Tag Archives: Yemen

UN chief condemns fatal shooting of International Red Cross staffer in Yemen

Much of Taiz, Yemen, has been destroyed by two years of fierce fighting.

The UN Secretary-General has condemned Sunday’s killing of a senior staff member working for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Yemen, who was attacked while travelling in a vehicle on the outskirts of Taiz.

22 April 2018

In a statement, the ICRC identified the victim as Lebanese national, Hanna Lahoud, who was in charge of the organization’s detention programme in Yemen.

“Mr. Lahoud was rushed to hospital where he died as a result of his injuries. The colleagues he was travelling with were unharmed in the incident,” said ICRC.

The UN chief said in a statement released through his Spokesperson, that those responsible for the attack must be “apprehended and prosecuted”.

“The Secretary-General expresses his deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the aid worker killed and expresses his solidarity with the President and staff of the ICRC,” added the statement.

Mr. Guterres also emphasized the need for all parties to Yemen’s bloody conflict – which has left 22 million in need of aid – to protect humanitarians providing lifesaving assistance.

ICRC’s Middle East Director, Robert Mardini, said: “We are all in shock. Hanna was a young man, full of life and was widely known and liked. Noting can justify Hanna’s murder and we are in deep mourning for our friend and colleague.”

Mr. Lahoud had worked for the ICRC – an independent global humanitarian organization that offers protection and support to all victims of violence – since 2010, in different field positions and at its headquarters in Geneva.

UN agriculture agency and World Bank launch new initiative to avert famine in Yemen

Two-year-old Badel lives with his mother and sister at a YHPF supported Hammam IDP camp in Ibb, Yemen, in a room with three other families. He is malnourished and sick with a bloated stomach (March 2017). Photo: OCHA

3 October 2017

More than half a million vulnerable and food-insecure people in war-torn Yemen will receive immediate relief and long-term sustainable agricultural support, thanks to a $36 million project launched by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and the World Bank.

“The project will have a strong humanitarian impact in Yemen, as it will provide emergency support and help in building the resilience of the vulnerable Yemeni population,” said Abdessalam Ould Ahmed, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for the Near East and North Africa.

Yemen’s ongoing conflict has left 17 million people facing crisis levels of acute food insecurity. The fighting has also devastated agriculture sector and livelihoods, making the country the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

The grant, supported by the World Bank’s Global Agriculture Food Security Program (GAFSP), will prioritize FAO’s projects to boost productivity, income and nutrition, especially in those most famine-hit regions in the country.

The initiative will also contribute to sustainable agriculture solutions in the long term, according to Salah El-Hajj Hassan, FAO Country Representative in Yemen.

These solutions include “furthering rural development, providing food security, rehabilitating community water infrastructures and improving capacity development,” he said.

“The implementation of the project will also allow FAO to build on previous projects, such as those empowering women to become more involved in conflict resolution issues,” he added. “Given the ongoing hostilities in Yemen, this project could also contribute to bringing stability to the country.”

To date, FAO has vaccinated over one million livestock and it plans to assist over three million people who are on the brink of starvation.

20 million Yemenis need “concrete action” from Security Council

Humanitarian Affairs chief Stephen O’Brien briefing the Security Council on the situation in Yemen. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

12 July 2017 – United Nations Radio

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Around 20 million Yemenis depend on the UN Security Council taking concrete action to help end the conflict there that’s now sparked a “cholera scandal”.

That’s the call to action from UN Relief Chief, Stephen O’Brien, addressing the Council on Wednesday along with other senior UN officials; urging more funding and support from the whole international community.

Matt Wells reports.

In Yemen, 7 million people are on the brink of famine, FAO Director-General warns

Graziano da Silva briefs UN Security Council on need to save lives by saving rural livelihoods in Yemen

FAO’s José Graziano da Silva and the WHO’s Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus briefing the UN Security Council.

12 July 2017, Geneva

The scale of the food crisis in conflict-ridden Yemen is staggering with 17 million people – two thirds of the population – severely food insecure and seven million of these on the verge of famine, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said today in a briefing to the UN Security Council.

In a video link from Geneva, he noted how conflict and violence in Yemen – “the largest humanitarian crisis today” – have disrupted agricultural livelihoods and are intensifying in some of the most food insecure and famine-risk areas.

The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification conducted in March this year, registered a 20 percent increase in the number of people estimated to be severely food insecure (IPC Phase 3 and above). Seven million are in IPC Phase 4 meaning they are a step away from being classified to be in Famine (IPC Phase 5).

In Yemen “crop production last year already fell by 40 percent compared with the pre-conflict average. This year, because of  poor rains the harvest will be even lower,” he said.

