Author Archives: Mohammed Al-Zuhairi

20 مليون شخص مهددون بالموت جوعا في الأشهر الستة المقبلة

المدير العام للفاو أثناء جولة في بعض المناطق التي تعاني من أزمات غذائية في تشاد وشمال شرق نيجيريا. Photo: FAO/AO/Pius Utomi Ekpei

2017/4/24

شدد جوزيه غرازيانو دا سيلفا، المدير العام لمنظمة الأمم المتحدة للأغذية والزراعة (الفاو)، على ضرورة التحرك بشكل عاجل لإنقاذ حياة الملايين الذين يواجهون خطر المجاعة في شمال شرق نيجيريا والصومال وجنوب السودان واليمن.

حيث حذر مدير عام الفاو، في افتتاح اجتماع مجلس المنظمة اليوم الاثنين، من أن نحو 20 مليون شخص مهددون بالموت جوعا خلال الأشهر الستة المقبلة.

وأضاف دا سيلفا أن “المجاعة لا تقضي على الناس فحسب بل إنها تزيد من حالة عدم الاستقرار الاجتماعي وتطيل عمر دائرة الفقر والاعتماد على المساعدات لعقود”.

وسيتم خلال الاجتماع، الذي يستمر لمدة أسبوع، إطلاع أعضاء المجلس على حجم أزمات الجوع والخطوات اللازمة لمنع حدوث كارثة. كما سيقوم المجلس كذلك بدراسة الموافقة على برنامج عمل الوكالة وميزانيتها لعام 2018-2019.

وتضع الميزانية في أولوياتها المناطق التي يمكن أن يكون للفاو فيها أكبر تأثير في الدول الأعضاء لتحقيق أهداف التنمية المستدامة، ومنها تخفيف تأثيرات التغير المناخي والتأقلم مع هذه التأثيرات، والإنتاج الزراعي المستدام وإدارة ندرة المياه وبناء صمود أسر المزارعين الفقيرة.

ويعتبر الغذاء والزراعة عاملين رئيسيين لتحقيق أجندة التنمية المستدامة، ويتوقع أن تسهم الفاو في تحقيق 40 بندا في 15 هدفا من الأهداف السبعة عشر.

Suffering of Yemen’s children “invisible” to the world: UNICEF

21 April 2017 – United Nations Radio

Listen

The suffering of millions of children across Yemen has become “invisible to the rest of the world” according to UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative in the war-ravaged country.

Merixtell Relaño said the impact of the fighting between coalition-backed government forces and so-called Houthi rebels, on children and families, has been “catastrophic”.

The conflict has fuelled what UN agencies are calling the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, with 6.8 million on the brink of famine.

Ms Relaño spoke ahead of a High-Level pledging conference next Tuesday, which it’s hoped will provide lifesaving emergency relief.

The event is being organized by the UN together with the governments of Sweden and Switzerland in Geneva.

On the line from Yemen, the UNICEF representative explained the scale of the crisis to Mustafa Al Gamal.

Duration: 4’03″

Middle East engulfed by ‘perfect storm’ – one that threatens international peace, warns UN envoy

20 April 2017

Reporting on the dire situation across the Middle East region, marked by the largest refugee crisis since the Second World War, fractured societies, proliferation of non-State actors and unbelievable human suffering, a United Nations envoy today reiterated the need for a surge in diplomacy for peace to ease the suffering of innocent civilians.

“Let us not forget that behind the images of savagery [there] are the millions [struggling] every day not only for their own survival but for the true humane essence of their cultures and societies,” Nickolay Mladenov, the UNSpecial Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, told the Security Council today.

“Today, a perfect storm has engulfed the Middle East, and continues to threaten international peace and security,” he added, noting that divisions within the region have opened the doors to foreign intervention and manipulation, breeding instability and sectarian strife.

In his briefing, Mr. Mladenov noted that developments in the Arab-Israeli conflict continued to resonate across the region and that the question of Palestine remained a “potent symbol” and “rallying cry,” one that is easily misappropriated and exploited by extremist groups.

“Ending the occupation and realizing a two-state solution will not solve all the region’s problems, but as long as the conflict persists, it will continue to feed them,” he said.

