Nearly every child in war-torn Yemen now needs humanitarian aid – UNICEF

With up to 20 people sharing a room, diseases such as measles and respiratory infections are a significant threat in Yemen, especially for children already reeling from malnutrition and dealing with inadequate water and sanitation facilities. Photo: OCHA/Eman

16 January 2018

As the brutal conflict in Yemen nears its grim third anniversary, malnutrition and disease are running rampant in the country and virtually every child there is dependent on humanitarian aid to survive, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday.

“An entire generation of children in Yemen is growing up knowing nothing but violence,” saidMeritxell Relano, the head of UNICEF operations in the war-torn country, underlining the gravity of the crisis.

“Malnutrition and disease are rampant as basic services collapse. Those who survive are likely to carry the physical and psychological scars of conflict for the rest of their lives,” she stated.

Since the escalation of violence in March 2015, when conflict broke out between forces loyal to President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and those allied to the Houthi rebel movement, Yemen, already the poorest in the region, has been left on the verge of a humanitarian collapse.

Hospitals, medical facilities as well as water and sanitation systems have been rendered inoperable across large parts of the country, and humanitarian assistance is the lifeline for over three-fourths of the country’s population.

Born into War

This dire situation in Yemen, has perhaps had the worst impact on the three million children born in country since the conflict erupted.

In its latest report, Born into War – 1,000 Days of Lost Childhood, UNICEF notes that 30 per cent of that number were born premature, another 30 percent had low birth weight and 25,000 died at birth or within the first month of life.

Furthermore, more than half of all children in Yemen lack access to safe drinking water or adequate sanitation, children-under-five represent over a quarter of all cases of cholera and acute watery diarrhoea. An additional 1.8 million children are estimated to be acutely malnourished, including nearly 400,000 severe acutely malnourished children “fighting for their lives” adds the report.

The report calls on all parties to the conflict, those with influence on them and the global community to prioritize the protection of children in Yemen by putting an immediate end to violence and reaching a peaceful political solution.

It also calls for sustainable and unconditional humanitarian across the country and lifting of restrictions on imports of goods into Yemen as well as for sustained and sufficient funding for aid programmes.

وصول 4 رافعات متنقلة إلى ميناء الحديدة لدعم جهود توزيع المساعدات

OCHA:صورة في منتصف عام 2015 لرافعات خارج الخدمة في ميناء الحديدة باليمن – المصدر:


وصلت سفينة تقل أربع رافعات متنقلة، اشتراها برنامج الأغذية العالمي، إلى ميناء الحديدة باليمن لإتاحة توصيل المساعدات الإنسانية بشكل أسرع للأسر اليمنية.

وذكر البرنامج أن الرافعات، الممولة من الوكالة الأميركية للتنمية الدولية، ضرورية لتعزيز قدرات ميناء الحديدة.

ويستقبل الميناء 70% من الواردات اليمنية، بما في ذلك مواد الإغاثة التي تشتد الحاجة إليها.

وتستطيع كل من تلك الرافعات حمل ما يصل إلى 60 طنا، بما سيعزز عملية تفريغ الشحنات الإنسانية ومواد الإغاثة.

وقامت المملكة العربية السعودية ودولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة بتيسير نقل الرافعات إلى اليمن على متن سفينة مستأجرة من برنامج الأغذية العالمي.

ويحتاج أكثر من 22 مليون شخص في اليمن إلى المساعدات الإنسانية، بما في ذلك 11.3 مليون تشتد حاجتهم للمساعدة، بزيادة تفوق المليون عن مارس 2017.

ويشمل عدد المحتاجين في اليمن أيضا 8.4 مليون جائع يعتمدون بشكل كامل على المساعدات الغذائية الخارجية. ويعيش معظمهم في مناطق بوسط وشمال اليمن، والتي يمكن الوصول إليها بشكل سريع وبأفضل تكلفة انطلاقا من ميناء الحديدة.

ويقدم برنامج الأغذية العالمي المساعدات لنحو سبعة ملايين شخص في اليمن منذ أغسطس 2017، وهو ضعف العدد الذي تمكن من دعمه في النصف الأول من العام نفسه.