The virtual collapse of public health and veterinary services has further heightened the risk of disease and death. In addition, there are risks in the use of poor quality water of irrigation and food preparation.

Livestock disease surveillance and vaccination programmes have come to a halt pushing the risk of disease outbreaks higher. The risk of emerging and endemic zoonoses (animal diseases) exists across the country.

Saving lives by saving livelihoods

The need for long-term political solutions for achieving sustainable peace in Yemen is unquestionable, but there is much we can do now to fight hunger and malnutrition. “We save lives by saving livelihoods,” Graziano da Silva said.

“If we don’t urgently address the needs of rural people – who make up 70 percent of Yemen’s population – we will not have the prospect for a better future.”

Graziano da Silva addressed the UN Security Council together with the World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

FAO’s response

FAO is doing its best to respond to the crisis on many fronts and with limited funding. So far this year, FAO has reached 450 000 people with a mixture of animal health, dairy, animal feed, crop and vegetable production.

In Yemen, at a cost of $220 per family, a crop kit can yield enough food for about three months. A vegetable kit costing $80 per family can yield enough vegetables that families can eat and even sell to their communities all year long.

FAO is working closely with the World Bank, the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and others to increase food production, maintain and enhance livelihoods, protect public health and conduct the IPC analysis.

First pledging conference for Yemen “remarkable success”: UN chief

25 April 2017 – United Nations Radio

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The first ever pledging conference to try and prevent Yemen’s humanitarian crisis from sliding into famine, was hailed a “remarkable success” by the UN chief on Tuesday.

António Guterres said that the generosity and solidarity of contributors meant that US$1.1 billion had been promised, to help nearly 19 million in need throughout the country.

Matthew Wells reports.

Yemen’s health system another victim of the conflict – UN health agency

Al-Olofi Hospital in Al-Hudaydah, Yemen. Photo: WHO/Sadeq Al-WesabiYEMEN

23 February 2017

Acute shortage of critical medicines, limited fuel for electricity and specialized medical staff such as intensive care doctors and nurses having left Yemen have put innocent lives in danger, the United Nations health agency has warned.

According to the UN World Health Organization (WHO), only 45 per cent of the country’s health facilities remain fully functional and accessible and at least 274 have been damaged or destroyed during the conflict.

On top of this, drastic budget cuts have left health facilities without funds for operational costs and health care workers without regular salaries since September 2016.

One such example is the 320-bed Al-Thawra Hospital, the main functioning health facility in Al-Hudaydah (Yemen’s third largest city) and neighbouring governorates. Many health facilities in the area have already closed.

Staffed by more than 1,200 employees – many of whom have not received their salaries for the past five months – the hospital provides care to some 1,500 people every day. This is a five-fold increase over the numbers in 2012 due to the influx of people displaced by ongoing conflict.

Most of the patients who arrive are unable to pay the minimal fees for hospital services.

Despite this, no one is turned away from Al-Thawra Hospital and medical staff provide care to everyone, regardless of whether they can afford to pay, noted the WHO news release. Recently, however, the hospital had to stop providing food for inpatients due to lack of funds.

But there are fears that recent arrivals of thousands of displaced women, men and children in the governorate could overburden the already weakened health facilities and vulnerable host communities.

“The World Health Organization (WHO) assists us by providing fuel and medicines for emergency interventions, and supporting the hospital’s therapeutic feeding centre,” said Khaled Suhail, Director of Al-Tharwa Hospital.

“However, with no funds for operational costs, we never know if we will still be open one month from now,” he added.

A collapsing health system

According to WHO, since the escalation of the conflict in March 2015, health facilities across Yemen have reported more than 7,600 deaths and close to 42,000 people injured.

Malnutrition rates are also rising: almost 4.5 million people in Yemen, including 2 million children, require services to treat or prevent malnutrition, a 150 per cent increase since late 2014.

Of special concern are almost 462 000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition and at risk of life-threatening complications such as respiratory infections or organ failure, said WHO.

And with severely limited budgets, things might get worse.

“With more than 14.8 million people lacking access to basic health care, the current lack of funds means the situation will get much worse,” said Nevio Zagaria, WHO Acting Representative in Yemen.

Responding to the crisis, the UN agency has established 15 therapeutic feeding centres in seven governorates, and plans to open 25 more as the numbers of malnourished children increases across the country, but its efforts are challenged by lack of funds.

“We are asked to fill gaps created by the collapsing health institutions,” noted Dr. Zagaria, adding: “[however] last year, [we] received less than half of the $124 million required.”

In 2017, UN agencies in the country and non-governmental organizations have appealed for $322 million to support health care in Yemen, of this amount WHO has requested $126 million.

