Tag Archives: Yemen

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”

Yemen appeal launched amid famine fears

In the photo: Ahmed, 3 years old, receives treatment for moderate acute malnutrition in a hospital in Hajjah, Yemen. Photo: WFP/Abeer Etefan

 

8 February 2017 – United Nations Radio

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The largest humanitarian appeal yet for Yemen has been launched – totalling US $ 2.1 billion – to provide life-saving help to millions of people and prevent possible famine.

Two years of war between government forces backed by a Saudi coalition and Houthi separatists have devastated the country, the head of the UN’s emergency relief agency, Stephen O’Brien, told journalists in Geneva.

Daniel Johnson has more.

Twenty-three months into the Yemen conflict, the country’s infrastructure lies in ruins and two-thirds of its people – nearly 19 million people – are in need of humanitarian help.

In an appeal for international funding in Geneva, Stephen O’Brien, the UN’s chief emergency relief coordinator, said that famine “is a real possibility” in 2017.

He described visiting the country and witnessing destruction everywhere – of houses, roads and bridges, and of stunted children who were barely holding on to their lives.

That visit was five months ago and things have got worse since then, Mr O’Brien said.

It was Jamie McGoldrick, Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, who summed up the daily struggle for survival of its people, in a land already ranked as one of the most vulnerable on earth before the current conflict.

“Fishermen can’t fish, farmers can’t farm, civil servants don’t get paid…; people are having to make life and death decisions, do you feed your child or your children, or do you pay for medical treatment for your child. And that’s a daily call for many families.”

In spite of the conflict, the UN and its partners have access to around 80 per cent of the Arabian peninsula state in all 22 governorates.

What Yemen needs, Mr McGoldrick said, is enough funding from the international community to reach increasing numbers of desperate civilians.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’22″

Yemen: UN, partners seek $2.1 billion to stave off famine in 2017

In the photo: Ahmed, 3 years old, receives treatment for moderate acute malnutrition in a hospital in Hajjah, Yemen. Photo: WFP/Abeer Etefa

8 February 2017

The United Nations and humanitarian partners today launched an international appeal for $2.1 billion to provide life-saving assistance to 12 million people in Yemen in 2017 – the largest-ever humanitarian response plan for the war-torn country.

“Two years of war have devastated Yemen… Without international support, they may face the threat of famine in the course of 2017 and I urge donors to sustain and increase their support to our collective response,” said UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien in a press release on the launch of the Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen in Geneva.

“Humanitarian partners are ready to respond. But they need timely, unimpeded access, and adequate resources, to meet the humanitarian needs wherever they arise,” said Mr. O’Brien, who is also the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.

He noted that since March 2015, violent conflict and disregard by all parties to the conflict for their responsibility to protect civilians have created a vast protection crisis in Yemen and millions of people face threats to their safety and basic human rights every day. In addition, deliberate war tactics are accelerating the collapse of key institutions and the economy, thereby exacerbating pre-existing vulnerabilities.

This has left an alarming 18.8 million people – more than two thirds of the population – in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which also estimates that 10.3 million people are acutely affected and nearly 3.3 million people – including 2.1 million children – are acutely malnourished.

“We remain committed to the principle that our plans must be grounded both in evidence and actual capacity, and I ask donors today to help Yemen in its moment of great need,” said the Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick.

In 2016, 120 national and international partners including UN agencies and non-governmental organisations working out of humanitarian hubs in Aden, Al Hudaydah, Ibb, Sana’a, and Sa’ada assisted more than 5.6 million people with direct humanitarian aid.

Q&A: Yemenis face a ‘struggle for survival’

UNHCR’s country representative, Ayman Gharaibeh, warns war is tearing the fabric of Yemen apart and creating a humanitarian catastrophe.

Internally displaced Yemeni sisters Dalal, four, and Radha, three, cling onto their toys at a makeshift camp near Sana’a, Yemen.  © UNHCR/Mohammed Hamoud

AMMAN, Jordan – Since war broke out in Yemen in March 2015, the fabric of the country has been disintegrating and the population of 27.4 million suffering untold hardship and misery. The situation there has been described as a ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ and without help many more people, especially children, will die from violence, lack of food and water, illness or disease. Ayman Gharaibeh, UNHCR’s Representative to Yemen, is leading the UN Refugee Agency’s humanitarian operations and response across the country. The experienced humanitarian aid worker previously served in Yemen with UNHCR from 1992 to 1994. Gharaibeh spoke to Public Information Officer Shabia Mantoo about the desperate situation there.

