Source: United Nations (Video News)
UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said the only way to stop suffering in Yemen is to end the war, but in the meantime the world could do other things that would help right away. These include better protection for civilians, more access for aid workers, more money for aid agencies and more support for the Yemeni economy.
He noted that this was his message when he first started in this position and, nearly four years later, are still the things asked for every month. He said achievements have been made over the years, including averting famine in 2018-2019 and the likelihood of repeating the aversion this year.
However, Lowcock warned that “two brushes with mass famine in three years is not a success.” He explained, “Even if the worst was avoided, it’s a failure. Millions of Yemenis can attest to that. Their lives have just kept getting worse. There is broad agreement on what to do, including in the Security Council, and we need to translate that agreement into action. And that means everyone, especially the parties to the conflict, must act on all five of those points that we’ve been discussing here for years.”
The UN humanitarian chief said, on average, at least five Yemeni civilians are being killed or injured every single day. He said the Ansar Allah offensive in Marib continues to pose a direct threat to millions of people including more than one million displaced Yemenis sheltering in and around the city. He reminded parties of their obligations to spare civilians and civilian objects and called for accountability.
Lowcock said aid agencies are helping more than 10 million people a month in Yemen, but still face too many obstacles, most, but not all, of which are in areas controlled by Ansar Allah. He added that since the March pledging event, the humanitarian response plan for Yemen has gone from about 15 per cent to 43 per cent funded.
He said, “But, Mr President, the money will soon start running out again. In August, UNICEF will cut fuel support for water and sanitation systems serving 3.4 million people. In September, the World Health Organization will stop providing their minimum service package that enables healthcare for six million people, and the cuts will intensify from there. The dangers of famine, disease, including COVID, and displacement have not gone away, and if more money doesn’t come in, more people will die.”
The UN humanitarian chief called on all donors to pay all outstanding pledges – which amount to some 200 million USD – and to increase their support across all humanitarian activities that need to be financed.