Humanitarian situation in Yemen deteriorates

Humanitarian crisis of huge magnitude looms in Yemen

All efforts must be urgently taken to ensure that humanitarian organisations like Action Against Hunger can deliver urgently needed humanitarian aid. Civilians and civilian infrastructure must be protected and spared from the ongoing violence. 

By Action Against Hunger

May 5 2015

Yemen has been caught in a protracted crisis that has received scant attention over the past years. The recent escalation of conflict in what is one of the world’s most forgotten crises is exacerbating the already bleak humanitarian situation. 

Our Country Director in Yemen, Hajir Maalim, reports

A dire situation

“The humanitarian situation in Yemen is rapidly turning into a tragedy,” said Hajir Maalim, our Country Director for Yemen. “In 2014, 14 million Yemenis were already dependent on aid. As fighting continues, access for aid workers is ever more restricted and food, water and medical supplies in short supply. Dire fuel shortages also threaten our relief efforts.” 

“We need to operate at least three vehicles to bring medical staff and supplies to more than 1,600 severely undernourished children in Hodeida, in northern Yemen. If we cannot get more fuel within 10 days, these operations will cease and the lives of these children will be put at great risk. Children should not face death because of fuel shortages. It’s unacceptable.”

Yemen heavily relies on imports for food and fuel. Before the escalation of violence, over 60 percent of the population—including approximately 250,000 refugees — were already reliant on aid, and nearly a million children under five were suffering from acute malnutrition.

The ongoing fuel shortages are threatening water supplies since fuel resources are used for the pumping of clean water from underground sources, access to healthcare is becoming ever more difficult and convoys carrying food and urgent relief supplies can no longer reach displaced families. 

“The lack of fuel has had a direct impact on our programmes and limits the movement and activity of our teams. It’s also had an impact on the supply of food, drinking water and electricity to an already vulnerable population,” said Mr Maalim.

“The ongoing fighting in Aden, from where we coordinated the delivery of humanitarian aid for those in need, is preventing us from accessing our relief supplies in the area, including ready-to-use therapeutic foods we urgently need to treat malnourished children and water and sanitation equipment. The situation is really serious.”

Action Against Hunger renews its urgent appeal to all parties to the conflict in Yemen to respect international humanitarian and human rights laws. All efforts must be taken to ensure that civilians and civilian infrastructure are protected and spared from the ongoing violence.