Yemen

UNGA: EU and Sweden join forces to avoid famine in Yemen

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Today, in the margins of the 75th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, Janez Lenarčič, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, and Peter Eriksson, Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation, co-hosted a virtual High-Level event on “The Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen: Averting an Outbreak of Famine.”

Yemen cannot wait. Restrictions of humanitarian access, obstructions to humanitarian aid, insufficient vital imports, worsening economic crisis, compounded by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, are putting millions of Yemenis at risk of famine.

The EU, Sweden and international partners wish to ensure that adequate levels of funding are reached, the drivers of the crisis are addressed and humanitarian access is facilitated.

Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, said: “Yemen is already the worst humanitarian crisis in the world – and now it stands on the brink of famine. The war needs to stop – and in the meantime, all parties to the conflict need to let in and facilitate humanitarian assistance to the millions of people in desperate need through no fault of their own. Europeans will not forget the people of Yemen. The EU will continue to provide urgent help to those most in need, in particular critical healthcare and food. However, humanitarian aid alone will not be enough to avert an even greater disaster. Much broader resources will need to be drawn upon by the international community.”

Recently, the EU has scaled up its assistance to Yemenis most in need. A total of €115 million have been mobilised to support humanitarian assistance in Yemen .

EU-funded humanitarian actions in Yemen focus on emergency support to civilians affected by the conflict, including the response to acute malnutrition, food insecurity, natural hazards and epidemics.

Additionally, between mid-July and early August, the EU’s Humanitarian Air Bridge to Yemen transported urgent humanitarian cargo to both Aden and Sana’a. The emergency supplies benefit the coronavirus response but also enable the continuation of other lifesaving humanitarian programmes by UN agencies, international non-governmental organisations and the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement.

Background

Since the beginning of the conflict in 2015, the European Union has allocated €896 million to respond to the crisis in Yemen, including €554 million in humanitarian aid and €318 million in development assistance.

This has made it possible to deliver vital assistance including food, healthcare, education as well as water, shelter and hygiene kits.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, preparedness and response to disease outbreaks was already a key focus of the EU’s strategy for Yemen. To address the cholera and coronavirus epidemics, the EU funds treatment centres and prevention activities.