Please describe the situation in Yemen at the moment?

Simply put this is nothing short of a humanitarian catastrophe. Current hostilities are taking place in a country mired by years of successive conflicts, widespread insecurity and under-development, so we now see a devastating mix of civilian casualties, mass displacement, worsening poverty, economic decline, deteriorating conditions, weakened public institutions and limited access to services. Almost two years into the conflict, we are trying to respond to a calamity in which nearly 19 million people across Yemen are in need of urgent assistance and people are suffering in truly abysmal conditions.

What are the most pressing needs for those displaced by the conflict?

The situation facing many displaced Yemenis is essentially a struggle for survival – food, water and shelter are priority needs for those who have been forced to flee elsewhere in Yemen for safety. Many are now enduring miserable and inadequate conditions living in overcrowded or makeshift shelters for months on end and without sufficient protection. More than half the population is without adequate food and health care and this will only worsen. Deteriorating conditions are also facilitating the spread of preventable communicable diseases, such as cholera, which have arisen as a consequence of the conflict.

Where is UNHCR working in Yemen and how are you responding to the crisis?

UNHCR has been present in Yemen since the 1980s. It is saddening for me personally that every time I come back to Yemen it is because of yet another war. In the early 90s there was the unification war and now more than two decades later we come back to yet another conflict.

In the current context, our response is oriented towards addressing the needs of displaced Yemenis as well as of refugees and asylum seekers in Yemen. Under the humanitarian coordination system that is activated in Yemen, we lead the shelter, non-food item, and protection response through all phases of displacement. Our prioritized assistance has to date reached more than 660,000 Yemenis most in need of the 2.2 million that have been displaced. Our winter assistance is also being delivered to reach 210,000 individuals. To help protect the rights of those forcibly displaced, we provide legal and financial assistance and psychosocial support services in addition to other programmes and interventions.

Is it difficult to deliver aid in Yemen? What are the biggest challenges for UNHCR?

Humanitarian access remains a significant issue in light of security and bureaucratic obstacles; and we also have to bear in mind that a number of proscribed organizations operate in Yemen so access is also impeded on this front. However, other reasons may be as innocuous as the fact that information flows for authorizations may not work in a systematic way, so delays can result from clearances not being received in time from the centre to the field. Nonetheless, we continue to advocate with parties to the conflict for access and we maintain a presence through field offices across Yemen. Despite these constraints, we have reached 20 of Yemen’s 21 governorates.

Is humanitarian assistance alone sufficient?

The magnitude of the crisis in Yemen is such that it cannot be addressed by humanitarian assistance and the humanitarian community alone. We are dealing with multi-layered economic and social impacts of war that are affecting literally every household in Yemen, whether through worsening poverty and the effects of the declining currency or the lack of essential services and weakened public institutions. If the situation continues we will see the public sector weaken to the point of collapse, basic infrastructure will begin to unravel and that will be one step closer to chaos. There needs to be significant redress in parallel with a political, peaceful resolution of the conflict to halt this downward spiral. There are ongoing discussions between the UN and the World Bank on how to preserve state institutions from collapsing, but that is fraught with challenges when the economic collapse is in fact the objective in this conflict.

Yemen is often referred to as a neglected crisis. Why is this so?

It is definitely a neglected crisis when compared to other regional crises. If we look at the magnitude and scale of the needs in Yemen, the attention it receives is disproportionate. This is due to a number of factors and, as disastrous as it is, the conflict hasn’t generated huge outflows of Yemeni refugees. So, in the absence of movements from Yemen and onwards to Europe, there is no spotlight on this catastrophe. Furthermore, there is also the misperception that this is only a regional crisis or a neighbourhood problem, and as a result many traditional donors don’t see the need to extend as much support.

Why is Yemen important and why should the world care? 

It is very short-sighted to see Yemen as just a regional crisis, it is a global crisis with far-reaching implications. This is one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. What are the implications of a country on the brink? If instability continues to prevail in parts of the country, then proscribed organizations currently present in Yemen will benefit – and that poses a threat to global security. The world cannot afford to let Yemen slip into the abyss. Yemen must be supported and we need to keep on advocating and mobilizing support in every way we can.