“We urgently need resources to help support the health system as a whole, and are calling on donors to scale-up their support before more innocent lives are lost unnecessarily,” underscored Dr. Zagaria.

 

IOM Supports Key Health Facility in Sana’a, Yemen

Water tanks donated by IOM to Al-Thawra General Modern Hospital. Photo: IOMYE

21 February 2017 – Yemen

IOM has donated two water tanks with a total capacity of 60,000 litres to Al-Thawra General Modern Hospital in Sana’a, Yemen.

Al-Thawra General Modern Hospital is the biggest public hospital in Yemen, providing services to the whole community, including migrants and refugees, who receive the same care and pay the same minimum charges as local people.

The hospital is suffering from a desperate lack of resources, while facing a large influx of patients due to the ongoing conflict. Prolonged air, sea and land blockades are contributing to an acute shortage of medicines, medical supplies and equipment. Water, sanitation and health personnel are also in short supply.

Currently, only 45 percent of health facilities are functioning in Yemen. Around 274 facilities have been damaged or destroyed due to the conflict, and the facilities that are still functioning have limited capacity.

Most people seeking medical assistance are unable to find the help they need inside Yemen. But seeking medical care outside the country is also difficult, with the main functioning airport in Yemen, Sana’a International Airport, now closed.

To support public health facilities in Yemen, IOM is planning to support Al-Thawra General Modern Hospital with another three tons of medicine and medical supplies, as well as essential equipment.

“The health infrastructure in Yemen continues to face immense challenges due to a severe lack of medical supplies and resources,” said IOM Yemen Chief of Mission Laurent de Boeck. “Thanks to UK DFID, IOM has been able to support Yemen’s damaged health infrastructure, but more support is urgently needed to expand our response and ensure the provision of healthcare services to the most underserved areas,” he added.

For further information, please contact Saba Malme at IOM Yemen, Tel: + 967 736 800 329, Email: smalme@iom.int

Yemen conflict comes at great cost to civilians: UN envoy

A man from the city of Sa’ada, sits outside his tent in the Dharwan settlement outside Yemen’s capital Sana’a. He fled with his eight sons to the temporary settlement after his house was destroyed by Yemen’s devastating conflict. Photo: UNHCR/Mohammed Hamoud

21 February 2017 – United Nations Radio

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The escalation of conflict and militarization of Yemen’s Western Coast is coming at a great cost to civilians, the humanitarian coordinator in the country, Jamie McGoldrick, has warned.

Fighting and displacement have mainly been concentrated in Al Mukha and Al Dhubab districts in Taizz governorate.

Since the beginning of the conflict in March 2015, some three million people have been forced to flee their homes for safety, according to UN estimates.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

UN humanitarian coordinator Jamie McGoldrick issued a statement on Tuesday expressing concern over the recent flare-up of fighting in Yemen and its impact on the ongoing food crisis.

Over 17 million people in Yemen are currently unable to adequately feed themselves and are frequently forced to skip meals, he said.

Seven million Yemenis don’t know where their next meal will come from and are even closer to starvation, he added.

Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) also issued a warning following the release of the latest data on the country’s displacement crisis.

Prolonged hostilities and worsening conditions are now forcing one million of those uprooted to return to the homes they fled, despite the danger and insecurity across the country, the agencies said.

On a more positive note, health authorities in Yemen launched a nationwide polio immunization campaign on Monday with the help of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

More than 5 million children under the age of five are expected to get the vaccine, according to WHO’s Christian Lindemeir.

“More than 40,000 health workers are taking part in the 3 day campaign and that involves more than 5,000 vehicles that had to be rented. The campaign started in all governorates except Sa’ada which is in the northwest where it will take place next week and will be combined with measles and rubella measles campaign due to the measles outbreak there.”

Mr Lindemeir said the last immunization campaign was in 2016. 

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

‘Time running out’ for 1.4 million children in ‘man-made’ crises in Africa, Yemen – UNICEF

An 11-month-old child having his arm cirmeasured at a health centre at the Banki IDP camp in Borno state, northeast Nigeria. Photo: UNICEF/EsieboF

21 February 2017

Almost 1.4 million children are at imminent risk of death due to severe acute malnutrition this year, as famine threatens in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, warned the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), urging prompt action to save them.

“We can still save many lives. The severe malnutrition and looming famine are largely man-made,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake in a news release issued by the UN agency today.

“Our common humanity demands faster action,” he underscored.

According to UNICEF, as many as 462,000 children in Yemen – where a conflict has been raging for the past two years – are currently suffering from severe acute malnutrition. This figure has risen nearly 200 per cent since 2014.

