Humanitarian aid alone cannot solve the devastating crisis
WASHINGTON, DC – As Yemen begins a fourth year of conflict, the global organization Mercy Corps warns that the situation’s humanitarian repercussions are staggering – and continue to worsen by the hour.
More than 10,000 civilian men, women and children are dead. More than 22 million people need humanitarian aid, and 8.4 million are on the brink of famine. Attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure continue unabated. According to the United Nations, a child under the age of five dies from preventable disease every 10 minutes.
“What’s happening right now in Yemen is a catastrophe – and it’s entirely man-made,” says Abdikadir Mohamud, Mercy Corps’ Yemen country director. “This is the direct result of the commercial import restrictions and fuel shortages.”
Yemen imports nearly 90 percent of all food and non-food staple goods. Since the beginning of the conflict, imports have been blocked or reduced and currently only cover a fraction of the population’s needs. Market activity has ground to a halt, purchasing power has reached an all-time low and the health sector has virtually collapsed.
While humanitarian aid is saving lives, it will never resolve the conflict. Mercy Corps urges the United States and United Kingdom to use the full force of their diplomatic influence in the region to:
- Support international efforts to restart peace negotiations without preconditions;
- Demand the lifting of restrictions on imports and permanently open the ports at Hodeida and Saleef and the Sana’a airport.
- Call on all parties to the conflict to adhere to international humanitarian law and to immediately halt attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure;
- Invest in programs that address the drivers of conflict and support community-led development wherever possible.
“The world must not turn away nor forget the crushing suffering endured by the Yemeni people,” says Mohamud. “This conflict must end.”
Mercy Corps has been operating in Yemen since 2010, providing emergency response and early recovery across nine governorates. The current response focuses on emergency food assistance and nutrition; water, health and sanitation; agriculture; and resilience and livelihood restoration.NR Three Years of Conflict.27March2018.pdf