More than three million displaced in Yemen – joint UN agency report

6 August 2015, Khamer, Yemen: Displacement site in Khamer in Amran Governorate. About 200 families of the muhamasheen minority displaced from Sa’ada live in the site. Credits: OCHA / Philippe Kropf

6 August 2015, Khamer, Yemen: Displacement site in Khamer in Amran Governorate. About 200 families of the muhamasheen minority displaced from Sa’ada live in the site. Credits: OCHA / Philippe Kropf

22 August 2016

A joint report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has found that the conflict in Yemen has resulted in the displacement of some 3,154,572 people, of which 2,205,102 remain displaced across the country and some 949,470 have attempted to return home.

“The crisis is forcing more and more people to leave their homes in search of safety,” Ita Schuette, UNHCR’s Deputy Representative in Yemen said in a news release on Friday, announcing the report.

The news release added that due to the escalating conflict and worsening humanitarian conditions, displacement across the country has seen an increase of about seven per cent since April, with 152,009 individuals fleeing from violence during this period.

The report, prepared by the Task Force on Population Movement, a technical working group led by the two agencies as part of the humanitarian response to the crisis in Yemen, also said that a significant number of those displaced are attempting to return home, a 24 per cent increase of some 184,491 individuals. However, it cautioned that movements remained fluid and correlated to moments of lulls or perceived improvements in the conflict.

“IDP returnees are considered to remain within the displacement cycle as long as they have not achieved a sustainable reintegration and their needs remain high, as is also the case for the non-displaced host community,” said Laurent De Boeck, IOM Chief of Mission to Yemen.

The news release further added that prolonged displacement had adversely impacted the communities hosting uprooted populations, substantially increasing pressures on already scarce resources. The majority of those displaced, some 62 per cent, are being hosted by their family and friends while others are using unsuitable shelters.

It further said that for those displaced, the primary challenges continued to be the basic essentials: food, shelter and drinking water.

According to the figures, as the conflict continues, the average length of time people having to spend away from their homes has also increased. Most of those uprooted, some 89 per cent, have been displaced for more than ten months.

The report also includes data on displacement due to natural disasters: at present, 24,744 individuals remain displaced due to cyclones and floods.

Cumulatively, owing to conflict and natural disasters, eight per cent of Yemen’s population now remains displaced.

> According to the news release, the report consolidates data from the UNHCR Population Movement Tracking system and the IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix, enabling the release of the most comprehensive estimates of displaced population figures and trends in Yemen to date.

Yemeni peace talks enter ‘new phase,’ as UN envoy announces month-long pause for consultations

Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheik Ahmed. UN Photo/Elma Ocik

Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheik Ahmed. UN Photo/Elma Ocik

6 August 2016

The United Nations envoy facilitating peace talks on Yemen announced today that as the discussions wind down for a one-month break, the process will enter a “new phase,” during which “the focus will be on working with each side separately to crystalize precise technical details.”

“We depart Kuwait today but the Yemen peace talks continue. The structure and mechanism will change during the coming weeks so that we give the parties space to consult with their leaderships,” UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said of the talks, which have been hosted by Kuwait for the past three months, between a Yemeni Government delegation and a delegation of the General People’s Congress and Ansar Allah.

“We will work with each party separately to crystalize the precise technical details. I once again repeat that a lasting solution is one which is worked upon with care, study and consideration. Every rushed solution comes truncated and incomplete,” he added.

As for the current round of talks, he said that the biggest dilemma was the deficit in trust between the parties and in that regard, the focus had been on the necessity of offering concessions and advancing a step towards the other side so that the other side can advance a step in return.

“We must continue to urge the parties to initiate a series of confidence-building measures and it is their duty to continue the releases of detainees and refrain from adopting unilateral measures<‘ he said.

Noting the difficult situation in the country, Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed raised the alarm regarding the faltering economy, and called on the two sides to unify their efforts to ease the increasing burden of suffering on the Yemeni people.

He stressed that the solution for the economic crisis depends on the political solution: “The economic situation has seen a serious decline and the economic indicators are disconcerting if not dangerous. I am sounding a warning for those involved in the internal affairs of Yemen. The alarm is being sounded strongly for the economy and this is a direct result of the war. There will be no economic solution except through a lasting political solution,” he explained.

