The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has now raised £20 million for the Yemen Crisis Appeal, since it was launched on 13 December 2016. This month the UN has announced that Yemen is on the brink of famine. Almost 19 million people - 80% of the population - are desperately in need of help, with 14 million people already hungry. Yemen is just one of four countries where famine is looming at present; the UN has already declared famine in parts of South Sudan, with Somalia and northern Nigeria at crisis point.
Saleh Saeed, CEO of the DEC, has just returned from a journey across war-torn Yemen. Saleh travelled to see for himself the situation on the ground and the work DEC member charities are already doing with funds raised from the Yemen Crisis Appeal to help more than 1.5 million people with lifesaving aid, including food, cash aid, health care, water and sanitation.
Saleh said: “I visited Hodeida, one of the areas worst affected by extreme hunger. The number of patients attending the hospital there has increased fivefold over the last year. It broke my heart to see so many children suffering from severe malnutrition. They were so weak they could hardly stand.
“But there is hope – the funds that the British public have given to the DEC Yemen Crisis Appeal are already making a huge difference. In the Al Zuhra clinic in Hodeida, I watched children like one-year-old Omar have their mid-upper arm measured, a simple way to quickly and easily diagnose malnutrition. Omar was then prescribed 10 packets of ‘Plumpy Nut’ – a tasty peanut paste and life-saving treatment which only costs 25p per sachet and can easily be given to children by their parents.
“I travelled across both the north and south of the country and saw how humanitarian aid was getting to the hundreds of thousands of people in desperate need through water and sanitation projects, cash vouchers and food parcels. I met some of these people in person – many of whom wanted me to express their appreciation for the help given by the British public.
“However, the numbers in need were overwhelming. Having been born in Yemen, and visited many times over the years, I was truly shocked to see how the country had been devastated by conflict. The lives of so many families are at risk because of the food crisis and we need more funds to prevent Yemen slipping into widespread famine.”
The Yemen Crisis Appeal has now raised a total of £20 million from the British public, corporate supporters and the UK Government through its Aid Match contribution.
The DEC Yemen Crisis Appeal is still open. Please visit www.dec.org.uk and donate.