People's Stories Peace


South Sudan famine threat: All parties to the conflict must reach and stick to a peace agreement
by Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Save the Children International
 
Nov. 2017
 
Almost a year after famine was declared in Unity State, South Sudan remains trapped in a vicious cycle of starvation and disease, with the UN grimly predicting renewed famine in early 2018.
 
Today, [22 November] Save the Children has issued a ‘final warning’ call for urgent humanitarian assistance to prevent children from dying unnecessarily of hunger and preventable disease. Malnutrition has soared, especially among children. More than 1.1 million children under five are forecast to be malnourished in 2018, double the number predicted at the same time last year. Some 300,000 of them are on the verge of death by starvation.
 
The new UN Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan today called for free and unhindered access for aid agencies. The need to safely deliver life-saving food and medical supplies remains urgent. Millions of people across South Sudan will rely on aid to survive in 2018. Any reduction in official numbers does not reflect a reduced need. The figures for those reliant on aid to survive look lower because 2.1 million people have fled the country, 63% of them children.
 
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of Save the Children International, said:
 
“We cannot stand by and watch South Sudan descend into famine again. This is the final alarm call. Famine is always man-made and we must be clear that this looming famine is not climate-related. Four years of violence have impeded aid agencies’access to deliver food to starving communities. All parties to the conflict must reach and stick to a peace agreement.
 
“It has been proven time and time again that it’s cheaper to prevent a famine than to respond to one. We cannot wait for images of famine to hit the news before we can afford to help the children of South Sudan.”
 
The "lean season" - when households run short of food before the next harvest - is forecast to start in January, three months earlier than usual. Food prices have soared, with prices for sacks of staples such as sorghum, maize and wheat flour up by 281% compared with the same time last year.
 
Of the two million people who have fled the country, one million gave gone into Uganda alone. There, World Food Programme (WFP) cuts are reported to be forcing hungry families to return to South Sudan as they are not receiving bare minimum meals in underfunded camps.
 
South Sudan is statistically the seventh worst place in the world to be a child. Half the children are not in school. A fifth of girls are married before they’re 14, meaning their bodies are not developed enough to cope with childbirth. The country has one of the worst records in the world for mothers dying in childbirth.
 
The UN has long documented instances of rape and sexual violence as a widespread weapon of war. Children arriving in Uganda have given deeply disturbing testimony to Save the Children staff.
 
Deng* a 7 year old boy who has fled to Uganda, said: “I really really want to go to where my mother is. I miss my mother. I’m scared my mother is dead because we don’t know where she is. We got separated when we were running from the people fighting. They were killing everyone. I don’t know why people are fighting. I was so scared when I saw the people fighting and I saw dead bodies lying on the ground everywhere.”
 
Joy*, a 14 year old girl who also fled to Uganda, said: “We ran away because the war has turned up on us as civilians. When they come, they come to slaughter you with a knife or a machete. We could not wait for that to happen”.
 
Joan*, a midwife, in the same Ugandan refugee camp, who cares for Joy,* said: “When the armed groups come to the village they would rape young girls.Ten men can sleep with one woman, no problem if you die. They came and killed people and left them by the roadside, some slaughtered (with a knife to the throat). What I have seen in South Sudan now is like nothing I have seen before. They used not to kill women; now they are killing women, children and the elderly”.
 
*names changed to protect identity.


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‘Catastrophic’ humanitarian blockade in Yemen putting millions at risk, UN warns
by Jamie McGoldrick
UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, agencies
 
26 November 2017
 
UN, Aid agencies call for complete end of humanitarian blockade in Yemen, by UN News, Red Cross, WFP, WHO, Unicef, Aid Agencies
 
11 million Yemeni children are today in acute need of humanitarian assistance. (Unicef)
 
This is a summary of what was said by Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa – at today''s press briefing at in Amman, Jordan.
 
Today’s briefing has been triggered by our successful delivery yesterday of 1.9 million doses of vaccines to Sana’a airport.
 
It was our first delivery of humanitarian supplies to Sana’a airport since the 6th of November.
 
If you allow me, I will give you a little bit of a brief and then I will definitely take time for questions.
 
Today, it is fair to say that Yemen is one of the worst places on earth to be a child.
 
More than 11 million Yemeni children are today in acute need of humanitarian assistance. That’s almost every single Yemeni boy and girl.
 
The reason behind this is very straightforward: decades of conflict, decades also of chronic underdevelopment.
 
Yemen is the country with the most depleted water sources across the globe; Yemen today is also the country with almost the highest level of malnutrition. What has happened in the last two and a half years, throughout Yemen has of course only exacerbated what was already a very sad reality. Today we estimate that every ten minutes a child in Yemen is dying from preventable diseases. The massive and unprecedented outbreak of acute watery diarrhea and cholera this year is no surprise. As you know, close to one million Yemenis have been affected by acute watery diarrhea and cholera.
 
It’s not a surprise, because of the almost entirely devastated water and sanitation system throughout the country. Not a surprise, because in Yemen the health system is on its knees.
 
The war in Yemen is sadly a war on children. Thousands of children have died. Thousands of schools and health facilities have been damaged or completely destroyed.
 
Two million children today in Yemen suffer acute malnutrition.
 
Enough reasons for humanitarian organizations like UNICEF to have stepped up our efforts to assist Yemeni children, to assist the Yemeni people and I really would not want to miss this opportunity to express our deepest appreciation, admiration even, for all humanitarian workers today in Yemen, particularly our Yemeni colleagues. They have shown unprecedented examples of heroism over the last months.
 
Access to children however is a daily challenge, today more than ever. We therefore welcome yesterday’s reopening of Sana’a airport. It allowed us to send in a first humanitarian convoy, as I said 1.9 million doses of vaccines, vaccines that are urgently needed for a planned campaign to vaccinate 600,000 children across Yemen. Vaccinate them against: diphtheria, meningitis, whooping cough, pneumonia and tuberculosis.
 
We are grateful for what we could achieve yesterday. However, this is not enough, much, much more is needed.
 
Let me make three simple pleas:
 
1. Far more humanitarian supplies are needed today. Yesterday’s success cannot be a one-off. Far more supplies are indeed needed. We have, as UNICEF, vessels on their way to Hodeida port. Vessels carrying ready-to-use therapeutic food for assisting malnourished children, chlorine tablets for chlorinating water wells in order to ensure drinking water, medical supplies to support the prevention and also treatment of acute watery diarrhea and cholera.
 
More vaccines are urgently needed to treat the outbreak of diphtheria; as you may be aware we have an outbreak of diphtheria mainly concentrated in the governorate of Ibb but spreading and spreading rapidly so more vaccines are needed urgently to prevent and treat diphtheria. More vaccines are equally needed for our routine immunization.
 
Unfortunately, the vaccines stocks, despite the 1.9 million that we delivered yesterday, are running out, vaccine stocks are depleted. So, we urgently need to get more routine vaccines in.
 
2. We also need access to affordable fuel. As you know access to drinking water in Yemen is achieved mainly, if not exclusively, through pumping water. With the absence of a national power grid we need to pump water using generators and therefore access to affordable fuel is equally in huge need.
 
This implies that getting the supplies is one part, ensuring that the supplies whatever they are reaching every single vulnerable girl and boy throughout Yemen is another challenge. We need access, we need unimpeded access atany given moment in time to those millions of children in need.
 
3. And a third request, is another straight forward one: it’s the war on children to stop. It’s the war to stop. On behalf of every single boy and girl in Yemen, let me conclude by appealing once again to all parties responsible for today’s situation in Yemen, to all parties and all those with a heart for children: Please take your responsibility, don’t take it tomorrow, take your responsibility now. http://uni.cf/2AfvppO
 
Nov. 2017
 
Unhindered access to all airports and ports is vital to end the dire situation in Yemen. (WFP)
 
“The situation in Yemen is currently the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world and aid is urgently required in order to avoid famine,” said Bettina Luescher, spokesperson for the World Food Programme (WFP), at a press briefing in Geneva.
 
