Statement by the Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen Mr. Jamie McGoldrick on Shrinking Humanitarian Space in Yemen [EN/AR]


Sana’a, 17 August 2017: I am deeply concerned by the shrinking humanitarian space in Yemen where parties to the conflict continue to obstruct the timely provision of humanitarian aid to people in need.

For months, humanitarian partners have experienced delays by authorities in Sana’a to facilitate the entry of aid workers into Yemen, interference in the delivery of humanitarian assistance and the choice of implementing partners and obstructions in the conduct of assessments. There have also been increased incidents of aid diversion away from intended beneficiaries in areas under the control of the Sana’a authorities.

I am specifically concerned about the looting of food aid and other humanitarian goods in Taizz Governorate where there have been three separate incidents over a period of two months. Since January 2017, eleven vehicles belonging to humanitarian organisations have been hijacked in Taizz City in areas under the control of the Government of Yemen.

While I acknowledge the efforts of the authorities and local leaders to recover looted items, more needs to be done to ensure a safe and secure operational environment conducive to the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to people in need. All of these incidents delay the provision of urgently need help to those most affected by the conflict while at the same time putting humanitarian staff at risk.

As basic social services in Yemen are near collapse, there is mounting pressure on humanitarian organisations to expand the humanitarian response. Ensuring unhindered humanitarian access is essential to save the lives of those who depend on assistance, particularly as Yemen is facing an unprecedented cholera crisis and over seven million people are at risk of famine. I urge all parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law to facilitate the safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance in areas under their control.

Shara’a Al Siteen, Opposite Awqaf Housing Complex, Sana’a, Republic of Yemen
P.O.Box: 551, Telephone: (+967- 1) 448 605/6 – Fax: (+967-1) 448 841


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit