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UN humanitarian chief briefs Security Council on Yemen

15 Apr 2021

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A family at a site for internally displaced people in Al-Dhale’e Governorate, Yemen, February 2020. © Mahmoud Fadel-YPN for OCHA

In a briefing today to the Security Council, UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said that the situation in Yemen is getting even worse, with a deadly second wave of COVID-19 coming at a time when large-scale famine is bearing down on the country.

Mr. Lowcock said that aid agencies are doing what they can to help, including with more surveillance, public outreach, testing and critical supplies like fuel and medicines. They are also working closely with the Government on vaccines. The first COVAX shipment of vaccines arrived in Aden two weeks ago – about 360,000 doses, with another 1.6 million expected to follow in the coming months.

“But right now, the virus is moving much faster than we can keep up. Vaccines won’t be enough to suppress the second wave. So we urgently need more resources to scale up treatment, monitoring and other activities that will mitigate the impact of the pandemic,” he said.

Mr. Lowcock stressed that a new wave of COVID-19 infections has more than doubled the number of confirmed cases in Yemen in just six weeks, and tens of thousands of people are already starving to death, with another 5 million just a step behind them.

To stop this unfolding catastrophe, he called for urgent action on the protection of civilians, humanitarian access, funding for the aid operation, support for the economy and progress towards peace.

Mr. Lowcock’s full remarks are available online.