The Special Envoy also expressed his deepest gratitude to Kuwait for hosting and its gracious hospitality. He also lauded the role of the international community in support of the path to peace and praised the cooperation of the delegation of the Government of Yemen and the delegation of Ansar Allah and the General People’s Congress.

In his closing statement, he cited to the most significant compromises arising from the meetings of the previous weeks, touching on the following points:

  • Renewal of their commitment to the terms and conditions of the Cessation of Hostilities, and to urgently activate the mechanisms for its implementation;
  • Activation of the De-escalation and Coordination Committee in Dhahran al-Janoub and Local Security Committees in order to strengthen respect for the Cessation of Hostilities;
  • Facilitation of the adoption of urgent measures to ensure unhindered access for humanitarian aid and basic goods and to address the economic situation;
  • Facilitation of the urgent release of all political prisoners, and all individuals under house arrest or arbitrarily detained including those mentioned in UN Security Council Resolution 2216 (2015);
  • Abstention from any acts, escalation or decisions likely to undermine the prospects of finalizing these negotiations and reaching an agreement;
  • Conducting a series of consultations between the delegations and their respective leaderships in the coming phase on the ideas, which were discussed during the talks and study them in detail;
  • Continuation of consultations and resumption of direct talks within one month from the submission of this statement at a place to be agreed upon;
  • Reaffirming the continued positive spirit in engaging with any and all matters, which may facilitate reaching a complete, comprehensive and permanent solution to the conflict in Yemen; and
  • To that end, addition to the delegations, to the next round of talks, military experts in order to provide technical support and advice in their area of expertise.

Finally, the Special Envoy noted preparations for another round of direct talks at a time and place to be announced.

Following nearly 16 months of conflict in Yemen, the cessation of hostilities was declared on 10 April and has since continued to provide relief from violence in many parts of the country. But serious violations have occurred in Marib, al Jawf, Taiz and in the border areas with Saudi Arabia.

Kuwait negotiations over Yemen reach “final stop” but “peace talks continue”

Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheik Ahmed. UN Photo/Elma Ocik

Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheik Ahmed. UN Photo/Elma Ocik

6 August 2016 – United Nations Radio

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The UN-facilitated peace talks over Yemen that have been taking place in Kuwait since April have reached a “final stop”, it was announced on Saturday.

But UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed promised that peace talks will now enter a “new phase” where the focus would be on talking to the warring sides separately “to crystalize precise technical details.”

Matthew Wells reports.

The talks were convened by the Special Envoy after a ceasefire was declared between the Saudi-led coalition backing President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, and the opposition Houthi rebels, who have the reported backing of Iran.

Civil war since early 2015 has left more than 6,500 dead, many civilians and at least 14 million Yemenis are food-insecure.

In his statement this weekend, the UN negotiator said that there would be a month-long break, in order to give the parties time to consult with their respective leaderships.

He blamed the end of the Kuwait phase of talks on a “deficit in trust” adding that “we must continue to urge the parties to initiate a series of confidence-building measures.”

The envoy said he was “here to sound the alarm” for everyone involved in Yemen’s increasingly dire conflict, and tell them there was “no economic solution except through a lasting political solution.”

The suffering of the Yemini people through war, was being compounded by a faltering and dangerously unstable economy he added, and he urged the two sides to unify their efforts towards a durable peace, in one of the Middle East’s poorest countries.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

IOM Responds to Needs of Recently Displaced Families in Lahj Governorate, Yemen

IOM DTM Team in Yemen assessing and monitoring IDP households in Tuban district in Lahj. Photo: IOM 2016

IOM DTM Team in Yemen assessing and monitoring IDP households in Tuban district in Lahj. Photo: IOM 2016

20 May 2016 – Yemen

Since February, ground clashes in bordering areas of Lahj and Taizz governorates in Yemen have forced hundreds of families out of their homes and villages to seek safety away from their homes of habitual residence.

Recently, through IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), IOM field staff identified 80 households that have fled to areas in Tur Al Baha district, Lahj, and 35 households to Tuban district, Lahj.

IOM field teams, comprised of shelter/non-food items (NFIs) and DTM teams, conducted rapid assessments and revealed the most urgent needs of these IDP families to be shelter/NFIs along with water and sanitation and hygiene (WASH) assistance.

This week, IOM shelter/NFIs teams distributed kits to 30 of the most vulnerable households in Tur Al Baha District with further transportation and distribution of another 85 Shelter and NFI kits comprising of mattresses, blankets, kitchen sets, sleeping mats, jerry cans, plastic sheets, and rope scheduled for early next week in Tur Al Baha and Tuban District.

