Tag Archives: Yemen

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.

UN chief Guterres engages in ‘constructive’ discussions on Yemen, Libya with Saudi Foreign Minister

Secretary-General António Guterres. UN Photo/Mark Garten (file)

12 February 2017

Visiting Saudi Arabia, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said today that he and the Arab country’s foreign minister had “very important and very constructive discussions” on the possible future political solutions for Yemen and Libya.

“To have comprehensive political solutions, bringing people together, is essential from Libya to Yemen, to Syria, to Iraq,” Mr. Guterres told reporters in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, following his meeting with Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmad Al-Jubeir.

“We have had the opportunity to have very important discussions and very constructive discussions in relation to the possible future political solutions for Yemen, for Libya, and I want to express once again my deep appreciation for the hospitality that was granted to me and for the very substantive dialogue that was possible during this visit,” the UN chief said.

Mr. Guterres is on his first major trip since taking the helm of the UN on 1 January, which takes him to several Arab countries.

Saudi Arabia is an important pillar of stability in the region and in the world as well as a key global player and a key pillar of multilateralism, he said, explaining that the UN and the country has a cooperation on counterterrorism.

The UN chief expressed his deep appreciation for the work Saudi Arabia has done helping the Syrian opposition to come together, to present a united delegation to the Geneva conference – the UN-facilitated intra-Syrian talks to be reconvened on 20 February.

“This is a very important step for a political solution to be possible for the Syrian conflict,” he said.

On Yemen, the Secretary-General said that when he was UN High Commissioner for Refugees for ten years, he visited the country several times. Being a very poor country, Yemen received refugees from Somalia, granting them prima facie (at first view) refugee status, sharing everything with them, he said.

“And to see this people, that is so generous, suffering so much, is something that really breaks my heart,” he said, stressing the need to revive negotiations to be able to come to a solution for the Yemeni people.

Mr. Guterres said one of the reasons he is travelling in the region is to support his envoy Ismaïl Ould Cheikh Ahmed in his work.

Also today, the UN chief visited the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre in Riyadh.

“I was very encouraged today to see the centre developing its activities, with a strong commitment to humanitarian principles, not only in Syria and Yemen, but in so many countries around the world,” Mr. Guterres said after being briefed on the activities of the center, which was established in May 2015, under the sponsorship of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

On the importance of partnership between the centre and the UN, Mr. Guterres said that the dramas and suffering in today’s world are so big that no one can do anything alone. “Together we can do a lot. So, partnership is a key word,” he said, noting that the centre can be play an important role as a catalyst around the world and the region.

On Sunday, the Secretary-General was expected to meet with King Salman, Crown Prince and Deputy Crown Prince, as well as senior officials before travelling to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in the late evening.

Mr. Guterres visited Turkey en route to Saudi Arabia. He is also scheduled to visit Oman, Qatar and Egypt and Germany.

12 million people in Yemen depend on aid for “their survival”

A farmer collects food ration for his family. An estimated 12 million Yemenis are food insecure. Photo: WFP

8 February 2017 – United Nations Radio

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A US$2.1 billion appeal to help 12 million Yemenis who depend on aid “for their survival” has been launched by the UN and its humanitarian partners.

Without international support, UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien warns in a statement released on Wednesday, Yemen could face famine this year.

Since March 2015, violent conflict has created a vast protection crisis in Yemen in which millions face threats to their safety and basic rights.

George Khoury, the country director for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, spoke to Reem Abaza about the appeal and about how families are coping with dwindling supplies of food.

Duration: 5’56”