعدة أكثر من 15,000 طفل في مجابهة أهوال النزاع. وتعلم 280,000 شخص كيفية تجنب الإصابة بسبب الألغام والأجسام غير المنفجرة.

ولكن، وبالرغم من الاحتياجات الهائلة، إلا أن استجابة اليونيسف لا تزال تعاني من نقص التمويل إلى حد كبير.

Yemen: warning of ‘a lost generation,’ UN child rights envoy urges end to grave violations against children

A boy holds a large piece of exploded artillery shell, which landed in the village of Al Mahjar, a suburb of Sana’a, the capital of Yemen. Photo: UNICEF/Mohamed Hamoud

A boy holds a large piece of exploded artillery shell, which landed in the village of Al Mahjar, a suburb of Sana’a, the capital of Yemen. Photo: UNICEF/Mohamed Hamoud

25 August 2015

Alarmed by the dramatic increase in grave violations against Yemen’s children, the United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict has called on all parties to respect their obligations under international law to safeguard civilians from harm, including children.

Reflecting on conflict-affected countries in the Middle East, Leila Zerrougui said in astatement issued yesterday that Yemen has become “another stark example of how conflict in the region risks creating a lost generation of children, who are physically and psychologically scarred by their experiences, deprived of educational opportunities, and who face an uncertain future.”

After the conflict escalated in late March, at least 402 children had been killed, and more than 606 injured. According to a United Nations analysis, in comparison to the first quarter of the year, the number of children killed and injured more than tripled during the period of 1 April to 30 June – some 73 per cent of which were attributed to airstrikes.

“Children are paying an unacceptable price, and the ever mounting death toll tragically underscores the need for urgent action to protect them and other civilians,” said the Special Representative.

Ms. Zerrougui said she is appalled by the heavy civilian casualties in Taiz, where reportedly 34 children were killed and 12 injured over the past three days. On 21 August, Saudi-led coalition airstrikes slaughtered 65 civilians – including at least 17 children while another 17 were killed and 12 wounded during repeated shelling in residential areas by Al-Houthi fighters.

“Parties to conflict must abide by their international legal obligations to distinguish between civilian and military objects, and take precautions to avoid and minimize civilian casualties,” she stressed.

The Special Representative also deplored the number of attacks on schools and education personnel, and the devastating impact on children’s right to education. “As the start of a new school year approaches, the conflict is severely curtailing children’s access to education,” Ms. Zerrougui said.

UNICEF has reported that since end-March, 114 schools were destroyed and 315 partially damaged – with an additional 360 serving to shelter displaced families. Furthermore, some 3,600 schools will not reopen due to insecurity – interrupting education access for an estimated 1.8 million children.

Heightened conflict in Yemen has also had a detrimental impact on ongoing UN efforts to strengthen children protections. In May 2014, the Government had signed an Action Plan with the UN to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children by Government forces. However, implementation of the Action Plan has stalled since September 2014. At the same time, there are indications that the recruitment and use of children by all parties present on the ground has dramatically increased this year.

Noting that Yemen is one of the seven countries participating in the global Children Not Soldiers campaign to prevent and end child recruitment for soldiers by end-2016, Ms. Zerrougui concluded: “The situation is untenable for children and their families in Yemen – all parties to the conflict must respect their obligations, and put an end to grave violations against children.”

WHO steps up response to the critical health needs in Taiz and Hodeida governorates as the humanitarian situation worsens

WHO staff delivers medical supplies to Al Thawra hospital and Bajel renal dialysis centre in Hodeida governorate

WHO staff delivers medical supplies to Al Thawra hospital and Bajel renal dialysis centre in Hodeida governorate

Sana’a, 23 August 2015

In response to the growing humanitarian crisis in Tiaz and Hodeida governorates, and the rising number of civilian injuries in the southern governorates of Yemen, WHO is coordinating a rapid response to provide emergency health access to the injured, internally displaced persons and host communities.

Thousands of people have been injured in Taiz since the start of March 2015 with over 350 causalities recorded in the last one week alone. The escalating crisis in the governorate has seen a breakdown in the health system; health facilities have been damaged, close to half of the health facilities have closed down and medical supplies are quickly being depleted.