She said two daily flights to the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, from Jordan’s Amman and one from Djibouti will continue until the end of this month, and a WFP-chartered vessel carrying 25,000 metric tons of wheat grains, now docked at Saleef port, will be unloaded over the coming days.
 
Ms. Luescher stressed that it is essential that commercial imports, which accounts for 90 per cent of the country’s food requirements, also be allowed in to Yemen, as the UN can not feed the entire population, and that continued access to Hudaydah and Saleef is especially vital as those ports are equipped with unloading, storage and milling facilities.
 
23 Nov. 2017
 
NGOs warn partial lifting of blockade not be enough to avert famine.
 
On Monday, the Saudi-led military coalition announced it would allow aid to re-enter Yemen''s main port and United Nations flights to resume, more than two weeks after they imposed a total blockade on the country. The UN and international aid agencies have repeatedly urged the coalition to lift the Yemen blockade.
 
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) described the move as a "half measure at best" warning that aid alone cannot feed the country.
 
"We cannot celebrate this partial easing of access restrictions," Paolo Cernuschi, Yemen''s IRC director, said.
 
"Access by commercial shipments of food and fuel must be resumed immediately, otherwise this action will do little to turn Yemen back from the brink of famine and crisis."
 
Caroline Anning from Save the Children said if the move does not include commercial supplies then there is still the strong potential of famine in Yemen.
 
"If its just a small, short-term announcement of humanitarian aid being allowed in, that certainly will not be enough to avert famine," she said.
 
"Before this blockade even started our team estimated that 130 children a day were dying of preventable disease and hunger in Yemen."
 
"Reopening the ports to aid but not to commercial imports is pitiful bartering with people''s lives," Shane Stevenson, Oxfam''s director in Yemen, said.
 
"We''re facing the worst famine seen in decades, and that won''t change unless commercial shipments of food and fuel are allowed in.
 
"This brinksmanship has to stop. All sea and air ports must be fully reopened immediately to both humanitarian and commercial access to save millions of innocent Yemeni people."
 
The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was vital to get commercial traffic resumed.
 
"Yemenis will need more than aid in order to survive the crisis and ward off famine," spokeswoman Iolanda Jaquemet said.
 
Jan Egeland, a former U.N. aid chief who now heads the Norwegian Refugee Council, said of the blockade: "In my view this is illegal collective punishment."
 
"Even if both the flights and humanitarian shipments will go through now, it is not solving the underlying crisis that a country that needs 90 percent of its goods imported is not getting in commercial food or fuel."
 
Some 7 million people in Yemen — out of a population of 27 million — depend entirely on food aid and 4 million rely on aid groups for clean water. NGO leter: http://bit.ly/2jAoSy2
 
http://www.rescue.org/press-release/yemen-collective-punishment-must-end-now http://www.oxfamamerica.org/press/millions-of-yemenis-days-away-from-losing-clean-running-water-oxfam/ http://www.irinnews.org/news/2017/11/22/editor-s-take-yemen-needs-commercial-imports-avoid-famine-lettradein
 
16 November 2017
 
UN leaders, aid agencies appeal for immediate lifting of humanitarian blockade in Yemen – lives of millions are at risk. (WFP)
 
Statement by WFP Executive Director David Beasley, UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake, and WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
 
“While the Saudi-led military coalition has partially lifted the recent blockade of Yemen, closure of much of the country’s air, sea and land ports is making an already catastrophic situation far worse. The space and access we need to deliver humanitarian assistance is being choked off, threatening the lives of millions of vulnerable children and families.
 
“Together, we issue another urgent appeal for the coalition to permit entry of lifesaving supplies to Yemen in response to what is now the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. The supplies, which include medicines, vaccines and food, are essential to staving off disease and starvation. Without them, untold thousands of innocent victims, among them many children, will die.
 
“More than 20 million people, including over 11 million children, are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. At least 14.8 million are without basic healthcare and an outbreak of cholera has resulted in more than 900,000 suspected cases.
 