اليونيسف: وصول نحو 6 ملايين جرعة من لقاحات الأطفال إلى اليمن

وصول طائرة تقل نحو 6 ملايين جرعة تحصين إلى صنعاء. الصورة: اليونيسف. Photo: UNICEF/Madhok


وصلت طائرة مستأجرة من اليونيسف إلى صنعاء يوم الأربعاء، حيث سلمت حوالي 6 ملايين جرعة من اللقاحات الأساسية لحماية ملايين الأطفال المعرضين لخطر أمراض يمكن الوقاية منها.

وقالت اليونيسف، في بيان صحفي، إن اللقاحات تشمل تحصينات ضد مرض الدفتريا المتفشي حالياً والذي أصاب بحسب التقارير أكثر من 300 شخص وتسبب في موت 35.

ويذكر أن معظم حالات الإصابة بالدفتيريا أو الوفيات تحدث بين الأطفال.

ويواجه اليمن، الذي تصاعد النزاع فيه منذ ما يقرب من 1,000 يوم، أسوأ أزمة إنسانية في العالم، وتزيد القيود المفروضة على واردات الوقود والغذاء من تعقيد إمكانية الاستجابة لحالات الطوارئ.

وقالت اليونيسف إن هذه القيود تضاعف من بؤس أطفال اليمن الذين يواجهون فعليا تهديداً ثلاثياً يجمع ما بين الأمراض وسوء التغذية والعنف.

وتقول ميريتشل ريلانيو ممثلة اليونيسف في اليمن إن تقديم اللقاحات للأطفال الآن في اليمن هو أمر حاسم من أجل حمايتهم من الوفاة والإصابة بالأمراض التي يمكن الوقاية منها.

وشددت على أهمية ضمان استمرار دخول اللقاحات وغيرها من الإمدادات المنقذة لحياة الأطفال إلى جميع أنحاء اليمن ودون عوائق، مضيفة أن هذه اللقاحات تعد شريان الحياة لملايين الأطفال.

وكررت اليونيسف دعوتها إلى جميع الأطراف للسماح بوصول المساعدات الإنسانية إلى جميع موانئ اليمن البرية والبحرية والجوية منها، دون عوائق، وتسهيل توزيع المساعدات المنقذة للحياة للأطفال داخل البلاد.

UN envoy urges support for efforts to resume political process in Yemen

Much of Taiz, Yemen, has been destroyed by two years of fierce fighting. Photo: ICRC/Khalid al-Saeed

20 December 2017

The United Nations envoy for Yemen on Wednesday called for halting violence and supporting efforts to bring warring parties together for the resumption of the political process.

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Yemen, “is deeply concerned about the escalation of violence in Yemen and the continuous violations putting the life of civilians at risk,” said a statement issued by his office.

Since 2015, the southern Arabian nation has been in a conflict between forces loyal to President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and those allied to the Houthi rebel movement.

The envoy reiterated that there is no military solution to the crisis, and the only solution is a Yemeni-owned political process “without any foreign intervention,” the statement said.

Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed condemned targeting the Saudi capital of Riyadh on 19 December with a ballistic missile, saying that “this is an escalation that hinders peace efforts in Yemen.”

The envoy called for restraint and urged parties to refrain from any acts of violence that would aggravate the already difficult humanitarian and security situation in the country.

The envoy welcomed the decision of the Arab Alliance to open the port of Hodeidah for humanitarian and relief access and allow commercial ships to enter for 30 days, also calling for the continuation of these measures thereafter.

The envoy reiterated his earnest intention to redouble his efforts urgently to get in contact with all parties to prepare the resumption of a comprehensive and credible political process.

Statement by humanitarian organizations in Yemen on allegations of corruption and bias in the provision of relief assistance

17 December 2017

As humanitarian organizations working in Yemen we condemn in the strongest possible terms the allegations of corruption and bias in the provision of relief assistance that continue to be put forward by the parties to the conflict in Yemen without proper substantiation.

United in our commitment to humanitarian action that preserves the life and dignity of people in need, we continue to provide assistance in Yemen in full respect of humanitarian principles, including impartiality, humanity, neutrality and operational independence. Rigorous oversight mechanisms are in place to ensure the highest standards of aid delivery and accountability towards the affected population. When incidents of aid diversion have occurred, we have engaged, at the highest level, with authorities and local leaders to ensure that humanitarian principles are understood and respected so that people in need receive the assistance to which they are entitled.