Today, WHO donated 2 WHO Yemen local trauma kits sufficient to conduct 1000 surgeries, one surgical supply kit, 15 dressing kits, 40 first aid bags and anaesthesia medicines to treat the increasing numbers of injured patients in Tiaz.

And in Hodeida governorate and Tehama region, where the crisis has equally escalated, WHO has donated emergency trauma kits, interagency emergency health kits and other medical supplies sufficient to treat over 4500 patients in Al Thawra hospital and Bajel renal dialysis centre to address the immediate health needs. Shortly after the delivery of the supplies to the hospital, 25 major surgeries were carried out as a lifesaving intervention for the injured.

Emergency medical supplies delivered to Al Thawra hospital and Bajel renal dialysis centre in Hodeida governorate

Emergency medical supplies delivered to Al Thawra hospital and Bajel renal dialysis centre in Hodeida governorate

Emergency medical supplies delivered to Al Thawra hospital and Bajel renal dialysis centre in Hodeida governorate“WHO is committed to ensuring that all Yemenis continue to have access to health services, including those in the hardest to access areas through the provision of emergency lifesaving medicines, trauma kits, interagency emergency health kits, diarrhoeal disease kits and blood bank supplies which currently are urgently needed,” said Dr Ahmed Shadoul, WHO Representative for Yemen.

“In Taiz, the ongoing crisis has led to the closure of many health facilities and access to health facilities for the injured civilians and doctors is almost becoming impossible; shortages of basic and lifesaving medicines, medical supplies, laboratory reagents in the health facilities are fast dwindling with limited access for replenishing; in all this, WHO is determined to meet the huge gap in supplies; this requires lots of financial resources,” added Dr Shadoul.

Since March 2015, WHO has supported treatment of an estimated 23 000 trauma and surgical cases countrywide. The agency has also supported 18 hospitals in 7 of the most affected governorates with physicians, surgeons, gynaecologists, psychiatrics and nutritionist to manage the increasing patient caseloads.

In light of WHO’s response and the growing health needs, the agency is appealing for US$ 132 million to support health interventions until the end of 2015 but has only received US$ 25 million, leaving a funding gap of 81%. In the coming month, the health situation is expected to deteriorate further among the displaced people and host communities due to the continued crisis and escalating needs.

UN health workers vaccinate millions of children against polio and measles in war-ravaged Yemen

Immunization teams are continuing efforts, during the national polio, measles and rubella campaign, to ensure that all targeted children in Yemen are vaccinated. Photo: WHO Yemen

Immunization teams are continuing efforts, during the national polio, measles and rubella campaign, to ensure that all targeted children in Yemen are vaccinated. Photo: WHO Yemen

21 August 2015

Nearly a quarter of all health facilities in Yemen are no longer operating fully – with more expected to close down in the coming weeks – resulting in “catastrophic consequences” for patients suffering from chronic kidney failure who are dependent on life-saving support, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.

“The departure of health professionals fleeing violence has led to shortages of qualified health workers, creating a gap in the provision of primary health care, trauma and surgical care, as well as obstetric care,” WHO said in a press release issued Thursday in Sana’a, the Yemeni capital. “Further exacerbating the situation are shortages of power and fuel which have resulted in the closure of intensive care units and operation rooms in almost all hospitals across the country.”

Against this backdrop, however, WHO announced it has managed to vaccinate more than 3.9 million children under 5 years against polio in a national wide campaign launched on 15 August and an more than 860,000 other children aged 6 month to 15 years against measles in high-risk areas.

“Despite these achievements, we are only touching the tip of the iceberg in terms of our response,” said Dr. Ahmed Shadoul, WHO Representative for Yemen. “Millions of people are in urgent need of health care services and thousands more could lose their lives – not as a result of the violence, but as a result of limited funding impeding our ability to reach affected populations.”

More than15.2 million people are in need of health services life-saving assistance in Yemen, according to the agency, and the 1.4 million on the move, the “massive” population movement has overstretched functioning health facilities in areas hosting the displaced, increasing the risk of vaccine-preventable and waterborne diseases. More than 2.6 million children under 15 years of age are at risk of measles and another 2.5 million under 5 at risk of diarrhoeal disease and acute respiratory infections, WHO said.

