More money is urgently needed to ease the humanitarian suffering in Yemen but aid alone is no substitute for reviving efforts to bring about peace, Oxfam said today as ministers will gather in Geneva tomorrow for a high level pledging event.
The United Nations hopes to raise US$2.1 billion to deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance to Yemen but the appeal – intended to provide vital help to 12 million people – is only 14 percent funded as of 18 April. According to the UN, Yemen has become the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Nearly seven million people are facing starvation.
While aid is desperately needed to save lives now, many more people will die unless the de-facto blockade is lifted and major powers stop fuelling the conflict and instead put pressure on all sides to pursue peace.
The two-year conflict has so far killed more than 7,800 people, forced over 3 million people from their homes and left 18.8 million people – 70 per cent of the population – in need of humanitarian assistance.
Several countries, including the US, the UK, Spain, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, and Italy, are attending the event while they continue to sell billions of dollars worth of weapons and military equipment to parties to the conflict. And Yemen’s food crisis could become even more severe if the international community does not send a clear message that a possible attack against Al-Hodeida, the entry point for an estimated 70 per cent of Yemen’s food imports, would be totally unacceptable.
“Many areas of Yemen are on the brink of famine, and the cause of such extreme starvation is political. That is a damning indictment of world leaders but also a real opportunity – they have the power to bring the suffering to an end, Oxfam’s Country Director in Yemen, said
“Donors need to put their hands in the pocket and fully fund the appeal to prevent people dying now. But while aid will provide welcome relief it will not heal the wounds of war that are the cause of Yemen’s misery. International backers need to stop fuelling the conflict, make it clear that famine is not an acceptable weapon of war and exert real pressure on both sides to restart peace talks.”