In fulfilling the humanitarian imperative to save and protect the lives of the most vulnerable, we maintain neutrality in our work and do not take sides with any of the parties to the conflict. Proximity to population in need is a critical consideration in the establishment of the operational presence and programmatic footprint. Unimpeded humanitarian access is essential to assess vulnerabilities, implement and monitor an effective response. We denounce any attempt to interfere in the delivery of aid as undermining the independence of humanitarian action.

Our staff work under very difficult circumstances in an extremely volatile environment to provide emergency food and nutrition, health, water, shelter and protection assistance to millions of people whose survival is treated by all parties to the conflict as a collateral factor in a war fought in utter disregard for international humanitarian law.

Unfounded accusations levelled at the humanitarian community threaten the safety and protection of humanitarian workers and compromise our ability to respond at a time when our work is most needed.

Ongoing violence across Yemen has left more than 22 million people in need of humanitarian aid and protection. In less than three years, more than 60,000 people have been killed or injured and 17.8 million have been left without access to enough food each day. Over eight million people depend on relief assistance to stay alive. The protracted blockade on the importation of commercial goods through Yemen’s main seaports is further exacerbating a dire crisis, propelling millions of people towards starvation. Behind every one of these catastrophic numbers is an individual who relies on the humanitarian community to sustain themselves.

Yemen cannot wait, time for action is now. All the parties to the conflict in Yemen, and those with influence over them, should put the lives and survival of the millions of innocent civilians at the forefront. Much more should be done to ensure respect for international humanitarian law and the protection of the civilian population, and to facilitate unimpeded access to people in need.

Humanitarian organizations will continue to deliver assistance to those who need it, but we know that aid is not the answer for Yemen. A political solution is more urgent than ever to stop the unnecessary suffering of millions of Yemenis.

For further information, please call:

George Khoury, Head UN-OCHA Yemen | Tel: +967 712 222 207 | E-mail:
Liny Suharlim, ACTED Country Director | Tel: +967 71 110 5434 I Email:

More displacement, new humanitarian needs as hostilities flare on Yemen’s west coast

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch  to whom quoted text may be attributed  at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

زيادة عدد المقاطعات اليمنية المهددة بخطر المجاعة

طفل يبلغ من العمر عامين مصاب بسوء التغذية، يعيش مع والدته وشقيقته في أحد مخيمات النازحين في إب، باليمن – الصورة: OCHA Yemen


قال مكتب الأمم المتحدة لتنسيق الشؤون الإنسانية إن خطر المجاعة يهدد ثلث المقاطعات اليمنية، والتي يقيم بها 10.4 مليون شخص.

فرحان حق نائب المتحدث باسم الأمم المتحدة قال إن أولئك الملايين لا يعرفون من أين ستأتي وجبتهم المقبلة، بما يعرضهم لخطر سوء التغذية والإصابة بالأمراض.

وأضاف في المؤتمر الصحفي اليومي.

“يشعر زملاؤنا العاملون في المجال الإنساني بالقلق إزاء العدد المتزايد من المقاطعات اليمنية المعرضة لخطر الانزلاق إلى المجاعة، فيما يتدهور الوضع بسرعة. ويفاقم هذا التدهور، استمرار الصراع ومحدودية الواردات من السلع المهمة الضرورية للبقاء على قيد الحياة، وعدم دفع الرواتب، وانهيار الخدمات الأساسية وخاصة المتعلقة بالصحة والمياه والصرف الصحي.”

وأضاف حق أن احتمالات وفاة الأطفال المصابين بسوء التغذية، يزداد بمقدار تسع مرات.

وجدد حق دعوة التحالف بقيادة السعودية للإسراع بتوصيل واردات الغذاء والوقود التجارية إلى ميناءي الحديدة والصليف.

ومنذ بداية الإغلاق المفروض على موانئ اليمن في السادس من الشهر الماضي، لم يصدر التحالف تصاريح بدخول الواردات التجارية من الوقود إلى الحديدة.