“Almost 23 per cent of all health facilities in Yemen are currently non-functional or partially functional as a direct result of ongoing violence, and additional facilities continue to close down week by week,” the agency said.

Most recently, the renal dialysis centre in Haradh governorate was forced to close due to increased violence and insecurity in the area preventing staff and patients from accessing the facility.

‘The centre’s closure could have catastrophic consequences for chronic renal failure patients who are dependent on its live-saving support,” according to WHO.

WHO has also trained and deployed over 50 mobile medical teams and 20 fixed medical teams in 11 governorates to provide an integrated primary health care package, and provided fuel to support the operation of 72 health facilities.

To reduce the risk of water-borne diseases, WHO has provided safe drinking water, hygiene supplies and cleaning materials to displaced populations in all affected governorates.

Out of $151 million required to meet the health needs of internally displaced persons in Yemen until the end of 2015, only $23 million has been received, leaving a funding gap of 85 per cent.

“If WHO does not receive much needed funds in the next coming months, more critical health care services will be forced to shut down,” the agency warned.

The top UN humanitarian official told the Security Council on Thursday that the scale of human suffering is nearly incomprehensible, and that unless stakeholders get the parties to stop the fighting and return to the negotiating table, soon “there will be nothing left to fight for.”

“The civilian population is bearing the brunt of the conflict – a shocking four out of five Yemenis require humanitarian assistance and nearly 1.5 million people are internally displaced. More than 1,000 children have been killed or injured and the number of young people recruited or used as fighters is increasing,” Under-Secretary-General for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Stephen O’Brien, told the 15-member body.

 

“They call me teacher”: Promoting better health in the midst of Yemen’s crisis

By Ansar Rasheed

As the humanitarian situation in Yemen continues to deteriorate, a volunteer provides vital health information and services to communities in desperate need of help.

AL HUSHA, Yemen, 17 August 2015 – Abdulghani Saeed has been busy recently. For the past several months, he has dedicated every spare moment to working with families desperate for health care.

Yemen’s health system, already fragile before fighting escalated in March, has been further distressed by conflict, and gaining access to people in need of assistance is a serious challenge. It is a catastrophic situation, with an estimated 21 million people – 80 percent of the population – in need of humanitarian assistance.

Putting his career as a district head of health education on hold, Abdulghani has taken up the crucial role of community volunteer. Supported by UNICEF and its partners, he leads a team of six volunteers delivering essential services and health information in his home district of Al Husha, in southern Yemen, where heavy clashes have led to a large influx of people.

Life-saving messages

A five-day training in Communication for Development (C4D) helped give Abdulghani the tools and information to engage with communities and enable people who have been displaced to protect their families’ health. He joins more than 1,400 community volunteers trained in disease prevention and management, essential nutrition, routine immunization and hygiene promotion. Volunteers also provide guidance on the use of chlorine for water purification and how to avoid injury and death by unexploded ordnance (UXO) – sadly essential knowledge in these times.

Abdulghani also helps link the villages he covers to services provided by mobile health units. “With my team, we cover 15 villages with our messages, including the use of posters and leaflets. We knock on doors and we talk with people,” he says. “Our team doesn’t just repeat messages – we help teach people to help themselves. By adopting good practices, they’ll save their children and hopefully their own lives as well.”

UNICEF has supported production of 35,000 information leaflets, covering 14 key behaviours. Distributed by the Ministry of Health and partners, as well as six radio stations, these messages are reaching close to 3 million people across Yemen.

Abdulghani is aware that the contributions of the community volunteers are essential to providing humanitarian assistance in these desperate times.

“My family is proud of me, and I have gained respect, especially from elderly people and women,” he says. “Now in my village they call me ‘Ustaz’ [teacher] Abdulghani.”

منظمة الصحة العالمية: تفاقم الوضع الصحي لأكثر من 15 مليون شخص في اليمن

IMG_94232015/8/20

 أكدت منظمة الصحة العالمية استمرار تردي النظام الصحي في اليمن، الأمر الذي يعيق حصول المدنيين على الرعاية الصحية الحرجة المنقذة للحياة. 

