As COVID-19 intensifies suffering in Yemen, the EU increases vital support for children and their families

SANA’A/ADEN/AMMAN, 5 August 2020: The European Commission has responded to growing humanitarian needs of vulnerable communities as COVID-19 continues to spread across war-torn Yemen. The lifesaving support includes the organisation of a humanitarian air bridge to get vital personal protective equipment and essential medicines into the country. Since mid-July the humanitarian airbridge has facilitated the transportation of nearly 44 tonnes of UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) supplies to Sana’a and Aden.

“Children in Yemen are more than ever at risk of malnutrition and disease. We therefore want to make sure partners like the UN’s Children Fund can perform their lifesaving work,” said Janez Lenarčič, European Commissioner for Crisis Management. “The humanitarian air bridge and recent additional funding are a tangible expression of EU solidarity with the people of Yemen in their hour of need.”

The EU has also contributed an additional €4 million in humanitarian aid to enable UNICEF and partners to launch a community shielding programme for the most at-risk people. Through existing community networks, the programme identifies and supports individuals who are the most vulnerable to severe consequences of COVID-19 and provides a range of support mechanisms to keep them safe.

“The scale of suffering in Yemen is unimaginable and many communities here feel that the world has forgotten them,” said Dr. Sherin Varkey, UNICEF’s acting Representative in Yemen. “The ongoing support from the EU allows us to keep families from slipping further into crisis. We know that European countries have their own challenges brought by COVID-19, so this assistance sends a powerful message to families in Yemen to show them that the world still cares.”

UNICEF is appealing for $103 million USD for its COVID-19 response in Yemen. So far only 38 per cent of this appeal had been received.

“The profound suffering caused by COVID-19 further highlights the need for unhindered humanitarian access and impartial distribution of assistance to all vulnerable families in need,” added Dr. Varkey. “UNICEF continues to advocate for lasting peace and stability for children in Yemen.”

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About European Commission's Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO)

The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) funds relief operations for victims of natural disasters and conflicts outside the European Union. Aid is channelled impartially, straight to victims, regardless of their race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, nationality or political affiliation. ECHO is among UNICEF’s largest humanitarian donors. In 2012 alone, it provided over 70 million Euros for UNICEF’s projects worldwide to support children.

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