The UN envoy also informed the 15-member Security Council of sporadic violence that continued to claim lives and reported on Israel’s approval of the establishment of new settlements and declaration of “State land” in the occupied Palestinian territory. On the Palestinian side, he noted multiple worrying developments that are “further cementing” the Gaza-West Bank divide and dangerously increasing the risk of escalation.

Turning to the wider region, Mr. Mladenov briefed Council members on the ongoing crisis in Syria that continues to be a “massive burden” for other countries and called on the international community to do more to stand in solidarity with Syria’s neighbours. He also underlined the need for a political solution to the conflict, now into its seventh year.

Further in his briefing, the UN Special Coordinator spoke of the situation in Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen as well as of social exclusion and marginalisation that tend to provide fertile ground for the rise of violent extremism.

“Unity across ethnic and religious lines, reconciliation and a fair sharing of resources help heal wounds and isolate extremists,” he underscored.

Recalling Secretary-General António Guterres’ call for a “surge in diplomacy for peace”, Mr. Mladenov urged UN Member States, especially through a united Security Council, to assume the leading role in resolving the crisis.

“Multilateral approaches and cooperation are necessary to address interlinked conflicts, cross-border humanitarian impacts and violent extremism,” he said.

Lives still being lost to preventable diseases in Yemen’s war-torn Taiz city, senior UN official warns

11 April 2017

Despite long-standing humanitarian access restrictions in Yemen, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in the country reported that he has been able to enter Taiz City where, amid some gains, he observed setbacks, particularly as regards the health sector.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), on 9 April, Jamie McGoldrick got a first-hand glimpse of the situation inside the city, which is located in the Yemeni highlands.

“Compared to the last time I was in the city, over nine months ago – and in spite of its current status as an active conflict zone – markets seemed busier with more people, more vehicles were on the roads and many more shops and restaurants were open,” he said in a statement.

Mr. McGoldrick also cited local relief committee members and hospital managers in emphasizing that a recent reduction in fighting has allowed some semblance of normalcy to return to the hard-hit city, enabling some of the partially-functioning hospitals to conduct minor repairs.

“However,” he cautioned, “they also stressed that lives are being lost to preventable diseases. Hospitals and feeding centers struggle to cope due to problems with salary payments, insufficient essential supplies, and lack of medicines. Increasing malnutrition rates, particularly in children, are worsening the already difficult humanitarian situation.”

The UN humanitarian coordinator then called on parties to the conflict to build on the momentum of his recent visit by helping to establish a predictable and regular access mechanism to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to people in need across Taiz.

“I further call on them to ensure that the mechanism does not only cover Taiz city but also helps to improve humanitarian access to the rural areas in the governorate, where the need is also great,” concluded Mr. McGoldrick.

مفوضية شؤون اللاجئين تحذر من مخاطر الموت الجماعي في اليمن ودول أفريقية

2017/4/11

حذرت مفوضية الأمم المتحدة السامية لشؤون اللاجئين من تصاعد مخاطر الموت الجماعي بسبب الجوع بين السكان في منطقة القرن الأفريقي واليمن ونيجيريا. 

أدريان أدواردز المتحدث باسم المفوضية أشار إلى العوامل التي ترجح احتمال تكرار المجاعة التي شهدتها منطقة القرن الأفريقي عام 2011.

“يأتي هذا التحذير في ضوء الجفاف الذي يؤثر أيضا على الكثير من الدول المجاورة، ونقص التمويل الذي وصل إلى درجة تجعل تكرار حدوث الأزمة الإنسانية التي شهدتها المنطقة في عام 2011 أمرا حتميا بشكل متسارع. إن النزوح يتسارع بالفعل، بما يدفعنا إلى زيادة تقديرات النزوح التي وضعناها لعام 2017. في السودان، على سبيل المثال كانت التقديرات تشير إلى قدوم 60 ألف شخص من جنوب السودان هذا العام، ولكننا نقوم بتعديل الأرقام التي من المتوقع أن تصل إلى 180 ألفا.”

وفيما توسع مفوضية شؤون اللاجئين جهودها مع شركائها، ذكـّرت المجتمع الدولي بأن الجفاف في منطقة القرن الأفريقي في عام 2011 أدى إلى وفاة أكثر من 260 ألف شخص أكثر من نصفهم من الأطفال الذين تقل أعمارهم عن الخامسة. 