“Some 17 million people do not know where their next meal is coming from and 7 million are totally dependent on food assistance. Severe acute malnutrition is threatening the lives of almost 400,000 children. As supplies run low, food prices rise dramatically, putting thousands more at risk.
 
“Even with a partial lifting of the blockade, the World Food Programme estimates that an additional 3.2 million people will be pushed into hunger. If left untreated, 150,000 malnourished children could die within the coming months. To deprive this many from the basic means of survival is an unconscionable act and a violation of humanitarian principles and law.
 
“Fuel, medicine and food – all of which are now blocked from entry – are desperately needed to keep people alive. Without fuel, the vaccine cold chain, water supply systems and waste water treatment plants will stop functioning. And without food and safe water, the threat of famine grows by the day.
 
“We are already seeing the humanitarian consequences of the blockade. Diphtheria is spreading fast with 120 clinically diagnosed cases and 14 deaths – mostly children – in the last weeks. We have vaccines and medicines in transit to Yemen, but they are blocked from entry. At least one million children are now at risk of contracting the disease.
 
“The world’s largest cholera outbreak is waning and the number of new cases has declined for the 8th consecutive week from a peak of more than 900,000 suspected cases. If the embargo is not lifted cholera will flare up once again.
 
“All of the country’s ports – including those in areas held by the opposition – should be reopened without delay. This is the only way that UN-chartered ships can deliver the vital humanitarian cargo that the population needs to survive. Flights from the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service - into and out of Yemen - should be given immediate clearance to resume. UN staff who are based in Yemen have been unable to move, even if they need urgent medical attention.
 
“The clock is ticking and stocks of medical, food and other humanitarian supplies are already running low. The cost of this blockade is being measured in the number of lives that are lost.
 
“If any of us in our daily lives saw a child whose life was at immediate risk, would we not try to save her? In Yemen we are talking about hundreds of thousands of children, if not more. We have the lifesaving food, medicine and supplies needed to save them, but we must have the access that is currently being denied.
 
“On behalf of all those whose lives are at imminent risk, we reiterate our appeal to allow humanitarian access in Yemen without further delay.”
 
http://www.wfp.org/news/news-release/un-leaders-appeal-immediate-lifting-humanitarian-blockade-yemenlives-millions-a http://www.unicef.org/media/media_101496.html http://www.fews.net/east-africa/yemen/alert/november-20-2017
 
9 November 2017
 
Yemen facing largest famine the world has seen for decades, warns UN aid chief. (UN News)
 
Yemen will be gripped by famine – one the likes of which the world has not seen in years – if the blockade on basic supplies into the country imposed by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition is not lifted immediately, the top United Nations humanitarian official has warned.
 
“It will be the largest famine the world has seen for many decades,” Mark Lowcock, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, told the media late Wednesday, after briefing the Security Council.
 
Three years into a brutal conflict, Yemen depends on imports – amounting to up to 90 per cent of its daily needs – and millions in the country are being kept alive by humanitarian aid.
 
The fighting has also all but collapsed the country''s health, and water and sanitation systems. Combined with the lack of food, millions of lives – including those of children – will be lost as their bodies will simply not have the strength to fight off disease.
 
“What kills people in famine is infections […] because their bodies have consumed themselves, reducing totally the ability to fight off things which a healthy person can,” added Mr. Lowcock.
 
Underscoring that an immediate resumption of regular UN and relief organizations air services to the capital, Sana''a, and Aden are critical to save lives, Mr. Lowcock, also the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said that a clear and immediate assurance is also urgently needed that those services will not be disrupted.
 
Furthermore, all vessels that have passed inspection by the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism should not be subjected to interference, delays to or blockages so that they can proceed to port as rapidly as possible, he added.
 
“This is really important because humanitarian access through the ports was inadequate even before the measures that were announced on 6 November,” said the senior UN official.
 
He also called for an immediate agreement to the prepositioning of the World Food Programme (WFP) – the UN''s emergency food relief agency – vessel in the waters off Aden, assurances that there will be no further disruption to the functions the vessel supports, as well as resumption of humanitarian and commercial access to all the seaports of Yemen.
 