وقد خففت القيود في السادس والعشرين من نوفمبر/تشرين الثاني، فأنزلت خمس سفن تجارية تحمل 116 ألف طن متري من البضائع حمولتها في الحديدة والصليف. وتفي تلك الكمية بثلث المتطلبات الغذائية في اليمن.

وألغت ست سفن تجارية طلباتها للدخول إلى الحديدة والصليف بسبب طول فترة الانتظار.

UN aid official in Yemen urges lifting of blockade, says millions a ‘step away from famine’

The Al Hudaydah port is a major lifeline for Yemen, bringing in food and humanitarian assistance. These cranes have been out of service since mid-2015, with little hope of repair anytime soon. Photo: Giles Clarke/OCHA

11 December 2017

The continuing blockade of ports in Yemen must be lifted, a senior United Nations humanitarian official today urged, calling for greater access to more than eight million people on the verge of famine.

Speaking from Sana’a, Jamie McGoldrick, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen saidthat “the lives of millions of people, including 8.4 million Yemenis who are a step away from famine, hinge on our ability to continue our operations and to provide health, safe water, food, shelter and nutrition support.”

He called on all groups involved in the conflict to “fully facilitate sustained and unimpeded humanitarian access, as required by international humanitarian law.”

Mr. McGoldrick said this means lifting of restrictions on Yemen’s Red Sea ports and Sana’a airport, which continue to delay aid from entering the country and hindering the availability of food and fuel.

He also urged parties to the conflict to ensure protection for aid workers and facilities, process visas and not interfere unnecessarily in the work of aid organizations.

The UN aid official also warned about renewed violence along the western coast of the country and other parts of Yemen.

“I am greatly alarmed at reports of hospitals being damaged, populations being impeded from fleeing to safe areas and killings and arbitrary detentions reportedly being carried out in Sana’a,” said Mr. McGoldrick.

In the statement, the official warned that fresh violence would “only lead to further devastation” for the 22 million people in need.

He said that a political solution is the only means to put an end to the suffering, and reiterated his called on any countries with influence to step up their engagement to protect civilians and put an end to this conflict.

“As stated by the UN Secretary-General, it is in the interest of everybody to stop this war,” he said echoing António Guterres’s comments in recent weeks.

Statement by the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, Calling on Parties to Facilitate Unimpeded Aid Delivery

Sana’a, 11 December 2017

The violence that engulfed Sana’a city over the last weeks has subsided, but the suffering continues. Famine still threatens millions; preventable diseases continually strike a weakened population in all parts of Yemen. The continuing blockade of ports, is limiting supplies of fuel, food and medicines; dramatically increasing the number of vulnerable people who need help.

The priority for humanitarian organisations is to resume life-saving operations that were scaled back because of insecurity. The lives of millions of people, including 8.4 million Yemenis who are a step away from famine, hinge on our ability to continue our operations and to provide health, safe water, food, shelter and nutrition support. This includes assistance to the thousands that were impacted by the recent violence in Sana’a city and other parts of Yemen.

Humanitarian organisations are doing their best, with limited resources, to address the threat of displacement, famine and disease, which millions of Yemenis face daily. Significant progress has been made, as 7 million people are fed monthly and an unprecedented cholera epidemic has been largely contained. Measures are in place to ensure the highest standards in aid delivery, with assistance reaching those in most need. Yet, these gains are under threat.

The parties to the conflict have an obligation to fully facilitate sustained and unimpeded humanitarian access, as required by international humanitarian law. This includes ensuring the protection of humanitarian staff and facilities, facilitating visas and desisting from any undue interference in the work of humanitarian organisations. It also means lifting the restrictions on Yemen’s Red Sea ports and Sana’a airport, which continue to delay humanitarian supplies entering the country and are hindering the availability of essential commercial goods, such as food and fuel.

Aid organisations must be enabled to deliver critical assistance. The contrary will have a devastating impact on an already dire humanitarian situation. Furthermore, all parties to the conflict must uphold their responsibilities to ensure the protection of civilians.