وشددت المفوضية على ضرورة منع تكرار حدوث ذلك مهما كانت التكلفة. وذكرت أن نسبة تمويل عملياتها في جنوب السودان والصومال واليمن تتراوح بين 3 و11 في المئة من حجم التمويل المطلوب.

Millions across Africa, Yemen could be at risk of death from starvation – UN agency

11 April 2017 – Warning of increasing risk of mass deaths from starvation in many countries in Africa and in Yemen due to worsening drought and conflict, the United Nations refugee agency has called for international support to prevent the repeat of the 2011 tragedy in the Horn of Africa that claimed more than 260,000 lives.

“An avoidable humanitarian crisis in the region, possibly worse than that of 2011, is fast becoming an inevitability,” Adrian Edwards, a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told journalists at the regular bi-weekly media briefing in Geneva.

“A repeat must be avoided at all costs.”

According to estimates, some 20 million people are living in areas hit hard by drought. About 4.2 million among them are refugees and the number of the displaced is rising as a result of consecutive harvest failures, famine and insecurity.

Worst affected are children and lactating mothers.

In southeast Ethiopia, for example, acute malnutrition rates among newly arriving Somali refugee children aged between 6 months and five years is reported in the range of 50-79 per cent. Similarly, in South Sudan, children account for the majority of the refugees (about 62 per cent).

 

Nearly all refugees, including these children, are dependent on food assistance, such as those provided by the World Food Programme – the UN’s emergency food relief agency – but with lack of funds to buy food rations are being cut. Worst hit are those in Uganda where rations have been cut by up to 75 per cent. Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Rwanda (by between 20 and 50 per cent) and Djibouti (by 12 per cent) are also witnessing this decrease.

“Many refugees are without full access to livelihoods and agriculture or food production and their ability to take matters into their own hands and help themselves is limited,” noted Mr. Edwards.

Almost five million children could be out of school

The severe food insecurity is also causing many students, such as those in Kenya, to drop out of school. Some 175,000 students in drought areas in the country have stopped attending school and almost 600 schools have closed in Ethiopia.

In all, some five million children could see their educations being disrupted over coming weeks and months.

 

Drastic situation turning worse in countries

The daunting humanitarian scenario has been further complicated by a range of challenges including new displacement, economic hardships, crop failure and conflict.

In Somalia, of the half a million people displaced since November, 278,000 were displaced in the first quarter of this year and the country continues to see a complex situation of both outflows and returns, mainly from Yemen.

Furthermore, in famine hit parts of South Sudan, increase in fighting, insecurity, lack of access to aid and a collapsing economy have left 100,000 people facing starvation and a further one million people are now on the brink of famine.

The humanitarian situation in Yemen, too continues to decline. Already the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, food needs are being cited as the lead factor in displacement at three quarters of all locations across the war-torn country where there are internally displaced people.

UN efforts scaled up but resources extremely scarce

Responding to the growing crisis, the UN refugee agency and its partners have been scaling up their efforts.

However, UNHCR operations in these countries are facing considerable constraints due to limited funding.

“It is now urgent that the shortfalls be addressed,” underscored the UNHCR spokesperson.

Millions of children in Yemen vaccinated against polio through UN-backed campaign

10 April 2017

Despite daunting challenges, United Nations agencies and partners in war-torn Yemen have completed a major nationwide polio inoculation campaign, vaccinating nearly five million children under the age of five against the paralyzing disease.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF)-UN World Health Organization (WHO)-World Bank supported campaign was launched in February and saw thousands of health workers, health educators, religious leaders and local council officials mobilize their communities to maximize the campaign’s reach, including in high-risk groups, such as internally displaced persons and refugees.

“Every minute, the situation of Yemen’s children gets worse. It is unacceptable that children in the country are dying of preventable diseases,” said the UNICEF Representative in Yemen, Meritxell Relaño, in a news release today.

“This is why, together with partners, we are sparing no effort to save more lives.”

Through the campaign, more than 369,000 children between the ages of six months and 15 years in the violence struck Sa’ada governorate were also inoculated against measles – a highly contagious and potentially fatal disease.