Mr. Lowcock, also underscored the Organization''s condemnation of the missile attack on the Saudi capital, Riyadh, over the weekend, terming it an outrageous act. The coalition imposed the restrictions following the attack, effectively closing air, sea and land access to the war-torn country.
 
T he humanitarian community in Yemen also warned that the current stock of vaccines in the country will only last one month and if not replenished, outbreaks of communicable diseases are to be expected with fatal consequences, particularly for children under five and those already suffering from malnutrition.
 
“The humanitarian situation in Yemen is extremely fragile and any disruption in the pipeline of critical supplies such as food, fuel and medicines has the potential to bring millions of people closer to starvation and death,” said humanitarian organizations, including the UN, working in Yemen in a joint statement Thursday.
 
“The continued closure of borders will only bring additional hardship and deprivation with deadly consequences to an entire population suffering from a conflict that it is not of their own making,” they added.
 
Calling for the immediate opening of all air and seaports to ensure the entry of food, fuel and medicines into the country, the humanitarian community ask the Saudi-led Coalition to facilitate unhindered access of aid workers to people in need, in compliance with international law, by ensuring the resumption of all humanitarian flights.
 
“We reiterate that humanitarian aid is not the solution to Yemen’s humanitarian catastrophe. Only a peace process will halt the horrendous suffering of millions of innocent civilians,” they stressed. http://bit.ly/2iIpMIB
 
http://reliefweb.int/report/yemen/statement-humanitarian-community-yemen-complete-closure-yemen-s-borders-enar http://www.unocha.org/story/yemen-dire-humanitarian-situation-worsen-amid-continued-blockade http://www.unicef.org/media/media_101471.html http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/yemen_85651.html http://www.icrc.org/en/document/yemen-urgent-call-keep-borders-open-health-medical-supplies http://ihl-databases.icrc.org/customary-ihl/eng/docs/v1_rul_rule55 http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/2017/yemen-ports-aid/en/ http://www.unfpa.org/press/statement-unfpa-united-nations-population-fund-situation-yemen http://www.msf.org/en/article/yemen-saudi-coalition-urged-immediately-allow-humanitarian-access-during-blockade http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2017-11-08/humanitarian-agencies-condemn-closure-yemens-air-sea-and-land http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2017-11-14/hasten-peace-or-be-complicit-in-yemen-famine http://www.acaps.org/country/yemen/special-reports#container-959 http://www.acaps.org/country/yemen http://www.undispatch.com/uns-nightmare-scenario-currently-unfolding-yemen/ http://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/12/millions-on-brink-of-famine-in-yemen-as-saudi-arabia-tightens-blockade
 
7 Nov. 2017
 
The UN, the Red Cross and humanitarian agencies have called on the Saudi-led coalition to immediately reopen humanitarian aid channels into Yemen, after a decision was taken to seal the stricken country’s air, sea and land borders.
 
The UN described the closure of aid channels as “catastrophic”. Food, medicine and other essential supplies are “critical for the survival” of the country’s 27 million population, weakened by war, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) added. Yemen is in the grip of the world’s worst cholera outbreak and 7 million people are already on the brink of famine.
 
Humanitarian operations, including UN aid flights, are blocked because the air and sea ports, including Hodeidah, where most aid is delivered, are closed.
 
The UN reported it was not permitted flight clearance for two humanitarian flights bound for Yemen on Monday. A Red Cross shipment of chlorine tablets, to prevent cholera, was not allowed in at the country’s northern border, the ICRC said. Medical supplies, including insulin, are expected.
 
Yemen has been named the UN’s number one humanitarian crisis.
 
“We hear reports this morning that prices of cooking gas and petrol for cars and so on are already spiralling out of control,” Jens Laerke, from the UN office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told a news briefing. “So this is an access problem of colossal dimensions.”
 
Johan Mooij, Yemen director of Care International, said: “For the last two days, nothing has got in or out of the country. Fuel prices have gone up by 50% and there are queues at the gas stations. People fear no more fuel will come into Hodeidah port.”
 
