YEMEN: Crisis deepens as humanitarians stand ready to deliver

23 May, 2012
Many families must resort to poor water sources for daily living. Chronic diarrhoea consequently affects over half of children among some displaced communities. Aid agencies are providing tens of thousands of displaced people in northern Yemen living in camps with clean, reliable water. Credit: Yemen Humanitarian Team
Many families must resort to poor water sources for daily living. Chronic diarrhoea consequently affects over half of children among some displaced communities. Aid agencies are providing tens of thousands of displaced people in northern Yemen living in camps with clean, reliable water. Credit: Yemen Humanitarian Team

Conditions in Yemen are deteriorating; nearly half of Yemenis are food insecure and almost 1 million children suffer from acute malnutrition. This was the message of the Yemen Humanitarian Country Team to Wednesday’s meeting of the Friends of Yemen in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“If we do not act today, the costs tomorrow will be much higher. For every month we wait, the crisis gets bigger,” the Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, told the meeting.

“The crisis has compounded many of the country’s existing problems. New assessments this year document that conditions continue to deteriorate. Increasing food insecurity is one challenge, rapidly increasing malnutrition is another, a breakdown in health, water and sanitation services is a third, new flows of internally displaced people is a fourth.

“These developments force us to revise the 2012 Humanitarian Response Plan, and I have to flag that the cost of saving more lives will increase,” he said.  

Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed warned that gaps in the humanitarian response would undermine Yemen’s prospects for peace and long-term development. He said the country faced substantial humanitarian needs for the next three to five years.

He added that national and international humanitarian agencies and the Government of Yemen were continuing to reach people in need. He explained that they were scaling up their work to include people who had not been displaced and who were not affected by the conflict, but were in acute humanitarian need.

“I appeal to all of you not to let Yemen become another catastrophe,” he said. 

The Friends of Yemen meeting was co-hosted by Saudi Arabia, the UK and Yemen. It gathered some 30 countries and international organizations to consider how they can support Yemen’s reform agenda and political transition.

More>> Yemen Humanitarian Response website