“WHO, UNICEF and the World Bank, are working closely with health authorities to keep Yemen polio-free and curb the spread of measles,” noted Nevio Zagaria, the WHO Representative in Yemen.

Prior to 2006, measles was one of the leading causes of death in children under five in the country. But several vaccination campaigns have succeeded in drastically reducing child deaths from the disease.

“This partnership provides continuous support to national health authorities to increase vaccination coverage for vulnerable children across Yemen,” Dr. Zagaria added.

Vaccinating children is one of the safest and most cost effective health interventions to protect them from potentially fatal and debilitating diseases. Immunization campaigns are important, not only, to keep communities polio-free but also help minimize the risk of poliovirus coming into them.

“The World Bank is committed to investing in children’s health, which is a vital investment in the country’s future, through working with our UN partners in Yemen and strengthening the local health institutions” said Sandra Bloemenkamp, World Bank Country Manager for Yemen.

The United Nations has been supporting Yemen’s health system, which has been hit hard by the ongoing conflict.

In addition to providing essential health services for children. During this campaign, UN agencies delivered fuel, generators and solar-powered refrigerators to keep vaccines at a constant cool temperature. They also helped transfer of vaccines from national and provincial cold rooms to local health facilities and vaccination teams.

Statement on behalf of the Humanitarian Country Team in Yemen, on the Critical Importance to Maintain Al Hudaydah Port Open

Sana’a, 4 April 2017

For over two years, the humanitarian community has been witness to the suffering inflicted upon the people of Yemen by parties to the conflict as they seek to destabilize the economy and cause social services to collapse.

The unwarranted restrictions on the flow of commercial and humanitarian goods and services into Yemen and subsequently within the country are paralyzing a nation that for far too long has been a victim of war. The ability of people to survive is complicated even further by the limitations imposed on their safe movement to seek assistance inside and outside the country.

We are witnessing food shortages, rising food and fuel prices, disruptions to agricultural production, and plummeting purchasing power, especially brought about by the unevenly distributed salary payments in the public sector for over six months across the country. We face continued and severe access restrictions to specific areas, where we know humanitarian needs are grave. We know that approximately 7 million people in Yemen face the prospects of famine.

The continued military escalation in Yemen, specifically the militarization of large regions on its Western Coast and the associated increase of humanitarian access obstacles and population movement restrictions are of grave concern to the humanitarian community. This is only resulting in more displacement, more institutional collapse, and more suffering.

Al Hudaydah Port is the major lifeline for imports into Yemen. The country has historically been 80 to 90 per cent dependent on imported food, medicines and fuel- all vital for Yemen’s survival today. Close to 80 per cent of imported goods flowed through Al Hudaydah Port. Following airstrikes in August 2015, it now operates at reduced capacity.

Even at its current capacity, there is no viable substitute for Al Hudaydah Port- both in terms of location and infrastructure.

Any alterations to the commercial and humanitarian imports coming through this port would have grave consequences on the country at a time when it faces a severe food, health, and nutrition crisis.

Furthermore, the port is located in a densely populated urban center where thousands of people live and any military campaign in its vicinity, from the ground or air, would have devastating civilian consequences. Associated costs of re-routing imports to Aden Port are prohibitive; even more so for the humanitarian effort given the massive underfunding it faces. Steering the humanitarian response away from Al Hudaydah Port, even temporarily, is inconceivable, particularly in a war torn country where infrastructure and security impede movement.

To help stem the suffering, the Yemen Humanitarian Country Team calls on all warring parties and on those with influence over the parties to ensure the continued functioning of Al Hudaydah Port. Further, it calls for action to rehabilitate Al Hudaydah Port to its full capacity, at once.

The Yemen Humanitarian Country Team also calls on the parties to the conflict to effectively demonstrate a renewed commitment towards peace by allowing the resumption of the required imports of basic life-saving commodities, the unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief to people in need and the safe movement of people in search of aid.

For further information, please contact:

George Khoury, Head of OCHA Yemen,khouryg@un.org, Tel +967 712 222 207 Zaid Al Alayaa, Information Officer OCHA Yemen, al-alayaa@un.org, Tel. +967 2222 835 Jessica J. Jordan, Head of Communication (OIC), jordanj@un.org, Tel. +962 79867 4617 OCHA press releases are available at www.unocha.org or www.reliefweb.int.