He explained that food insecurity was helping cholera to spread. “People depend on the humanitarian aid and part of the cholera issue is that they do not eat and are not strong enough to deal with unclean water.”
 
Robert Mardini, ICRC’s regional director for the near and Middle East, said: “Insulin cannot wait at a shuttered border since it must be kept refrigerated. Without a quick solution to the closure, the humanitarian consequences will be dire.”
 
Mardini said he was also concerned at the “steadily growing” number of civilian casualties and the targeting of non-military infrastructure, such as water treatment plants and civilian airports. “Such actions are in violation of international humanitarian law,” he said.
 
Rupert Colville, a spokesman from the UN high commissioner for human rights, told Reuters the agency would study whether the blockade amounted to “collective punishment”, unlawful under international law, and said he hoped it would be temporary. The agency has expressed concern over a series of recent attacks on markets and homes that have killed scores of civilians, including children.
 
http://bit.ly/2yf4d8Q http://bit.ly/2zpaBxP http://tmsnrt.rs/2ArYq19 http://www.icrc.org/en/document/yemen-urgent-call-keep-borders-open-health-medical-supplies
 
Nov. 2017
 
Expressing horror at continued violence perpetrated by all parties to the conflict in Yemen, the top United Nations humanitarian official in the country has called on the conflicting sides to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law.
 
“In particular, I ask [the parties] to adhere to the principles of distinction between civilians and combatants and proportionality in the conduct of hostilities and refrain from directing attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure,” said Jamie McGoldrick, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, in a statement Sunday.
 
“I also reiterate my calls on States who have influence over the parties to step up their engagement to bring about a political solution to the crisis,” he added.
 
Last week alone, at least thirteen children were among those killed in the war-torn country, including six among 31 people who were killed in an air strike that struck a busy night market in Sahar district in Sa''ada governorate. At least 26 other people were injured.
 
On 2 November, shelling in a residential area in Al Onsowa neighbourhood in Taizz city killed five children and injured two others. All the children killed or injured were between seven and 15 years old.
 
“The latest events are unfortunately part of the tragic pattern of the disregard that the parties to the conflict continue to show for the laws of war and their obligations and responsibilities to protect civilians lives,” noted Mr. McGoldrick.
 
“All parties to this brutal conflict must act in the interest of the people of Yemen and in line with international humanitarian law,” he underscored.
 
The conflict in the country, now into its third year, has killed thousands and driven millions from their homes. Hostilities have also left over 17 million Yemenis food insecure, over a third of the country''s district in severe danger of famine, destroyed infrastructure and resulted in the breakdown of public services, especially water and sanitation systems.
 
Lack of water and sanitation systems has also resulted in a devastating cholera outbreak, which has already killed more than 2,100 individuals and continues to infect thousands each week.
 
“We must all do whatever we can to bring the horrendous suffering of the people of Yemen to an end as soon as possible,” said Mr. McGoldrick. http://bit.ly/2hiF0qT
 
Nov. 2017
 
Yemen: Fastest growing cholera epidemic ever recorded brings number of cases to 895,000.
 
Yemen is facing one of the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, including the fastest growing cholera epidemic ever recorded. As of 1 November, there were some 895,000 suspected cholera cases with nearly 2,200 associated deaths since 27 April. More than half of the suspected cases are children.
 
The outbreak is affecting over 90 per cent of districts across 21 of the 22 governorates. Despite the enormous challenges, humanitarian partners have established 234 Diarrhoea Treatment Centres and 1,084 Oral Rehydration Corners in 225 affected districts in 20 governorates. Some 3.6 million people have been connected to disinfected water supply networks in 12 governorates. Over 17 million people in all governorates were reached with cholera prevention messages.
 
Yemen is also facing the world’s largest food emergency and widespread population displacement. Nearly 21 million people require urgent humanitarian assistance, seven million of whom are severely food insecure, staving off the threat of famine. Despite challenging conditions and limited funding, UN and humanitarian partners provided direct assistance to more than 7 million people this year.
 
