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Yemen: International support crucial for country in crisis

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

British aid will help more than a quarter of a million people caught up in the humanitarian crisis in Yemen

Update: 20 July 2012

Listen to a BBC World Service interview with Minister of State Alan Duncan on the situation in Yemen and how UK aid is helping:

Minister of State for International Development Alan Duncan said:

“The humanitarian aid we are funding in Yemen is providing immediate and life saving help to those in desperate need and giving a foundation for progress across the board.

“Yemen’s partners and the wider community must respond to this humanitarian crisis but also deliver longer term support to address the root causes of the problems the country faces and help it start to rebuild after years of internal conflict and political instability.”


22 May 2012

British aid will help more than a quarter of a million people caught up in the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Alan Duncan said today - but warned that the international community must do more to help the country.

The announcement comes ahead of tomorrow’s Friends of Yemen meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which brings together delegates from around the world.

The Development Minister is calling on the international community to get behind the new Government of Yemen to address the root causes of the humanitarian crisis and provide the longer term support the country needs.

The latest round of UK aid will go to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and humanitarian agencies with an established presence in Yemen and will allow them to respond to needs as they emerge over the coming year.

This will help to deliver results such as:

  • Up to 250,000 people reached with emergency food security support
  • Lifesaving nutrition support for 150,000 children
  • Provision of safe water to 68,000 people affected by conflict
  • Provision of emergency shelter to 23,500 internally displaced persons
  • Access to health care for around 170,000 people displaced by the conflict
  • Access to education for 60,000 children living in conflict affected areas
  • Emergency livelihoods support for around 35,000 people, including cash for work and agricultural inputs

Yemen is widely recognised as one of the poorest and most fragile states in the world, with nearly half a million people displaced by conflict and nearly a million children under five currently thought to be malnourished - one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the world.

The election of Yemen’s national unity government in February was a major milestone, but Mr Duncan warned that the coming months will be critical in determining the country’s future.

The Friends of Yemen meeting - co-chaired by the UK, Saudi Arabia and Yemen - will provide the new government of Yemen with the chance to set out its plans for political, economic and security reform and identify what longer term support it needs to deliver this.

Minister of State for International Development Alan Duncan said:

The new Government of Yemen has been in place for a matter of months and has already taken important steps - but yesterday’s terrible suicide bombing reminds us that the country still faces huge challenges. If progress is to be maintained then the international community must back the government. Without that support, the alternative is a slide towards state failure and an increased threat from international terrorism.

The humanitarian aid we’re announcing today will provide immediate and life saving help to those in desperate need and give a foundation for progress across the board.

Yemen’s partners and the wider community must respond to this humanitarian crisis but also deliver longer term support to address the root causes of the problems the country faces and help it start to rebuild after years of internal conflict and political instability.

Yemen is the only low income country in the Middle East and has suffered years of terrorism and bouts of internal conflict. The country has one of the highest birth rates outside of sub-Saharan Africa, is running out of water and the oil production that the economy depends on is dropping dramatically, with the country forecast to become a net oil importer by 2016.

The recent political instability, a collapse in the Yemeni economy and a breakdown of basic health and education services have exacerbated poverty levels, with over 42% of Yemenis now estimated to be living on less than $2 a day. This brings a series of humanitarian challenges and also creates a fertile environment for international terrorism.

The past twelve months have seen the humanitarian situation worsen further, with nearly half a million people displaced by multiple conflicts and 10 million people with no reliable source of food. Almost 60 per cent of all children are now stunted as a result of chronic malnourishment.

Read the full press release [PDF download]


24 MAY UPDATE: Friends of Yemen meeting a “critical moment”

The Friends of Yemen meeting took place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia yesterday, co-chaired by the UK. It emphasised the country’s deepening humanitarian crisis which requires determined action. It also welcomed the Yemeni government’s update on its transition plans and the announcement of $4 billion in aid from international donors at the meeting.

Minister for International Development Alan Duncan said:

“Yemen’s deepening humanitarian crisis requires determined and concerted action. We continue to urge the wider international community to step up and match the UK’s efforts - both in responding to the immediate needs this humanitarian crisis creates and in delivering the longer term development support the country needs to build a more prosperous, stable future.”

Read the full update on the Foreign Office website