The world must wake up to a humanitarian crisis in Yemen before tens of thousands of already malnourished children die, International Development Minister Alan Duncan warned today as he announced new support for healthcare, emergency shelter and food.
Following a visit to the country yesterday - where he became the first development Minister to meet the new President - Mr Duncan said that last month’s elections were a major milestone on the road to a better Yemen, but that now was no time for complacency.
After holding discussions with the main humanitarian aid organisations working in Yemen, the Minister added that Western countries and Arab neighbours must not ignore the humanitarian situation in the country and that a concerted international response was now a priority.
The new British funding will go to humanitarian organisations currently working in Yemen and will contribute towards delivering new support such as:
- access to healthcare for over 100,000 conflict-affected civilians
- emergency shelter, drinking water and sanitation for 23,000 people forced out of their homes by ongoing conflict
- food assistance to more than 8,500 people for six months
- hygiene kits and household items to 6,000 people for six months
- seeds, tools and fertilizer to help 12,200 people increase the amount of food they can grow, plus support for 400 agricultural cooperatives
- funding to respond to emerging humanitarian needs as they are identified, such as emergency health care, safe drinking water and education.
Speaking the day after his return from Yemen, International Development Minister Alan Duncan said:
“It’s no longer good enough for the international community to claim that they have no idea just how bad things now are in Yemen. While I was there yesterday, I heard first-hand reports from parts of the country where malnutrition rates are on a par with Somalia. In some areas, every fifteenth child dies before reaching the age of five.
“The international community must respond and it must do so now. Ignorance is no longer an excuse - particularly when, alongside urgent humanitarian need, Yemen also faces a very real threat from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. If this humanitarian crisis were allowed to pass below the world’s radar there would be major repercussions, not only for those currently unsure as to where their next meal is coming from but for regional stability and international security as well.”