UN: Over eight million people in Yemen relying on humanitarian aid

Published May 20th, 2016 - 09:00 GMT
A Red Cross aid drop in Yemen. (AFP/File)
A Red Cross aid drop in Yemen. (AFP/File)

A senior United Nations relief official has warned of the worsening humanitarian crisis in Yemen due to the continuing conflict.

“Seeing the plight of the Yemeni people first-hand reinforces the need for national and international humanitarian actors to scale up their response to protect and support the population,” John Ging, Director of Operations in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

More than 13 million people in need of immediate life-saving assistance in Yemen, Ging stated following his three-day visit to the country with Emergency Director of the World Health Organization (WHO), Rick Brennan, and Deputy Emergency Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Gian Carlo Cirri.

He pointed out that the healthy food and access to health care are among the more requirements of the population.

Since mid-March 2015, the conflict has prompted a widening protection crisis, exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation brought on by years of poverty, poor governance and instability. Over 7.6 million people are severely food insecure, and 2.5 million people have been displaced by violent conflict since January 2014.

Mr. Ging appealed for an urgent increase in attention and support for the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan, which requires $1.8 billion this year, but remains “shockingly underfunded” at only 16 per cent.

The humanitarian community delivered vital assistance to 8.8 million women, children and men across the country during the last year, he explained.

In his statement, Mr. Ging made a crucial appeal to the parties of the conflict to prioritize the protection of civilians and civilian needs, and to swiftly enable unhindered and safe access to all people in need, particularly in the provinces of Taiz, Hajjah, Sa’ada, Aden an Jawf.

“The people of Yemen must be at the centre of this response, and our collective duty is to protect them and provide them with food, health, shelter and other vital support,” said Mr. Ging.

He noted that people are dying of preventable illnesses because of the limited availability of even the most basic medical supplies.

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