As fighting intensifies along the western coast and other parts of Yemen, I am greatly alarmed at reports of hospitals being damaged, populations being impeded from fleeing to safe areas and killings and arbitrary detentions reportedly being carried out in Sana’a. Renewed violence will only lead to further devastation for the 22 million people who need assistance and protection. A political solution is the only means to put an end to the suffering of the Yemeni people. I also reiterate my calls on States that have influence over the parties to step up their engagement to protect civilians and put an end to this conflict. As stated by the UN Secretary-General, it is in the interest of everybody to stop this war.

For further information, please contact:
George Khoury, Head of Office, UN-OCHA Yemen | Tel: +967 712 222 207 | E-mail: Federica D’Andreagiovanni, Head of Communication, UN-OCHA Yemen | Tel: +962 79 687 6082| E-mail:

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA’s activities, please visit


New York, 11 December 2017

I am very pleased to be with you today to begin a year-long celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Over seven decades, this mighty document has helped to profoundly change our world.

It establishes the equality and dignity of every human being.

It stipulates that every government has a duty to enable all people to enjoy their inalienable rights and freedoms.

And it establishes that these rights are universal.

Wherever we live, whatever our circumstances or our place in society, our gender or sexual orientation, our race or religion or belief, we are all equal in human rights and in dignity.

Let me emphasise this point: human rights are not bound by any single tradition, culture or belief.

When the world’s nations adopted the Universal Declaration in 1948, they acknowledged the diversity of cultures and political systems.

But they also affirmed the Declaration as a “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations”.

And it is by this essential yardstick that history will judge the leaders of nations and the United Nations itself.

Have we, through our actions and our advocacy, advanced respect for human dignity, equality and rights?

Have we created equitable and inclusive societies, based on justice and fair opportunities and services for all?

Have we advanced freedom from want and fear?

As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights enters its 70th year, we can take stock of some of the achievements it has enabled.

Over seven decades, humanity has achieved considerable progress.

People around the world have gained progressively greater freedoms and equality.

They have been empowered to oppose discrimination, fight for protections, and gain greater access to justice, health, education and development opportunities.

Conditions of profound economic misery and exploitation have been improved.

Women’s rights have advanced, along with the rights of the child, the rights of victims of racial and religious discrimination, the rights of people with disabilities and a multitude of economic, social and cultural rights.

Oppressive dictatorships have been replaced by participatory systems of governance.

Perpetrators of horrific human rights violations – including sexual violence and genocide – have been prosecuted by international tribunals.

So, there is much to celebrate, and many to thank.

We have to thank a generation of world leaders, who emerged from a world war convinced that only justice would build peace among and within nations.

And we have to thank activists and human rights defenders – hundreds of thousands of ordinary people around the world who have mobilized to defend fundamental rights with immense courage, often in the face of extreme danger.

But as well as celebrating, we must also take stock of where we have fallen short.

In practice, recognition of the inherent dignity and equal rights of human beings is still far from universal.

Millions of people continue to suffer human rights violations and abuses around the world.

And human rights defenders still face persecution, reprisals are rising and the space for civil society action is shrinking in very many nations.

But the founders of the United Nations were right.

Lasting peace and security can never be achieved in any country without respect for human rights.

The Sustainable Development Agenda – which aims to lift millions from poverty and enable them to access their economic and social rights — is deeply rooted in respect for human rights.

So, Excellencies and ladies and gentlemen, we are here today not just to mark another anniversary and then go about our usual business.

We are here to reflect on the core and enduring importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to engage those around us to put its powerful words into practice.

We are here to affirm the existential commitment of the whole UN system to ensure that the central focus of all our policies is the advancement of human dignity, equality and rights.

And we are here to speak out and take a stand for human rights.

All of us have a role to play — at work, in the street, in our daily lives.

As Secretary-General, I take the pledge that we are all being asked to take today by the UN Human Rights Office – the pledge is the following:

“I will respect your rights regardless of who you are.

I will uphold your rights even when I disagree with you.

When anyone’s human rights are denied, everyone’s rights are undermined, so I will stand up.

I will raise my voice.  I will take action.  I will use my rights to stand up for your rights.”

As Secretary-General, I am committed and will remain engaged in human rights, including by speaking out for those in need, promoting justice for all, and by ensuring that human rights are integrated throughout the work of the United Nations.

This is the path to a world of peace, dignity and opportunity for all.

Thank you very much.