Recently arrived Chief of Mission for IOM Yemen, Laurent De Boeck, said: “In adherence to the humanitarian principles, IOM remains committed to meet the needs of the most vulnerable affected populations, as displacement continues to touch numerous families throughout the country, and the humanitarian situation remains dire. IOM is taking all possible measures to continue serving the people of Yemen and provide direct relief in close cooperation with its national and international partners.”

Since the beginning of the crisis, IOM has assisted 834 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and families (approximately 5,838 individuals) in Tur Al Baha, Madarebah Wa Ras El Arah, Al Qabbaitah and Karish districts of Lahj govenorates.

In December 2015, IOM assisted the Local Corporation for Water and Sanitation through procuring and replacing seven water pumps in Tuban District, benefitting approximately 33,838 individuals. IOM has been assisting IDPs in Lahj governorate with a daily supply of water and the distribution of family water tanks and dignity kits.

Since 26 March 2015, IOM has assisted a total 63,709 IDPs in Aden, Abyan, Lahj, Hadhramaut, Shabwah, Al Dhale’e, Sa’ada, Taizz, Al Maharah and Socotra governorates through shelter and NFI support. A total of 634,596 IDPs and conflict-affected persons (266,530 women, 285,568 men, 44,422 girls and 38,076 boys) have benefitted from IOM’s WASH activities in Abyan, Aden, Al Dhale’e, Al Jawf, Hadhramaut, Ibb, Taizz Lahj, Sana’a and Shabwah governorates. On average, 15 litres of water per person per day is provided by IOM.

IOM Yemen’s Emergency Response is funded by OFDA (US), DFID (UK) and Japan. IOM is seeking additional funding to expand its operations to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable affected populations in Yemen.

For further information, please contact Saba Malme, IOM Yemen, Tel: + 967 1 410 568, Email: smalme@iom.int

Yemen: UN-mediated peace talks continue, with consensus on some issues

Press briefing by Mr. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, UN Special Envoy for Yemen

Press briefing by Mr. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, UN Special Envoy for YemenMAI

14 May 2016

In his latest update on the Yemeni peace talks currently under way in Kuwait, the United Nations envoy for the conflict-torn country reported that the two delegations discussed proposals to bridge the gap between their respective visions, reaching consensus on some issues.

“Progress is being achieved, albeit at a relatively slow pace,” said the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

The special envoy noted that the heads of the two delegations and other senior delegates discussed issues such as security arrangements and the political process needed to reach an agreement.

Calling on all parties to work towards finding a comprehensive solution as soon as possible, the special envoy said the issues being discussed are complicated, and it is imperative to “address them responsibly.”

“The two delegations have important decisions to consider in this critical period of Yemen’s history,” he stressed.

The special envoy also met with several political representatives and diplomats, who he said reiterated the international community’s constant support to the peace process.

Yemen’s food situation on verge of ‘humanitarian disaster’ – UN

Yemen has one of the highest child malnutrition rates in the world, with around half of all children under five stunted – too short for their age as a result of malnutrition. Photo: WFP/Ammar Bamatraf

Yemen has one of the highest child malnutrition rates in the world, with around half of all children under five stunted – too short for their age as a result of malnutrition. Photo: WFP/Ammar Bamatraf

12 May 2016

The food security and nutrition situation in Yemen will turn into a humanitarian disaster unless urgent funding is accessible for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to deliver timely aid in the April/May cereal and vegetable planting season and the summer fishing season, and vaccinate livestock before winter, the United Nations agency has warned.

Around 14.4 million people – over half of Yemen’s population – urgently need food security and livelihood assistance, FAO reported earlier this week. The volume of food required in Yemen is far greater than humanitarian actors can provide. Agriculture must be an integral part of the humanitarian response to prevent Yemen’s dire food security situation from worsening.

Increasing households’ resilience to food security threats will contribute to saving many lives. Emergency agricultural interventions are critical to preserving household. Food production and income generation are especially vital in hard-to-reach areas where aid access is limited.

The factors negatively affecting the food security include a reported desert locust outbreak, which threatens the livelihoods of more than 100,000 farmers, beekeepers and herders in five governorates, and the April flooding, which put 49,000 people in need of urgent assistance, the FAO said.