“The humanitarian response to the world’s worst hunger crisis and its worst cholera outbreak must be fully resourced”, said ERC Lowcock during his recent mission to Yemen. “With only two months left in the year, the UN Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) is only 56 per cent funded. I know that we can do more.”
 
The UN Emergency Relief Coordinator called on donors to step up their support to the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan to ensure the most effective and coordinated response across the country. “Across the country, and on both sides of the frontline, Yemenis are being kept alive by brave humanitarian aid workers, working under extremely difficult conditions”, ERC Lowcock said. “We are able to be effective because we remain impartial, neutral and independent, under the strong leadership of our Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and his committed team. But we need to do more – and we need more support.”
 
Yemen Crisis Overview. (OCHA)
 
More than two years of relentless conflict in Yemen have devastated the lives of millions of people. An alarming 20.7 million people in Yemen need some kind of humanitarian or protection support, with some 9.8 million in acute need of assistance. This man-made disaster has been brutal on civilians. An estimated 17 million people – 60 per cent of the total population - are food insecure while a staggering seven million people do not know where their next meal is coming from and are at risk of famine. At least three million people have fled their homes, public services have broken down, less than half of the health centres are functional, medicine and equipment are limited, and there are no doctors left in 49 out of 276 districts. Access to safe water has become a major challenge and the lack of proper sanitation has increased the risk of communicable diseases.
 
A spike in cholera cases in April has compounded the situation. As of 24 August, more than 540,000 suspected cholera cases had been reported, with more than 2,000 associated deaths. On average, some 5,000 people were falling ill every day with AWD symptoms, with children under 15 accounting for 41 per cent of all suspected cases while people over 60 represented 30 per cent of fatalities. Currently, a child under the age of 5 dies every 10 minutes of preventable causes.
 
In 67 districts across 13 governorates is there is a convergence of highest food security and nutrition needs and cholera. Ongoing conflict has also worsened protection needs. About 11.3 million people need assistance to protect their safety, dignity or basic rights, including 2.9 million people living in acutely affected areas.
 
Vulnerable people require legal, psychosocial and other services, including child protection and gender-based violence support. Attacks have hit a range of civilian targets such as houses, hospitals and schools as well as dual use targets, such as roads, bridges, and factories as well as military targets.
 
Yemen was already a protracted crisis characterized by widespread poverty, conflict, poor governance and weak rule of law, including widely reported human rights violations. Today, the economy is near collapse, public and private services have all but disappeared, and Yemenis have lost most of their livelihoods and depleted most of their saving.
 
Deliberate military tactics to shred the economy have moved an already weak and impoverished country towards social, economic, and institutional collapse. The people of Yemen have suffered long enough and no humanitarian response can meet the increasing needs that the war is causing. Only peace can end the suffering. The time has come for the warring parties to place the very people they claim to be fighting for at the center of their concerns and end the fighting.
 
Without urgent action, the situation will worsen- The humanitarian situation is likely to deteriorate further. Without urgent action – including full funding for the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan (which is only 41 per cent funded as of 26 August), steps by parties to end the war and to facilitate the resumption of commercial food and other imports, and full access to all people in need – the crisis will worsen.
 
It is absolutely essential that the parties to the conflict respect International Humanitarian Law, allow the importation of food, medical supplies and other necessary goods into Yemen, and guarantee unhindered movement of humanitarian actors to reach those in need of assistance.
 
Access is the key to the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance to people in need across Yemen. Despite the very challenging operational environment in Yemen, humanitarian partners have demonstrated a strong and growing capacity to deliver with 124 humanitarian partners working across Yemen. These include 85 national NGOs, 30 International NGOs, and nine UN Agencies. As of July 2017, these partners had reached over 5.9 million people with some form of humanitarian assistance in all the 22 governorates.
 
