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Yemen: access vital

Humanitarian access to Yemen vital | Action Against Hunger

As the security situation in Yemen deteriorates, Action Against Hunger urges all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law

LONDON, 29 March 2015 // The deteriorating security situation in Yemen following the intervention of an international coalition threatens the lives and livelihoods of civilians in Yemen. Protecting civilians during conflict is an obligation under international humanitarian law and must be a priority for all involved.

"In recent months, the country had descended into a state on the brink of civil war, creating a sense of insecurity and instability,” said Vincent Taillandier, director of operations for Action Against Hunger in France.  “The most recent developments in Yemen, including the international intervention, has further added to this tension.“

The violence has affected our operations in Yemen, though so far Action Against Hunger teams managed to maintain essential activities, such as the treatment of children suffering from severe malnutrition.

Currently at least 2,000 children receive nutritional therapeutic treatment in one of the centres at which Action Against Hunger intervenes. Unfortunately, mothers are now understandably frightened to go out to take their children to the centre for medical care and the insecurity means the Action Against Hunger teams are unable to travel to families.

Families should be able to access humanitarian assistance, which is crucial to their survival.

We call on warring parties to respect the neutrality and impartiality of humanitarian actors. The parties to the conflict must allow free and direct access to all those in need.

Thousands of people in Yemen are already dependent on humanitarian aid: It is the poorest country in the Arabian Peninsula, with a Human Development Index among the lowest in the world. More than five million people are severely food insecure.

In 2014, Action Against Hunger ran programmes that offered better nutritional support, food security and livelihoods, and access to water, hygiene and sanitation in several areas around Yemen.

The ongoing crisis in Yemen has destroyed access to basic services such as health, access to water and food. It has created a humanitarian crisis that the international community must recognise as urgent and answer concretely.

"Our humanitarian experience in conflict leads us to react very quickly,” said Taillandier. “We need to adapt our procedures to continue essential activities, such as  the treatment of life-threatening malnutrition, and be ready to help the thousands of people who will or have already been forced to flee the combat zones. Safety and respect for the integrity of civilians and humanitarian personnel are imperative. Means must be at the height of the disaster endured by Yemenis."