وقالت إن ما يقرب من 23 في المائة من جميع المرافق الصحية في اليمن في الوقت الراهن لا تعمل أو تعمل جزئيا كنتيجة مباشرة للعنف المستمر، وهناك مرافق إضافية تغلق تباعا. وتعمل المرافق الصحية فوق طاقتها في المناطق التي تستضيف النازحين، الأمر الذي يزيد من مخاطر الإصابة بأمراض يمكن الوقاية منها باللقاحات والتي تنقلها المياه. وأوضحت المنظمة إن هناك 15.2 مليون شخص، منهم 1.4 مليون شخص من المشردين داخليا، بحاجة إلى المساعدات في محال الخدمات الصحية المنقذة للحياة في اليمن، وخاصة في عدن وأبين وتعز وصعدة. وهناك أكثر من 2.6 مليون طفل دون 15 سنة من العمر معرضون لخطر الحصبة، و2.5 مليون آخرين دون سن الخامسة معرضون لخطر الإصابة بأمراض الإسهال والتهابات الجهاز التنفسي الحادة. وقال الدكتور أحمد شادول، ممثل منظمة الصحة العالمية في اليمن إن “الملايين من الناس بحاجة ماسة إلى خدمات الرعاية الصحية. وهناك آلاف آخرون قد يفقدون حياتهم ليس نتيجة لأعمال العنف فقط، ولكن نتيجة لقلة التمويل الذي يعوق قدرتنا في مساعدة السكان المتضررين.” وقد وصلت نسبة العجز في التمويل 85 في المائة، حيث تلقت المنظمة 23 مليون دولار فقط، من أصل 151 مليون دولار أمريكي اللازمة لتلبية الاحتياجات الصحية للنازجين في اليمن حتى نهاية عام 2015. وتقول المنظمة إنه إذا لم تحصل على الأموال التي تشتد الحاجة إليها خلال الأشهر القليلة المقبلة، سوف يضطر عدد من خدمات الرعاية الصحية الحرجة إلى التوقف عن العمل.

اليونيسف تدين الهجوم على اجتماع التربويين اليمنيين في محافظة عمران شمال اليمن

صورة لمدرسة في صنعاء تضررت إئر تعرض مبنى مجاور لها لضربة جوية - Photo: UNICEF/ Mohammed Mahmoud

صورة لمدرسة في صنعاء تضررت إئر تعرض مبنى مجاور لها لضربة جوية – Photo: UNICEF/ Mohammed Mahmoud

2015/8/20

أدان صندوق الأمم المتحدة للطفولة، اليونيسف، الغارة الجوية على اجتماع التربويين اليمنيين في محافظة عمران شمال اليمن، يوم الثلاثاء 18 أغسطس/ آب، ما أدى إلى وفاة وإصابة العشرات.

وقال بيان صادر عن أنتوني ليك، المدير التنفيذي لليونيسف، “يوم أمس قتل 13 من المربين التربويين وأربعة من أبنائهم في غارة جوية على مكتب للمعلمين في محافظة عمران شمالي صنعاء وأصيب 20 شخصاً، من بينهم طفل واحد. “اجتمع التربويون معاً للتحضير لسير عملية الامتحانات وإعدادها لآلاف الأطفال الذين غابوا عن مدارسهم بسبب هذا الصراع الوحشي وجلبوا أطفالهم معهم، وبعضهم كان يلعب خارج المكتب عندما انفجرت القنبلة وتحول المكان في لحظة إلى بركة من الدماء.” وأضاف ليك، “هذا الهجوم البشع جاء عشية اليوم العالمي للعمل الإنساني في وقت نشيد فيه بمساهمات المنظمات الإنسانية وقدسية الأماكن التي يعملون فيها. هجوم الليلة الماضية في محافظة عمران ينتهك القيم التي يجب أن نحتفل اليوم بها”. “لا يمكن لأي دولة، أي مجتمع، أن يتحمل خسارة أبنائه للصراع – سواء بسبب الهجمات المباشرة، أو سوء التغذية، أو المرض، أو من الحرمان من التعليم، أو من الصدمات الناتجة عن الأهوال التي يشاهدونها. في اليمن أو نيجيريا … في سوريا، السودان أو جنوب السودان … في العراق، أوكرانيا، في الصومال، في جمهورية أفريقيا الوسطى، أو في غيرها من البلدان التي تمزقها الحرب، هناك خسارة أجيال بأكملها.”

