UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS AND EMERGENCY RELIEF COORDINATOR MARK LOWCOCK
Good afternoon, everybody.
Martin Griffiths and I have just briefed the Council on the current situation in Yemen, especially around Hodeidah. The focus of the discussion has essentially been about how we prevent a battle for Hodeidah. We explained why Hodeidah matters for the whole of the humanitarian operation.
I said that while the UN and other humanitarian organizations are reconfiguring their presence, it is also our plan, intention and hope to stay and deliver. We have dozens of UN staff still in Hodeidah.
We are working with very large numbers of Yemeni organizations and individuals through whom we are reaching 7 million people a month, still, with food assistance - and a larger number than that with other forms of assistance. Those humanitarian operations continue. We plan for them to go on.
I said there are three things that I would like help with from the Council.
The first is to ensure that all stakeholders work together to ensure that Hodeida and Saleef ports remain open and operational without interruption so that we can ensure continued humanitarian relief and adequate levels of essential commercial imports, as well.
Related to that, we would like the Council to try to influence everybody with a stake to ensure that aid supplies and essential commercial imports are able, not just to enter the ports, but also to move from the ports to their final destinations and to the people who benefit from them without impediment.
Secondly, we would like the Council's help to ensure that all parties to the conflict, including all affiliated forces, meet their obligations to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, taking active steps to respect the fundamental rules of distinction, proportionality and precautions.
As part of that, we want to see all parties to allow freedom of movement for civilians seeking to flee conflict-affected areas or to move out of areas where they fear conflict may escalate.
Thirdly, we would like the Council's help in ensuring that not just Martin Griffith's current efforts - which I am not going to talk about in detail, if you want to ask about the detail you will have to approach his team - that not just his current efforts to prevent a battle for Hodeidah are successful, but also that everybody engages in a positive, productive and serious way with his wider plan, which he will be briefing the Council on next week to move forward with the peace process in Yemen.
Russell Geekie | Spokesperson/Chief of Media Relations Section a.i.
Strategic Communications Branch | United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) | New York
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