UN Deputy Humanitarian Chief, Catherine Bragg, visits Yemen to draw attention to the country’s acute humanitarian crisis [EN/AR]
(Sana’a/ New York, 17 April 2012): After a two-day mission to Yemen, the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Catherine Bragg, today underscored the need for strong commitment from the international community to support the millions of people in Yemen facing a worsening humanitarian crisis. This was ASG Bragg’s third visit to the country in 18 months.
“I am very concerned by the acute humanitarian situation in Yemen, despite the recent, positive political developments,” said ASG Bragg. “Millions of vulnerable people need help with healthcare, clean water and basic sanitation, food and nutrition.”
Ms. Bragg travelled to Yemen to assess developments since her last visit in November 2011 and to discuss with partners, including the Government and donors, ways of further strengthening the humanitarian response, despite serious security constraints.
New data shows that food insecurity in Yemen has doubled over the last two years. Five million people, or nearly a quarter of the population, are severely food insecure, meaning that they are not able to grow or buy enough food for their family and need urgent assistance. At least 800,000 children are suffering from acute malnutrition. Degradation of health, water and education systems pose long-term challenges to Yemen’s recovery.
“The most vulnerable will need all the support they can get until we start seeing the fruit of political developments,” said Ms. Bragg.
Meeting UN agencies and partners in Yemen, ASG Bragg discussed ways of overcoming the challenges posed by growing humanitarian needs. “I am encouraged to see that the capacity of the humanitarian community in Yemen to respond has been expanded since my last visit,” noted Ms. Bragg, pointing out that new international organizations have started working in Yemen, some donors have increased their commitment and dialogue with non-state actors has increased access to vulnerable people in the north. The funding gap, however, is considerable.
In 2012, humanitarian partners have expanded their programmes in Yemen, requesting total funding of US$447 million to address humanitarian needs. However, the humanitarian response plan is currently only 20 per cent funded, leaving a gap of almost $360 million. Moreover, growing humanitarian needs, beyond the areas directly affected by conflict, will have to be considered when the humanitarian partners again review the 2012 response plan at mid-year in June.
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.