WHO steps up response as critical health needs in Yemen grow

20 August 2015 – Sana’a, Yemen

The health system in Yemen continues to shut down, leaving civilians without access to critical, life-saving health care. Almost 23% of all health facilities in Yemen are currently non-functional or partially functional as a direct result of ongoing violence, and additional facilities continue to close down week by week.

Most recently, the renal dialysis centre in Haradh governorate was forced to close due to increased violence and insecurity in the area preventing staff and patients from accessing the facility. This centre was treating between 42 and 57 chronic renal failure cases per month. Prior to its closure, WHO was supporting the centre with fuel and safe water on a daily basis. The centre’s closure could have catastrophic consequences for chronic renal failure patients who are dependant on its live-saving support. Consequently, renal dialysis centres in Hodiedah, Hajjah and Mahweet are now overcrowded with patients.

The departure of health professionals fleeing violence has led to shortages of qualified health workers, creating a gap in the provision of primary health care, trauma and surgical care, as well as obstetric care. Further exacerbating the situation are shortages of power and fuel which have resulted in the closure of intensive care units and operation rooms in almost all hospitals across the country.

A total of 15.2 million people, including 1.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), are in need of health services life-saving assistance in Yemen, especially in Aden, Abian, Taiz and Sa’ada governorates. Mass population movement has overstretched functioning health facilities in areas hosting IDPs, increasing the risk of vaccine-preventable and waterborne diseases. More than 2.6 million children under 15 years of age are at risk of measles and another 2.5 million under 5 at risk of diarrhoeal disease and acute respiratory infections.

Amidst funding shortages and inaccessibility challenges, WHO has supported the Ministry of Health and partners with over 181 tonnes of medicines and medical supplies for more than 3 million people, including for trauma care, noncommunicable diseases, and laboratory and blood banks.

WHO has also trained and deployed over 50 mobile medical teams and 20 fixed medical teams in 11 governorates to provide an integrated primary health care package. 18 hospitals in 7 of the most affected governorates were also supported with physicians, surgeons, gynaecologists, psychiatrics and nutritionist. WHO has also provided 745 190 litres of fuel to support the operation of 72 health facilities, including 51 hospitals, 7 major centres, 6 vaccine depots and 8 renal dialysis centres. WHO and health partners have supported the treatment of an estimated 22 951 trauma and surgical cases in the country, although this figure could be higher in areas that have not been able to access due to the security situation.

To reduce the risk of water-borne diseases, WHO has provided safe drinking water, hygiene supplies and cleaning materials to IDPs in all affected governorates. Through the surveillance system, 2082 disease alerts were generated and investigated since the start of the year and support was provided to the Ministry of Public Health to develop and roll out dengue fever and cholera control plans. WHO has also vaccinated more than 3.9 million children under 5 years against polio in national wide campaign launched on 15 August 2015; in addition 867 931 children aged 6 month to 15 years against measles in high-risk areas. The number of children vaccinated for both polio and measles will increase as the vaccination campaign is still ongoing.

“Despite these achievements, we are only touching the tip of the iceberg in terms of our response,” said Dr Ahmed Shadoul, WHO Representative for Yemen. “Millions of people are in urgent need of health care services and thousands more could lose their lives – not as a result of the violence, but as a result of limited funding impeding our ability to reach affected populations.”

While health needs continue to grow, funding for an effective health response remains limited. Out of US$ 151 million required to meet the health needs of internally displaced persons in Yemen until the end of 2015, only 23 million has been received, leaving a funding gap of 85%.

If WHO does not receive much needed funds in the next coming months, a number of critical health care services will be forced to shut down. These include trauma and surgical care for an estimated 102 502 people; integrated primary health care for 4.1 million; maternal and child health services for 126,060 women; disease surveillance and outbreak response for an estimated 6 million people; medicines and medical supplies for an estimated 10.2 million people; environmental health for 10.2 million people; basic repair or upgrading of health facilities and provision of equipment and supplies for 10.2 million people.