بيان صحفي بشأن اليمن

30/3/2017

 قدم مبعوث الأمم المتحدة الخاص لليمن إسماعيل ولد الشيخ أحمد أمس إحاطة إعلامية إلى أعضاء مجلس الأمن في جلسة مغلقة عن الوضع في اليمن والجهود المبذولة من أجل مواصلة المفاوضات حول عملية السلام.

وقد أعرب المبعوث الخاص عن بالغ قلقه إزاء التدهور السريع في الحالة الإنسانية والاقتصادية في ظل تصعيد مثير للقلق في العمليات العسكرية. وأضاف بأن “السبيل الحقيقي الوحيد لمنع تدهور الوضع هو التوصل إلى حل سلمي لهذا الصراع المأساوي الذي ما زال مستمراً منذ فترة طويلة جداً. وأعتقد اعتقاداً راسخاً بأن المزيد من التصعيد العسكري والمعاناة الإنسانية لن يقرب الطرفين من بعضهما البعض”.

وكان المبعوث الخاص قد قدم إلى الطرفين إطارا يتضمن مجموعة من التدابير السياسية والأمنية المتسلسلة التي صُممت لضمان الانتهاء السريع للحرب، وسحب التشكيلات العسكرية ونزع السلاح في المناطق الرئيسية، وإنشاء حكومة انتقالية شاملة للجميع. وحث أعضاء مجلس الأمن للضغط على الأطراف للمشاركة بشكل بناء في مناقشة الإطار. وقال إن “حكومة اليمن ينبغي أن توافق على الدخول في محادثات ترتكز على الإطار، ويجب على جماعة أنصار الله وحزب المؤتمر الشعبي العام إنهاء رفضهما الطويل الأمد لإجراء مناقشات جادة حول الترتيبات الأمنية”.

وقدم المبعوث الخاص صورة قاتمة عن الحالة الراهنة، وحذر من أن تأثير الصراع على الاقتصاد والأمن الغذائي سيكون محسوساً لفترة طويلة في المستقبل وسيهدد محاولات استعادة الاستقرار.

وكرر المبعوث الخاص دعوته إلى المجتمع الدولي للتحدث بصوت موحد ومتسق وجريء مع الأطراف، الآن أكثر من أي وقت مضى. واختتم كلمته بحث المجلس على “استخدام كل ثقله الدبلوماسي لدفع الأطراف المعنية إلى تقديم التنازلات المطلوبة للوصول إلى اتفاق نهائي قبل فقدان المزيد من الأرواح. ويجب أن نعطي السلام فرصة اخرى”.

Press release from the UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed

29 March 2017

The United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed briefed the Security Council members today on the situation in Yemen and the efforts to
continue negotiations on the peace process at a closed-door meeting.

The Special Envoy expressed his deep concern about the rapidly deteriorating
humanitarian and economic situation amidst a worrying escalation of military
operations. “The only real way to prevent a worsening of the situation is
to reach a peaceful resolution to this tragic conflict which has been going on
for too long. It is my firm belief that further military escalation and
humanitarian suffering will not bring the parties closer together.”

The Special Envoy had presented to the parties a framework that included a set
of sequenced political and security measures which were designed to ensure a
rapid end to the war, withdrawals of military formations and disarmament in key
areas, and the creation of an inclusive transitional government. He urged the
Security Council members to put pressure on the parties to engage
constructively in discussing the framework. He said “the Government of
Yemen should agree to engage in talks based on the framework, and Ansar Allah
and the General People’s Congress must end their long-standing refusal to
undertake serious discussions on security arrangements.”

The Special Envoy presented a bleak picture of the current situation. He warned
that the impact of the conflict on the economy and food security will be felt
long into the future and jeopardize attempts to restore stability.

The Special Envoy reiterated his call to the International Community to speak
with a unified, consistent and bold voice to the parties, now more than ever.
He concluded by urging the Council to “use all of its diplomatic weight to push
for the relevant parties to make the concessions required to reach a final
agreement before more lives are lost. We must give peace another chance.”