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UN humanitarian chief briefs Security Council on Yemen

14 Jan 2021

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Two-year-old Jehad sits with her mother shortly before being admitted to Al Sadaqah Hospital in Aden, Yemen, for malnutrition and watery diarrhoea (2019). © OCHA/Giles Clarke

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock earlier today briefed the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Yemen.

Mr. Lowcock emphasized that the most urgent priority right now is to prevent a massive famine in Yemen. 

“The data show that 16 million people will go hungry this year. Already, about 50,000 people are essentially starving to death in what is essentially a small famine. Another 5 million are just one step behind them,” Mr. Lowcock said. 

“Every decision the world makes right now must take this into account,” he added.

Addressing the United States’ announcement that it will designate Ansar Allah as a specially designated terrorist entity and foreign terrorist organization under United States domestic law, Mr. Lowcock said the likely humanitarian impact is a large-scale famine on a scale that has not been seen for nearly 40 years.

He said that licenses and exemptions for aid agencies would not prevent that. And the only thing that would prevent it is a reversal of the decision.

Mr. Lowcock's full statement is available online