At Security Council, UN relief chief cites ‘incomprehensible’ scale of human suffering in Yemen

Under-Secretary-General for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Stephen O’Brien (centre) with local authorities and media on 9 August 2015 in front of the Governorate of Amran, Yemen, that got destroyed in an airstrike. Photo: OCHA/Philippe Kropf

Under-Secretary-General for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Stephen O’Brien (centre) with local authorities and media on 9 August 2015 in front of the Governorate of Amran, Yemen, that got destroyed in an airstrike. Photo: OCHA/Philippe Kropf

19 August 2015

Just back from Yemen and “shocked” by what he saw there, the top United Nations humanitarian official told the Security Council today that the scale of human suffering is nearly incomprehensible, and that unless stakeholders get the parties to stop the fighting and return to the negotiating table, soon “there will be nothing left to fight for.”

“The civilian population is bearing the brunt of the conflict – a shocking four out of five Yemenis require humanitarian assistance and nearly 1.5 million people are internally displaced. More than 1,000 children have been killed or injured and the number of young people recruited or used as fighters is increasing,” Under-Secretary-General for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Stephen O’Brien, said to the 15 members-body.

Reporting about “massive” needs among the population, he said they keep being exacerbated by impediments to commercial imports, resulting in widespread scarcity of food and fuel. In Aden, where people are overwhelmed by the scale of the destruction, the task ahead is rebuilding in their “shattered” city, where unexploded ordnance litter the streets and buildings. Electricity, essential for water pumping and cereal milling, is rare and intermittent, he added.

Against this backdrop, humanitarian assistance alone cannot meet all the needs of an entire country with a population of 26 million people. “This is why airports and seaports need to remain open and be used for both commercial imports and humanitarian supplies – without restrictions,” he advocated.

Denouncing the “disregard” for human life by all parties, he condemned reports of airstrikes and other shelling in and around Hudaydah port earlier this week, which damaged the main lifelines for the import of basic goods.

“I am extremely concerned that the damage to the port of Hudaydah could have a severe impact on the entire country, and would deepen humanitarian needs, making more people food insecure, leaving them without access to water or medicines, which could also mean the spread of disease.”

Parties to the conflict, he underlined, must ensure that humanitarian aid is facilitated and not hindered, and they must respect and implement international humanitarian law and possible violations must be investigated and perpetrators held accountable.

“As we reflect on the state of play globally on World Humanitarian Day, we unfortunately see a worsening situation, and a scale of needless humanitarian suffering that is truly shocking. We must act. We must do more to ensure that those of us in a position to prevent the abuses perpetrated against those who can do nothing are stopped, and that those who continue to carry them out are held to account,” said Mr. O’Brien, who is also the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator.

Since the conflict began in late March, nearly seven million people in Yemen have been supported by UN agencies and their partners, with food, water, shelter, health support and protection assistance, he recalled.

“But much more needs to be done, the Under-Secretary-General acknowledged, stressing that the humanitarian community continues to scale up the response to reach all those in need, including by positioning more international staff across the country and establishing operational hubs in Aden, Ibb, Sa’ada and Mukalla, “as soon as the security situation allows.”

But success will depend on sufficient resources. Today, noted Mr. O’Brien, the World Food Programme warned again that a lack of immediate and unhindered access to people who urgently need food assistance and the shortage of funding create the possibility of famine for millions of Yemenis.

“Right now, the conflict-driven convergence between the lack of staple food, access to clean water, and a diminished fuel supply create the dawn of a perfect storm for the most vulnerable Yemeni people,” explained Ertharin Cousin, WFP Executive Director.

To date, only 18 per cent, some $282 million, of the 1.6 billion dollars requested through the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan has been received and UN agencies have still not received the funding from Saudi Arabia of $274 million pledged in April, emphasized the Under-Secretary-General.

“Even once these funds are received, the response plan will only be funded at 33 per cent. Substantial additional resources will be needed to support the Yemeni people through the rest of this year and beyond.”

This is why the international community must match its actions with its words and take immediate measures to end the violence which is destroying the lives of millions of people across the country, concluded Mr. O’Brien.

“We must get the parties to stop the fighting and return to the negotiating table, before it’s too late. Otherwise there will be nothing left to fight for.”