Geneva – A recent reduction in the intensity of the fighting in Yemen, a country embroiled in a bloody armed conflict for more than seven years, does not imply a reduction in the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis there, Euro-Med Monitor said in a statement released in conjunction with World Food Day.
As a result of the conflict, Yemen’s population is still struggling more than ever to obtain basic food. Food insecurity affects approximately 19 million Yemenis–over 61% of the total population. Euro-Med Monitor’s Chief Media Officer Nour Olwan said: “It is unfortunate that, at a time when Yemen’s humanitarian needs are increasing, the United Nations has received only about a third of the funding needed to support humanitarian operations and programmes this year, forcing it to reduce food rations and close some programmes that [previously] benefited millions of Yemenis.
“Although violence has largely stopped over the past six months, according to a truce agreement that expired at the beginning of this month with no agreement to extend it until today, the improvement in the humanitarian situation was only a drop in the ocean of complex crises, as it was limited and confined to specific areas and did not address all aspects of Yemenis’ suffering”, Olwan added.
According to World Food Programme statistics, the majority of Yemen’s population requires humanitarian aid, with 20.7 million people in need of assistance—roughly 66% of the total population. Nearly 1.3 million pregnant or breastfeeding women and 2.2 million children under the age of five require treatment for acute malnutrition.
Yemen ranked 183 out of 191 on the United Nations Development Programme’s 2021/2022 Human Development Index. The index used to measure human development is based on several factors, including an individual’s purchasing power, which has declined significantly in Yemen in recent years due to the conflict’s direct and indirect effects.
The COVID-19 crisis combined with the war in Ukraine has resulted in a serious global increase in the prices of basic commodities and fuel, particularly in poor countries such as Yemen—which imports approximately 95% of its needs—as food prices rose by more than 150% following the start of the war. Furthermore, it is feared that the escalation of the war in Ukraine will result in an irregular supply of wheat, as Yemen imports approximately 45% of its wheat from Ukraine and Russia, and its stockpile is only sufficient for several more months.
There is an urgent need to redirect humanitarian funding to operations in Yemen, as similar interventions needed in Ukraine should not jeopardise donor countries’ commitments to easing the Yemeni humanitarian crisis, which is exacerbated by the continuation of both conflicts. Last month, Euro-Med Monitor called on European Member States to stop exporting arms to conflict parties in Yemen and refrain from contributing in any way to the prolongation of the conflict, in order to end the humanitarian crisis that millions of Yemenis are facing.
Euro-Med Monitor reiterates that the only way to end the humanitarian crisis in Yemen is for all parties to the conflict to agree to end all manifestations of it, and address its root causes in a manner that will lead to political stability, economic growth, and ultimately improve the population’s living conditions.