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$2.1 billion needed to reach 12 million people in war-torn Yemen with life-saving aid

08 Feb 2017

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During today's launch in Geneva of the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen, UN Humanitarian Chief Stephen O'Brien described the situation in Yemen and the plight of its people.

"Two years of war have devastated Yemen, and millions of children, women and men desperately need our help," he said. "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. Humanitarian partners are ready to respond. But they need timely, unimpeded access and adequate resources to meet the humanitarian needs wherever they arise.” 

The 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen is tailored specifically to assist people facing acute needs, in addition to people most at risk of slipping into acute-need status. 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. Millions of people face threats to their safety and basic human rights every day. 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. 

An estimated 10.3 million people are acutely affected and need some form of immediate humanitarian assistance to save and sustain their lives, including food, health and medical services, clean water and sanitation, and protection. Nearly 3.3 million people – including 2.1 million children – are acutely malnourished, and 2 million people remain internally displaced. 

"As always, children are suffering the most under man’s inhumanity to man," said O'Brien. "Every 10 minutes, a young child dies of preventable causes. Parents face impossible choices. Imagine choosing between buying food for one of your children or medicine for her sick sibling. Imagine watching your child die slowly of hunger. (...) Imagine being able to trust no one, as all fighting parties violate international humanitarian law and erect other impediments for people to survive and live in dignity."

The appeal is seeking $US2.1 billion, which is urgently needed to save and protect lives and prevent famine. Almost half of last year's appeal remained unfunded. Despite this and the enormous security and access challenges, 120 national and international partners assisted more than 5.6 million people with direct humanitarian aid in 2016. These partners included UN agencies and non-governmental organizations working out of humanitarian hubs in Aden, Al Hudaydah, Ibb, Sa’ada and Sana’a.

The Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, said: “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.”