Similarly, in conflict affected parts of northeast Nigeria, including Adamawa, Borno and Yobi, the number of children with severe acute malnutrition is expected to reach 450,000. According to a famine early warning system, the famine likely occurred in some previously inaccessible areas of Borno, and it is likely ongoing, and will continue, in other areas which remain beyond humanitarian reach.

Furthermore, in Somalia, droughts threaten an already fragile population battered by decades of conflict: almost half the population (6.2 million people) faces acute food insecurity and is in need of urgent relief, 185,000 among them children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. There are fears that the number could rise to 270,000 in the next few months.

In South Sudan, a famine was recently declared in parts of the country, adding to a humanitarian situation already complicated due to poverty and insecurity. Over 270,000 children are severely malnourished in the country and the total number of food insecure people across the country is expected to rise once the lean season sets in.

Yemen’s brutal two-year conflict forcing displaced to return home amid persisting risks – UN

A man from the city of Sa’ada, sits outside his tent in the Dharwan settlement outside Yemen’s capital Sana’a. He fled with his eight sons to the temporary settlement after his house was destroyed by Yemen’s devastating conflict. Photo: UNHCR/Mohammed Hamoud

21 February 2017

The complex crisis in Yemen continues to deepen, with United Nations agencies reporting today that perhaps one million people who had fled for safety are returning to their homes mainly due to a lack of access to income and basic services in the areas of displacement, warning that returnees often find the situation just as bad.

“It’s testament to how catastrophic the situation in Yemen has become, that those displaced by the conflict are now returning home because life in the areas to which they had fled for safety is just as abysmal as in the areas from which they fled,” said Ayman Gharaibeh, the Representative for Yemen of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in a joint press release issued with the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

“These returns cannot be viewed as sustainable,” Mr. Gharaibeh added, explaining that people often return to homes that have been damaged and to areas lacking essential services, and are often forced to flee again.

A multi-sectoral location assessment report released today, and a periodically updated population movement tracking report published last month, show that there are currently two million internally displaced people (IDPs) across Yemen and one million IDP returnees.

As conditions across the country further deteriorate, many more IDPs are contemplating a return home, where challenging security and socio-economic conditions persist. About 40 per cent of key informants indicate that IDPs now intend to return home within the next three months. The reports highlight a lack of access to income and basic services in areas of displacement as the main reasons for pushing IDPs to return to the areas of their origin.

All but of Yemen’s governorates now affected by devastating conflict

Mr. Gharaibeh noted that all of Yemen’s governorates, with the exception of the island of Socotra, have been affected by conflict.

“The overwhelming majority of Yemen’s one million IDP returnees have returned to Aden, Amanat Al Asimah, Taizz, Lahj and Shabwah, which have been particularly impacted by hostilities and insecurity,” he explained.

Yemen’s local communities are also under intense strain with alarming scarcities of food and insufficient access to water and sanitation services. Some 84 per cent of Yemen’s two million IDPs have been displaced for more than a year and scarce resources are increasingly overstretched.

“IOM and all partners must scale up their response to support those newly displaced as well as those whose displacement is becoming increasingly protracted with shifting needs,” said IOM Yemen’s Chief of Mission, Laurent De Boeck.

Weapons must fall silent to avert famine

In a separate statement, the Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, warned against the impact of increased fighting along Yemen’s west coast on the food crisis.

“I urgently call on all parties to the conflict and on those that have influence over the parties to facilitate the rapid entry of critical life-saving food staples into all Yemeni ports,” he said, noting that over 17 million people are frequently forced to skip meals and seven million Yeminis do not know where their next meal will come from and are ever closer to starvation.

Moreover, the availability of food in markets and the food pipeline are at imminent risk. Food shortages are widespread, food and fuel prices are rising, there are disruptions to agricultural production, and purchasing power is plummeting, especially brought about by the lack of salary payments in the public sector for over six months.

And given that the country is 80-90 per cent dependent on imported food staples, he said he is “compelled to raise the alarm,” as such factors, if left unabated, could combine to accelerate the onset of famine.

“The best means to prevent famine in Yemen is for weapons to fall silent across the country and for the parties to the conflict to return to the negotiating table,” he said.

UN agencies support nationwide polio immunization campaign

Meanwhile, a nationwide polio immunization campaign was launched yesterday in Yemen by national health authorities with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), aiming to immunize about five million children under the age of five.

More than 40,000 health workers are taking part in the three-day campaign.

“WHO is working closely with UNICEF and health authorities to keep Yemen polio-free. The threat of virus importation is serious and this campaign aims to curb any possible return of the virus to Yemen,” said WHO Acting Representative in Yemen, Nevio Zagaria.

This is the first polio immunization campaign since April 2016. The security situation in Yemen has limited accessibility of many parts of the country, leaving many children at risk of vaccine-preventable diseases.