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Action Against Hunger calls for large-scale humanitarian assistance as crisis deepens and supplies run low
LONDON, 2 April 2015 // Action against Hunger calls on the international community to recognize the growing severity of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen as vital supplies run low.
A week after coalition air strikes led by Saudi Arabia began, port blockades are preventing the arrival of essentials goods by sea. And no fly zones in operation over Yemen and airport closures mean no deliveries by air. The military intervention has blocked vital supplies entering the country and 90 per cent of consumer goods in Yemen, including food, is imported.
The organisation asks all parties to the conflict to respect humanitarian law, particularly the need to guarantee the safety of civilians. They must also respect humanitarian workers, allowing them access to the field to provide large-scale, rapid humanitarian assistance. Action is needed now.
The insecurity in the country has led civilians to flee in search of less vulnerable areas. Thousands of internally displaced people (IDPs) are seeking refuge.
"The security of civilians and internally displaced people is the responsibility of all parties to this conflict," says Vincent Taillandier, Director of Operations for Action Against Hunger.
"We need independent observers to witness and relay information on displacement, particularly where people are fleeing to so that these areas can be protected from all military interventions. Access to civilians by neutral and impartial humanitarian actors must be facilitated.”
Families find themselves in villages or places cut off from all care structures, destitute of everything, sometimes without water and almost no opportunity to stock up on food.
Far from town centres and already poorly stocked markets, without real shelter, IDPs are at risk of dehydration and malnutrition. The most vulnerable are usually the main victims of violence and displacement: they need access to humanitarian assistance that the international community must now mobilise.
The situation is urgent. Even before the air strikes and escalation in violence, Yemen was suffering from chronic food insecurity. Now, as hundreds of thousands flee their homes in terror, the food situation is even more desperate.
Humanitarian workers must be able to deploy an emergency response, bringing materials and supplies as soon as possible to a country that has been all but cut off from the world.
Our 100-strong team of aid workers, who work to support those most vulnerable to food insecurity and malnutrition, can no longer supply our current programmes or bring desperately needed nutritional treatment to children who we know are suffering from undernutrition. We are now using our contingency stocks – but they won’t last forever.