Decline in food security as agriculture takes a hit - Agriculture, which employs more than half of the population, has drastically declined due to insecurity, high costs, and sporadic availability of inputs. Total cereal production in 2016 was estimated at 480,000 MT, which is about 11 per cent below the 2015 harvest and 37 per cent below the previous five-year average. An estimated 40 percent of all farming households experienced a decline in cereal production compared to pre-crisis levels.
 
Seven out of 22 governorates are under Emergency (IPC Phase 4) – Taizz, Abyan, Sa’ada, Hajjah, Al Hudaydah, Lahj, and Shabwah. The fishery sector has equally been heavily impacted with a near 50 per cent reduction in the number of fishermen.
 
Increasing need for water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance - An estimated 15.7 million people require assistance to access safe drinking water and sanitation, including 7.3 million who are in acute need. This represents an increase of eight per cent since late 2014, and the severity of needs has intensified.
 
Nearly half of all health facilities are non-functional - An estimated 10.4 million people lack access to basic healthcare, including 8.8 million living in severely under-served areas. Medicine and medical supplies/materials are in chronically short supply. According to WHO, more than 1,900 out of 3,507 health facilities in 16 governorates are either non-functional or partially functioning. An estimated 30,000 dedicated local health workers who play the largest role in ending this outbreak have not been paid their salaries for nearly 10 months and operational costs in more than 3,500 health facilities are not paid.
 
Between 19 March and 15 July, reported deaths and injuries from health facilities in Yemen reached 8,389 and 56,130 respectively. Given that only 45 per cent of health facilities are functioning, the actual figures are likely to be higher.
 
A malnutrition crisis of immense proportions - A child under 5 dies in Yemen every 10 minutes from preventable causes. Overall, about 4.5 million children and pregnant or lactating women are acutely malnourished. This represents a 148 per cent increase since late 2014. Nearly 462,000 children are suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) – a nearly 200 per cent increase since 2014.
 
In addition, 1.8 million children and 1.1 million pregnant or lactating women are suffering from Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM), while Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates are as high as 31 per cent in some locations – more than twice the emergency threshold.
 
The most pressing needs are concentrated in Al Hudaydah, Hajjah, Amanat al Asimah, Sa’ada, Taizz, Ibb, Dhamar, Hadramaut, Lahj and Aden. Four governorates – Taizz, Abyan, Al Hudaydah and Hadramaut have Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates above 15 per cent, which is the global emergency threshold, according to WHO standards.
 
Ongoing displacement and returns fuelling widespread shelter needs - An estimated 4.5 million people need emergency shelter or essential household items, including IDPs, host communities and returnees. Ongoing conflict-related displacements, as well as initial returns to some areas, are driving these needs.
 
More than three million people have fled their homes in search of safety and security. About two million people remain internally displaced and around one million have returned to their home districts, but many have found their homes destroyed and lack of opportunities to rebuild their lives; they still require support to ensure their safety and re-establish their livelihoods.
 
Millions of children out of school and scores of teachers unpaid - At least two million children, nearly 27 per cent of school-age children are out of school, according to UNICEF. More than 1,690 schools are currently unfit for use due to conflict-related damage, hosting of IDPs or occupation by armed groups. About 2.3 million children need support to access education, including 1.1 million in areas that are acutely affected by conflict.
 
Months of unpaid salaries have aggravated matters. More than 166,000 teachers have had problems receiving their salaries since October 2016 - about 73 per cent of the total number of teachers in Yemen.
 
Livelihoods and community resilience devastated as public sector grounds to a halt - At estimated 78 per cent of households are in a worse economic situation compared to the pre-crisis period, eight million people have lost their income (IDPs, social welfare fund suspended since two years ago, private companies closing) or are living in communities with minimal to no basic services, and physical access to markets is especially difficult in the highly conflict-affected governorates.
 
The conflict has pushed more people into poverty, sharply reduced economic activity, and deeply diminished people’s self-reliance and livelihoods. Since fighting escalated, costs of food, medicine and other basics have skyrocketed, while economic activity has greatly slowed and parts of the public sector – a key employer – have ground to a halt.
 
http://reliefweb.int/country/yem http://www.unocha.org/yemen


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